Stunning design that addresses the audience is critical to brands of all sizes.
Whether you need this software to start a blog like this or edit product images for your e-commerce business, choosing the best graphic design software can take your brand identity to the next level.
With this trend in mind, Adobe Photoshop has become the standard for photo editing and graphic design software. However, over the years, many other visual design software tools have emerged to cater to the different needs and preferences of designers.
This capable graphic design tool not only improves efficiency but also helps to put amazing creativity into the real world design.
This article will cover the 11 best options ranked by quality.
What is the best software for graphic design?
1. Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe Photoshop is synonymous with image editing for graphic designers. It is one of the most popular image editing software tools on the market in a powerful package that offers excellent graphic design capabilities.
- Design Tools - Offers a wide range of design tools for mobile and web applications.
- Creative Cloud - Your active sync with Adobe Creative Cloud offers many unique features, including Content-Aware Clipping, Liquify with facial recognition, artboards, Design Space view, synchronized libraries, avatar pane, cloud documents, touch input and stylus. support, among other things.
- User Interface: Adobe is constantly working to provide a more customizable user interface. It offers a number of specific workspace layouts, including graphics, web, motion, 3D, drawing, and photography. The designer can also create a custom panel and window design.
- GIMP is Open Source Software - If you don't want to pay a penny, you can download and install this software for free. Consider installing it on a powerful machine to avoid lag and other performance issues.
- Offers a free mobile app
- Its elegant user interface provides a lot of help for ease of use
- I have a wide range of drawing and printing tools
- Comes loaded with 3D design capabilities
- Provides and manage a photo library with Adobe Creative Cloud
- Transfer files efficiently between different programs
- Various design tools come with responsive graphics
- Ability to edit animation and video layers.
- Users can select the canvas size, create custom brushes, work in 3D, isolate elements from backgrounds, and more.
- Adobe now offers Photoshop with a Creative Cloud subscription. It turns out that paying recurring is more expensive and that people who want to buy software forever don't have the option of buying a perpetual license.
- Countless features can overwhelm a new user
- Offers rental support for bitmap and vector images as SVG files
- Adobe Photoshop offers a subscription price of $33.99 per month per license.
2. Adobe InDesign.
Adobe InDesign is an essential software tool if you are into publishing. It offers excellent capabilities for designing impressive brochures, information papers and magazines while easily exporting them to PDF or HTML.
- Easy to use: Unlike PhotShop, InDesign requires a low learning curve. This means that new users can quickly learn how to combine text and graphics to achieve the best results.
- Fit Layout: The Fit Layout feature allows the designer to simply change the template text, and the layout adjusts automatically, which is great for infographics.
- Sensei technology: Adobe's AI-powered Sensei technology ensures automatic image resizing and arrangement.
- Adobe InCopy - Designers can take advantage of InCopy to work with other team members who share text, colors, and graphics.
- Graphic designers can efficiently combine graphics and text to simplify and enhance files.
- Allows users to add tags to indexes, keywords, anchor text frames, footnotes, table of contents, and hyperlinked annotations.
- Supports HTML export which enables web developers to export clean and simple code while implementing web design layouts. This works great for WordPress sites.
- It can help you remove redundant div tags in HTML files along with unimportant content groups.
- It has the ability to resize multiple objects and change width and height at the same time.
- Designers can make use of the eyedropper tool to instantly place or resize another object within the document.
- It is an industry standard for desktop publishing.
- A less intuitive user interface can make things confusing for new users.
- It is not set up for general users. Suitable for commercial use only.
- Relatively expensive than other similar software available in the market.
- PDF comment integration needs perfection
- Adobe InDesign offers a monthly subscription of $20.99. The full Creative Cloud costs $52.99 per month.
3. CorelDraw Graphics Suite.
CorelDraw Graphics Suite includes some professional grade features and provides a very accessible and easy to use interface. It is a bundle of multiple applications that offer powerful editing functions.
