Let There be Freeware: Best Blog Design Software

Let There be Freeware: Best Blog Design Software

It is ridiculous how much free image editing software is out there. I suspect that there are still some undiscovered gems and look forward to using them one day but after testing nine programs this week I can confidently say I found two major stand-outs. I tested iPiccy, Picmonkey, Pixlr, Clipping Magic, Canva ,Fotor, Serif Draw Plus Starter, Smooth Draw and Sumo Paint.

The criteria for choosing these programs was heavily based on their number of features, good user interfaces, easy use, professional finish and functionality. They have yet to disappoint me and have even driven me to abandon my ancient Microsoft Photodraw (literally from my childhood and therefore I know it like the back of my hand) which I actually paid money for. The following programs are intended for complimentary use (I usually keep them open in separate tabs when I am working on something) and I don’t find their features to overlap so I feel they make the perfect couple!

Here they are:

Canva (Free Online):

canva_new

Beautifully designed for designing, many people consider Canva to be their go-to place for quick, easy, sleek and professional designs. Canva is not only a 100% free online application but it is also a creative network where you can share your finished products with others to inspire them (or to advertise, actually) on their “Stream” tab.

What I loved:

  • Lots of ready-made professional templates
  • Templates for: E books, blog headers, posters, recipes, infographics, magazine adverts/articles, Menus, flyers and so much more! All fully customizable and free
  • Lots of free clip art
  • Fun, artsy interface
  • Drag and drop editing is very easy to use
  • Save to cloud or desktop

What I didn’t like:

  • The illustrations and pictures are not all free (I’m being very petty here)
  • The library (contains many free shapes, layouts, icons, pictures lines and frames) loads very slowly. I’m sure faster internet connections eliminate this though.

Try Canva online here


Sumo Paint (Affiliate Link) (Free Online):

sumo-paint

A little different from Canvas which relies on templates, Sumo Paint focuses on editing raw images. You can draw new images with many professional brush tools and then turn it all 3D. You can then add textures, bumps and other effects that can result in really high detailed objects. It encompasses basically all the features from Pixlr, iPiccy, Smooth Draw and Clipping Magic and has many other unique features making it the obvious choice among the lot.

Lisa_in_arabic_perspective
I drew “Lisa” in Arabic and used the perspective tiling 3D filter to create a plane effect.

What I loved:

  • Create instant 3D images out of a 2D graphic
  • Picture adjustments such as brightness, saturation etc.
  • Filters that create lighting, perspective tiling, bump maps (think contour maps) and water reflections
  • Kaleidoscope and a symmetry tool to create psychedelic/fractal shapes
  • Draw and paint brushes with many different effects
  • Cropping, inverting and layering
  • Large font library
  • Cloning tool
  • Autoshapes
  • Remove backgrounds from images (clipping)
  • Save to cloud or desktop
  • They develop their Pro version based on your needs (you can rattle them for any features you feel are missing)
Mandalapng
Create beautiful Mandalas easily by using the symmetry tool.

What I didn’t like:

  • The interface is average. My main problem being with the font library: A great update would be to list each font name in its respective font so that finding a suitable font is so much easier.
  • It is not as easy to use or as attractive (interface-wise) as Canva but does everything Canva can not. They sacrifice simplicity for features and I’m okay with that.

Try Sumo Paint online here

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2 thoughts on “Let There be Freeware: Best Blog Design Software

  1. Your post was so eye-opening. I have never entered into that field of wonder, but your post has enticed me to enter and try it out. I would love to be able to create the book cover for my next book. Thank you for the knowledge and the inspiration.

    Like

    1. In a world where graphic design can become so costly, these developers are my personal heroes. Thank you for reading and enjoy designing!

      Like

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