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Starting a business is always hard and no matter what you will at some point more than likely need to do some design work. If you really want to save some pennies then look no further as we have rounded up our top 5 design apps for creating exactly what you need.

There's a surprising amount of incredible free graphic design software out there if you want to use it. Of course, most design professionals will want to have the sort of top-end tools and features found in industry-standard options such as Adobe Creative Cloud. However if you'd rather save the Adobe subscription money for something else, the right combination of the tools we found will enable you to tackle just about any design job, and if you're just starting out in design you'll find that these free tools are often easier to get to grips with than pro packages, so you can polish your skills without having to battle overly-complex software.

Platform: Browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, ChromeOS

Gravit Designer is a full-featured vector design app from the company behind Corel Draw. It's suitable for all sorts of design jobs, from screen, app and icon designs to presentations, illustration and animation.

Platform: Browser, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

Available both as a browser-based web app and as a stand-alone desktop app, Vectr is a free editor for creating 2D vector graphics. With all the vector features you'd expect, plus a wealth of options for using filters, shadows and fonts, it's versatile enough for day-to-day design tasks.

Platform: iOS, Android

Canva offers a great range of templates for any design & even gives you the ability to do custom sized artwork. Canva is also perfect for photo editing, has a colour palette tool, font combination picker, learning resource, and photo collage maker, and it even features a dedicated infographic maker with hundreds of free design elements and fonts at your fingertips.

Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux

It comes with a full set of brushes suitable for all manner of work, and there's a whole host of plugins available, from advanced filters to painting assistants for perspective work.

Platform: Browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS

Made by the people behind Gravit Design, and sharing the same engine, Klex is an easy-to-learn and accessible tool for anyone who wants to create impressive graphics in just a few clicks. While obviously not aimed at pro designers, it's the perfect tool for anyone who wants to quickly bang out memorable designs.


BLEED - When doing your artwork if your image goes right up to the edges there will be 'bleed' required. This basically an extra bit on all sides - normally approx 3mm is enough. It's so when the artwork is trimmed to size the print will go right to the edges easily and will look professional.

CUT MARKS - This shows where the design ends and where it is to be cut.

PANTONE - This specifies the colour. If a particular colour is needed a pantone reference can be given so a colour match can be made.

DIE CUT - If you are having a box custom made or an unusual shape design, a die will be required. This is a one off cost and is basically like a cookie cutter. It's a template of your design in a metal cutter so when applied to paper it will cut the design required.

CREASE MARKS - If you need creases in any of your work of folds this is what this refers to. They are small lines that indicate where they need to be placed.

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