There are a lot of well-known open source applications used in web design, but there are also many great tools that are not as popular. I thought I'd challenge myself to find some obscure options on the chance I might find something useful.
Open source offers a wealth of options, so it's no surprise that I found 10 new applications that I now consider indispensable to my work.
Included components include forms, columns, tabbed interfaces, pagination, breadcrumbs, buttons, notifications, and much more.
Skeleton is a lightweight open source framework that gives you a simple grid, basic formats, and cross-browser support. It's a great alternative for bulky frameworks and lets you start coding your site with a minimal but highly functional foundation. There's a slight learning curve, as you do have to get familiar with its codebase, but after you've built one site with Skeleton, you've built a thousand, and it becomes second-nature.
The Noun Project
The Noun Project is a collection of more than 3 million icons and images. You can use them on your site or as inspiration to create your own designs. I've found hundreds of useful icons on the site, and they're superbly easy to use. Because they're so basic, you can use them as-is for a nice, minimal look or bring them into your favorite image editor and customize them for your project.
If you fancy creating your own icons or maybe some incidental art, then you should take a look at MyPaint. It is a lightweight painting tool that supports various graphic tablets, features dozens of amazing brush emulators and textures, and has a clean, minimal interface, so you can focus on creating your illustration.
Glimpse is a cross-platform photo editor, a fork of GIMP that adds some nice features such as keyboard shortcuts similar to another popular (non-open) image editor. This is one of those must-have applications for any graphic designer. Climpse doesn't have a macOS release yet, but Mac users may use GIMP in the mean time.
LazPaint is a lightweight raster and vector graphics editor with multiple tools and filters. It's also available on multiple platforms and offers straightforward vector editing for quick and basic work.
The League of Moveable Type
My favorite open source font foundry, The League of Moveable Type, offers expertly designed open source font faces. There's something suitable for every sort of project here.
Shotcut is a non-linear video editor that supports multiple audio and video formats. It has an intuitive interface, undockable panels, and you can do some basic to advanced video editing using this open source tool.
Draw.io is lightweight, dedicated software with a straightforward user interface for creating professional diagrams and flowcharts. You can run it online or get it from GitHub and install it locally.
Bonus resource: Olive video editor
Olive video editor is a work in progress but considered a very strong contender for premium open source video editing software. It's something you should keep your eye on for sure.
Add these to your collection
Web design is an exciting line of work, and there's always something unexpected to deal with or invent. There are many great open source options out there for the resourceful web designer, and you'll benefit from trying these out to see if they fit your style.
What open source web design tools do you use that I've missed? Please share your favorites in the comments!
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