The Best Free Graphic Design Programs

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All business owners know the value of having a recognizable trademark- a phrase, concept or image that people will associate with your business. Creating a trademark of this type is called branding, and one of the most common ways that businesses develop a brand is through the use of logos and other images. These images are created through a process called graphic design. 

Graphic design is a field which encompasses many different types of digital artwork. A graphic designer uses a program that allows them to create and manipulate images in order to create a finished product that can be displayed on the web or in print. These original logos and designs are very valuable to businesses, as they help to create recognizable branding which generates interest and income.

There are many types of graphic design software, some of which are quite expensive; however, other programs are available as freeware, meaning that they are free for the public to use. Some of these free programs offer similar functionality to software that costs upward of a thousand dollars, making the programs more economical choices for designers and businesses.


One popular freeware graphic design solution is Gimp. Gimp is well known among graphic designers for having comparable functionality to that of some of the most expensive design software. With Gimp, images can be edited, cropped, rotated and filtered. The software allows a designer to convert an image’s file type to optimize it for use on the web. In addition, the software provides tools that allow a graphic designer to create unique logos and designs that can be used in many settings. Gimp is both free and open source.


Another free image editor and creator is Inkscape. Inkscape is well known among designers for its capacity to create vector images and logos from preexisting designs as well as its ability to facilitate the design of vector logos from scratch. The free style editing that Inkscape allows can result in the creation of unique branding.


Those working in the graphic design industry know that, as a rule, the Adobe suite of products is considered to be the industry standard. However, Adobe’s programs tend to be very expensive. For designers who are looking for some of the image editing functionality of Adobe Photoshop without the extreme price, Adobe’s web-based Photoshop Express allows simple image editing, filtering and conversion for free without a software download.


Serif’s Draw Plus Starter Edition is another excellent freeware program which allows for the creation of vector images and logos. In addition to giving designers access to a unique set of tools which mimic analog artwork, Draw Plus is also competitive with graphics tablets, giving finished products made with the program an artistic edge.


Finally, another excellent freeware graphics solution is Fatpaint. Much like the aforementioned programs, Fatpaint does an excellent job of mimicking features offered by more expensive programs. The program specializes in logo design, making it an excellent choice for designers who are working towards the creation of unique branding.

As a business owner, hiring a graphic designer as a part of your marketing efforts is a wise financial strategy. Many designers will work freelance, so paying an additional full time salary is unnecessary. A talented designer can easily generate logos and branding images that will make your business marketable and memorable.

If hiring outside the company is not an option, the vast offerings of free design software combined with the many tutorials available on the web make it possible for a self-motivated and artistic individual within the business to learn graphic design and improve the branding of the business, exponentially expanding marketing success.

Sarah McGrath is a freelance graphic designer and blogger based in Dublin, Ireland. She writes on a number of topics including graphic design, freelancing and social media marketing.