Layout & Design

Layout & Design

When you are working on your latest project, there are many tools that can improve the process to allow your creativity to flow. From simple graphic conversion utilities and image viewers to commercial software packages, our list of Layout & Design software is a good starting place for helping you create a masterpiece. Our primary focus will be on free or low cost software.

Windows

  • Scribus for Window,s is the port of the Linux DTP software of the same name. Highly functional, but with a fairly steep learning curve, Scribus allows you to design at the highest level for the price of free.

  • Creative Docs .NET is a free design programs that allows you to work with rich text and vectors to give you the ability to create documents, manuals, illustrations, flow charts and other graphic rich documents. The program is both simple and powerful. It is at the current time a free program that is constantly under development. As is the case with most freeware, it comes with no warranty.

  • Serif has been churning out great user friendly, low cost alternatives to costly design software for almost 30 years. Pageplus gives users the ability to design everything from flyers to books. When your design is finished it will export it to a print ready PDF file. Serif makes available several free tryouts of their software that are older versions with limited capabilities. They also offer programs for web design, photo editing, and vector graphics, not to mention font and stock art collections.

  • I never cease to be amazed at both the simplicity and complexity of the Irfanview image viewing and editing program. This program has been part of my graphic toolbox since Windows® 95. It is fast, small,and full featured. The truth is that I can do most things that I used to do in Photoshop® in this program. Plugins can be downloaded from the site to extend the capabilities of the program. It easily converts images to black and white and web formats. Free for personal use, licensing is available for commercial use.

  • GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed open source program for such tasks as photo editing, image composition and image authoring. It may be the closest thing to Photoshop® you can get for free!

  • Photoscape is a free editor for images. It has a unique interface that allows you to choose the operation that you wish to perform. I primarily use it to create animated gif banners for web sites. Photoscape allows you to choose a time for each individual frame in the animation.

  • A large download directory of plugins for Adobe® (Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, Acrobat®) and Apple® (Aperture®, AfterEffect®, FinalCut®) plugins. Includes reviews and user ratings.

Mac OS X

  • Art Text from BeLight® is a tool for creating custom logos, icons, headings, and banners. You can modify text and vector shapes, turning them into fancy graphics for your own use and exporting the result in PDF, TIFF, JPEG, GIF or PNG format.

  • FontExplorer X from Linotype® delivers powerful font sorting, font shopping and font discovery capabilities in one easy-to-use font management tool. Best of all, FontExplorer X is free!

  • GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed open source program for such tasks as photo editing, image composition and image authoring. It may be the closest thing to Photoshop® you can get for free!

  • The "Swiss knife" of graphic file conversion utilities, GraphicConverter can import 200 different graphic file types and export 80.

  • iPhoto from Apple® is a photo viewer and editor that allows you to import photos from your digital camera, perform basic enhancements and corrections and easily organize and archive them on your Mac.

  • A large download directory of plugins for Adobe® (Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, Acrobat®) and Apple® (Aperture®, AfterEffect®, FinalCu®) plugins. Includes reviews and user ratings.

  • Snapz Pro X is a shareware screen capture utility offering a multitude of options and rock-solid performance. You can save captures in a number of popular file formats, such as PNG, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, and PSD. It may be the best screen-capture utility for Mac OS X.

Linux

  • GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed open source program for such tasks as photo editing, image composition and image authoring. It may be the closest thing to Photoshop® you can get for free!

  • gPhoto lets you take a photo from any digital camera and load it onto your computer and then print it, e-mail it, put it on your website, save it to your storage media in popular graphics formats or just simply view it on your monitor.

  • Hamster Font Manager™ (HFM) is a font manager for Linux systems. With it you can control the availability of fonts in all of the supported applications from a central place. Included modules support X-Window, Ghostscript and TeX, as well as PostScript® fonts.

  • Jahshaka is the world's first open source real-time editing and effects application. It takes advantage of the power of OpenGL and OpenML to give its users exceptional levels of performance. It currently supports Linux and Mac OS X. Jahshaka is licensed to the public under the GNU GPL agreement.

  • RenderPark is a photo-realistic rendering tool developed at the Computer Graphics Research Group of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Belgium. The program offers many photo-realistic rendering algorithms, including several state-of-the-art rendering algorithms that are not yet present in other packages, not even in expensive commercial ones.

  • Scribus is an open source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/Unix, Mac OS X and Windows desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user-friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.