With many applications emerging one after another, it’s not really difficult to find free apps
out of the net. Perhaps, those free applications are suitable for us compared to commercial
Knowing there are quite a number of designers out there using a Mac, we compiled free
Mac applications for designers. In this compilation, you can find useful Mac applications
that can be downloaded and used for free.
Update. Some screenshots are added for readers’ convenience.
Applications that can be used to sketch out your creativity…
SketchBox is a Sticky Notes Manager for Mac. With SketchBox, you can enter text,
make drawings, and set reminders for each sticky notes.
CocoPad is a simple pad in which you can draw whatever you like with a mouse or
tablet pen: sketches, notes, messages, etc.
MindNode is elegant and simple-to-use mindmapping application for helping us to
visually collect, classify and structure ideas.
FreeMind is a free mind-mapping software written in Java.
Applications that you can use to cut down your time consumption in doing project.
Dateline is a small, simple application that displays a linear calendar on your desktop in
a transparent window. Dateline provides easy access to iCal by double clicking on a day.
Anxiety is a super-lightweight To-do list application for Mac OS X Leopard that
synchronizes with iCal and Mail.
iClockr is a small application that tracks your work time.
Quicksilver is a simple, fast, and powerful applications launcher. Quicksilver will make
your designing process faster.
aLunch is a very lightweight application that acts as a handy launcher that runs from
within the menu bar.
NameChanger is a little application that does batch file renaming.
Todos shows you all of your applications in a complete dock.
Think is an excellent application for making you focus on the task at hand. With its
illumination panel, Think only reveals a single application to improve our concentration.
Backboard is a Mac application used to collect notes and tasks.
Applications that can be used to view your images easier than manual browse…
Sequential is an image viewer for Mac OS X that was designed for opening a folder of
images and displaying them in order. Sequential also suits well for viewing comics and
CocoaSlideShow is a simple and fast image viewer. It supports Apple Remote, fullscreen
mode, GPS mapping and user metadata addition.
iMedia Browser brings Apple media browser to any applications of your Mac. It enables
photo browsing with drag-drop ability.
Xsee is a native Mac OS X image browser and viewer with a beautiful Aqua interface.
Xsee supports integrated slide show, customizable toolbar, full mouse or keyboard
navigation, and much more.
Xee is a lightweight, fast and convenient image viewer and browser. It is used for fast
image viewing and management, with a sleek interface.
Pix’S Tribe is a fast digital photo finder. It brings the possibility to get, select, and
import your digital pictures into iPhoto from a file shared volume.
JustLooking is an image viewing program for Mac OS X that substitutes the use of
Preview by supporting files and directories browsing.
Phoenix Slides is a fast full-screen slideshow program/image browser for browsing
through folders or disks full of images. It also does lossless JPEG transformations and
can display EXIF data.
Tools that are useful in assisting you blending the color…
ColourMod is a dashboard widget that helps you getting a color value. It also enables
color value conversion from RGB, CMYK, HSV, or Hex Value.
Adobe Kuler helps you in exploring, creating, and sharing color theme to inspire any
project that involves choosing color themes. Kuler also enables you to generate color
themes from an image.
Colorate is a utility for generating harmonized color palettes and color schemes. It fully
automatizes the palette generation from a particular color swatch dragged from other
application or obtained from an image.
Color Oracle is a colorblindness simulator. It takes the guesswork out of designing for
color blindness by showing you in real time what people with common color vision
impairments will see.
ColorNamePicker is a plug-in for the colorpicker. ColorNamePicker can be used to select
a color based on RGB values, a Hex value or a Color Name. It will analyze the selected
color and return the name of the closest matching color.
Pixel Tracker is a handy little application that magnifies parts of your screen making it
easier to capture specific colors.
These applications are useful for editing existing images. Some of the applications
can even add special effects to your images…
Seashore is an open source image editor for Mac OS X with Cocoa framework that
enables the use of gradients, textures, text anti-aliasing, brush strokes, and other
essential and basic image editing needs.
GIMP is another open source image manipulator. Using GIMP, you can easily perform
photo enhancement and digital retouching.
GIMPshop is a modified version of GIMP that makes the user interface more like that of
Xe-IMG Image Editor is an Adobe AIR application for image editing.
Paintbrush is a simple paint program for Mac OS X. It enables users to perform a quick
creation of simple images. When you need to quickly crop a photo, add some text, or
perform some doodlings, Paintbrush is suitable for that purpose.
Pixen is a graphics editor for the Mac. It’s designed for people who make low-resolution
raster art like the sprites you see in old video games. Pixen also allows you to generate
animations just as easily as creating images.
Thumbscrew allows you to drag and drop images to create rotated thumbnails with
borders and drop shadows with customizable angle of rotation, thumbnail bounding
box, and border size.
Image Shackle is a simple widget that lets you quickly scale images to the desired size.
LiveQuartz is a simple and powerful free 64-bit photo editor based on non-destructive
layers and ﬁlters.
Image Tricks is a freeware application for editing photos and images using Mac OS X
Core Image filters. It transforms your photos and apply advanced visual effects. It also
contains image generator for creating unique backgrounds and abstract images for
business cards, web design, print materials and more.
HyperDither is an OS X image processing utility that converts color or grayscale images
to 1-bit black & white by implementing the “Atkinson” dithering filter.
