If your business focuses entirely on graphics work of some kind (Web design, desktop publication, etc.) then you may want to invest in tools like Adobe Creative Suite. Even though I’m a big fan of open source software, there are some jobs that require or at least benefit greatly from proprietary tools — though in skilled hands I’ve seen free and open source tools produce results that rival proprietary tools. But if you’re not in the graphics business, you can save some cash and provide your staff with all the graphics tools they can eat by choosing open source software instead. Let’s look at the best of the lot. GIMP has a rich set of filters and tools to manipulate photos for print or Web publishing. Whether you need to do some simple re-sizing, heavy retouching or creating images from scratch, GIMP is the tool of choice for working with bitmap images. Here’s another reason to love GIMP. It has a comprehensive user manual and a fair amount of help online. GIMP is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and it now runs natively on OS X, without the need to install special X11 libraries. Inkscape is similar to tools like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. It lets you edit and create complex (or simple) artwork — anything from icons and simple clip art to complex illustrations for children’s books. Check out the gallery on the Inkscape Wiki for some examples of what can be done with Inkscape. If you’re familiar with Illustrator or another vector graphics tool, it shouldn’t be difficult to get up to speed with Inkscape. If not, the documentation provided by the Inkscape community should prove very helpful. Inkscape is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. Scribus is similar to tools like Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. It may not have as many features as those tools, but it is up to the task of creating just about any publication that your small business may need. Like GIMP and Inkscape, Scribus has great documentation. You can use Draw for very complex artwork, but it’s also well-suited for creating charts and diagrams or other simple artwork for presentations and so on. You might not be familiar with LibreOffice, but have probably heard of OpenOffice.org. LibreOffice is a project that spun off from OpenOffice.org to foster better community collaboration. If you’re already using OpenOffice.org, you can use its version of Draw, or check out LibreOffice. LibreOffice is available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and other operating systems. Blender is capable of stunning 3D work—and not just still images. Blender has been used to create animated masterpieces like Big Buck Bunny and Elephants Dream. (See a list of movies from the Blender Foundation on the Blender site.) Few small businesses will need this kind of power, but Blender is on par with proprietary tools if you have need for 3D modeling and such. If you’re running a small art shop, Blender should be part of your toolkit. Blender is available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and more. On the download page you’ll also find ‘regression files’ that are meant to test releases of Blender to ensure that updates don’t break features artists have come to expect. But you can also use the files to get up to see how things are done with Blender. The application also has lots of docs to get you up to speed. Most of my graphics work consists of cropping photos in GIMP or using Inkscape to create simple graphics for presentations — but the tools are capable of much more. Creating your own art to promote your business doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult — the tools are ready and waiting. You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive, over-powered graphics software to create promotional materials for your small business. We’ve got five open source programs to get the job done. Source.