Three Free Tools to Help You Get Started With Graphical Design

If you have been contemplating getting into graphical design work, you should not feel discouraged just because you cannot seem to get your hands on the best tools on the market. Do not let your inexperience or inability to afford top of the line products dissuade you from reaching your goals. There are many free or inexpensive tools on the market that you can get your hands on today. Three  of those tools we are going to talk about today. They are GIMP, Inkscape, and Kuler.

GIMP

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is very comparable to Adobe’s Photoshop program. The best part is that it’s free and open source software. It was originally developed to work on UNIX systems but is now also available on Windows and Macs as well. The great thing about GIMP is that it has a very intuitive workflow and has many collaborators that have helped transform it into the program that it is today. While Photoshop does take user feedback into consideration when developing its software, GIMP’s users actually help to develop the software. Sometimes more is better. The tools and options are very robust, giving users the ability to do some really amazing things.

GIMP Tools
GIMP Tools and Options

Inkscape

Inkscape is another free and opensource program. Inkscape is a vector based graphics editor, just like Adobe’s Illustrator. Just like GIMP, Inkscape is cross platform; working on UNIX, Windows, and Mac operating systems. Also, just like GIMP, if one day you decide to purchase Adobe products, your projects can be ported over very easily. Inkscape follows the W3C Standard Vector Graphics (SVG) format. It too has a very large following, and because of this, it is very easy to find a lot of helpful information and tutorials online.

Inkscape Screenshot
Inkscape Tools and Options

Kuler

Kuler is a free web tool designed by Adobe. Kuler is not a program like GIMP or Inkscape, but is a site dedicated to color schemes. While this is vastly different from the other two programs but is still very handy for graphical designers, or just about anyone interested in art. Kuler is not open source, but it does have a large user base, and users are encouraged to upload their schemes to share with others. When a good scheme is uploaded, users can then rate them and the most popular appear on the front page of the site. There are endless uses for good color schemes from everything from application design, to canvas based art to web design. You are not obligated to create an account, but if you do, you can save or upload your favorite schemes and cast ratings on others. The tools offered by the site are incredible intuitive, and very helpful. If nothing else, this site should be a standard bookmark in your toolbox.

Kuler Screenshot
Kuler Web Interface

So there you have it, three free tools to help you get started on your path to graphical design. If you’re on a budget, or just getting started in that field, I highly recommend you at least download and try these applications.

You can check them out at the following links:

The screenshots from GIMP and Inkscape were found here:

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