70 Awesome Open Source Tools for Graphic Designers

No longer limited to freehand logos, graphic design is a booming field. From website design, to publications, presentations, and much more, graphic designers are in demand in just about every field imaginable.

With so much demand, graphic designers can get caught up on the supply end. Don’t lose out on an opportunity or job because you aren’t equipped to handle it Use the below 70 awesome open source tools for graphic designers to get a leg up, expand your resume, and much more. Best of all, the price to put all of them to use is completely free.

Awesome Open Source Tools for Graphic Designers

Check out these sites, downloads, and more for the best in free tools for graphic designers.

    1. Flockdraw : Get one of the most seamless real time drawing collaborative tools ever by clicking here. Visit the site, grab a tool, pick a color, draw, and share with one site. Enter a nickname to begin, or sign in with your Twitter account.

    2. Paint.net : This is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plug-ins.

    3.  Blender : Use this open source graphic design tool to create impressive 3D works. It can model, shade, animate, render, and more. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

    4. Screen Toaster : Have a trip through the internet that needs to be recorded? Then use this open source tool to capture screencasts to share or stream with a snap. Simply sign up to begin.

    5. ComparePSD : Have a Photoshop project that needs fixing but it has too many layers to imagine? Then get this open source tool to make sense of it all. Compare two projects side by side and get highlights of the difference.

    6. Myna : If your graphic design work includes audio, this is a must have open source tool. It can remix music tracks and audio clips. You can even apply sound effects and record your own voice or instruments.

    7. Boxee : Watch all of your graphic design media from one place with the help of this open source tool. It can manage videos, music, and even clips. There is also a sharing feature with more.

    8. ImgBurn : Once you have that project completed, use this tool to burn it into a CD, DVD, or even HD/DVD. It has several modes including read, write, build, and more. An excellent choice for graphic designers who don’t want to waste money on expensive software.

Awesome Image Open Source Tools for Graphic Designers

Because images are an essential part of graphic design, take a look at the below graphic design tools.

    9. Phoenix : From basic image retouching to complex effects, Phoenix delivers the key features of a desktop image editor with the simplicity and accessibility of a web-based application. With over 70 tutorials, you are sure to have your graphic design issue answered. Aviary also has many other free design tools.

    10. BeFunky : Go beyond the usual photo editing tools to get an amazing image with this graphic design site. It contains over 140 unbelievable effects to make your images unforgettable. Popular ones include impressionist, motion, oil painting, old photo, pop art, cartoon, and many more.

    11. Picnik : A popular choice, this open source tool makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames. Another highlight is that there is nothing to download, nor anything to sign up for.

    12. Shape Collage : Make picture collages in less than a minute with a few clicks of your mouse and this open source tool. Get the download or try the online version. There are also screenshots and more help to inspire your graphics.

    13. Splashup : Love Photoshop but hate the price? Then stop here for a free photo editing tool for graphic designers that looks very similar. Many tools are included, along with the most popular ones. You can also use with Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa. There is also a light version if you need something less complex.

    14. Pixenate : If you need a simple graphic design in a hurry, this is your site. Free tools include many of the usuals such as crop, resize, smooth, and more. You can also instantly upload to Flickr.

    15. Pixlr : This graphic design tool is similar to the above. However, a standout feature of this open source is the ability to edit an image as a url.

Awesome PDF Open Source Tools for Graphic Designers

The PDF is a common file type for just about any professional, including graphic designers. Use these open source tools to help you work with, convert, and more with PDFs.

    16. PDF Xchange : Ditch that boring PDF software that came with your computer for this one. The free version comes with many tools including text insert, custom stamps, and much more. They also have impressive PDF tools to add for only a little bit more..

    17. Foxit Reader : If you need a simple PDF reader with no fussing, this is it. It is small enough to fit onto a mobile device or run cleanly with any PC. There are also paid versions with more.

    18. Sumatra : Similar to the above, this is another lightweight reader. In addition, there are many keyboard shortcuts for those who really value their time.

    19. PDFmyURL : This free, open source graphic tool does exactly what the title promises. Simply paste in the url you would like as a PDF to . Simply paste in your address to get a download of a PDF.

    20. FreeMyPDF : Another open source tool that does what it says, this site will unlock your PDF for the editing. Although it doesn’t work if the file has third party plug-ins, it is still an unbelievable asset for any graphic designer.

    21. Google Docs Viewer : Find a PDF online that you want to view without opening a separate application? Then paste the url here to view it on Google. Also for use with PowerPoint presentations and TIFF files.

    22. Primo PDF : This freeware from CNET converts just about any file type to a PDF, using the print command from the source program the file was created in. It is a popular and highly rated choice.

