It goes without saying that different graphic designers have different needs depending on the kinds of designs they produce for various sectors. However, not all graphic design software on the market can meet these specific requirements. Or even worse, some of these options can be very expensive. 

Open-source graphic design software is for you if you are a graphic designer wishing to tailor design tools with features, plugins, and add-ons for finer edits, quicker execution, or maximum versatility. Customization enables you to address design issues unique to your projects and the requirements of your team. 

Based on independent software reviews, we’ve chosen three of the best open-source graphic design software programs for small businesses to feature in this article.

What is Open-Source Graphic Design Software?

Open source software (OSS) is software that has its source code made available to the public and licensed under a specified license; it is frequently offered for free. The source code is used by IT application/software programmers to construct a specific software solution, modify it, or increase its capabilities.

The concept of making source code freely accessible came from an informal ideological movement started in 1983 by MIT programmer Richard Stallman. Stallman thought that software should be available to programmers so they may alter it as they pleased in order to comprehend, discover, and enhance it. Stallman started disseminating open-source software under his own GNU Public Licence. As a result of the adoption of this novel strategy and attitude for developing software, the Open Source Initiative was established in 1998.

How Does Open-source Software Work? 

Open-source software is typically published publicly and kept in a public repository. Anyone with access to the repository is welcome to utilize the code on their own or add enhancements to the project’s overall functionality and design.

OSS frequently includes a distribution license. The conditions of this license specify how programmers may use, examine, alter, and, most crucially, distribute the software.


Raster image-based tool GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Programme) gives you the ability to manipulate images to take your creations to the next level. To change an existing image, use cloning, retouching, resizing, or removing undesirable components. You can divide an existing image into layers using the tool’s layer-based editing mechanism, allowing you to alter only certain portions of the image without changing the overall composition. Additionally, you can choose a specific object or portion of an image and just use that selection to add visual effects.

GIMP provides free source code that can be altered in a variety of programming languages, along with open-source libraries.

Important Product Characteristics:

Interface customization: The tool’s user interface can be altered in terms of color scheme, icon design, and widget size. 

Digital photo editing: Change Using the healing tool, clone stamp tool, or patch tool, you can change the image’s colors, combine its backgrounds, or make other minor adjustments.

Animation: Use the animation tool to animate particular items or the entire image. Depending on the needs of the design, you can also change the playback speed and the number of frames per second.

Open source license: A GPL-licensed repository of open SDKs is available for download from GIMP. 

Options for free open-source technical support include email, the community, and FAQs.

What is the right customer base for GIMP?

GIMP can be a good alternative if you’re a graphic designer who is also interested in advanced photo editing or digital painting. To turn static images into dynamic ones, you can utilize complex image editing techniques like image rendering, shadowing, texturing, and animation.


With the help of the vector image-based application Figma, you can collaborate remotely on idea generation or prototype creation with your team. The same template can be used by multiple designers at once, and all changes are instantly stored, minimizing mistakes and redoing. You can add comments to particular design elements to help other team members find and update them. 

You can adapt the software to your company’s needs by using Figma’s open-source libraries and free open-source code.

Interesting Product Characteristics:

  • Centralized system for design Keep track of all your designs in one place, then email or link them to the team members. Team members can access the shared files online or or handheld gadgets. 
  • Version history: As several people make changes to a design, the changes should be automatically saved. If necessary, you can also go back at any point to any of the versions you’ve saved. 
  • Create and distribute design libraries with frequently used icons, buttons, typography, and other design components across the team members.
  • MIT-licensed software development kits (SDKs) are available for download from Figma under an open-source license.
  • Chat and the knowledge base are free choices for open-source technical support.

3. Inkspace 

The vector image-based Inkscape tool is mostly used to produce original technical graphics. These consist of cartoons, charts, flowcharts, fonts, and logos. Objects can be created using the pen tool, added with shapes or text, cloned, and bitmaps can be embedded. The scalable vector graphics (SVG) format, an open standard with broad web adoption, is supported by the vector picture graphics in Inkscape. To create and modify any SVG picture, use a text editor. Additionally, they can be indexed, compressed, and searched.

Important Product Characteristics:

  • Bitmaps can be imported from your device and then embedded into a vector image to create a raster graphic utilizing a box of colors on a grid. Before embedding, bitmaps can also be edited and given filtering. 
  • Move, resize, rotate, skew, and other object manipulation
  • Additionally, you can group items for manipulation as a single entity or align and distribute them along a common axis.
  • Boolean operations: Use keywords like “Union” and “Exclusion” to combine shapes, “Intersect” and “Create Overlapping Shapes,” “Difference” and “Separate” to remove shapes, and “Difference” and “Separate” to create new shapes.
  • Open source license: To change the tool’s source code, Inkscape provides a GPL license. 
  • Free sources for open-source technical support include FAQs, community forums, and instructional films.

Who is the right customer for Inkscape?

Inkscape can be useful for graphic artists seeking a flexible vector image editing tool. To produce unique designs, you can experiment with adaptable drawing tools, manipulation methods, and different file formats.


Using the current source code, you can create a tool with capabilities unique to your company’s requirements if you want to customize graphic design software. You can always upgrade to a premium version of the tool if you wish to use the capabilities provided by the seller, though.

The source code for the majority of open-source graphic design programs is available without charge, thereby making them free. The cost of the software update might vary from $12 to $75 per user, per month, though, depending on features, plugins, templates, and customization. 

Read More

How to Price Your SaaS Product: The Ultimate Guide

Top Project Management Statistics to know in 2023


Shashank is an IT Engineer from IIT Bombay, specializing in writing about technology and Software as a Service (SaaS) for over four years. His articles have been featured on platforms like HuffPost, CoJournal, and various other websites, showcasing his expertise in simplifying complex tech topics and engaging readers with his insightful and accessible writing style. Passionate about innovation, Shashank continues to contribute valuable insights to the tech community through his well-researched and thought-provoking content.