7 Best Free Graphic Design Software in 2018

Brynne Ramella
Brynne Ramella  |  October 17, 2018

It goes without saying, but a well-crafted image or graphic has the ability catch a potential customer’s eye.

The right visual will elevate a blog or a website from a jumble of words to a stunning visual message, but it takes a number of different tools to get there. Graphic design software encompasses many kinds of software tools that can help you get the job done.

G2 Crowd breaks down graphic design software into three different subcategories. First up is desktop publishing software. If you’re looking to turn media and copy files into visual layouts for publications such as magazines, books or newspapers, this would be an ideal category of software to consider. The second subcategory, drawing software, is a good choice for those looking to create original artwork. Finally, users seeking to design and manipulate computer vector graphics images can do so with vector graphics software.

The list we’ve outlined here includes any graphic design solution with an available free offering. It should be noted that this does not include products that are only free on a temporary basis, such as limited trial versions for new users. They may only support one user or one project, but they’re truly free offerings. Scaling, however, will often require full investments.

These products alone have well over 230 validated user reviews on G2 Crowd as of July 25, 2018, and only represent a small portion of the 60-plus graphic design software offerings listed on our platform. Whenever possible, the products are ranked by user satisfaction score.

For each product we provide:

  • An overview
  • Highlighted features
  • Free and paid options details

For products with G2 Crowd verified user reviews, we have included:

  • G2 Crowd star rating
  • Reviews highlighting what users like and dislike
  • User recommendations for these considering the product

The best free graphic design software

Product reviews and G2 Crowd star ratings were updated as of July 25, 2018.


1. Krita

Krita-free-graphic-designG2 Crowd star rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Overview

Krita is an open-source graphic design software geared toward comic book artists, illustrators, texture painters and more. This tool’s extensive features make it work for both amateurs and expert artists alike.

Pricing

Krita is completely free, which means that users have full access to all features at no cost.

Features

  • Brush engines — This feature allows users to customize brushes. Each brush engine serves a specific function, such as smudging or a filter.
  • Resource manager — Import brush and texture packs from other artists using Krita to expand your tool kit. Upload your own to share with others as well.
  • Wraparound mode — This function allows you to create various textures and patterns and easily repeat them. When a pattern is created, you can repeat it with the click of a button. 

KritaImage courtesy of Krita 


2. Mischief

Mischief twitter-free-graphic-designG2 Crowd star rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

Overview

Mischief is a graphic design software intended for creating concepts and ideas. Users can create with either pixel or vector files in Mischief. This tool is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems.

Pricing

For a one-time fee of $25, users can upgrade to the full version of Mischief. This includes additional features such as layers and custom color swatches.

Features

  • Infinite canvas
  • Brush palette  
  • Window opacity
  • Image importing
  • .PNG/.JPEG exporting

MischiefImage courtesy of Mischief


3. Inkscape

inkscape-free-graphic-designG2 Crowd star rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Overview

Inkscape is a graphic design software that can run on a number of operating systems. This platform’s tools can assist at all stages of the design process, from mockup to a profession grade design ready for publication. It can be used to design graphics such as logos, icons, diagrams and more.

Pricing

Inkscape is completely free and open source.

Features

  • Freehand drawing with a pencil tool
  • Object grouping
  • Shape tools
  • Alignment and distribution commands
  • Support for many different file formats

InkScapeImage courtesy of Inkscape 


4. DesignEvo

DesignEvo-free-graphic-designG2 Crowd star rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

Overview

DesignEvo is a graphic design software used to create custom logos using vector graphics. This solution was created so that users with no previous design experience could still create with ease.

Pricing

DesignEvo offers two pricing plans beyond its free option. The basic plan can be purchased for a one-time fee of $19.99. Additional features in the platform include high-resolution files, lifetime support, the ability to edit and re-download any file and more.  

The plus plan is available for a one-time fee of $39.99. Every feature from the free and basic plans are available in this plan. The plus option includes even more features, such as the ability to work in vector files, the ability to download font files and copyright ownership.

Features

  • Existing logo templates
  • Adding and adjusting icons
  • Text editor
  • Edit background color

DesignEvoImage courtesy of DesignEvo


5. GraphicsJS JavaScript Graphics

anychart-free-graphic-designG2 Crowd star rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

Overview

GraphicsJS JavaScript Graphics is a free and open-source graphic design tool. This software is intended for drawing HTML5 graphics and animation from scratch. GraphicsJS’ API allows users to customize the tool any way that they need.

Pricing

GraphicsJS JavaScript Graphics is completely free and open source.

Features

  • JavaScript API — This API is based on Layers logic and user-friendly primitives, which allows users to build any visualization they can imagine.
  • Text features — Control text wrap, text overflow, text indent, line height and more with this feature.
  • Virtual DOM — This DOM (document object model) is lightweight and gives users a better rendering experience. 

GraphicsJS (2) Image courtesy of AnyChart


6. Scribus

scribus-free-graphic-designG2 Crowd star rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

Overview

This software is open source and completely free of charge. Scribus is designed for users who are beginners in desktop publishing.

Pricing

Scribus is an open-source and free graphic design software, giving users access to all features with no additional cost.

Features

  • Complex and right-to-left scripts
  • Text properties palette
  • Support for OpenType advanced features
Scribus
Image courtesy of Scribus

7. iBooks Author

apple-free-graphic-designG2 Crowd star rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Overview

This free graphic design software is a mobile app that allows anyone to create interactive books and textbooks. This tool allows you to add elements such as video, diagrams, 3D objects and more. iBooks Authors is compatible with iPad and Mac computers.

Pricing

iBooks is available for free from Apple’s app store.

Features

  • Template library
  • Custom fonts
  • Ability to include mathematical expressions
  • Improved audio support
iBooks Screenshot

 Image courtesy of Apple


Next steps for selecting a free design software solution

Decide which features are a requirement in your graphic design software. If you are specifically looking for an open-source graphic design software solution or one that can potentially scale with your business, keep those conditions in mind.

The features in the solution you select should allow you to effectively reach your end goal, such as creating designs or artwork that elevate your business. Once you have chosen, read through some more verified user reviews to allow you to make the best decision for your business.

Ready to take your graphic design skills to the next level? Learn how you can use graphic design tools as logo design software to help you break into brand design and marketing.

* Please note: Reviews may have been edited for spelling and grammar.

Brynne Ramella
Author

Brynne Ramella

Brynne is the Buyer Inquiry Team Lead at G2 Crowd. In addition to writing, she leads the research specialists in providing personalized software and services recommendations to buyers. She wishes she had interesting hobbies to include in this bio.