As the creative community and industry continues to grow, more and more design tools are being created to aid in most all aspects of designing graphics and developing webpages. It’s getting hard to keep track of which software is good for certain situations.
Now most of you most likely have your collection of design software that do the job well, but I’d still like to compile my favorite design tools that you can find for free.
Now keep in mind that these are just tools, and tools do not make you a better designer.
UI & Prototyping
Arguably the best tool for prototyping on the block, and for free I might add. This tool was built around collaboration and teamwork, and with the new ‘community’ tab you can engage with the figma community by re-creating featured designs.
What sets this apart is that it’s entirely web-based, but you can still download a Figma client for MacOS and Windows. This means that you access and design from most any web browser on any computer.
02. Adobe XD
Adobe has established itself as the leader in creative software in the industry, and it shows in Adobe XD. It’s very quick and easy to use and does a stellar job at prototyping and UI design. The best part is that it’s like the only piece of software from Adobe that doesn’t require a Creative Cloud subscription.
Note: Adobe will be implementing a ‘pro’ plan within XD in an upcoming April 2020 update, which will take away the following core features of XD from free users:
- Share document links,
- Invite others to XD documents,
- Saving XD files locally to your computer.
03. Invision Studio
Invision has been making designer’s lives easier with it’s collaboration and teamwork-centered feature set. Now they’ve created Invision Studio, local software for designing interfaces much like Adobe XD and Figma. My favorite part about Invision Studio is the dark interface, much easier on the eyes for long design sessions.
What really sets Invision Studio apart is the timeline editor for prototyping. Giving you advanced control over your animations and prototypes.
Because it’s made by Invision, there is seamless integration with the online Invision platform.
My only complaint is the alignment guides are mediocre at best, hoping this gets fixed in a coming update.
04. Invision Freehand
Another great addition to the Invision ecosystem, is the ability to sketch ideas and interfaces on an infinite canvas with collaborators.
Ofcourse you can use any of the above to wireframe, but this is a great way to find ideas and user flows before taking the next step of designing in high-fidelity.
This is a free feature and is accessible from the ‘freehand’ tab of your projects page.
Website builders are typically never a good option for building your website, because looking at it always looks like a massive mountain of unnecessary spaghetti code. Webflow does things differently with functionality that works similar to traditional web development… minus the coding part.
I wish this list was longer, but with the increasingly advanced software being introduced, it’s getting harder to find ways to keep the development well-funded without introducing a pricing system. I’m sure there are many design programs I haven’t included, but I wanted to include what I knew best and could give a strong opinion of.
Again, these are just tools… they won’t make you a better designer, but they will make your life easier as you progress in your creative journey.
Thanks for reading and I hope to continue producing weekly posts for my website, so if you want to see more stay tuned!
For Further Reading on how to hire a great UI designer, check out this awesome article from Toptal: How to Hire a UI Designer