Unarm Harry Potter and you get a great wizard. But arm him with his holly wand, and you have the G.O.A.T!
Similarly, no matter how much of a design wizard you are, your potential is being largely compromised, if you aren’t on the right tools.
It’s 2018, and graphic designing tools have matured, alongside your audience’s tastes. But what hasn’t changed through the years is the number of responses to any design piece. The count still stands at three – no, yes, and WOW!
It’s fairly easy to get the first two responses (well, easier to get the first one, but we’re not going there) – but to get people to drool over your design work, you need to have a steady hand on the right tools. And while there is no best software out there, you still need to know what fits your needs.
You should arm yourself with tools that not only get the right things done but also speed up your workflow.
And here we are, to help you with that!
In this article, we’ll be talking about various tools, divided into the following categories:
- Vector designing
- Image editing
- 3D designing
- Data representation
- Other important tools
.So, without further ado, let’s help you pick the right wand for your battles, shall we?!
01. Gravit Designer
Gravit Designer is a free tool to help you with a complete vector toolkit! Previously known as simply Gravit, this tool works seamlessly on Windows, MacOS, Linux, ChromeOS, and even your browser!
It is a full-fledged vector designing app suitable for all kinds of jobs, from screen and icon designs to presentations, illustrations, and animations.
Having a clean and intuitive interface, this tool adjusts itself as you need. It packs a wide array of features for creating detailed and beautiful vector imagery, including path graphs, a knife tool, multiple fills and blending modes, and a powerful text engine.
It gives you the option of exporting your design as a PDF, SVG, or bitmap. If you need to access the files on-the-go, there’s the Gravit cloud service for you!
Vectr is one of the go-to tools if you work in a team and are in a need for collaborating. Like Gravit Designer, Vectr, too works on any operating system you might have, and it also has a web app to run on your browser.
With all the features you can hope for, added with plenty of filters, fonts, and shadows, this tool is versatile enough to help you tackle your day-to-day tasks.
Vectr, known particularly for its collaboration and synchronization options, enables you to connect with anyone in your team, anywhere, to create in tandem.
Available as a web app, SVG-edit helps you quickly output an SVG or edit an existing vector file. Quite frankly, there are only a few editors that do the job just as well as the classic Adobe Illustrator, and SVG-edit does a commendable job.
The standard, albeit basic, toolkit of every vector-based image editor is present here, and despite being limited to the SVG format, SVG-edit’s capabilities are surprisingly endless.
Inkspace is a free graphic design software having excellent SVG integration. Available as a stand-alone desktop app as well as a web application, Inkspace focuses on SVG as its primary file format.
This highly capable editor supports many of the more advanced features that might not be there in other apps – like alpha blending, markers, and cloned objects.
Inkspace provides full support for different color modes, making it a viable alternative to Illustrator for both print as well as web designs. Although the interface might seem simpler than Illustrator, trust us that it is possible to achieve extremely sophisticated design work using Inkspace.
Canva is simply one of the most sophisticated image-editors available out there. There is so much you can do, including editing images, creating color palettes, matching fonts, and more.
Available as both a web app and a mobile app (for iOs and Android), Canva does way more than just “editing images”. It features a dedicated infographic maker with dozens of free designs and fonts at your fingertips.
It’ll be unfair to pass off Canva as merely an image editing tool. This full graphic design suite is simple to use and packed with a variety of useful tools, along with inspiration learning assets.
06. Photo Pos Pro
If your PC runs on Windows and you require a decent set of image editing features without Photoshop’s price tag and complexity, or GIMP’s extensive toolset, Photo Pos Pro will hit your sweet spot. Developed with image editing and enhancement in mind, this tool is perfect for day-to-day photo editing tasks like fixing brightness, contrast, and saturation. But don’t be mistaken, this tool also extends its functionalities to more advanced techniques.
The interface is extremely user-friendly and comes with an in-depth help system to get you up and running. Further, if you wish to expand its toolkit to fit your need, you have plenty of extensions and plugins available.
Working on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS, Krita has been in development since 1999.
