Lots of websites claim to offer free graphic design software. When you read further down the page though, those same sites are often only offering free trials of expensive products. Fortunately, plenty of programs exist that are truly free to use, and perform a range of graphic design functions to a high standard.
Free painting and drawing programs
There are free painting and drawing programs out there to suit most graphic design needs.
If you’re looking for the simplest of drawing tools, try Paint.Net.
For more sophisticated images that use layers, but are still easy to manipulate, try the Draw function of the OpenOffice suite. If you need more power, then the Gimp rivals the mighty Photoshop for features and image manipulation capability.
The downside is that the Gimp is far from intuitive to use.
Try Gimpshop if you want a program with most of the benefits and ease of use of Photoshop, but without the Photoshop price-tag. Creation of graphics
You may be seeking to create graphics that scale to any size without appearing fuzzy (known as "vector graphics").
This is especially important if you want to create something like a business logo.
Fonts and specialist programs
Some programs are better-suited to specific aspects of the graphic design process. Want to create something that looks as if it has been painted? Then you might want to check out Dia. Fonts are an important part of most graphic design.
If you want to use the fonts from your computer, then the general free graphic design programs already mentioned will be sufficient.
However, it’s essential to be sure that you have the right to use a particular font if you want to use the resulting design commercially.
Downloading fonts from a site (whilst still checking the licence carefully) is one way round this.
But creating your own font is also an option.
Whilst it is a free online program and community, Fontstruct enables you to create any kind of font. Final word
Finally, if you want to assemble your graphics for printing in or onto a physical product, from magazines to CD packaging, download Scribus to get the job done with detail and accuracy.