There’s no better school to turn you into a graphic designer than practice. It is a true wonder how much technology has evolved in recent years. With just a decent computer and a graphic tablet, you can create exquisite imagery that takes the form of illustrations, logos, fonts, prints, mockups, and even web design.
The Internet has responded to such a bloom of visual concepts with a wide array of design programs. Let’s see to which five tools you should really pay attention to practice your graphic design skills.
Best Free Tools to Turn You into a Graphic Designer
1. Adobe Illustrator CS2
Adobe Illustrator CS2 is a free product that manipulates any shape and form in such a way, that everybody can become a graphic designer. It is foremost a tool that most professionals so if you are in for a top-notch performance with free resources this is the place to start. This tool has enough options to make anyone with few drawing skills a graphic designer.
For example, the simplest field in graphic design is represented by logos. You do not require special abilities, just a strong grip on key concepts, such as color science or visual notions. Most of the popular logos use simplicity in the foreground, but the messages that hide behind these simple illustrations are powerful. For example, Channel expresses through its logo the irresistible chic factor that the details offer to a simple outfit. Other examples are Adidas and it’s three lines that express speed and performance, Apple and the forbidden fruit of knowledge, IBM and its white stripes of equality, and Volkswagen and its car for the people.
What Adobe CS2 does is manipulating paths, anchor points, and fills. The paths are the lines that together form an illustration. They can be closed, as in circles, triangles or stars, or open, which means that their starting point is not the same with their ending. Anchor points are the elements that order the direction, angles, and flexion of any path while the fills function is in charge with the texture and color of the illustration. Together, these three features cover all the possibilities that graphic designers possess in their creative process.
Once you download this tool, you will have an interface where you can control each aspect of your design. You will be given tons of options that you can activate from the Options Bar located on the upper side of the program, Toolbar on the left side, and Pallets on the right side. You can get started with this program by learning the Illustrator keyboard shortcuts and their utility. Once you get familiar with the tons of options you can use here, you will be able to understand how to combine them together to create awesome designs.
However, Adobe suite for graphic designers can be quite exceptionally hard to get the hang of it. So, the following four tools can also turn you into a graphic designer overnight, without the need to learn complex basics beforehand.
Need some visual content for your social media profiles or business presentation? Canva is in for the rescue. This powerful free tool has ditched all the complications from your designing experience. Once you find yourself on its interface, you will no longer find lost, but you will intuitively understand the utility for each feature you see. The design software works mostly with drag and drop actions, while the filling can be manipulated with just a click on the design you want to change.
After you create your account, this online program will greet you with around 50 presets that you might need in different fields, such as social media posts, documents, blogging, eBooks, marketing events, and ads. Once you select the preset you are interested in, you will find yourself in front of their user-friendly interface. From here, you can select the layouts you want and add them some changes regarding the visual elements like icons, shapes, lines, frames, add badges with text where you can write whatever you want, and change the background color or picture.
The online tool will offer the majority of its elements in exchange for a dollar, but you can easily bypass this offer with the free designs, or you can upload your own graphics. Once you finish your illustration, you can download on your computer and immediately use it in your projects.
Besides the presets that will greatly help you become a professional graphic designer with no fuss, Canva is also putting comprehensive tutorials at your disposal for free. You can learn how to choose your colors or how to use all Canva tools within minutes.
3. Sumo Paint
Sumo Paint is a powerful design tool that operates right within your browser. It is entirely free, so it encompasses other programs of this type in usability for restrictive budgets. Even though you don’t need to install anything on your computer, its features are pretty advanced which allows you to create any designs you want.
You can edit your own photos to look futuristic and worthy of a glossy magazine, or you can create a graphic from scratch. This free program is equipped with all kinds of tools for layering. Without this feature, your designs can’t achieve the edgy look of a professional composition. You can drag the layers above or below to create the right blending and mixing of colors and lines. The visual content can be finished with lots of extra options that cover large palettes of colors, filters, paint brushes, and so on.
4. Color Wheel
A professional graphic designer will be able to name any color by its codex. If the extent of your knowledge of graphic design goes not far from the #000000 and #ffffff where it also stops, you should entrust your visual content to Color Wheel before making it public.
This free tool brought by Adobe CC finds you the perfect color match to build your themes with. There’s a lot of psychology and technicalities behind the science of colors. However, if you use Color Wheel, you can allocate learning these notions during your time for hobbies and instead become a true graphic designer overnight.
If you have a main color that you want to use, simply type the HEX code of it in the lower part of this tool, and the program will deliver you four adjacent colors that you can safely build your theme around. There are six rules on which the Color Wheel decides its visual mixture and these are analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, and shades. After you play a while with this tool, you will naturally understand the core basics behind color science, and you’ll be able to break from it and create the perfect themes on your own.
Even if you don’t know a thing about infographics, you can still create some exquisite ones thanks to Easel.ly. Displaying information in a compelling visual way will grasp the attention more effectively than an online article due to our brains that record images better than memories of sentences.
This free tool makes it easy to structure your theme in a logical and beautiful way. As in the case with the Canva program, you can select from what seems to be an infinite number of infographic presets. Once you click with your ideal illustration, you will be redirected to the actual interface. Here, you can alter the design with all kinds of charts backgrounds, shapes, text, and you can even insert YouTube or upload your own images. There will always be some auxiliary lines whose input will help you find the right place for each of your elements.
So, these are the five free tools that are powerful enough to turn you into a graphic designer. Their intuitive features that respect the rules of this kind of visual art will guide you to make the right decisions.
Author bio: Samuel Caverly is a freelance graphic designer. He always tries to nurture his creativity and to learn from the best. He is a contributor to Logo Realm, where he writes about logo history.