Adobe Creative Suite/Creative Cloud is pretty much the industry standard in design software. However, the cost of these products may be a major barrier to entry for many budding designers. Fortunately you can use various open source software to create your own free creative suite. You will not get all the functionality of Adobe’s flagship products but this collection of programs may be a suitable replacement for the cash strapped designer or proponent of open source.
Gimp (Image Editing) – alternative to Adobe Photoshop
Gimp is a free image editing program with many of the same basic functions of Photoshop and other image editing programs. It allows you to create and edit images and save them in various file formats including Photoshop’s PSD.
Inkscape (llustration) – alternative to Adobe Illustrator
Inkscape allows you to create vector graphics and illustrations that scale well without loss of quality. Utilizing bezier and spiro curves you can create illustrations similar to those you can create in Adobe Illustrator. Inkscape boasts support for a wide range of vector file formats and can export files in raster format as well.
Komodo Edit (website development) – alternative to Dreamweaver
Komodo Edit is a free code editor that is ideal for anyone who is comfortable using the code view of Adobe Dreamweaver. While it does not include the advanced WYSIWYG functionality of Adobe Dreamweaver’s design view, if you only need to edit code it is more than capable. It includes code auto-completion and code highlighting with support for various programming languages.
Scribus (desktop publishing) – alternative to Adobe InDesign
Scribus is a desktop publishing program suitable for formatting documents for printing or digital publication. The program can handle colour separations and can save files as PDF.