When it comes to website success, see what you get. While compelling text, blog, and social media content can all help set your brand apart from the competition, the visual appeal of your website is the first thing users see when following backlinks or clicking on search engine results.
Recent research has shown that it only takes users 2.6 seconds to focus on a specific area of your website. Additionally, it only takes 0.05 seconds for visitors to get a general first impression of your website. This means that you only have one opportunity to change your mind or reinforce that impression. This happens in the first three seconds after you arrive.
Hence, it is important to create websites that are both aesthetically pleasing and contextual. For larger companies, this often means hiring dedicated graphic designers to come up with eye-catching designs and consistently deliver them to websites. However, SMB budgets may not support this type of spending.
What it takes to have a great design
Advanced graphic design skills take practice, practice, practice. Great designers can take a look at where current visuals are not working on your website and then create visual content options that capture both your brand position and your aesthetic style. But what about website and business owners who can’t afford the skills of a graphic designer? How can you speed up the process of improving the visual appeal of your website?
The first step is a step back. Open your own website in multiple browsers and see what stands out. What do you notice first? Is it a specific image – or a lack of it? Is the image clear and concise and does it drive the action? What about the text formatting, color, and font? The point here is not to analyze the details of the website design more closely, but to put yourself in the shoes of a website visitor.
It’s also a good idea to ask feedback from other coworkers, as well as friends and family. While this is associated with a natural tendency – you want your website to be successful after all – it can help identify persistent or problematic visual elements and suggest an initial course of action.
This article explores some of the best free graphic design software tools that will fit this software into your website strategy and how they can help keep users interested from the moment they arrive.
What is the best free graphic design software?
If you run into a problem with your research – your images aren’t convincing, your text is difficult to read, and your color scheme is eye-opening – you need a simple solution.
Free graphic design software offers the ability to customize the look and feel of your website without breaking the bank. But with a multitude of options on the market, which one will suit your business best?
Two general factors influence this outcome: your current graphic ability and your potential use case. For example, if you are new to graphics tools of any kind, look for a solution that is simple, streamlined, and does most of the work behind the scenes. If you have a graphic background or natural slope, tools with more robust customization and control may be better suited.
If you’re planning on redesigning your entire website with new colors, images, logos, and menus, you need a detailed solution that offers that level of control. If you start small with subtle changes to your color scheme or image quality, this type of granular adjustment is not necessary.
Which software tool is best for your company? Here are five free graphic design tools, along with some pros and cons.
The best free graphic design software for beginners and Mac owners
The best free graphic design software for beginners
DesignWizard is one of the best free graphic design programs for beginners. The tool offers a large database of images as well as a large number of free templates (over 10,000) and a simple, user-friendly interface. You can also quickly create custom templates. However, DesignWizard stands out as a free graphic design tool for beginners.
Despite having a user-friendly interface and no upfront costs, it should be noted that most of the more powerful options in DesignWizard are only available in the paid version.
2. Setka Editor
Setka describes itself as “everything you need to create convertible content”. This graphic design software is primarily focused on providing enhanced content branding on your website, in advertising campaigns, and in social media posts – and works from your current CMS or in the cloud.
The restriction? Although the Setka editor can be tested for free for two weeks, companies must choose a plan – Starter, Pro, or Enterprise – to unlock all of the functionality and continue to use Setka.
Whether you want to create an e-book, infographic, business card, or email header, Canva has a template to make your process easier. Developed by non-designers, the free web design tool has professional, easily customizable templates for just about any design need you can think of.
The disadvantage? You may need to invest in the paid version or try one of the more advanced free graphic design software programs as you educate yourself. While the free version of Canva is great for new designers working with templates, the paid version gives you access to more complex tools and features like team sharing.
4. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is a free alternative to the company’s popular, paid Adobe Illustrator. While not nearly as fully featured, it supports integration with other Adobe products, is easy to use, and comes with a variety of free templates. If you want to quickly create posters or videos for advertising campaigns, Spark is a great choice.
The possible downside? Limited functionality makes this a good starting point for beginners, but less useful for more in-depth projects or experienced designers. However, Spark is available for both the web and mobile, so you can design anywhere, anytime.
Best free graphic design software for Mac
Krita is a free, open source painting program made by artists for artists. The advancement of this tool depends on donations and is determined by the needs of the entire design community. So it’s no wonder that Krita includes a customizable user interface, a feature-rich toolset and a comprehensive resource manager.
For companies looking to increase their impact on graphic design, Krita is a great tool – when they have the help of an experienced designer. For businesses that need simple, streamlined solutions, other software on this list offers a better beginner solution.
Gravit is a vector design application created by the creators of Corel Draw. With a variety of tools for creating vector graphics and a self-adapting user interface, Gravit is one of the best free graphic design software for Mac and Windows – the tool is also available for ChromeOS and Linux.
Worthless? When you sign up for a free trial of Gravit, you automatically get access to the Pro features, including the ability to work offline and view version history. However, you will lose these features when your trial expires unless you are willing to pay for a subscription.
Make a great first impression
The first thing users see when they land on your website has a huge impact on their perception of your brand – and their likelihood of becoming paying customers. The right free graphic design software can help ensure that your website delivers visual value from first impressions to eventual purchases and streamlines the process of ongoing aesthetic customization.