- Content Sharing - Corel's online digital library through which registered users can access thousands of high-resolution digital photos and images. It also provides more than 2,000 composite templates, 1,000 fonts, 350 professionally designed templates, over 500 interactive frames, 600+ gradients, vector and bitmap fills.
- Flexible Payment: Corel offers three payment programs in which users can purchase the software as well as a small fee for regular updates. It also offers an upgrade program for existing users.
- Customizable UI: You get customizable UI environment for your desktop, icons size, toolboxes, document opening options and window border color scheme. Users can also visit the Corel developer community site to design macros to fit their workflow.
- New Stitcher: Corel's new stitching tool provides a range of variable parameters that are not limited to just regular points.
- Provides application-level workflow and innovation and performance improvements to increase productivity.
- Works perfectly without lag with Surface Pen
- Users have the option to choose GPU acceleration on the virtual CPU while working with complex system-intensive vector graphics
- Seamless transition from desktop mode to tablet mode to take advantage of touch functionality
- Provides better third-party EPS and PDF import capabilities and enhances GPL Ghostscript feature
- It is capable of exporting files in up to 48 file types, including AutoCAD, JPG, PNG, SVG, AutoCAD, JPG, and TIFF. It can also open 35 file types, including EPS, HTML, AutoCAD, PDF, PowerPoint, SVG, and even older FreeHand files.
- Unlike Adobe, Corel does not offer free mobile apps.
- Two payment options can confuse the user
- It is not easy to operate for beginners.
- CorelDraw is available for a 15-day free trial. Its full version is available for $474 with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also pay an annual subscription for $198, or just $16.50 per month.
Inkscape is a free graphic design program that can help designers create scalable graphic designs that don't stretch or blur during resizing. It's an easy-to-use option for hobbyists or beginners interested in vector drawing.
- User Experience: For the free vector software, the user experience is very great. Designers who are familiar with Adobe tools can run Inkscape efficiently.
- Regular updates: Inscape has a strong developer community that allows it to offer regular updates and new features. Its latest update has mesh gradients and a square patch background for more comfortable viewing of transparency, improved spraying, and scaling tools.
- Free: It is one of the more powerful and capable Adobe Illustrator alternatives available as a free tool.
- Manual optimization - Users can take advantage of open source code to change lines of code and improve or customize software according to requirements.
- Users can easily create individual lines of text without frames along with paragraph type.
- It supports multiple gradients and comes with a separate tool for creating complex groups.
- Comes with bezier handles to ensure easy knot movement.
- Inkscape offers many well-designed and full-featured tools for creating, editing, and transforming vectors.
- It is also able to download or create plugins out of the box.
- Users can make use of different preset filter categories to save time and effort.
- Inkscapes streaming text must be converted to plain text, for example, before exporting.
- The Mac version is not bug-free.
- Processing is a bit slower than other graphics software.
- Illustrator compatibility is not guaranteed.
- Inkscape is an open source platform that is freely available.
Sketch is a vector-based graphic design tool that is best suited for designing applications, web and interface. It is best suited for creating interactive prototypes for UI/UX purposes.
- Low cost: Sketch offers a much lower annual subscription than other subscriptions.
- GREAT FOR MOBILE AND WEB - Take advantage of networking, networking, and pixel-alignment functions to avoid half-pixel rendering or imperfect alignment. These improvements are essential to ensure a fully responsive design / multiple screen sizes and resolutions.
- Screen Templates - Offers a library of iOS device artboard templates and responsive web design layouts. Designers only need to specify the artboard and device.
- Custom Plugins - Designers can easily find custom plugins for specific tasks with strong community support.
- Allows easy sharing and collaboration through the cloud. Designers can share the entire interface in the cloud with a simple file sharing process.
- Users can repeat designs on larger devices for the team to see, and decide how exactly the design will look on a specific device
- Users can export any layer or group as a PNG file.
- Sketch automatically saves all design changes step by step to avoid any design loss. Great relief for designers, indeed!