Krita is a free and open-source painting tool that has been designed keeping the VFX industry, illustrators, texture artists in mind. It comes with an extensive collection of brushes suitable for all your needs. Further, it supports a whole host of plugins and extensions to help you.
Some of the notable features of Krita include brush stabilizers to smoothen out the edges, a wrap-around mode for creating beautiful textures and patterns, and a pop-up palette for color-picking.
Available as a free graphic design software for Windows, Paint.NET is an excellent alternative to Photoshop.
The focus of this application is on the ease of use, and in all honesty, the usage of this tilts a bit more towards photo editing than artistic creation. Having said that, there is a range of special effects available that allow you to create fake perspective among other things.
Packed with a good range of selection tools, support for layers, and various adjustments, Paint.NET is a decent alternative to Photoshop.
Debuted on Unix-based systems, GIMP is an open-source, free graphic design software. It stands for GNU Image Manipulation program and is today available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
Although its interface is different from that of Photoshop, there is one version of GIMP that mimics PS’s look and feel, making it easier to migrate if you wish to ditch Photoshop. All of the tools that you’re accustomed to are easily reachable, including painting tools, color correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement.
10. SketchUp Free
If you wish to get started in the world of 3D designing, you can’t go wrong with Sketchup, and especially its free version. It provides an extremely friendly and forgiving introduction to build stuff in 3D. You can start by simply drawing lines and figures that can be extended and turned into 3D items.
SketchUp 3D Warehouse’s immense library of models is up there if you need inspiration.
11. Daz Studio
Daz Studio is a 3D figure customization, posing, and animation tool that helps artists of varied skill levels in creating digital art. It is up for download and the basic version is completely free of charge.
Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux OS, Daz Studio helps you create custom 3D characters and avatars and even design virtual environments.
If you’re serious about working on 3D designs but are struggling to afford the required tools, then you’re just in luck!
Blender is a free, open source 3D content creation suite which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux OS. Started back in 2002, Blender is now the largest open-source tool for 3D creation.
It is always a work in progress, with its developers constantly trying to improve the tool. But you can do pretty much anything 3D related on this tool, including modeling, texturing, animation, rendering, and compositing.
13. Google Charts
Google Charts is the perfect infographic generator for your website. Available as a web app, Google Charts offers a variety of charts and options to perfectly match the look and feel of your website.
Vizualize.me shows us what the resumes of future would look like!
Available as a web app, Vizualize.me helps you create visually appealing resumes. With this tool, you can visualize your resume in just one click, and also go through various resume templates for inspiration.
So, if you’re looking to make your resume stand out from the crowd, this option is definitely worth exploring.
Need to create infographics for your website, or for sharing on social media? Infogram is for you!
Available as a web app, this free tool offers access to a number of graphs, charts, and maps. It also has the ability to upload images and videos to create visually appealing infographics.
The data on which the infographics are based can be found in an Excel sheet, which can be easily edited and the changes can be seen in real-time. When you’re satisfied with your infographic, you can publish it on the Infogram website, embed it on your own website, or share it on any social media platform.
Other useful tools
Developed by the brains behind Gravit Design, Klex is an easy-to-use tool for anyone who wishes to create impressive graphics in just a few clicks.
Available on all operating systems and browsers, Klex isn’t for you if you’re are a pro graphic designer, but if you wish to quickly bang out memorable designs. Bundled with a plethora of ready-made templates to pick from, combined with thousands of assets including customization options, fonts, and text assets, Klex helps you quickly do your job.
17. Google Fonts
No list of graphic designing tools is complete without the mention of Google Fonts. Formerly Google Web Fonts project, Google Fonts is an extensive catalog of free and open-source designer web fonts.
It is extremely easy and intuitive to search for a font. Google Font invites users to explore and test fonts in more than 140 languages, and even create their customized collection of font families.
So, there’s that, you little wizard!
A well laid out collection of wands for all the kinds of battles you fight in your day-to-day job. Now it’s your time to explore the tools mentioned in the list and pick some for yourself.
Is your favorite tool missing from the list? Do drop a comment below or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!