11 Open Source Design Software

11 Open Source Design Software in 2020

Open-source designing software is a kind of program that can be modified by each particular user to serve his/her specific needs. Such software are being constantly changed, which implies fixing bugs and adding new features by a vast community of people and if you are good at programming, you can also contribute to the development of the product.

Another reason, why programs with open source are so popular nowadays is their zero price tag. This article covers 11 top best options currently available.

11 Best Open Source Design Software

  1. Inkscape - Best design software
  2. Krita - For digital painting and illustration
  3. GIMP - Broad functionality
  4. SVG-Edit - For beginners
  5. FontForge For work with fonts
  6. GravitDesigner - Multi-purpose design software
  7. Pencil2D - Best animation software
  8. Dia - For creating diagrams
  9. Skencil - Best drawing software
  10. Pinta - For amateur graphic designers
  11. Blender - 3D creation tool

When you are just at the beginning of your career path, you can’t afford to buy professional programs to hone your skills and learn the ropes of the business. That’s when open source software design tools come to rescue.

The software listed below can help you level up your designing skills and find your place among the most successful graphic and web designers.

1. Inkscape – Our Choice

 
Best design software
  • Operates on multiple platforms
  • Great tools
  • Extensions allow boosting the performance
  • Supports numerous formats
  • Not found

Verdict: Inkscape is advanced open source design software compatible with Win, Mac and Linux OS. This program is frequently featured on the lists of the best alternatives to CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator.

The UI is designed in a very intuitive manner, so even beginners can master it. Similar to other open source vector design tools, Inkscape uses SVG as its native file format.

The toolset is truly remarkable, containing all the necessary instruments for different stages of the design process. Besides, there is a huge variety of handy features, so you can effortlessly perform alpha blending, profound path manipulations, notes editing, bitmap tracing, and more.

Initially, Inkscape is oriented at more experienced users, who can take advantage of its numerous tools and features.

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  • inkscape open source design software interface

    2. Krita

     
    For digital painting and illustration
    • Intuitive layout
    • Highly customizable
    • Free brushes and textures
    • A multitude of tools
    • The UI calls for updating
    • May lag

    Verdict: This open source graphic software is the go-to tool for illustrators, digital artists, and texture painters. In addition to regular features, it boasts a huge variety of top-tier ones nicely combined with design templates, which can satisfy both beginner and professional requirements.

    The biggest advantages of Krita are the built-in collection of brushes for comprehensive work with illustrations and painting, and efficient plug-ins.

    Thanks to many brush customization options, you can easily adjust the tool for a specific task, e.g. smooth out uneven lines, create seamless graphic patterns & textures, etc. The wrap-around mode and instant color selection add flexibility to the entire process.

    Thanks to a huge list of available tools, both rookie and seasoned artists can find something suitable for their work.

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    • krita open source design software interface

      3. GIMP

       
      Broad functionality
      • Comes with innovative tools
      • Can be used for image editing
      • A huge collection of graphical design elements
      • Can be refined with plug-ins and extensions
      • Doesn’t support exporting in CMYK
      • May be slow at startup

      Verdict: GIMP is one of the best open source graphic design software, which also offers some tools for image editing, thus attracting a broader range of users.

      All these instruments are conveniently arranged on the Ps-like interface, making switching from Adobe product a breeze, which is of great importance if you want to replace the latter with this open source program.

      You can use GIMP on Mac, Windows, GNU and some of the latest Linux distros. Boasting an extensive set of tools and functions, GIMP can interest both professional and newbie users, who are bound to find something suitable for them here.

      To make your experience using GIMP exclusively positive, the developers supplied it with many customization options and support for third-party plug-ins.

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      • gimp open source design software interface

        4. Gravit Designer

         
        Multi-purpose design software
        • Straightforward UI
        • Embedded templates and libraries
        • Advanced typography
        • Many import and exports variants
        • Crashes from time to time
        • Imposes limitations on RAM/image size

        Verdict: This free graphic design software for Mac, Windows and Linux has quickly become popular among users because it was designed by the creators of CorelDRAW and is expected to deliver the same top-notch performance. In addition to the desktop use, you can leverage it in your browser.

        The free graphic design software is powerful enough to assist you in your photo editing, graphic design, and other creative endeavors.

        In fact, the tools and features available are ideal for generating high-end designs, editing text, creating non-destructive Boolean loops, working with path graphs, and more.

        On top of that, you can easily adapt the interface to your current task in order to cope with it in a stress-free way, though the original layout is clear enough, so you may instantly get down to work.

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        • gravit designer open source design software interface

          5. FontForge

           
          For work with fonts
          • You can edit/convert/create new fonts
          • Occupies very little space
          • Rich file format support
          • Auto-save function
          • The interface requires updating

          Verdict: If you are looking for the program for graphic design that won’t clutter your disk space, FontForge is an ideal pick. It is optimized for Linux, Windows and Mac platforms and is translated into 12 languages.

