Whether you are a professional designer or just looking for options for your business needs, finding the best free online graphic design software helps you save money and time. A single program may not meet all your needs, so don’t be afraid to combine different options to get just the look you desire.
The average graphic designer rate is around $45 per hour, but you must consider overhead costs. If you’re a newbie, you may make even less. One way to save big bucks is by starting with free online graphic design software and only adding paid options as your revenue warrants.
Small business owners sometimes have to do graphic design work out of necessity. Knowing what complementary options are out there leaves more room in the budget to take out ads and reach new clients.
We’ve taken the time to sort through the best free online graphic design software available and narrowed the choices down to the ones we think will suit almost any purpose.
Canva is a well-known free online graphic design software with time-saving templates and the ability to use their stock images or upload your own. While the software does feature some free photos and illustrations, others cost $1 each.
While it’s free to sign up and use the platform, some of the advanced features cost a monthly fee. However, with a pro or team account, you’ll gain access to images, templates and other features. You’ll find the low monthly fee quickly pays for itself.
Some of the templates you can pull up include logos, social media posts, video, print products and posters. If you have an idea for some type of promotional design, you’ll likely find a few options available. Start with the template and change colors, images and fonts until it matches the tone of your business.
If you wish to upgrade beyond the free options, Canva Pro runs $12.95 per month and gives you access to features such as resizing a design within the platform and transparent backgrounds. They also have an enterprise option for teams. However, you can work around most limitations by utilizing other free online graphic design software options.
As of 2023, Canva now offers some AI adjustments in their photo editing. Change hair color, remove objects from the background and enhance colors.
Do you need to make some basic adjustments to your images but don’t want to invest in Adobe Creative Content Suite? LunaPic is an excellent free option offering a lot of flexibility for beginners and pros.
Upload any image to the website, and you can fix things such as turning a solid background transparent. Think of LunaPic as a free extension for sites such as Canva. For example, you can easily create a logo and then upload the image and set the background to transparent.
Although you’ll spend a bit more time going to a different site and uploading your file, you’ll also save money on monthly membership fees by utilizing multiple free online graphic design software sites. LunaPic does an excellent job with cropping and fixing colors. The results are quite professional.
The software is highly intuitive. You won’t need tutorials to figure out how everything works as the interface guides you through each step.
Are you looking for free online graphic design software for beginners? Design Wizard is easy to learn and use and comes with a free package well-suited for small businesses and beginning freelance designers.
The site offers a visual library and updates daily with graphics, illustrations, photos and videos. All the images are okay for commercial use. Similar to Canva, you may have to pay for some pictures, but some are free.
They offer three levels, with the Basic being the free option. They also offer a Pro plan for $9.99 per month with 60 image downloads and a Business option for $49.99 per month with unlimited downloads. The free version is more of a pay-as-you-go model based only on what you use and is a great way to break into online design.
BeFunky is more of a photo editing free online graphic design software. Some of the things you can do include fixing distortions, adding text and utilizing beautiful templates.
They have a partnership with Pixabay and access to over a million free stock images. In addition, you can create banners, flyers, infographics and more. Another bonus of this particular free online graphic design software is their mobile app. The portability allows you to create promotions on the go and upload them to social media for instant attention boosters.
Some of the free features include cropping, resizing, background remover, touch-ups, transition photo to cartoon and adding or editing text.
You can upgrade to Plus to remove objects from photos, create collages, and edit multiple pictures simultaneously. The basic account is free, and the Plus accounts run $8.99 per month when billed every 30 days, or $5.99 per month if you pay for the year in advance. If you only need the software for a short period of time, you can pay a monthly fee of $11.99.
Do you need to create some infographics to add captivating content to your site and social media pages? Piktochart offers a free package, including templates to get you started.
Some of the formats you can work on in this free online graphic design software site include infographics, posters, presentations, flyers and reports. They even have templates explicitly made for social media graphics. There is a watermark with the free plan, but it simply credits their site.
With their free plan, you can access all their templates and use up to five active visuals and 100MB of storage. If you find you’re creating multiple infographics, their Pro plan runs $14 per month for each member and lets you add unlimited visuals, 100GB of storage in image uploads and the ability to export your images in high definition. You can add up to 25 team members.
Many people who use Adobe Photoshop find they stick with some basic features. Pixlr takes the most common uses and offers them in an online environment perfect for those on a budget.
The site has more than 500 million users, showing how useful the tool is. You can use your internet browser or download the iPhone or Android app. In addition to uploading and editing your photos, you’ll gain access to free fonts, stock images, graphics and fonts.
If you want to save even more time, you can upgrade to their premium features. To remove ads, pay a mere 75 cents a month. Premium brings full access to templates and Pixlr Suite for $4.90 per month. Bring on your team for $9.91 per month. You’ll gain access to some artificial intelligence tools to do the heavy lifting for you, additional overlays, icons and texts. They also regularly add new templates to their premium package.
Figma is an excellent option for those wanting to collaborate with others on complex projects. Some of the companies who have their teams utilize Figma include Netflix, Spotify and Kimberly-Clark.
The system has an auto layout that keeps you from having to constantly resize elements. Whether you’re creating a responsive design or something for print, you’ll save time and be more productive with this tool. Another handy features is the ability to create a style guide so every design is consistent. You can set up color palettes or padding so everything scales perfectly.
One nice addition to this particular graphic editing tool is the ability to create vectors right in the design. Tap into the power of FigJam and your team can utilize a digital whiteboard to brainstorm solutions.
The free version gives you three Figma and three FigJam files but you can add as many collaborators as you’d like. The free option might be plenty for a freelancer just getting started and wanting a way to collaborate with clients. Figma Professional runs $12 per month per editor when billed annually. You’ll gain unlimited files, team libraries, prototyping and developer mode. They also offer team and enterprise solutions.
If you’re looking for an online drawing tool that lets you draw from a pad to the computer, Inkscape offers a lot of rich features. One of the most useful aspects of the software is the thriving community of users and developers. If something isn’t working, ask a question and you’ll usually get an answer.
Some fo the features include the ability to create objects with a pencil or pen tool. You can also start with a basic shape, create text, embed bitmaps or clone patterns and arrangements. For already created items, you can change the scale, height or work within layers to personalize the graphics.
Inkscape offers the ability to change color, texture and dimension. The developers are also experimenting with AI and how best to utilize it in designs.
One big advantage to the software is the learning resources. You’ll gain access to videos, tutorial and how-to articles. The software is free to use. You can donate to the developers if you find the program useful.
If you don’t want to spend money on PhotoShop, Krita might be a good option for you. Completely free to use, it runs on a donation model much like Inkscape. The Open Source painting program was developed by artists so is functions with the way people create.
A PhotoShop-like interface. If you can use Adobe or GIMP, you’ll pick up this one quickly. Customize the layout to suit your needs. The program comes with dark and light color themes.Some of the features include
Krita comes with a variety of brushes, and vectors. You can customize your brushes, wrap around to create seamless textures and grab brushes and textures from other artists to import into the program.
Open PSD files directly in the program, making it easy to share with other creators. Download and use for free. Because it is open source, support may be a little slow but you’ll find tutorials and forum advice to other artists help you along the way.
More Best Free Online Graphic Design Software
The options listed above meet the needs of most small business owners and beginner graphic designers. If you find you need additional tools outside the scope of what these offer, there are many other free online tools out there. Try different ones and stick with the selections working best for you and your needs.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.