The Free Design Product Compromise

The Free Design Product Compromise

I have seen a post making the rounds online. The purpose of the post is to help people find free or cost-effective alternatives to the higher priced design and art programs.

The Post In Question

Image from Twitter suggesting free design products to use

It is understandable as to why people don’t want to spend the money on Adobe products especially if you’re beginning your hobby or career. The only issue is things labeled “free” aren’t always free. There are compromises with using a product or service when marketed as free.

A Few Examples


Sites like Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress help people who want to build a site but do not want to have a web developer involved. This is great for people if they do not mind having advertisements on their personal website. However, if you’re looking for a unique domain name or the ability to check analytics you’ll have to pay fees. See examples of the features below.

WordPress Features

Word Press Pricing for personal blog

Word Press Pricing for personal blog

SquareSpace Features

SquareSpace personal and business feature costs

[SquareSpace also has pricing for online stores provided on their website.]

Wix Features

WIX Feature Pricing

Photo Editing + More

Canva and GIMP are free websites that can provide templates and limited photo editing resources. GIMP is a cross-platform image editor that offers tutorials for free. GIMP has come a long way since its starts over 22 years ago.

Out of most free photo editing sites, Canva is the best resource. Canva is always updating the capabilities of the website. I highly encourage people who are looking for a cheaper alternative to Adobe products to use Canva. With Canva you can use templates for logos, flyers, resumes, icons, and much more. These options are even before the business version of the site.


Yes, you should use Google Fonts there isn’t a cost to use them and they are meant to be compatible across multiple platforms. However, sites like Da Font are free, but you have a higher chance of downloading broken fonts. My suggestion is to consider using Font Squirrel, a free font website that will source the origins of a typeface. The main rule with free typefaces is you can use them for projects, but you can’t sell the physical typefaces. If you aren’t sure how to use a font or typeface read the attached terms of service that comes with each download.

Stock Photos

A consistent theme with sites like Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash is the various rules for using photos with models. Reason? There isn’t always a confirmation about model sign-off contracts. My tip: It is easier to avoid showing a person’s face than it is to question if the use is okay.

Main Guidelines for Free Stock Photos

Don’t sell the unedited images for products. [Example: If you want to sell phone wallpapers you can’t just download an image and sell it.]

Don’t claim a model in an image endorses your media, comment, or product. [Example: Claiming a model, in a stock image, loves your hair care line or artwork.]

Don’t depict identifiable people in a negative or libelous manner. [Example: Using a free stock image of a person saying they are a criminal.]


Remember have fun and happy creating!

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