- Users can take advantage of libraries containing standard Android icons, iOS icons, and Mac icons
- Requires low learning curve
- Being a new design tool, it is not completely polished and requires a lot of improvement.
- It provides limited annotation capabilities that can make complex illustration work difficult.
- Screens are not displayed in high definition while accessing them from the cloud
- Only available for Mac users
- No automatic design flow option
- The annual subscription costs $99 per year.
6. Adobe Illustrator.
Adobe Illustrator is more than just a graphic design tool ideal for illustration artwork, page layouts, company logos, website templates, and anything else as per requirements. Additionally, it is an industry standard in vector generation tools.
- Highly customizable: Adobe Illustrator is highly customizable with multiple preset layouts along with other customization options. Users can take advantage of the drag and drop feature to move the panels anywhere on the screen.
- In-Palette Editing: In-Palette editing allows designers to edit multiple artboards simultaneously to help designers work more efficiently.
- Highly Compatible: It is highly compatible with many devices that have different settings for Mac and Windows.
- User Interface: Its user interface is easy to access and customizable. It offers space-saving and personalized screen features to help you work on any device.
- Instead of stored pixels, it creates graphics based on mathematical equations to ensure sharp, sharp lines that you can print in any dimension.
- Create graphic files in relatively small sizes so designers can easily share them via a simple email attachment.
- Get access to over 90 million photos, graphics, templates, and videos from Adobe Stock
- Use Adobe font integration to select thousands of fonts and implement the most appropriate font for your project
- Tight integration with other Adobe products
- It is more expensive compared to other vector-based graphic design tools.
- Many of the features may seem a bit confusing to new users. It requires a steep learning curve to use it efficiently
- It can take up a lot of space on your device
- Adobe Illustrator offers a monthly subscription of $9.99 for personal use and $33.99 for commercial use.
7. Affinity designer.
Affinity Designer is a clean, capable, and cheaper alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It makes a great budget suggestion and is also easier to use and faster than Illustrator.
- Grid Systems - The versatile grid system allows designers to configure grids while creating isometric video game graphics and icons. This feature helps users to have complete control over corners, gutters, spacing, and subdivisions to create accurate designs.
- Snap Option - Allows designers to lock and position objects and items based on different things, including grids, alignment guides, shapes, and nodes of other objects.
- Dual Environment: With Affinity Designer, users can work in both pixel art and vector art environments without opening any other applications.
- Zoom function: The zoom function can reach up to 1,000,000 percent, allowing designers to design with utmost precision and accuracy.
- Designers can take advantage of dynamic on-screen guides to ensure objects and designs are presented with accurate scaling and alignment.
- Users can create smooth and precise curves with string stabilizers and windows to create beautiful vector artwork
- Logical operation is not only able to combine shapes, but also is able to move and edit some parts efficiently.
- Offers a wide range of colors to enhance designs.
- Users can also order their work on a project for multiple numbers of artboards.
- Your iPad app is as powerful as the desktop app
- Does not export files in AI
- Absence of a natural perspective network
- Vector eraser is missing in Designer Persona
- Some tools available in Illustrator are missing
- Designers can purchase Affinity Designer for a one-time cost of $49.99.
8. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).
GIMP is more than just an image editor that offers many cool Photoshop features for free. It offers multiple professional-quality features to fine tune your shots and create artwork from scratch.
- Flexibility: The user interface of the image editing tool is highly customizable, and the GIMP community has developed many amazing plugins to get additional features at no cost. People who know coding can customize it to higher levels according to requirements.
- Regular updates Your active developer community means you'll keep getting regular updates and new features added.
- GEGL Scripts: It is one of the best features of GIMP that makes it an open platform for image manipulation.
- Compatibility - Supports a large number of operating systems, including macOS, Linux, Windows, Solaris, and BDS
- It allows users to draw the drawing by making use of tools, including clone, pencil, and spray.
