3 Free and Affordable Design Software Alternatives

Creating high-quality marketing materials for both your print and digital needs starts with having some type of design knowledge. Unfortunately, not everyone has the skills they need in order to be able to meet the standards their business requires. 

Subscription-based software programs like Adobe Suite are expensive and can easily run up to $250 to $300 every year. They are also incredibly technical and take a lot of time and education to learn how to navigate some of the more simple options like Adobe Lightroom.

Affordable Alternatives to Adobe Suite

With developers trying to find more affordable ways to beat the competition, there are now several free and inexpensive options for designing vectors, websites, animations, graphics, flyers, posters, or digital banners for social media and advertising. The best part is that many of them are user-friendly and can be easily used, even when you don’t have years of education and experience under your belt.

Despite there being a significant amount of free and inexpensive design software available across the internet, it’s always recommended that you take a deeper look into your business goals and budget. Trying to cut corners to save money may not actually be beneficial for the long run of your business. 

Outsourcing through third-party design and printing companies may be a viable solution for your digital and print designing needs, such as inexpensive real estate postcard templates for your agency or royalty-free images and backing tracks for your local bookstore marketing collateral. 

Your time is just as valuable as a dollar sign. If you find yourself spending more time designing graphics than you are running your business, it might be time to look for an alternative.

However, if you think you’re up for the challenge of designing your own work, here are a few places you can sign up and get started for free or at an affordable starting rate.


Canva is a leader in the DIY design and template generator industry for all print and digital needs. Their gallery of professional templates offers business owners a wide range of options that are suitable for a wide range of industries. Even when you sign up for their free account, you’re getting full access to a large suite of video, photo, graphic, and animated elements for just about anything you might need. 

The best part is that they also offer printing services for various products, including shirts, mugs, stickers, and so much more. There is an option to upgrade your service with them for a cost for access to more collateral. The higher packages are more beneficial if you’re looking to collaborate with a larger team.

AppyPie Design

AppyPie Design is an up-and-comer in the industry but provides incredibly similar templates as Canva. While their array of images and videos is a bit smaller and their templates are not as frequently updated, it’s still a very viable option if you have minimal projects to work on. 

The catch is that the free plan they have available only is good for up to five projects. After that, you’ll have to upgrade to one of their premium plans which still ends up being significantly cheaper than its competitors.


PicMonkey is a free design app that was primarily created for photo editing. Since their creation, they’ve made space to keep up with their competitors. The platform now provides simple video editing, as well as various templates for digital and print marketing collateral. 

PicMonkey offers a free trial but is not technically free once the trial is complete. Their monthly billing plans range from $7.99 to $23.00 per month based upon the size of your company and your project needs.

Other Affordable Design Apps

Here is a list of a few other design software companies you might want to check out as you continue to search for free or affordable design and editing software. However, they don’t quite keep up with the competition of the top three contenders listed before.

  • Vectr
  • Gravit Designer
  • Inkscape
  • GIMP
  • DesignWizard


Whatever your needs are, there will always be free and inexpensive options available. Always consider the alternative of looking into a professional to help you with your design needs. 

But if you’re ready to take on the work yourself, these three are definitely worth a try.

3 Free and Affordable Design Software Alternatives was last updated September 12th, 2022 by Alex Sanders

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