Graphics Design Tools

We use a carefully-selected collection of open source tools and applications for our graphics design work at MousePaw Media.


These exact programs must be used for internal company work – no substitutions are permitted without written approval from the department lead.

These installation instructions are only written for Linux distributions based on Ubuntu 18.04. If you’re using a different Linux distribution, you may need to adjust these instructions.

If you are working with Design and Production or Mass Communication, we strongly recommend installing all of these tools, regardless of your specific assignments.

Birdfont (v2.x)

Birdfont is an open source font editor and creator. It allows you to design fonts with vector graphics, and export them in the TTF, EOT, and SVG font formats.

Birdfont can be installed via...

$ sudo apt install birdfont

Blender (v2.79)

Blender is the leading open source 3D modeling studio, and is used by professionals and hobbyists alike.

The latest version of Blender can always be installed from a PPA on Ubuntu.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thomas-schiex/blender
$ sudo apt install blender

Darktable (v2.4)

Darktable is a RAW photo processor, generally considered on-par with Adobe Lightroom®. It gives you an extensive set of professional photography editing tools.

The latest version of Darkroom is available from the official PPA on Ubuntu.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pmjdebruijn/darktable-release
$ sudo apt install darktable

GIMP (v2.10)

The GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP, is a feature-rich graphics editing tool, largely analogous to Adobe Photoshop®.

$ sudo apt remove gimp
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
$ sudo apt install gimp

Upon first launch, you may notice that GIMP has three windows, like the classic Adobe Photoshop®. We strongly recommend switching to single-window mode. Click the Windows menu and select Single-Window Mode.

Gpick (v2.x)

Gpick is a color picker and palette editor, which can import and export in multiple formats, including the *.gpl palette format that GIMP and Inkscape use.

Gpick is best installed from the main Ubuntu package repositories.

$ sudo apt install gpick

Inkscape (v0.92)

Inkscape is a professional-quality vector graphics editing program, analogous to Adobe Illustrator®. It can be used to create SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) files, and can export to most major graphics formats.

The latest version of Inkscape is always available from the official PPA...

$ sudo add-apt-repository
$ sudo apt install inkscape

Krita (v4.0.x)

Krita is a vast and powerful raster drawing and painting application, intended to be on-par with Adobe Photoshop®. It has an extensive collection of brushes and tools for both realistic and hyper-realistic painting, and sports excellent graphics tablet support.

The latest version of Krita is always available from the official PPA...

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kritalime/ppa
$ sudo apt install krita

MyPaint (v1.2.0)

MyPaint is a painting and drawing application, best suited for situations where you just want to start drawing! It supports graphics tablets and offers a sizable collection of brushes.

MyPaint can just be installed from the core Ubuntu package repositories...

$ sudo apt install mypaint

Scribus (v1.4.x)

Scribus is an open source desktop publishing and page layout program. It is meant to functionally replace Adobe InDesign®, and supports many publishing and design industry standards.

The latest version of Scribus can be installed from its official PPA...

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scribus/ppa
$ sudo apt install scribus