The 14 Best Free Graphic Design Software for Marketers and Beginners

The Growing Importance of Graphic Design for Modern Marketing

In our increasingly visual world, graphic design has become an essential skill for digital marketers. Research shows that people recall 65% of the visual content they see almost three days later, compared to only 10% of written content. Visual content is also 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

As a result, marketers today are creating more visual content than ever before. In fact, 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, and 56% of B2C content creators say that visual content is their most important type of content.

However, many small businesses and marketing teams don‘t have the budget to hire a professional designer or pay for expensive software. The good news is that in recent years, free graphic design software has rapidly evolved to provide a wealth of powerful features previously only available in paid tools. Even with no formal graphic design training, anyone can use these free tools to create high-impact and professional-looking visuals.

To help you take advantage of these tools, we‘ve rounded up the top free graphic design software available in 2024. Whether you‘re looking to create social media images, infographics, logos, digital illustrations or page layouts, you‘ll find the perfect tool for your needs in this list.

The Best Free Graphic Design Software for 2024

Lunacy

Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
Best for: UI and vector design

Lunacy is a free, full-featured vector design application widely used by UI and graphic designers. With capabilities similar to tools like Sketch and Adobe XD, it offers powerful features for UI, icon and illustration design, including a built-in library of UI components, icons, photos and templates.

A unique strength of Lunacy is its support for .sketch files, which allows you to open and edit designs created in the popular macOS app Sketch on Windows or Linux. Built-in version control also makes it easy to collaborate with others and track changes to your designs.

While Lunacy is suitable for more advanced UI and graphic design work, it also offers an intuitive interface that makes it easy for beginners to get started. If you‘re looking for a capable free alternative to more expensive vector design tools, Lunacy is the ideal option.

Canva

Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Best for: Social media graphics, presentations, print designs

Since launching in 2012, Canva has become a go-to graphic design tool for marketers and business owners. It offers thousands of templates for everything from social media images to logos, presentations, posters, brochures, business cards and more. Customizing Canva‘s templates is easy with its intuitive drag and drop design tools.

While much of Canva‘s core features are available for free, some templates, stock photos, and design elements are only accessible with a paid subscription. However, there‘s still a lot you can do with a free Canva account, making it a great starter tool for simple graphic design needs.

The Canva mobile apps for iOS and Android make it easy to create or edit designs on the go from your phone or tablet. You can also collaborate with team members on designs and leave comments – great for when you need feedback or approval on a design.

Gravit Designer

Platforms: Web, macOS, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
Best for: Vector illustration, icon design, detailed graphics

Gravit Designer is a full-featured vector graphic design app that you can use right in your web browser or download to your computer. With a clean, intuitive UI inspired by the popular (but pricey) Sketch app, Gravit makes creating complex vector illustrations, designs, and icons easy.

A major advantage of Gravit is that you can access it from any computer, tablet or phone through a browser. Your work automatically syncs across your devices so you can design on the go. You can also import .sketch files and work with multiple pages and artboards.

While not as well-known as tools like Illustrator, Gravit offers many of the same core vector illustration features for free. There is also a pro version available at an affordable price if you need additional features like unlimited cloud storage, version history, and PDF import/export.

Colorcinch

Platform: Web
Best for: Photo editing, filters, effects

Need to quickly edit photos for your blog, social media or marketing materials? Colorcinch offers an impressive array of photo editing tools completely free in your browser. In addition to essential editing features like cropping, resizing, and adjusting brightness/contrast, you can choose from a huge library of filters, overlays, masks, and effects.

Colorcinch includes handy tools for removing the background of an image, changing or removing colors, retouching faces and adding text. There‘s also an integrated Shutterstock library that allows you to search millions of stock photos to use in your designs.

While not as advanced as Photoshop, Colorcinch offers more than enough features for most basic photo editing needs. Its filters and effects are also great for sprucing up images for social media. Overall, Colorcinch is a convenient free tool for editing and enhancing photos when you don‘t have the budget for paid software.

Krita

Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
Best for: Digital painting/illustration, concept art, comics

Designed by digital artists for digital artists, Krita is the ultimate free graphic design software for digital painting and illustration. It offers an extensive collection of brushes and tools for sketching, painting, and texturing that are comparable to paid programs like Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.

With Krita, you can create custom brushes and take advantage of powerful features like brush stabilizers to help smooth and correct your strokes. It also supports pressure-sensitive graphics tablets, making it easy to vary your strokes based on pressure, tilt, rotation and more.

While Krita is aimed more at artists than designers, it‘s a great free option for creating illustrations, concept art, and comics to use in your content and marketing. Krita also offers built-in vector tools for creating SVG graphics and text.

Blender

Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
Best for: 3D modeling, animation, visual effects

Blender is hands down the most powerful free graphic design tool on this list. A favorite of indie game developers and animators, it‘s a full-fledged open-source 3D creation suite with tools for 3D modeling, sculpting, rendering, motion tracking, and more.

Although Blender is known for having a steep learning curve, it offers everything you need to create photorealistic 3D models, animations, and visual effects. You can even use it for 3D printing and CAD projects.

While most marketers probably won‘t dive into 3D animation and VFX, Blender is an amazing free resource for creating 3D models and realistic product renderings. With a bit of practice and the wealth of free tutorials available online, even beginners can learn to create high-quality 3D graphics in Blender.

Infogram

Platform: Web
Best for: Infographics, charts, data visualization

Need to create compelling infographics and data visualizations? With a library of templates and tools for creating charts, graphs and maps, Infogram makes it easy to create engaging infographics for web or print in a matter of minutes.

Infogram‘s charts and maps are powered by live data, so your infographics can pull data directly from Google Sheets, Dropbox or JSON/XML files and update automatically. You can also download your infographics in high resolution for use in presentations, reports and more.

While not as full-featured as some paid infographic tools, Infogram is an excellent free option for quickly creating professional-looking data visualizations, especially if you‘re not a designer.

Making the Most of Free Graphic Design Software

While free graphic design software has come a long way, getting great results still takes some knowledge and practice. Here are a few tips for making the most of these free tools:

  • Take advantage of templates. Most free graphic design tools include templates for common design needs. Customizing a template can be a quick way to create professional designs without starting from scratch.

  • Utilize online resources and tutorials. If you‘re new to graphic design, there are thousands of free online courses, tutorials, and guides available. Spend some time learning the basics of color, typography, layout, etc. to create more effective and professional-looking designs.

  • Participate in the community. Many free graphic design tools have active online communities where you can get feedback, find resources, and learn new techniques. Don‘t be afraid to share your work and engage with other designers.

  • Know when to upgrade. While free graphic design software can handle a wide range of projects, there may be times you need more advanced features. Keep in mind that many tools offer affordable subscriptions that can expand your capabilities.

The Future of Free Graphic Design Software

As technology continues to advance, we can expect free graphic design software to keep getting more powerful and accessible. One major trend is the rise of AI and machine learning-powered design tools.

Just recently, Artleap released a new generative AI tool that automatically suggests designs and elements based on a text prompt. Adobe has also previewed its "Generative Fill" tool that will allow users to add objects automatically into photos using AI.

In the coming years, we‘ll likely see AI play a bigger role in simplifying and automating parts of the design process, making it easier than ever for non-designers to create stunning visual content. At the same time, cloud-based tools like Canva will continue to add new features that were once limited to traditional desktop software.

With these exciting developments on the horizon, there‘s never been a better time to dive into graphic design, even without a big budget or formal training. By taking advantage of the wealth of free graphic design software available today, you can start creating scroll-stopping visual content that takes your marketing to the next level.