          This open source design software was developed by George Williams with the help of the C-programming code and uses free-type rendering for creating various fonts.

          The most remarkable feature of this program is the variety of readable fonts, including such popular options as TrueType, CID-keyed and many more. So, if you are interested in creating original fonts, here is a great tool to use for this task.

          In addition to the main toolset, there are many instruments for drawing, transformation, rounding, adding serifs, as well as copying individual elements or letter options.

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          • fontforge open source design software interface

            6. Dia

             
            For creating diagrams
            • Supports many file formats
            • Lightweight
            • Intuitive interface
            • Works on multiple platforms
            • It is impossible to customize the UI

            Verdict: Dia operates on a single-doc interface (SDI) similar to GIMP and Inkscape. This open source designing software attracts attention with its numerous handy tools that allow drawing entity relationship diagrams, flowcharts, network schemes, etc.

            You can also try your hand at programming and add support for new shapes, thus advancing the capabilities of this program. The diagrams created here can be exported with the XML extension and in a number of many other formats – EPS, SVG, XFIG, WMF and PNG. If needed, you can print the result of your work.

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            • dia open source design software interface

              7. SVG-Edit

               
              For beginners
              • SVG Conversion Tool
              • Intuitive operation
              • Fast
              • Gradual learning curve
              • No advanced features

              Verdict: SVG-Edit is first-rate graphic design software online, which is supported by most modern browsers. It is aimed at an average user, containing only basic instruments in the toolset, namely, shape tools, hand-drawing tools, text and path editing means.

              The program is divided into 2 interfaces, which work in conjunction for a smoother and more productive workflow.

              SVG-Edit may fully satisfy those graphic designers, who are looking for intuitive, simple-to-use software without bells and whistles. Still, there is a special module, enabling which, you can turn SVG files into an array of many other formats PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, and WMP in several seconds.

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              • svg-edit open source design software interface

                8. Skencil

                 
                Best drawing software
                • Extendable via plug-ins
                • Amazing set of tools
                • Adjustable and robust
                • Unlimited undo history
                • Only for Linux/Unix/GNU-like OS

                Verdict: Skencil is a vector drawing software, which runs on Linux, Unix and GNU-like OS. You can use the program to create detailed diagrams, elaborate illustrations and drawings. It operates on interpreted languages, for instance, Python, and can ideally suit professional designers.

                Looking through its wide-ranging features, you will find clipmasks, gradient fills, Bezier curves and many other handy options.

                Each element is introduced as a mathematic description of its shape, e.g. a circle equals to coordinates of the center points and length of the radius. This is rather an interesting approach, which sets this open source design software apart from the analog programs.

                skencil open source design software interface

                9. Pencil2D

                 
                Best animation software
                • Takes little disk space
                • Cross-platform
                • Straightforward design process
                • Supports layers
                • Rather limited importing/exporting options

                Verdict: Pencil2D is an efficient animation software with a strong emphasis on drawing. It allows using bit-map and vector graphics as a basis for hand-drawn animations. Being very intuitive to use, this software impresses with a rich collection of high-end animation tools.

                The first thing that catches an eye is a user-oriented interface, so mastering Pencil2D won’t take much time. What is more, Pencil2D supports layers, features a timeline, so you can tackle the pace of your animation. Considering all the benefits of Pencil2D, no wonder, I added it onto this graphic design software list.

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                • pencil2d open source design software interface

                  10. Pinta

                   
                  Full history
                  • Supports multiple layers
                  • You can track the entire editing history
                  • 35+ effects and adjustments
                  • Available in 55 languages
                  • Too few tools

                  Verdict: Pinta is a free, open source design software supported by Win, Mac, Linux and *BSD. In addition to the design tools, there are some meant for photo editing and drawing. The initial idea behind Pinta is to supply artists with a simple yet efficient program for creative work.

                  The available tools are robust enough for drawing any imaginable shape. Besides, there are 35 adjustments and effects that can give your images a professional look. Thanks to the multilingual support, designers from different countries can use this software.

                  Pinta is ideal for creative experiments, since it offers a complete editing history, enabling you to return to any necessary step.

                  pinta open source design software interface

                  11. Blender

                   
                  3D creation tool
                  • Features keyboard shortcuts
                  • Highly-customizable import
                  • A long list of tools
                  • Lightweight
                  • May seem a bit confusing

                  Verdict: Blender has outperformed lots of similar programs for 3D drawing and software design and occupies high positions in many ratings.

                  The main advantage is that Blender is compatible with all OS and does a great job at creating seamless animated films, 3D apps, and visual effects. Besides, this open source design software is very lightweight, so you may not worry about cluttering your disk space.

                  A huge collection of tools can aid professionals in photorealistic rendering, sculpting, game creation, fast rigging and compositing. However, the biggest upsides of Blender are the path-racer engine, scripting and rendering features. This tool is extensively used by artists for creating short films, TV shows and animations.

                  blender open source design software interface

                  Eva Williams

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