Last Modified:
January 19, 2022

best graphic design software

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Graphic design is all about creating visual content to communicate a message. 

Graphic design software refers to the tools used in creating and editing different visual materials from small postcards, invitations, and posters to websites, brochures, books, and magazines.

The current market size for global graphic designers is estimated at $41.8 billion and is slated to grow in the future. However, countless graphic design tools are on the market, and choosing the best graphic design software can be surprisingly tricky.

That’s why I’ve written this article.

I have used many different graphic design software tools while building my blog and online business, and I’ve used my experience to research and put together my top picks to make it easier for you to choose the best graphic design software for your needs. 

I analyzed the design tools, interface, special features, and price.

What is the Best Graphic Design Software?

I’ve mixed in both free and paid graphic design software in this list. Keep in mind that, unlike the paid-for programs, free software may not have the powerful features that you need to create stunning visuals. 

1. Adobe Photoshop

Best all-around image and graphic design software ($20.99/month).

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the best free graphic design that provides robust photo editing tools for graphics and photos. 

Adobe Photoshop has all the essential tools, such as text overlay and complex features like file size control in the pro version. 

This tool works on Windows and Mac and has a bit of a steep learning curve compared to drag-and-drop software – but it also has a broader range of functionality and control.

In short, Adobe photoshop is the best imaging and graphic design software that’s at the core of virtually all creative projects – from image editing and compositing to animation, digital painting, and graphic design.

They allow users to join the “Adobe Creative Cloud,” which includes Photoshop along with Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, XD and Acrobat DC. Considering the price, the suite of Adobe products gives users targeted workspace layouts, which is an absolute steal for serious graphic designers.

Key Features:

  • Robust Design Tools: Work in 3-D, create custom brushes, isolate elements from the background, raster, layer editing capabilities, etc.
  • Open Source Gimp Software: Technically-inclined users can download and install the free software.
  • Flexible Features: In addition to image editing, the software also allows you to create naturalistic artwork and composition.
  • Photoshop on iPad: Incredible photoshop features that create, edit, and composite beautiful art, graphics, and images on your iPad. 
  • Massive Cloud Storage: Adobe Photoshop packages come with up to 1 TB of cloud storage that can store approximately 20,000 raw DSLR or 200,000 JPEG images.

Pros of Adobe Photoshop:

  • Slick and friendly user interface editing interface
  • No lag or performance issues
  • 3-D design capabilities, i.e. t-shirt design software
  • Multiple responsive web design layouts.
  • Define the size of the canvas
Pros of Adobe Photoshop


Adobe Photoshop offers a free 30-day trial, and if you want to upgrade, paid plans are as follows:

  • Annual plan, paid monthly: $20.99/month.
  • Annual plan, prepaid$239.88/year.
  • Monthly plan: $31.49/month.

Each of the plans includes:

  • Access to all the latest updates and features as they are released
  • At least 100 GB of full creative cloud storage
  • Photoshop on desktop as well as iPad
  • Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fresco, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark

Get Started With Adobe Photoshop

2. Adobe Illustrator

Reliable software best for vector editing and illustration ($20.99/month).

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is an industry-standard vector images app that lets you create icons, logos, typography, drawings, and illustrations for web, print, video, and mobile. As with Photoshop, it’s also a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.

It’s a true graphic design tool for Windows and Mac, with comprehensive features to help you create artwork and captivating visuals for your brand.

As you can see from this list, Adobe offers multiple graphic design tools, each of which is amazing in its own way. 

That’s one of the reasons the company has become such a big name in design software. 

Key Features:

  • Freehand Design: Adobe Illustrator’s freehand design feature helps you bring your artwork to life on the screen.
  • Upload or Create New Fonts: The platform lets you create unique text that has never been seen before.
  • Full Creative Control: Whether you are creating simple graphics for social media or your company’s logo, you get granular control with this software.
  • Perfect Scalability: A vector image editing feature that allows you to easily turn colors and shapes into icons and logos. 
  • Adobe Sensei: Create faster and smarter with Adobe’s Sensei AI which automatically extracts colors from photos and adds them to your design. 

Pros of Adobe Illustrator:

  • Killer vector design capabilities
  • Simplified free transform tool
  • Excellent Touch Type feature
  • Constant updates and improvements to existing features from the robust community of developers.
  • Puppet Warp feature to transform selected parts of illustrations

Adobe Illustrator on the iPad

As part of all Adobe plans that include Illustrator, you also get Illustrator on the iPad.

