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Free & Open Source Graphic Design Tools: Home

The purpose of this guide is to help identify very powerful free & open source alternatives for graphic and website designers which can be downloaded free.


Desktop Publishing

Originally created to produce a high-quality print product, through computer software, desktop publishers have moved beyond that. Whether you are creating a newsletter, magazine, flier, pamphlet, etc., desktop publishing software can be used to create a printed output as well as an online product.

Image editors 

According to PC Magazine’s encyclopedia, an image editor is “Software that allows images to be edited and also converted to different graphics formats. Image editors typically deal with only bitmapped images such as GIFs, JPEGs and BMPs; however, some editors support both bitmaps and illustrations. Common functions are manually cropping and resizing the image and using “filters” to adjust brightness, contrast and colors.”

Stock Photos, Clip Art & Icons

Images are often key in producing attractive content. Having access to stock photos and other graphics to create great content can be cost prohibitive and most people do not have the time to go out and create their own collection of stock photos. Luckily there are many databases of stock photos that are free. Just make sure you read the fine print to make sure you are in line with the usage agreements of a particular site. 

Vector Graphics Software

Vector graphics are “The representation of a digital image as points, lines and other geometric entities” according to PC Magazine Encyclopedia. Designers like vector graphic software to generate simple, clean lines and edges to generate logos, icons and other related forms where simple, shapes, lines and neat edges are needed.

Website Design, CMS, Blogging

Creating an aesthetically pleasing and functional website or blog to manage your content doesn’t have to be expensive. There is a range of free and open source software options that allows users to create a space to showcase content in a variety of ways.


Pricing for graphic and web design software can be prohibitive for the average user, particularly for students. This guide aims to help identify very powerful free & open source alternatives that can be downloaded at no cost. Utilizing any new software can come with a bit of a learning curve but there is a large amount of great documentation both in print and online that can help users create eye-catching and beautiful designs through free & open source software.

From image editors, vector graphics generators, desktop publishers, website designers, content management systems and blogging tools, to stock photos, clip art and icons. There is a variety of useful creative software available to users for free. These tools can produce professional results without breaking the bank!

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Edmund Jessup
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