Published: 05/03/2020 by Kayleigh Walter
Not everyone considers themselves a designer which means not everyone will have access to design software such as the Adobe Creative Clouds and their programmes such as Photoshop or Illustrator, but that doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t design.
In this blog, I have collected a handful of small and completely free pieces of design software. No hidden charges, no locked content just completely free software for you to use and design. These will allow anyone to create beautiful pieces of creative simply and quickly for those with or without design experience.
It’s always a good idea to have access to some form of design software which is why I’ve put together this list.
This program will take some getting used to but it is great for creating simple and elegant designs, just make sure you give yourself some to play around with the settings and really figure out how to use it before giving yourself any strict deadlines because it will take a little bit of time to figure it out.
You can either use this in your web browser, or you can download a desktop application which means you can use it offline. There is some minor confusion because the downloadable application will automatically sync all of the fonts from your computer. The in-browser edition requires you to download a type helper kit which can be found on their website with easy install instructions.
One of the benefits of using Figma is their collaboration tools. Figma allow a number of users to be in the same design file at the same time, making it handy and extremely helpful when you're working as a team and someone needs some help with a deadline and it needs a tight fix or helping show someone how to make minor adjustments. It could be the perfect tool for design within a team.
Gravit Designer is another downloadable application that will be accessible from your desktop. It is rather simple to use, it automatically syncs all of the fonts from your computer and their file setup is rather brilliant. When setting up your document you can pick from a number of predefined assets such as a Facebook Cover or Blog Header and then start designing. It makes the process a lot easier than having to faff about with finding measurements, they're already set up for you!
It's almost like a basic version of Photoshop, allowing you access to creating graphics, adjusting imagery and designing creative for anything from social media accounts to blog posts.
I have mentioned Adobe Spark in my previous post ‘4 Free Mobile Only Tools to Create Social Media Content On the Go’ but they are also web-based. This means you can use the app on your phone or you can open it up in your web browser and design on your laptop. What’s even better with this programme is if you’ve got the app and you’re signed in with the same account, you will be able to create and edit your designs from either platform.
Though many aspects of the program are free, you can pay to upgrade to premium or sign in with a valid Adobe ID, this just allows you to save ‘brands’ online by adding their brand colours, fonts and logos all stored on your account and hassle-free watermarks.
Fear not, you don’t have to pay to have watermark free designs, it’s just a case of manually clicking on the watermark and clicking okay. It will soon be removed and good to share. Another great thing about Adobe Spark is that you can duplicate and resize your design to fit a number of different pre-sets such as Twitter or Instagram.
Recently I discovered Canva and though it took me longer than I'd like to admit to figure out how to change the layer order, it is a great piece of software. When you start to edit your design everything you need is right in front of you from free graphics, to free imagery and icons which really impressed me. It was nice to have so many options all in one place without having to go off page to find the perfect imagery.
Unfortunately there is no 'brand' section where you can upload all your brand details and the options to create your own pallet is only available for premium which is kind of a pain but it's not that big a deal in comparison to the features that are available. When downloading you have a series of options such as .PNG and .JPEG which is more than I've seen elsewhere. I think I will definitely be using Canva in the future to trial graphics.
It’s always handy to have access to design software whether you consider yourself a designer or not because it can be extremely useful. You could turn a simple text-based blog into one of intrigue, creativity and excitement just by adding a few creative images.
Hopefully one of these tools will help you get started on your design journey!