- GIMP offers tutorials for every function to help users
- Its layering feature allows designers to lay out an image under an existing image.
- Clean and easy to use user interface for users who are new to the world of photo editing
- Provides the option to work in a modular interface and a single window interface
- It is very lightweight and optimally uses computing resources, ensuring fast performance.
- The user interface is not ideal for Mac users
- Adjustment layers come in a non-destructive way to combine multiple image processors
- The developer community is not important. As a result, it updates at a much slower rate.
- Since it is an open source platform, it is a completely free version of the design software.
9. Xara Designer Pro X.
Xara provides advanced features and tools while providing advanced design elements. The software is widely used for print and web design solutions for creating illustrations, editing images, and designing web pages.
- Live Action Tools - Live Action tools provide powerful features and stable functionality for general use.
- Drag and Drop - This intuitive, time-saving feature allows designers to zoom in up to 25,000 percent and easily take advantage of live action tools to get tasks done faster. It also allows you to place any item on the page by simple drag and drop.
- Performance - Provides faster performance and provides users with an easy way to implement creativity. It also allows users to make many modifications with unlimited redo and undo options.
- Ultra-fast: Xara boasts one of the fastest and most advanced vector rendering engines. This gives you the ability to efficiently render more complex graphic designs.
- Xara Designer Pro offers extensive editing options, including solid drag, scale and object rotation to achieve the best editing results.
- Provides anti-aliasing that helps improve the quality of on-screen images by smoothing the edges of objects by blending the edges with the background.
- It comes with cloud capabilities to view, edit, and update documents through a web browser on any computer or tablet.
- Zoom tool is able to zoom in up to 25601% to let designers take a closer look.
- Designer Pro is able to sync files with Dropbox and Google Drive
- It provides support for a wide range of file formats, including bitmap types such as JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, and PSD, and allows importing images in RAW or JPEG XR format.
- It also supports import and export of Adobe PSD files, including support for layers, alpha channel, 16-bit color, and CMYK layer conversion.
- It's only available on Windows
- It requires a steep learning curve to use all the features efficiently
- The masking job is cumbersome and hard to understand
- It is available with an annual subscription of $299.
10. Gravit Designer.
Gravit Designer is an HTML-based graphic design application for rendering high-quality vector graphics. It is one of the most suitable tools for graphics, product or web design professionals.
- Gravit Designer Dashboard - The panel is easy to navigate and allows you to switch between tabs or change dark themes instantly and easily. Users can also easily adjust document width and height through the control panel.
- Pages - Your pages feature the perfect mix of artboards and pages that come with your drawing board setup.
- Tools and Effects: Offers various tools, including Bezigon tool, Lasso tool, Pen tool, and others. It also allows you to add multiple fills to an item.
- Portability - Provides ultimate cross-platform portability for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS to allow the designer to work efficiently from any device.
- It offers a modern user interface that is fully customizable, attractive and easy to use.
- Gravit Designer provides an implied way to design social media posts for different platforms, including Instagram and Facebook.
- It provides natural flexibility through the web and desktop versions of the software.
- Supports multiple file formats for export and import
- Allows editing of scalable vector graphics.
- Users get support for non-destructive Boolean knives and tools which makes it a powerful tool for UI design
- Designers can easily open multiple documents and go to Documents in the tab
- Its Pro version offers unlimited cloud storage
- There is not much information about the program from official sources.
- Real-time collaboration is missing
- Designers can't run prototypes on smartphones to know what they'll look like
- Lines require an active internet connection to function
- Gravit Designer is completely free with limited features. Gravit Designer Pro is available for $100.
Photoscape provides indispensable functions for editing and managing image files. It positions itself as a great free graphic design tool for beginners and professionals who don't want to buy expensive subscriptions.
- Editing tools: Photoscape offers many types of image editing software including Pages, batch editor, editor, viewer, print, merge, print, screenshot, GIF animation, print, merge, etc.
- Multilingual: It comes loaded with both English and Korean languages. However, designers can access more than 30 languages through downloadable modules.