    23. Preview : Mac users in graphic design will enjoy this PDF reader just for them. Highlights include the ability to work with images and PDF in addition to other editing tools.

    24. Adobe Reader : If familiarity breeds love, get the original PDF reader. Already installed on many computers, you can get version 9 for free. However, with the Pro version weighing in at $299, graphic designers who like open source tools should have another look at the above.

Awesome Website Tools for Graphic Designers

Before you buy another book or piece of software, visit the below for your graphic design needs at a price anyone could love.

    25. Open It Online : This open source tool is an extension for Firefox, Flock, and Internet Explorer that allows graphic designers to open and edit documents from everywhere. Supported files include documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and images.< li>

    26. Google Translator : Is your translation open source tool a cut and paste nightmare? Then Google Translator is the answer. Enter an entire url to translate into dozens of languages. It also features an upload feature and the usual copy and paste option.

    27. Comet Docs : Don’t upload a thing with the help of this one stop open source website. It will let you convert to and from many different types of documents without changing the original. There is even help for those who don’t know what type of document they have.

    28. ZinePal : If your graphic design expertise is in making PDFs or eBooks, stop here for an amazing open source tool. Simply type in your url, select content, and go. Especially useful if printing a blog.

    29. Impress!ve : Because a graphic designer needs more than PowerPoint, check out this open source tool. It creates custom slideshows with features that make it stand out from the rest.

    30. Flowchart : Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a charting software when this one is free. It works instantly with many popular browsers and offers the ability to have several graphic designers work on one project. There is also a blog with many useful tips.

    31. PDF to Word : Have you scanned a file that doesn’t recognize text? No need to slam your forehead into the keyboard before typing the thing over by hand. Use this open source tool to recognize text and save loads of time.

    32. Prezi : Similar to Impress!ve, this open source tool allows you to create presentations. The free version allows you to create, show, and share presentations both on and offline. Be sure and watch the one minute video with much more.

    33. Lovely Charts : Simply sign in to this website to begin using their charting tool. However, it only allows you to send one chart at a time, but you can save and open as many as you like.

    34. Instapaper : Got a graphic design website, blog, or article you’d like to read or save? Then use this open source tool to do just that. Compatible with computer, iPhone, and Kindle.

Awesome Organizational Open Source Tools for Graphic Designers

Organize your graphic design work and more with the help of these free tools.

    35. Picasa : There are loads of open source organizers, so why is this one different? The face recognition comes to mind. If that isn’t enough, Picasa also has loads of free editing tools included.

    36. Reader Library Software : You don’t need a fancy Kindle or expensive software to manage all of your eBooks. Sony provides this freeware that can do it all including read, organize, and shop. For use with the latest versions of OS for both Windows and Mac.

    37. Google Book Downloader : Is there a graphic design book on Google Books that you’re dying to read but can’t right now? Then stop here to download it as a PDF entirely for free.

    38. Mendeley : Are you a graphic designer that needs to cite your work and are looking for an open source tool? Then stop here to get a freeware that academics and researchers use to organize, share, and discover papers.

    39. DivShare : Never fear a computer crash again with this open source tool. It allows you to backup all of your files with online storage. Best of all, it allows you to store an impressive 10GB completely for free.

    40. Dropbox : Similar to the above, this free tool allows you to sync and share your files online. If 2GB is all you need, then this site is for you.

    41. Auto Key : If your love of graphic design is matched by your love of keyboard shortcuts, get this open source tool immediately. It can automate almost anything for both keyboard and mouse. You can even program it to type out abbreviations, exe files, and much more.

    42. Executor : Anyone, including graphic designers, has been lost in the run feature of Windows. With this free tool, you can manage and access many common tasks without having to Google a thing.

    43. Mighty Meeting : Need to organize a presentation with a fellow graphic designer, boss, or client? Then try this open source tool that allows you to manage a library of PowerPoint presentations directly from your smart phone. You can share them via email, blog, Twitter, or Facebook.

    44. Evernote : Trade that mess of sticky notes for a virtual one with this open source tool. It allows you to save a variety of notes, both written and seen on the internet. In addition, you can also access them from any computer or device you use.

Awesome Open Source Downloads for Graphic Designers

Whether software or program, these free downloads can provide all sorts of tools for graphic designers.

    45. GIMP : This open source graphic manipulation package is a must have for designers. It allows you to perform tasks such as interface, photo enhancement, retouching, and more. There are also tutorials to help you out.

    46. Quick Media Converter : Because graphic designers work with and between all sorts of media, an open source tool like this is a must. It can convert tons of media files to and from many popular types such as AVI, FLV, DivX, and even HD. It also works with popular sites such as YouTube, Daily Motion, and more.

