Maximizing Benefits of Open Source Design Tools
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. What are Open Source Design Tools?
  2. How to Choose the Right Open Source Design Tool
  3. How to Install and Set Up Open Source Design Tools
  4. How to Use Open Source Design Tools Effectively
  5. How to Maximize the Benefits of Open Source Design Tools
  6. Tips for Solving Common Issues with Open Source Design Tools
  7. How to Contribute to the Open Source Design Community
  8. How Open Source Design Tools Can Boost Your Career

Open source design tools are a game-changer in the world of design, with the potential to revolutionize how you work, play, and create. But how can you make the most of them? How can you navigate the benefits and challenges of open source design tools? Let's walk through it together.

What are Open Source Design Tools?

Open source design tools are software, like graphic design or UI/UX tools, that you can freely use, modify, and distribute. They're built by communities of developers and designers, just like you, who believe in the power of sharing and collaboration. They're like the public libraries of the design world—packed full of resources and open to all.

Here's what makes them unique:

  • Free to use: The first big 'win' with open source design tools is cost-effectiveness. Unlike some high-end design software, these tools won't burn a hole in your pocket. They're free!
  • Customizable: Open source tools are like a blank canvas. You can tweak them, adjust them, and modify them to suit your needs. You're in control!
  • Community-driven: Open source design tools aren't made by a single company but by communities of like-minded people. You get the benefit of a diverse range of ideas and solutions.
  • Transparent: With open source, there are no secrets. You can see the source code, understand how it works, and even make improvements if you want to. It's all about transparency and learning.

However, it's not all smooth sailing. There are also challenges to using these tools. For instance, you might face compatibility issues with other software or find that it lacks certain features. The good news? The community is always there to help and improvements are continuously being made. So, as you can see, the benefits and challenges of open source design tools go hand in hand.

How to Choose the Right Open Source Design Tool

Choosing the perfect open source design tool is a bit like picking the right outfit. It has to suit your style, fit your needs, and make you feel great. The good news is that there's a wide variety to choose from. The challenge? Navigating this ocean of options. But don't worry, we've got you covered.

Here are some steps to help you choose the right tool:

  1. Understand your needs: Before you start browsing through different tools, take a moment to think about what you need. Are you into graphic design, web design, or 3D modeling? Different tools are good at different things. It's important to choose a tool that aligns with your needs.
  2. Research: Once you know what you're looking for, it's time to do some homework. Look for tools that are popular in your area of design. Read reviews, check out their features, and see what other designers are saying about them. Remember, you're not just looking for a tool, but a community you can learn from and contribute to.
  3. Test it out: The best way to know if a tool is right for you is to give it a try. Most open source tools are free to download and use. Play around with it, try out its features, and see how it feels. If it's not a good fit, you can always try another one.
  4. Consider support: One of the challenges of open source design tools is that they can sometimes be tricky to use. That's why it's important to choose a tool with a strong community that can offer support, advice, and updates.

By understanding your needs, doing your research, testing out tools, and considering support, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect open source design tool for you. It's like finding a new best friend in the design world!

How to Install and Set Up Open Source Design Tools

Just found your new design best friend? Great! Now comes the fun part—getting it up and running. Installing and setting up open source design tools might sound like a complex task, but fear not. It's more like setting up a new gadget: a bit tricky at first, but soon you'll be wondering how you lived without it. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Downloading the tool: Head over to the tool's official website and look for the 'download' button. Remember, stick to official websites to avoid any unwanted surprises. Also, make sure to pick the right version for your operating system—whether that's Windows, Mac, or Linux.
  2. Installing the tool: Once you've downloaded the tool, it's time to install it. This usually involves opening the downloaded file and following the prompts. Some tools might ask you to choose between 'standard' and 'custom' installation. If you're not sure, stick with 'standard'. It's the safe option.
  3. Setting up the tool: After installation, you'll usually be prompted to set up the tool. This can involve choosing a theme, setting up shortcuts, or deciding on default settings. Think of it as setting up your working environment. Make it comfortable and convenient for you.
  4. Exploring the tool: Once installed and set up, take some time to explore. Open source tools often come with a wealth of features. It's like moving into a new house—you won't know where everything is right away. So, take some time to familiarize yourself with your new tool.

There you have it: the basics of installing and setting up open source design tools. It might seem daunting at first, but remember, every expert was once a beginner. And with the right tool in hand, you're already on the path to becoming an expert. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and set up your new design companion!

How to Use Open Source Design Tools Effectively

Once you've got your open source design tools installed and set up, you're ready to dive in. But wait—let's not just splash about in the shallow end. Let's swim like a pro! How, you ask? Here are some tips on how to use your new tools effectively:

  1. Understand the tool: Each open source design tool is unique, like a snowflake. Spend some time getting to know your tool. What are its strengths? What features does it offer? Learning more about your tool will help you use it more effectively.
  2. Practice regularly: You know what they say: practice makes perfect. The more you use your tool, the better you'll get at it. So, don't shy away from experimenting and trying out new features. After all, it's by making mistakes that we learn.
  3. Join the community: One of the biggest benefits of open source design tools is the community around them. Join forums, participate in discussions, ask questions. The community is a gold mine of tips, tricks, and advice. You'll learn so much, and you might even make some friends along the way.
  4. Stay updated: Open source tools are constantly evolving, just like the design world itself. Make sure to keep your tool updated to take advantage of new features and improvements. An outdated tool is like a dull pencil—still useful, but not as effective as it could be.

