Adobe XD

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Adobe XD

Adobe is a large multinational computer software company with over 22,000 employees. Its flagship products include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, XD, Acrobat DC, and the Portable Document Format (PDF). The products are wrapped up and marketed as the Creative Cloud, a subscription-only way of accessing more than 20 desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX, and more.

We are long-standing admirers of Adobe’s products. They develop many high quality proprietary programs. It’s true there are security and privacy concerns in relation to some of their products. And there’s considerable criticism attached to their pricing practices. But the real issue is Adobe Creative Cloud does not support Linux. And there’s no prospect of support forthcoming.

What if you are looking to move away from Adobe and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not tracked, monetised and attached to Adobe’s ecosystem. We only recommend free and open source alternatives. Our recommended software don’t necessarily replicate every feature of their Adobe counterparts but they offer sufficient functionality for many tasks.

Adobe XDAdobe XD is the Adobe prototyping tool for user experience and interaction designers.

Adobe XD features are used for creating wireframes, prototypes, and screen designs for digital products. The software creates user interfaces for mobile and web apps.

What are the best free and open source alternatives? Here’s our recommendations.


1. Pencil

Pencil is built for the purpose of providing a free and open source GUI prototyping tool that people can easily install and use to create mockups in popular desktop platforms. The software is mature and suitable for production use.

Pencil is shipped with Android and iOS UI stencils pre-installed. This makes it easier to start protyping apps with a simple installation. Popular drawing features are also implemented in Pencil to simplify the drawing operations.

There are built-in shape collections including general-purpose shapes, flowchart elements, desktop/web UI shapes, Android and iOS GUI shapes.

Pencil also supports connectors which can be used to “wire” shapes together in a diagram. A collection of flowchart shapes are also available for drawing diagrams.

Pencil
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Pencil is written in JavaScript. Learn JavaScript with our recommended free books and free tutorials.


2. Akira

Akira is a native Linux design application built with GTK.

Akira focuses on offering a modern and fast approach to UI and UX Design, mainly targeting web designers and graphic designers. The main goal is to offer a valid and professional solution for designers who want to use Linux as their main OS.

Akira is in an early stage of development. While it’s not currently ready for production use, the project has enormous promise. It’s definitely worth investigating!

Akira
Click image for full size

Akira is written in Vala. Learn Vala with our recommended free books and free tutorials.


3. Penpot

Penpot is a design and prototyping platform meant for cross-domain teams. The software lets you design beautiful user interfaces for teams working on any platform. This provides universal access.

Penpot is web based and works with open web standards (SVG).

Penpot

Penpot is written in Clojure. Learn Clojure with our recommended free books and free tutorials.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Adobe's Products
Adobe PhotoshopPhotoshop is a raster graphics editor with multiple layers, masks, alpha compositing.
Adobe IllustratorIllustrator is a vector graphics editor and design tool.
Adobe InDesignIndesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing application.
Adobe Premiere ProPremiere Pro is a timeline-based video editing tool.
Adobe AnimateAnimate is a multimedia authoring and computer animation.
Adobe Photoshop LightroomLightroom is a creative image organization and image manipulation.
Adobe XDXD is a prototyping tool for user experience and interaction designers

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