10 Free Professional Design Tools

June 19, 2013

With the release of Creative Cloud, it’s become evident that Adobe has bent its ear to designers who want more affordable options for their design tools. Though, ultimately, Adobe will likely make more per user from its $50 cloud access, the monthly fee is still a far easier pill to swallow for many graphic designers as opposed to coughing up several thousand dollars with each new release. Still, Adobe isn’t the only player in the market, and you can get some killer professional design tools for the best possible price: free. Here are 10 free professional design tools you can start using today.

1.  0 to 255

Trying to find the perfect shade of blue for your design? Try 0 to 255, which lets you pick a color and view every shade on the hex scale, side-by-side. It’s a great way to find just the right hue for your design. #1a71ee on 0to255 - Google Chrome_2013-06-05_10-23-41  

2.  Blender

This popular free tool is perfect for modeling, animation and rendering. Craft new video game characters, 3-D models or even animations that rival Flash with Blender. 1a409f7bf2  

3.  Iconizer

More than a simple icon search engine, Iconizer helps you find icons, then lets you customize their colors, sizes and other attributes before you download them. Iconizer.net arrow free icons - Google Chrome_2013-06-05_10-28-12  

4.  Gimpshop

If you love Photoshop but don’t want to pay for it, Gimpshop is the next best thing. It is a transformation of the popular open source GIMP into a Photoshop-like interface, so you can quickly and easily find the tools you need to make image editing a snap. Free Photoshop Alternative Download Gimpshop - Free Photo Editing Software - G_2013-06-05_10-29-38-Optimized  

5.  Inkscape

This free vector editing program rivals Adobe Illustrator in function, and is 100% free to download and use. If you’re into vector graphics and you’re on a budget, Inkscape is the way to go. inkscape-0.48-moonlight-views  

6.  CSS Typeset

I love this handy tool for transforming your graphic designs into custom-coded CSS. Type anything you want in the box, then use the tools to adjust your font, size, colors, word spacing, kerning and line height. The tools automatically generates real-time CSS you can copy and paste to add your styled text to your design. CSS Type Set - Google Chrome_2013-06-05_10-34-01  

7.  Scribus

If you’ve used InDesign or QuarkXPress for publication layout, you can get the same functionality free from Scribus. Scribus-screen  

8.  Fontstruct

Want to create your own custom fonts for logos and other purposes? Fontstruct provides a free platform in which you can craft striking new custom fonts, share your fonts and download them for use in your favorite design tools. FontStruct Build, Share, Download Fonts - Google Chrome_2013-06-05_10-37-17  

9.  Colord

If you’re seeking inspiration for new, imaginative color palettes, Colord is the perfect place to find it. A unique layout and palette themes work to keep you enthused about the world of color and how you can incorporate it into design. Discover — Art & Design Inspiration at ColRD.com - Google Chrome_2013-06-05_10-38-58-Optimized  

10.  Niice

The inspiration search engine, enter some text and Niice searches for design inspiration across several networks to deliver many different results. Use it to recharge your creative spirit and give your own designs refreshing makeovers. Niice. A search engine with taste. - Google Chrome_2013-06-05_10-40-33-Optimized   What’s your favorite free design tool? Let us know in the comments!

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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