Adobe Illustrator on the iPad


Illustrator offers a free 30-day trial after which you can sign up for the premium plans, which are as follows:

  • Annual plan, paid monthly: $20.99/month.
  • Annual plan, prepaid: $239.88/year.
  • Monthly plan: $31.49/month.

Each of the plans comes with:

  • Illustrator on desktop and iPad
  • At least 100 GB of creative cloud storage
  • Adobe Spark, Adobe Fonts, Adobe Portfolio
  • Access to all the latest updates 

Get Started With Adobe Illustrator

3. Adobe InDesign

Powerful software best for publication layout and design ($20.99/month).

Adobe InDesign CC

Adobe InDesign CC is yet another software from Adobe. The main difference between this and the other Adobe tools on our list is that InDesign primarily focuses on the publishing industry and has a low learning curve. 

It’s one of the best page design and layout apps that you can use to create, preflight, and publish stunning documents for both print and digital media. 

This tool has everything you need to design posters, books, eBooks, brochures, info sheets, digital magazines, interactive PDFs, and much more.

The “properties” panel gives you intuitive control over all the platform’s tools, and there is Sensei AI technology integrated for automatic resizing and arrangement of images.

Key Features:

  • Adjust Layout: With this helpful feature, you can alter your document text and the entire graphic will adjust accordingly.
  • Collaboration Tools: InDesign has built-in tools such as “Share for Review” for sharing designs with your team so you can all be on the same page.
  • Immersive Experiences: You can manage your design elements in many formats, including video, audio, slideshows, and animations for dazzling interactions.
  • Unique Print Tools: The platform has professional typesetting and layout tools for stylish typography and rich graphics.
  • HSB Support: Select or create HSB values in any area where color values can be set, including the color panel, color picker, and new Swatch dialog box.

Pros of Adobe InDesign CC:

  • Well-balanced user interface
  • Feature for automatic global page adjustments
  • Massive selection of downloadable fonts
  • Contextual information is available to you
  • Subject-aware text wrapping


Adobe InDesign CC pricing

Adobe InDesign CC offers a free 30-day trial, after which you can sign up for one of the premium plans to unlock more advanced features. 

As with the other Adobe tools, plans start at $20.99/month on the annual plan.

InDesign also has access to all the latest updates, 100 GB of creative cloud storage, and Adobe’s other creative tools. This includes Adobe Fonts, Adobe Spark, and Adobe Portfolio, though some of these tools have a less intuitive user interface and may make new users feel overwhelmed.

Get Started With Adobe InDesign CC

4. Canva

Popular web-based free graphic design software best for beginners (Starts from Free).


Canva is a free graphic design software designed for amateur designers and experts alike and is often referred to as the best free graphic design software for beginners.

The software has an intuitive interface and an impressive editor, making it super easy for beginners to learn. 

There’s a free version which is excellent for anyone who doesn’t have a graphic design budget. This has tools perfect for small, entry-level design jobs that need just a photo editor and to design web pages. 

The premium version offers many impressive advanced tools and an interface design ideal for professional designers. 

You can use Canva on your web browser, Android, or iOS.

Key Features:

  • Drag-And-Drop Functionality: The platform’s interface makes it easy for those with little to no previous experience in design.
  • Free Templates and Elements: Canva comes with lots of templates, fonts, images, etc. many of which are free to use.
  • Premium Tools and Content: The software has scheduling tools, stock photos, videos, audio, araphicsgraphicsbefore, etc. to make designing as easy as possible.
  • Text Animations: Send messages across kinetic typography and allow your words to flow using canvas robust text animations tool.
  • Advanced Texture Feature: This allows you to apply texture for a homey, lived-in, design when flat color just won’t do.

Pros of Canva:

  • Canva offers a free version with a ton of helpful tools and elements
  • It’s an easy to use, web-based design app for both beginners and experts
  • The platform has a massive collection of pre-created templates
  • You have the option to choose and buy individual graphics
  • The Premium version is affordably priced
  • Works great on mobile (Android and Apple devices)


Canva pricing

You can use Canva graphic design app free version. But, if you want to unlock more advanced design elements and advanced features, you can sign up for the Pro account, which costs $12.99/month. 

You get over 75 million premium stock images, videos, graphics, and audio on this plan. There are also more templates to choose from. 

The Pro plan also has unlimited use of background remover, photo manipulation, resizing multiple objects infinitely, and saving them as templates for your team to use.

Get Started With Canva

5. Corel PaintShop Pro 2021

Best graphic design software for Windows ($79.99, one-time payment).

Corel PaintShop Pro 2021

Corel PaintShop Pro 2021 is the best graphic design software available for a one-off payment. 

It’s easy to use and comes with a decent assortment of tools, most of which are geared toward enhancing portraits. 