    47.Vixy.net : Another popular conversion tool, it works exclusively with the FLV files found on YouTube and similar sites. Try for free online or download the full version. Windows users are recommended to download DivX.

    48. Google Sketchup : Use this open source graphic design tool from Google to create amazing 3D images on your Windows and Mac computer. There are dozens of videos and tutorials to help you get started and a community with more help and sharing. There is also a pro version with much more.

    49. YouTube Downloader : Similar to the above, this open source tool works with the popular site YouTube. Download for free to get starter viewing videos offline. Also useful for converting many popular files from one to the other.

    50. 7-Zip : If you are a graphic designer who works with multiple zip files, this open source tool is for you. It can manage multiple files, works with several file types, and works with Windows.

    51. OpenOffice.org : This is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages.

    52. Notepad++ : Replace your old Windows Notepad for this better version. It includes many features that the old one doesn’t including syntax highlighting, multi-document, and many more.

    53. Sweet Home 3D : Similar to Google Sketchup, this is a free modeling software. It is especially useful for graphic designers who want to draw the indoors.

    54. Bryce : However, if you want to work in the outdoors, try this open source tool. It can help you create landscapes and animations in 3D.

    55. Paint Ribbon : If you have Windows 7 and hate the Paint feature, upgrade to this one. It offers basic drawing capabilities including line, circle, shapes, a variety of fill and stroke color options, and the ability to move drawn shapes.

    56. Desktop T Shirt Creator : Add t-shirts to your graphic design repertoire with this free software. It also lets you print and email your creations.

Awesome Open Source Add-ons for Graphic Designers

Lovers of Firefox and other web browsers can use these tools for graphic design, productivity, and more.

    57. Palette Grabber : Use this open source tool to grab a color from the internet with a simple click. For Firefox, it can be used with Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, Flash, Fireworks, Paint.NET, or OS X.

    58. Read It Later : Use this free plug in to save pages to read on or offline. Works with IE, Firefox, and many others. Also for use with many smart phones.

    59. Xmarks : Keep graphic design bookmarks, and others, organized like never before with this open source tool. Another highlight is its ability to work with passwords. Compatible with Firefox, IE, Safari, and more.

    60. Shareaholic : Share images, graphic designs, and more with the help of this open source tool. Works with many popular sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. Ideal for passing along projects without leaving your browser.

    61. Stylish : Redesign the web itself with this free tool. It lets you easily install themes and skins for Google, Facebook, YouTube, Orkut, and many, many other sites. You can even customize Firefox and other programs themselves.

    62. Web Developer : If web development is part of your graphic design work, get this free add-on for Firefox. It adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.

    63. Autocopy : Don’t bother with the pesky paste and save options. This add-on lets you select the text of your choice and save it to a clipboard.

    64. JobsInsider : If you have a LinkedIn account to help with your graphic design work, get this add-on. With it, you can see connections at hiring companies, request introductions, and can let you open job postings at many popular sites. Use with IE or Firefox.

Awesome Professional Open Source Tools for Graphic Designers

Anyone in addition to graphic designers can use these tools to land that important job or client.

    65. CeeVee : Use this open source tool to create and share a professional looking resume. Options include drop down menus and personalized themes. You can also make the resume public, private, or save as a PDF. Graphic designers can also post to Facebook or Twitter.

    66. Business Card Star : If you are a graphic designer and have no or poorly designed business cards, you are doing more harm than good. But don’t reach into your pocket for a fancy design tool. Instead stop here to get over 100 layouts, tons of colors, and loads more options. Best of all, you can save and send the cards to your printer for free.

    67. Worldlabel.com : Sending out mailers can be a true pain. Make it more inventive and dynamic using your graphic design knowledge and this open source tool. It gives you free, fill-able PDF label templates for U.S. letter size label sheets. Add your own custom image, use TO and FROM, and fill labels in seconds.

    68. TurboNote : Need to make a quick change to your resume, labels, or graphic design project? Then use this open source tool to find and replace text. HTML, XML, and other files are supported.

    69. Job Finder : Use this open source tool to personalize your Google homepage with graphic design gadgets. Categories include freelance, web design, and more.

    70. I Will Teach You To Be Rich : What graphic designer doesn’t want to be rich? Read the first chapter of this best-selling book absolutely free. It is dedicated to optimizing your credit cards.

Whether still in school or have decades of graphic design experience, you can find tons of help on the above 70 awesome open source tools for graphic designers. Be sure to check back to the sites often as updates and improvements are inevitable.