- User Interface: It offers a simple and easy to use interface that helps the beginners to use the software efficiently.
- Layout module - Layout module and its image editing capabilities include many features, including adjustments for color, size, gamma, backlight, resolution, brightness, etc. It also comes loaded with text, design and drawing tools, including effects brush, filters, brush, clone stamp, and more.
- The batch editor feature is a boon for designers who edit photos regularly. Allows user to resize, convert or rename multiple images with a single mouse click
- It is capable of opening RAW images and comes with a converter that allows you to convert RAW images to JPEG images easily.
- It is a cross-platform design application compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux devices.
- It comes with PhotoScapeX for Windows 10 devices and is available for free.
- Offers integrated graphics and editing solutions
- It is responsive and lightweight that uses computers intelligently
- It does not provide advanced image editing capabilities as in Photoshop.
- Not available on Linux
- Photoscape is available for free.
Note: Other design apps not yet reviewed for this list include Vectr, Microsoft DrawPad, and Pixlr.
What are the benefits of graphic design software?
This capable graphic design software tool allows designers to create visually stunning graphics and images.
Here are some of the important benefits that capable graphic design software brings to the table:
1. Flexibility and scalability.
It gives you the flexibility to create visually stunning photos and graphics without having to capture them. Apart from this, the user can export the file to multiple file formats instantly to make it easier to distribute on other marketing platforms.
In addition to paid tools that offer great value for money, there are also free open source graphic design software that designers can take advantage of to create beautiful designs. Help save a lot of expenses when photographing real objects.
Graphic design tools help organizations maintain their brand position by incorporating logos and watermarks into their marketing materials. Users can save templates in the program that can be used at all times to keep the image size and layout consistent.
4. Greater commitment.
The high-quality visuals created through the graphic design software help boost brand engagement. It helps in sending the message to the audience more clearly.
How does the graphic design program work?
There are many graphic design software tools available in the market with their own unique set of capabilities. However, they were all built with the sole purpose of creating great works of art. Therefore, its basic functions are the same.
Here are some steps to help you become familiar with some of the basic functions of a graphic design software job.
1. Create a new document.
For example, you are using Adobe Photoshop to create graphics.
You must first start Photoshop and click on the "File" option and then on "New Document".
The designer can select a template or customize the document size manually.
2. Enter the Camera Raw panel.
Below you can see what the Camera Raw panel actually looks like in Photoshop. Here, you can select the crop tool available in the sidebar to resize your design.
3. Overview of the workspace.
This window will display the project you are working on. You can have multiple tabs depending on the number of projects you are working on simultaneously.
Take a look at the Adobe Photoshop workspace.
4. Learn what the basic tool icons mean.
Before proceeding, you should know the meaning of the vital tools that you will be using in graphic design.
Here is a list of tool icons that you must know by heart to use any graphic design platform efficiently.
5. Layers, groups and guide.
Playing with layers in the right place will help create visually appealing designs. To create a new layer, simply click "Layer > New > Layer" or check the box containing the bent corner at the bottom right of the window. You can also lock layers to avoid accidental editing.
6. Create a wallpaper.
Users can make use of a range of tools to create simple images into stunning images that can be used as HD wallpapers.
Finding the best graphic design software that meets all your requirements can be overwhelming.
If you want to make the right decision, it is necessary to consider some key points, including:
- Budget: Analyze whether or not you can afford a paid tool, or whether paying for a graphic design program is feasible. Decide by evaluating what features you can get from open source tools and what paid PSU tools offer.
- Features: Go for a quality tool like Adobe Photoshop only if you need complex vector designs on a regular basis. Other than that, free software tools like Inkscape are more than enough when it comes to managing your basic editing work.
- Collaboration: If your business methodology includes frequent collaboration, look for a graphic design platform that comes with cloud capabilities for seamless collaboration and file sharing.
Reflecting on these points can help you make the right decision without too much confusion.