Remember, using an open source design tool effectively is not about knowing all the features or being the fastest. It's about understanding the tool, practicing regularly, staying involved with the community, and keeping your tool updated. With these tips, you'll be swimming in the deep end in no time. Happy designing!

How to Maximize the Benefits of Open Source Design Tools

Alright, so we've dipped our toes in the water, now let's push off the edge and dive into the deep end. How do we make the most of these open source design tools? Here are the key ways:

  1. Exploit the flexibility: Open source design tools are like a gymnast—highly flexible. They can be customized to fit your specific needs. Explore add-ons, plugins, and extensions that can enhance functionality. Tailor the tool to your process, not the other way around.
  2. Improve your skills: Open source tools, with their vast features and complex interfaces, can be a playground for learning. Use the challenges these tools present as an opportunity to improve your technical skills. Remember, every challenge is a chance to grow.
  3. Give back to the community: The open source community thrives on collaboration. If you've developed a cool add-on or found a new way to use the tool, don't keep it to yourself. Share it with the community. The benefits of open source design tools multiply when you give back.
  4. Use it commercially: Many open source design tools allow commercial use. This means you can use the tool in your work, without having to pay a penny. This can be a huge cost saver, especially for small businesses or freelancers.

Remember, the real power of open source design tools lies in their flexibility, the learning opportunities they offer, the community, and their commercial use. By focusing on these aspects, you can truly maximize the benefits of open source design tools. So, dive in and enjoy the swim!

Tips for Solving Common Issues with Open Source Design Tools

Open source design tools are like a box of chocolates: sometimes you get the sweet, creamy caramel, other times you bite into the one filled with mystery goo. It can be quite frustrating. So, how do you navigate these challenges? Here are some handy tips:

  1. Search the forums: Open source tools have a large, helpful community of users. If you're facing an issue, someone else probably has too. A quick search in the community forums can often lead you to a solution. Remember, no problem is too small or silly to ask about.
  2. Play around: Often, the solution to a problem lies in exploring the tool. Try different settings, use different features, push buttons you normally wouldn't. You might just stumble upon the solution.
  3. Read the documentation: Open source design tools usually have detailed documentation. It might not be the most exciting read, but it's packed with useful information. When in doubt, check the manual.
  4. Start from scratch: If all else fails, sometimes the best solution is to start over. Uninstall and reinstall the tool, or create a new project. It might seem drastic, but it often works.

Remember, challenges are part of the journey when it comes to open source design tools. But with these tips, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any bumps in the road. Happy designing!

How to Contribute to the Open Source Design Community

Open source design tools are not just about using something for free. They are part of a community, a collective effort to create something great. And you, yes you, can be a part of this. So, how can you pitch in?

  1. Share your knowledge: Got a cool trick up your sleeve? Found a workaround for a common issue? Share it! Write a blog post, make a video tutorial, or simply post it on the community forum. Your knowledge could be the exact thing someone else is looking for.
  2. Report bugs: If you stumble upon a bug, don't just grumble and work around it. Report it. Your report could help the developers fix the issue and make the tool better for everyone.
  3. Make suggestions: If you think a feature could be better, or you have an idea for a new one, voice it. Open source communities thrive on user feedback and your input can make a real difference.
  4. Donate: If you can, consider making a donation. Many open source projects rely on donations to keep going. Even a small amount can help.

Being part of the open source community means more than just benefiting from the work of others. It means being part of the solution, helping to improve and grow the tools that benefit us all.

How Open Source Design Tools Can Boost Your Career

Open source design tools are more than just handy utilities. They can actually give your career a significant boost. Let's take a look at how:

  1. Learning new skills: Open source tools often come with unique features not found in mainstream tools. Learning to use these features can broaden your skill set, making you a more versatile designer.
  2. Understanding the back-end: Open source tools give you a peek under the hood. This can deepen your understanding of design tools and technologies, something that can be a big plus in your career.
  3. Building your portfolio: With open source tools, you have the freedom to create without restrictions. You can experiment, innovate, and build a portfolio that truly showcases your creativity.
  4. Networking: When you engage with the open source community, you're not just giving back. You're also connecting with like-minded individuals. This can lead to collaborations, job opportunities, and more.

So, don't just look at open source design tools as free alternatives. They can be a stepping stone to bigger and better things in your career. Remember, it's not just about the tools you use, but how you use them. And with open source tools, the sky's the limit.

If you're interested in harnessing the power of open source design tools, we highly recommend checking out Ansh Mehra's workshop, 'Basics of Figma for Absolute Beginners.' This workshop will teach you the fundamentals of Figma, a powerful and versatile open source design tool, and help you maximize the benefits it provides to your creative projects.