The best free Graphic design software is a highly debated subject with varying opinions. The following is a brief part of my history and also some background on what I use to do what I love.
Years ago I was tasked with starting a t-shirt and promotional gift printing business. Part of my active duties included the designs that were to be printed on all the merchandise. Having had very little experience with design software I started downloading trial after trial and spending endless hours experimenting with different packages. I had initially envisioned using Adobe Corel Draw, as that was what everyone seemed to be using. I had one big problem though. A budget of zero. Being part of a small start-up, most of initial capital was spent on printing equipment and supplies. I insisted on pushing through with Corel as I found it very user friendly. But I soon found myself with an expired application that I could no longer open.
This put my in a terrible position where I could no longer perform one of my only functions. I was forced into some not so nice free graphic design software. Again I started experimenting with everything I could find. At the end there was one clear winner, a tool called Inkscape. It seemed a bit rough around the edges but I soon fell in love with it’s power and it’s seemingly endless features. There were many irritations back then, but as each release came out they became less and everything seemed to fall in place.
I am dedicating this page to the guys who made this graphic design software possible with their countless hours of unpaid sacrifice. You guys are a blessing to millions like me.
Graphic Design Software (My Options)
Inkscape is a vector graphics editor with it’s main format being SVG (Scallable Vector Graphics). Vector graphics means that the file contains details of each of the objects on the graphics. This means that the editor or whatever you use to display or print this file with can scale this up to any size imaginable without loss of quality. This is a great benefit over raster graphics (JPEG, PNG, etc.) that you will quickly notice detail being lost when you try to zoom in.
At the time of this writing, the latest stable release is 1.0.1. The previous release (1.0.0) was a major release bringing many new features, but unfortunately also came with a lot of bugs and a lot of crashes. I saw many complaints on their Facebook group and to be honest I had just about given up on my issues being resolved when the 1.0.1 version came out. I am happy to report that I have not had a single crash since installing the new version.
There are tons of great Inkscape resources, but I have found the below to be a great starting point.
Best place is to get it from the Inkscape website. Just head on over to https://inkscape.org. No need to register, just click on Download Now and choose your operating system.
YouTube Channel – Logos by Nick
Intermediate / Advanced tutorials:
Great place to get help if you get stuck (especially with technical difficulties).
Inkscape Facebook Group
A great place for help, but also a wonderful place to get ideas and inspiration. Some of the people on there are ridiculously good at what they do and I often find myself amazed at what is posted there. There are also a lot of content creators on there posting their YouTube tutorials, so make sure to check it out.
I welcome feedback on my work, or even my blog posts. You can contact me via the contact section at https://tgrafix.co.za/contact-us/, or send me a message from my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tgrafixdesign.