Web Design Editor For Mac

Last Updated 15 December, 2020

How much did you pay for design software last year? $100? Maybe $1,000? And don’t forget about that vendor ecosystem you’re now inextricably tied to.

  1. Website design tools typically help designers bring their vision to life and communicate how a website will look and behave with teammates, clients, and other stakeholders. Most web design tools offer vector-based drawing tools to design the layout and appearance of the website. Some website design tools require designers to use pre-built.
  2. Blocs; when web design and development becomes as easy as pie. This website builder for Mac is a killer software that makes you build pages without the need to touch a single string of code. It all comes down to the fantastic process of visual editing, designing and creating.
  3. The best web design software for Mac RapidWeaver for Mac is a powerful and easy to use web site builder that puts you back in control. Build and publish your own responsive, mobile ready website without having to write a line of code.

Pixlr 2021 design edition. Welcome to Pixlr the Online Photo Editor that lets you edit photos and create great designs right in your browser for Free. Experience next level, intuitive photo editing and graphical design with AI-powered tools for quick yet professional edits. Our editor opens almost any image format such as PSD (Photoshop), PXD.

If you’re getting tired of mounting fees and proprietary systems, then it’s time to try the newest crop of open source design software.

Wait, Free and Open Source Apps for Design?

Yup. Free and Open Source Software (or FOSS for short) has been around a while. But the design world hasn’t always gotten much love. Believe it or not, “Design programs made by volunteer developers” was not an easy sell to folks who value aesthetics and usability.

But now, the game has changed. While prim and polished apps have been busy optimizing their pricing plans, open source has been optimizing value. Open source has been catching up.

These days, free and open source design applications are a great way for new designers to hone their skills with zero overhead. Even seasoned veterans are expanding their knowledge set, and contributing back.

The best part is that open source design programs often work great as stand-alone apps, or alongside existing design stack. Open source software tends to be more platform agnostic. So many times, it’s even available on all major operating systems.

From solo designers to employees, promising new open source alternatives are everywhere. There has been no better time than now to try open source apps in your design workflow.

Article Contents

  • Your Best Bets for Open Source Design Tools
    • The Pencil Project
    • Alva
    • Akira
    • Inkscape
    • GIMP

Your Best Options for Open Source Design Tools

This article picks out your best options for open source digital design apps, selected through first-hand research and experimentation. There’s a little something for everyone. Professionals in UX, UI, digital product design, visual design and web design all have open source alternatives to check out.

Every design application listed here is completely free and open source. In no particular order…

The Pencil Project

Best Uses: UX, Interactive Prototyping

Comparable to: a cross somewhere between Axure, XD, and InVision Studio

Available Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux (Ubuntu & Fedora)

Development for the Pencil Project started in 2015, but slowed around June 2017. Fast-forward to the major release of version 3.1 in Oct 2019 and the Pencil Project is rolling once again. Sure it’s been a little over a year since the last big release, but the Pencil Project is still an amazingly powerful tool for creating interactive prototypes. It comes with libraries (called collections) of built-in components, and lets you import additional libraries from fellow Pencil enthusiasts.

Alva

Best Uses: Web Design, Interactive Prototyping with actual code libraries

Comparable to:Zeplin, Sketch+Sketch2react, InVision DSM+Bit

Available Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux

Alva promises the ability to create living interactive prototypes with actual code components. Basically, you connect a react library to the app and then pull in that library’s components to create designs and add interactions.

Akira

Best Uses: UX, UI, Product Design, Visual Design, Web Design

Comparable to:Sketch

Available Platforms: Linux (sorry mainstreamers)

Currently in active development, Akira is a vector design app specially created for Linux operating systems. It looks to be the open source answer to digital-first vector design programs like Sketch. The GitHub page still sports its ‘early development’ stage warning, but Akira’s developers have made it easier to download the Alpha. You can find Akira on the elementaryOS App Center, FlatHub, the Snapcraft Store, and of course Akira’s official GitHub page.

Inkscape

Best Uses: UI, Visual Design, Graphic Design

Comparable to:Illustrator

Available Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux

Inkscape is a direct free and open source alternative Adobe Illustrator. The short tutorial above should give you a rough idea of what it’s capable of. The key shortcuts take some getting used to, and the interface isn’t quite as polished. But Inkscape is an incredibly powerful tool. And it’s amazing that it’s free. Inkscape can open Illustrator files (.ai) and saves to a cross-platform format (.svg) by default.

GIMP

Best Uses: Photo Editing, UI, Visual Design, Graphic Design

Comparable to: Photoshop

Available Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (aka GIMP) the open source answer to Adobe Photoshop. Like Inkscape, GIMP is a straight replacement for Adobe’s popular photo editor. Most commonly used for editing photos, creating banners and generally working in pixels, this is a great design tool to add to your arsenal.

Free Open Source Design Apps Offer a Promising Alternative

Vendor Lock-In

For professional designers, vendor lock-in is a real problem. With the advent of SaaS and monthly pricing structures, one-time software purchases have become rare. And the file types are often proprietary.

The subscription pricing model hasn’t come without its advantages. For one, the average release frequency of our favorite digital design apps have dramatically increased.

It’s also worth noting that not all modern design tools fall squarely in either the ‘free’ or ‘exhorbianntly expensive’ categories. Some companies have found creative ways to give pricing control to their consumers (in this case, designers) while still making responsible profits. These rare cases like Sketch allow one-time purchases, and offer optional ongoing fees for ongoing support and releases. Others like Figma are growing in popularity using a freemium pricing model.

But this is uncommon. Most vendors offer monthly pricing only, with the option to lower your monthly bill by agreeing to year-long subscriptions. In these cases, it’s common to have a freemium product designed to get you embedded into their ecosystem. Then before you know it, you’re hooked.

By the time you’ve bundled, expanded, and free-trialed yourself into oblivion, you’re stuck with fine-print agreements and sizable cancellation fees.

Design’s Open Source Alternative

Free and open source software offers design professionals a viable alternative. One where we are all users and contributors. And how often do you get to be the target user of your product while you design it?

On a fundamental level, open source appeals to the design mindset: clear communication, cooperation, and innovation. Open source gives us an opportunity to sharpen our skills by working with developers and learning open source models.

The rewards for contributing? You get to use software that not only works the way you need it to, but that you helped build.

Software that helps you do your work better.

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Did I miss something? Did you try one of these design software programs? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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