Free Design Software for Your Education and Development
Graphic Design Software
The standards in the graphic design and publishing industries are Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark, InDesign, PageMaker, and Dreamweaver. These software tools are essential for many designers, artists, illustrators, and media professionals in producing content.
A quick tally of the cost of all these programs is staggering if you are on a limited budget. If you are a student or individual thinking about attending a graphic design college, you may want to experience some of these programs to see if you have the ability and talent to use the software. But then, the factor of high cost comes in once again.
For students or perspective students investigating a career in graphic design or media, there is a free and legal alternative in using free design software. These programs can allow you to experience and get familiar with the process of using applications that are similar in nature to the "big guns" of design programs.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free image authoring and photo retouching software program very similar to Photoshop in features and operation.
It supports the operating systems XP, Vista, Mac OS X, and Linux. GIMP has an active community which helps to improve the program through plugins and add-ons. GIMP is free of charge and is supported by donations from its users.
INKSCAPE is an "Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format," according to the description found on Inkscape's website.
Inkscape is a full featured editor that supports markers, clones, alpha bending, and other operations that allow for advanced graphics manipulation.
NVU pronounced "N-View" is a web authoring system that is similar in nature to FrontPage and Dreamweaver. It allows you to edit HTML pages.
NVU has a number of extensions and is community supported in its development. The developers of NVU say that creating web pages with their software is as easy as using a word processor.
SCRIBUS is an impressive professional desktop publishing program that is similar to PageMaker. It supports CMYK color, ICC color management, color separations, Spot Colors and PDF authoring.
Help Support the Developers and Their Work
These programs are freely available for download and are free of charge.
The quality of these applications is astonishing once you realize that the efforts behind these design programs have been fueled with voluntary time, resources, and research.
Donations to the developers of these applications will help them to continue to expand and improve their products. Don't forget to show your appreciation by sending in your donation.
You may not be able to afford to buy the big name software design programs, but the ones listed here are pretty close to the mark. As you prepare to go to the graphic design school of your choice, these free applications may help you to understand the basics of software design tools.