Modeling & Animation
Applications that can be used to assist in creating stunning models or mind-blowing
Google SketchUp is a fast and simple 3D modeling program. You can use it to model
simple 3D objects. Textures and colors are also available for use.
DAZ Studio is a free feature rich 3D modeling and animation tool. It enables anyone to
create stunning digital imagery. This is the perfect tool to design unique digital art and
Quartz Composer helps you creating a groundbreaking screen savers, user-interface
widgets, data-driven visual effects, and animations. It’s shipped with Leopard.
Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite that features 3D modeling,
animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation, and playback.
Sweet Home 3D is the application for interior design. It can model the placement of
furniture, draw the walls, texture the surface, and many more features. Moreover,
generated house plan is viewed in 3D model.
Microspot 3D Toolbox is a free application that enables you to open, edit, print, and
navigate Quickdraw 3D, 3D Studio Max, and Google SketchUp files.
Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your interactive
stories, animations, games, music, and art.
Keynote Goodies gives you more available Keynote backgrounds, themes, and
objects for you to create even more mind-blowing Keynote Presentation.
NodeBox is an application used to create 2D visuals using Python programming code
and export them as a PDF or a QuickTime movie.
ShapeOnYou is a little application that can display and animate different vectorial 3D
shapes. It is designed to easily drag-drop the results in other applications where you
would like to use 3D shapes.
Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who
want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists,
designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production.
GiftedMotion is an easy to use GIF animator.
Lego Digital Designer lets you build with LEGO bricks on your computer, virtually.
Using these applications, you can draw vector-based illustration…
DrawBerry provides us the possibility of vector drawing empowered with layers,
powerful drawing tools, inspectors, and workspaces.
Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor that uses the W3C standard SVG file
format. Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features such as markers, clones, alpha
DrawIt Lite is a vector editing application with support for bitmap-like image filters.
The Lite version offers several basic things such as Vector Tool, Non-destructive Effects, and
Bitmap to Vector Conversion.
Pencil is an animation and drawing application. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn
animation (cartoon). It supports both bitmap and vector graphics.
These are some free basic tools that can be used for small scale web development.
Simple CSS allows you to easily create Cascading Style Sheets from scratch, or modify
existing ones, using a familiar point-and-click interface. You can also manage multiple
CSS projects and import your existing style sheets.
Snippely is a basic text and code organizational tool. Instead of storing bits of code,
quick notes, and memos in text files all over your hard drive, this application will let you
save and organize snippets in one convenient location.
FontDoc is a very simple program which shows you all of the fonts on system using any
text and size of your choice.
Aptana is a complete web development environment that combines powerful authoring
tools with a collection of online hosting and collaboration services that help you and
your team do more.
Nvu is a high-performance web editor built around Gecko. This makes web designing
easier for web developers, especially beginners.
Paparazzi is a small utility for Mac OS X that makes screenshots of webpages.
Plainview is a full-screen web browser, which is best for presentations that require
interactivity, you can do Flash, HTML presentations and do cool things with video.
iPhoney gives you a pixel-accurate web browsing environment that you can use when
developing web sites for iPhone. It’s the perfect 320 by 480-pixel canvas for your
Cyberduck is an open source FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Cloud Files and Amazon S3 browser
for the Mac. It features an easy to use interface with quickly accessible bookmarks.
Transmission is a fast, easy, and free multi-platform BitTorrent client.
FileZilla is the free FTP solution for Mac. It includes both a client and server side.
OneButton FTP is a free graphical FTP client for Mac OS X with a strong emphasis on
simplicity, drag-drop usability, and file queuing.
JAlbum allows you to create nice-looking photo galleries for the Web. You simply select
or drag and drop folders containing images or movie files onto JAlbum. JAlbum will then
create thumbnails and HTML pages to publish your images as a gallery or picture slide
Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser. It is the second most popular
browser, right after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
You can use these free applications for handling with multimedia…
Front End Digital Media Workshop harnesses the power of QuickTime to bring you
powerful batch based conversion of sound, video, and image files.
HyperEngineAV is a multimedia authoring application for capturing, editing, organizing,
processing, and exporting video, audio, and text to create quality movies and shows.
Flaex is a Flash Movie extractor for Mac OS X. From any flash files, it extracts images,
sounds, videos, etc.
FLV Crunch is an application that converts one video file format into another.
Subs Factory is a free but powerful utility designed to make the creation, modification
and resynchronization of subtitles easy.
Other designers tools that are supporting the designing process.
The Unarchiver is a much more capable replacement for BOMArchiveHelper.app, the
built-in archive unpacker program in Mac OS X. It handles many more formats than BOMArchiveHelper.
Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout
with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout.
Camipro+ is a cartoon production application.
Slammer overlays your display with grids, which can be use as a measurement tool.
Shape Collage is a free automatic photo collage maker that lets you create picture
collages in a variety of shapes within less than a minute.
PosteRazor cuts a raster image into pieces which can afterwards be printed out and
assembled to become a poster. The result is saved as a multipage PDF document.
language that can create surprisingly complex and interesting images.
ImageOptim has a set of tools for optimisation of PNG and JPEG images. It’s suitable
for publishing images on the web.
DropJPG makes it easy to convert images from most formats to JPEG. For converting to
JPEG, only simple drag-drop is needed to be performed.
Iconic is a free application used to create ton of icon thumbnails that can handle
multiple processes at once.