Besides Canva: The Free Online Design Tools You Can Use

Most of them have templates, too!

graphic design tools
PHOTO Screenshots from Canva, Crello, Photopea ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Graphic design is an indispensable skill. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to be a graphic designer. There are times when you wish you had the design chops, especially when it comes to creating visual content such as photo edits, designing backgrounds, layouts, web graphics, presentations, infographics, and other graphical elements.

Luckily, there are tools available for the impromptu graphic designer. While advanced digital tools are at the disposal of professional designers, there are also programs and apps that are available for those who might need to create graphical assets on occasion. We’ve rounded up some free apps that you can use.

Need to come up with cool visuals? Here are graphic design tools that you can use for free:

Canva

graphic design tools
PHOTO BY Screenshot/Canva
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Pricing: Free version available, P299 a month for Pro version

Canva is one of the most well-known graphic design platforms, and its popularity is in its ease of use. Users can sign up for a free account and log in to Canva’s online tools. From the homescreen, there are five major template categories such as social media, personal, business, marketing, and education. There is also a new special template category such as prototypes for making a design mockup for an app’s interface. Under the category grouping are specific templates for creating a proposal, report, YouTube intro, blog graphic, Zoom background, flyer, Facebook covers, videos, and other projects. Once you pick a template, you can further refine it by picking a subcategory.

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Working on the template is as easy as clicking on the separate elements and manipulating them individually by changing the position, shape, color, et cetera. You can also choose to work on a blank template and proceed by adding elements on your own.

Everything on Canva is done online—there is no separate app to install and update. The beauty of Canva’s system is you can log in from any device and continue working on your project. The sheer number of templates and projects available means you probably don’t have to start from scratch. It is also easy to share a finished project or a work in progress if you are working on a collaborative project such as a presentation or brochure. The collaboration can be done simultaneously in real time.

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The free version of Canva offers a lot of features for the price of nothing. It has over 250,000 free templates and over a hundred design types. Bundled with the free version are several thousand free photos and graphic elements. Cloud saving of files is limited to 5GB of storage. For the monthly paid Pro version, up to five users can share the account. In addition, there’s millions of stock photos, videos, and images available plus more than half a million templates. The Pro account also comes with a brand kit creator and 100GB of storage.

GIMP

graphic design tools
PHOTO BY The GIMP Team, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Pricing: Free via open-source license

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program started out in the mid-'90s as a free, open-source alternative to commercial photo editing and image manipulation. While it may not be at par with the latest version of paid photo-editing software in the market, GIMP is packed with advanced features for photo retouching, image manipulation, digital painting, creating graphic design elements, and animation.

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The interface may look familiar to those who’ve already used other image editing software. The GIMP workspace consists of the image window or work area, the toolbox, and the dock. The toolbox contains all tools such as brushes and selection tools while the dock has the layers and channels tab which can be customized further. If all these sound unfamiliar, there are extensive tutorials on the GIMP site as well as from other online resources.

Using layers and extensive collection of brushes and full painting tools, it can be easy to retouch, manipulate or even create an image from scratch. GIMP can open most file images including RAW and PSD files from software like Adobe Photoshop. It’s also easy to add more features to GIMP by adding new plug-ins and extensions.

Photopea

graphic design tools
PHOTO BY Screenshot/Photopea

Pricing: Free version available; U.S. $9 (roughly P450) a month for the Premium version

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Photopea is an online photo-editing software similar to Adobe Photoshop but without the hassle of installation. Using Photopea is as easy as logging on the software’s website. From the opening screen, users can jump right away to using Photopea for various tasks such as photo editing, image enhancement, and digital illustration. The software’s workspace is easy to navigate: The middle area is the image workspace with the tools on the left side and layers, channels, and history tabs on the right. Although you can use Photopea without signing in, there’s also an option to create a user account.

You can immediately work on a blank document right away or choose from over 400 templates which cover various print, mobile, web, and social media projects. The projects can be saved as compatible files that’s also editable by other software. There’s no online save for the free version so the file is stored in your computer. The file can be opened again once the user is logged to Photopea.

In the free version of Photopea, ads are displayed on the right side of the work space. The History tab is limited to 30 steps. The Premium version does not have ads and can go as far as 60 steps in the History tab.

Crello

graphic design tools
PHOTO BY Screenshot/Crello
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Pricing: Free version available; U.S. $9.99 (roughly P500) a month for Pro version

Crello is another option for an online graphic-design platform. It has a strong focus on creating video content for popular social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Crello’s starting page makes it easy for anyone to instantly create content with its wide selection of templates for print and digital content. The large template thumbnails makes it easy to browse through over Crello’s more than 50,000 static and animated graphic design templates. Users also have access to Crello’s massive stock photo and video library. The online app is definitely made for non-professionals and beginners with its focus on its ease-of-use with a simplified graphical interface. A selected template is broken down into the content elements such as the text, background, video, music, et cetera, while helpful pop-up tooltips guide the user in editing the various elements.

The free version allows for five project design downloads per month and access to the available free templates. The Pro version gives the user unlimited design downloads with the addition of team collaboration for up to 10 members. Background removal tool is also unlocked for Pro users along with the Brand Kit creation tool if you're using it to create branding materials or reuse existing design assets.

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