Choosing the right graphic design software can be difficult for beginners. Many software products require purchase or subscription that are not cheap. If you just started a career in graphic design, you can make use of cheaper products that do the job well while you are honing your skills (and portfolio).
Here are some nice recommendations for cost-effective design software.
Inkscape is free, open-source software you can use to create scalable vector graphics. The tool is easy to navigate, and you can quickly learn it as you slowly improve basic design skills. Even as a simple tool, Inkscape still allows you to combine multiple elements, create several color gradients, and insert texts without frames.
Inkscape is a great tool to design graphics, logos, and illustrations easily. However, since it is free, you could expect some errors and slow processing.
Affinity Designer is a cheaper alternative to Adobe Illustrator. This graphic design software is perfect for making vector and pixel arts, but with easier features than Illustrator. It offers a wide range of colors, good accuracy in object measurements, and smooth design experiences. Affinity Designer also offers a clean interface for easy navigation. Both the desktop and mobile app versions are also quite powerful.
Affinity Designer obviously does not have all the tools Illustrator offers. However, you can use it as a beginner tool with decent features. You can also practice before using Illustrator when your skill is improved.
If Photoshop is still too expensive for you right now, GIMP can be a good alternative. This photo editor tool offers various professional features to edit and fine-tune photos. You can also create sketches using multiple tools, like airbrush, pencil, and cloning. You also get options for single-window and modular viewing, allowing flexibility when working.
While GIMP is way cheaper and does not burden your device, Apple users might find some difficulties with the interface. Also, updates tend to be a bit slow.
Krita is a great graphic design tool if you create digital paintings and illustrations. Its features are easy to learn, and beginners can use them to get used to designing software. Despite being a free, open-source tool, Krita offers decent features, including advanced brush tools. You can also use it to create 2D animation art concepts or designs with patterns.
Krita is great tool beginners, and experts can use. The simple features help you improve your skill. Krita also has decent photo editing features to support your design works.
Canva offers a lot of useful tools even if you stick with its free version. Canva is great for quick works such as adding effects, frames, filters, and texts. The free version also gives you a photo collage maker, color palette, infographic maker, and other useful tools. If you choose the pro version, you can use Canva for commercial works such as making brands and logos using its available pro templates.
Autodesk Maya is great design software for 3D works. While it has paid version, you can use it for free if you are an educator or a student. Autodesk Maya offers quite a lot of advanced tools with simple navigation and UI. However, beginners may need some extra time to learn about its more detailed features.
Vectr allows you to do collaborative work, complete with various synchronization options. The features are easy to learn, and it has standard vector tools like shadows, fillers, and fonts. There are also tutorials to help beginners ease themselves into graphic designer tools.
Another great Photoshop alternative, Affinity Photo, allows you to access standard image editing tools without a subscription. It also has quite advanced painting tools. Importing and exporting PSD files is also easy. Affinity Photo can be a great beginner tool before you use something more advanced like Photoshop.
Graphic designers who specialize in web, UX, and UI can use Sketch for low-cost software. Sketch not only provides great control on mobile and desktop versions but also allows you to collaborate through a cloud system. You can export any layer as a PNG file and use the autosave version in every step to save you from worries. Sketch requires a yearly subscription, but it is cheaper than other popular graphic design tools.
Cost-effective graphic design software is great for saving money and easing yourself into design tool features. Download these tools to start your career path as a graphic designer.