Design and UX October 26, 2020

Share your favorite free alternatives for paid design software

Anh ”Musa” Do @musado

After graduated university and no longer had access to expensive software such as Adobe Suite, I've always on a hunt for free/open-source alternatives that has the necessary features with none to low learning curve. So here are a few of mine:

- Photoshop - Photopea, Canva
- Illustrator - Gimp
- Camtasia - OBS Studio
- Bandicam - ShareX
- Premiere Pro - Davinci Resolve 

I'm still looking for Indesign alternative.

What are your favorite free alternatives for paid design software?

  1. 11

    figma. one project is free, but that's good enough for me.

    1. 2

      I've heard so many good things about Figma. When I checked Figma, they said you can have up to 3 projects in the free plan. There is a software called Akira:

      I've never tried it but it sounds like an interesting free alternative for Sketch/Figma.

      1. 1

        akira and figma aren't the same thing. figma is for scalable vector graphic layout for web apps and mobile. Akira is more like photoshop.

        1. 1

          Interesting. This is the source where I learned about Akira mentioning about Sketch/Figma alternative:

          I never use it so I don't know. If you used it, then I guess you are right.

          1. 1

            oh akira is something different. I think I tried kitara or something.

          2. 1

            Hmm. Yeah I could be wrong. I only installed it and found it difficult so I uninstalled it.

            1. 1

              Yeah, that's a bummer Akira is currently only for Linux users.

                1. 1

                  Then I guess Akira just lost a potential user.

                  Or you can contact Akira, they may help with installation.

                  1. 2

                    yeah i installed it. works well.

  2. 3

    Some free assets with a license allowing commercial and no attribution needed:

    Open Doodles:
    ManyPixels Illustrations Gallery:
    Blush Illustrations + Figma Plugin (have to pay for SVG):
    Feather Icons:

    1. 2

      Great resources you have there, thanks for sharing. I will add unDraw and Open Peeps to the list.

  3. 3

    I use Affinity. It's proprietary software (55€ one-time payment). But it's great alternative to adobe illustrator, adobe photoshop and adobe indesign.

  4. 3

    Big fan of MarvelApp, Whimsical, and Octopus Do

    1. 2

      Whimsical is great for wire-framing!

    2. 1

      Me too, I love Octopus Do. Their website is fun, beautiful and no signup required if you just want to do it quickly. Thanks for sharing @felix12777 @jones_spencera

  5. 2

    Inkscape, Audacity, Google Slides

    1. 1

      Ahhh, I almost forgot about how great is Audacity. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 2

    Checkout Story Creator it's a video editor, I saw you mentioned Premiere Pro. I built this tool making it feel like a design tool, but it's made for video content.

    Let me know what you think.

    1. 2

      Do you have an email address that I can reach? My directory ( have over 500 UX/UI and graphic design resources and it’d be cool add Story Creator to the database.

    2. 1

      Thanks for sharing. I will check it out.

  7. 2

    For Indesign, I've seen Scribus and Lucidpress being recommended. I've tried a quick look at Scribus but went with Inkscape as I switched focus on SVG designs.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing. Scribus and Lucidpress are new to me so I’ll add Many IH members above recommended Affinity Publisher so you can check it out.

  8. 2

    Indesign alternative:
    IconJar alternative: (shameless plug)

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing, I love Norde Source. Do you have a direct email address that I can reach? Norde Source is on my design directory at for a while now and I want to contact the team to ask more information.

      Also, I'll check out Presentator for sure, looks very promising.

  9. 2

    If you want to watermark photos almost everything free.
    If you want a desktop app for bulk resizing and watermarking

    1. 1

      Nice, thanks for sharing. Are you the founder of

      1. 1

        Yes, is my product. Feel free to use it. Once you login most features are free.

        1. 1

          Sounds great. I’m building a design directory at and will add to the database. Do you have an direct email that I can reach you?

          1. 2

            Thank you. my emails:
            [email protected]
            [email protected]
            my main email prakis [at] g

  10. 2

    Figma could be a replacement to Illustrator for simple things

  11. 2

    A good free alternative to illustrator is inkscape.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing. I downloaded Inkscape a while ago but not a fan of its interface so I only used it for a few minute. May give it another chance sometimes.

  12. 2

    Pixlr for picture modifications and Adobe XD

    1. 1

      Great, thank you. I’m making an Insta acc for my Design Directory project - so will test Pixlr out.

      I’m using Lightroom App on mobile, which is completely free and super useful.

  13. 2

    It's not free, but the Affinity suite is extremely fairly priced and is definitely worth the investment! A one-time payment of ~$50 for lifetime access and updates.

    For InDesign, they have Affinity Publisher. It might be exactly what you're looking for.

    1. 1

      Nice, thanks for sharing @ulrichgero @mrmykey @ThomasVanBroekhoven

      Before, I mistook that Affinity charges for subscription so I didn’t check it out. Will do more research on it now

  14. 2

    Origami is pretty cool - it's more of a prototyping software and it works well with Sketch

    1. 1

      Thank you for sharing. It’s my first time hearing about Origami. Will check it out and add to my database at

  15. 2

    Coming form Adobe Photoshop as UI UX designer.
    I'm now using Adobe XD or Figma all days.
    It's not free but you can also try affinity suite.

    1. 2

      Thanks for your suggestion. I used XD and Sketch in school. I checked Affinity out before but it's not free so I'm temporarily happy with Photopea, Canva, or paper and pen.

  16. 1

    I've been using Colorcinch - They've got a nice clean UI.

    1. 2

      I love that Colorcinch requires no sign-up. I just added it to this summarized post on IH here and to the database of Doesign.

      Thanks for sharing!

  17. 1

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