Design Made Easy

Free Resources to Fuel Your Inner Designer The life of a creative can usually be linked to just one word: Adobe.

Free Resources to Fuel Your Inner Designer

The life of a creative can usually be linked to just one word: Adobe. Photographers spend their days on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, graphic designers hang out in the “Suite” with InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Motion and video editors can be found in After Effects and Premiere. But what about the rest of the world? With so many programs and their infinite features to master, it can be daunting to try something creative for the first time. But don’t worry! There are programs and resources that can help you get your feet wet before jumping into the Adobe deep end. These programs can scratch your creative itch with minimal investment of time and money.

Alternatives to InDesign


Recommended for Beginners

This is a fun and simple website that can help anyone lay out graphics with ease. The interface is very user-friendly and works well with all levels of experience. Canva has thousands of pre-designed templates that are already sized and spec’d to the format you need. From Instagram story layouts to large format poster prints, all templates are ready for you to customize.

Pricing: The basic program is free. They also offer a Pro version with more features and templates for just $9.95 a month.

Features to Highlight:

  • Access to over 60 million photos and elements
  • One-click resizing tool
  • Create branding kits within your account to keep colors and brand logos together
  • Scheduling feature for social media posts

Affinity Publisher

Recommended for Pro Level

This program is a great option for experienced designers who want to take it to the next level. The interface is similar to InDesign and comes with lots of features to play around with.

Pricing: The program comes with a free trial. Purchase for only $49.

Features to Highlight:

  • Works with InDesign files and raster and vector files
  • 50 tutorials to help you learn
  • Text on a Path tool
  • Master pages
  • Royalty-free stock images
  • Paragraph and font styles

Alternatives to Photoshop


Recommended for Beginners

Great for those looking to edit images and start dabbling with more intricate editing tools. Pixlr takes a lot of the more advanced tools found in Photoshop and simplifies them into a simple button. It gives users the same results without the time it takes to master such skills/tools.

Pricing: This program is completely free to download with no trial period, but does come with the option to upgrade for more features. Premium is $4.90/month and the Creative Pack is $14.99/month.

Features to Highlight:

  • Lasso select tool
  • Custom brushes
  • Magic wand tool
  • Color replace tool


Recommended for Pro Level

At first glance, this program has a similar look and feel to Photoshop. It works with both Windows and Mac and is great for all levels of photo retouching. Out of all the free programs, this one is very versatile and has a lot of features that will make your photos picture-perfect.

Pricing: This program is completely free to download with no trial period.

Features to Highlight:

  • Paint features
  • Custom brushes
  • Editing tools similar to Photoshop including layers, masks, and levels
  • Transformation tools including rotate, scale, flip, scale and shear

Alternatives to Illustrator


Recommended for Beginners

This program is a very stripped down version of Illustrator with just the basic tools to get you through. Since it is so simplified, it can seem more inviting for those just starting out.

Pricing: This program is completely free to use on their website.

Features to Highlight:

  • Shape tools
  • Pathfinders
  • Pen and shape tools
  • Gradients


Recommended for Pro Level

The overall interface is similar to Illustrator and would be a good free option for anyone familiar with Adobe. Advanced features of this program also make it great for people who already have experience specifically with Illustrator.

Pricing: This program is completely free to download and use on your desktop.

Features to Highlight:

  • Drawing tools
  • Shape tools
  • Calligraphy and pen tools