Adobe InDesign is great, but it’s also very expensive. And for many new small businesses, keeping costs down in the early stages is vital. So let’s take a look at some free and low-cost alternatives to Adobe InDesign that you can use to create posters, brochures, PDFs and more.
Here a short list of the best Adobe InDesign alternatives:
- Affinity Designer
InDesign alternative 1: Scribus
Scribus describes itself as “open source desktop publishing” which is exactly what you want from a free InDesign alternative.
The tool is supported by an active community, meaning it receives regular updates and new features.
There’s also a section on the website showing you what other people have done with Scribus, so you can get an idea of the kind of projects it’s suitable for.
On the downside, if you don’t have any design experience at all, you may find that the learning curve for Scribus is very steep.
InDesign alternative 2: Canva
Canva sits at the other end of the scale from Scribus. It’s easy to use, but the downside is that it isn’t a complete replacement for InDesign.
For example, you can’t use Canva to create things like leaflets and brochures. (Although you can create simpler printed items such as flyers and vouchers.)
If your needs involve creating simple, good-looking graphics for things like blog posts and social media, then Canva is an excellent choice.
InDesign alternative 3: Crello
Crello targets a similar audience to Canva, and features templates for things like leaflets and business cards. That means that even if your design skills aren’t great, you can still create more complex things without having to hire someone.
On the downside, Crello does operate a freemium model, meaning that you may need to convert to a paid account to create all the things you want to.
InDesign alternative 4: Lucidpress
Lucidpress is another web-based design package, but this one aims to include more high-end features.
It claims an intuitive interface and offers a free trial so you can judge for yourself. On the downside, the free account on offer is very limited and so you’re probably going to have to go for a paid account to create anything worthwhile.
In Design alternative 5: VivaDesigner
VivaDesigner is a high-end desktop publishing package that also operates on a freemium model.
As you might expect, there are limitations to the free version, although they’re not as restrictive as some other freemium products.
That said, it’s always a good idea to make sure the freemium version is suitable for your project before you start using it, as you don’t want to have to shell out for the paid version just to finish whatever it is you’re working on.
InDesign alternative 6: Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer isn’t free, but it avoids the subscription model meaning that you can pick it up for a one-off payment of less than £50.
It also offers tutorials to help you get to grips with the package, and a workbook to help you develop design skills (although this does cost extra.)
There’s also a free trial available, so you can try before you buy.
The most important thing when looking for an InDesign alternative is to find one that meets your needs and that you also enjoy using. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of free tools, or of developing your design skills. If you are worried about making web design mistakes, check out this guide to avoid them.