Hard graphics

This graphic design program proves free ain't easy.

Cylekx is a free graphic design program, and it proves that sometimes the best things in life aren't free. Graphic design programs typically have a steep learning curve, but Cylekx's curve is so steep that you'd better saddle your yak.

Familiarity with industry standard graphics programs suggested figuring out this program would be a breeze, but Cylekx's interface is confusing and cluttered. There's a Help menu, but nothing about this program is intuitive. Most graphics programs have common features and tools, with similar toolbars and palettes. Cylekx has a toolbox, but instead of icons, it has buttons bearing cryptic abbreviations. A full description appears when you hover the mouse over a button, but why not just use icons? We weren't sure where to start with this program, so we opened a template for a business card and tried to change the card's font. We figured out how to highlight the sample text and change it, but it took a while to find the font menu. A shortcut on the tool menu would have been much easier. This program is frustrating for experienced users, but those unfamiliar with graphics software will be face a steep climb up the learning curve.

Cylekx is free, but that's about the only good thing to say about it. The program doesn't uninstall cleanly, leaving a 34.9MB folder in the program files. That's a lot of debris to leave behind.

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