The software has a simple and intuitive interface, which means beginners can quickly learn to edit images and unlock more powerful features as their skills advance. 

Once a Windows PC staple, PaintShop Pro is now Mac-compatible.

Key Features:

  • Robust Tools: The platform has an amazing and versatile range of photography tools and features, including essential tools, adjustment tools, selection, and correction tools.
  • RAW and HDR Camera Support: Manage and save metadata in raw files, as well as correct problem areas, create stunning HDR photos, and more.
  • Time-Saving Tools: Scripts help you reduce repetition so you can accelerate complex photo editing tasks. In addition, they have an export for screens feature that improves the workflow to create assets of different sizes quickly and easily with a single action.
  • Smart Solutions: The platform has tools to help you enhance your photos with machine learning technology and artificial intelligence.
  • Multiple Workspaces: With PaintShop Pro, you can choose from multiple workspaces and customize it to help you work more efficiently.

Pros of Corel PaintShop Pro:

  • An impressively broad range of photo editor and Photoshop-like tools
  • Easy to learn and grow with
  • Automatic noise removal
  • Great selection of vector drawing tools
  • Powerful tools for editing and effects 
  • Can create keyboard shortcuts and macros to better compliment the designer’s workflow


Corel PaintShop Pro 2021 pricing

PaintShop Pro 2021: You can get PaintShop Pro 2021 for a one-time fee of $79.99, which is perfect for anyone who wants to avoid being locked into a subscription.

PaintShop Pro 2021 Ultimate: For just $20 more, you can upgrade to PaintShop Pro 2021 Ultimate, which comes with many creative extras.

Photo Video Bundle Ultimate: The Photo Video Bundle Ultimate costs $179.99, and it comes with a powerful 2-in-one photo-video editor.

Get Started With PaintShop Pro 2021

6. Sketch

The ideal graphic design platform for Mac users ($9/month).


Sketch is a reliable platform for digital design. Designed exclusively for Mac users, the software is considered a leader on the market, particularly for UX and UI experts. 

With this tool, you can create clickable product prototypes and wireframes. Sketch also makes it easy to design a usable model before developing an application or website.

In addition to design tools, the platform also has in-built features for collaboration. It provides you with one workspace with unlimited possibilities and allows you to put design at the heart of your business.

Key Features:

  • Vector-Based Tool: Sketch offers perfect vectors for UI and pixel-precise icons.
  • Ideal for Mobile and Web: The software ensures perfect responsive design across multiple screen sizes and different resolutions.
  • Custom Plugins: There are tons of custom plugins available that designers can use for specific tasks.
  • Boolean Operations: You can work with Boolean operations that are editable, non-destructive, and easy for you to combine.
  • Easy Exports: The platform’s export options are supercharged to allow you to get the perfect assets every single time.

Pros of Sketch:

  • A streamlined set of tools
  • Focuses mainly on UI and icon design
  • App and website prototyping
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Extremely affordable pricing


Sketch pricing

Sketch offers a free trial for 30 days. No credit card is required to sign up, and if you decide to upgrade, you can get Sketch for just $9/month per editor, with unlimited free viewers.

Get Started With Sketch

7. VistaCreate

Web-based graphic design software with the most extensive creative templates library (Starts from Free)


VistaCreate, a popular graphic design software for the web, has positively influenced the era of beginner-friendly, no-brainer design customization environments.

It introduces loads of practical approaches to creating stunning designs for whatever purpose quickly, easily, and authentically with pre-made templates.

There is a ready-to-go solution for every need, ranging from Instagram post formats to logos, designs for print, website sections, blog banners, Youtube video thumbnails, and infographics, to name just a few.

You get access to thousands of templates, 1M+ creative assets (such as royalty-free photos, videos, and vectors), font choice, music, animations, and excellent background customization options even on a free plan.

Once you get started with VistaCreate and use its pre-optimized formats along with dozens of customization options, it empowers you to create studio-level designs from day one.

Key Features:

For Non-techs: It’s a life-saver tool for marketers, social media managers, solopreneurs, and creatives who need to make a lot of good-looking visual content by themselves regularly.

Intuitive Design Editor: Resize your design, add elements and shapes, tailor transparency, animate objects, and do more in a handy visual editor.

50K+ Design Templates: Get a perfect design match in a few clicks, with dimensions ready for particular social media and other platforms.

One-click Background Removal: A fantastic productivity tool that helps you erase image backgrounds and build new tailored ones in a few seconds.

Pros of VistaCreate

  • Beautiful filters and many image optimization effects
  • 10 GB storage for files and projects within a free plan
  • Integrated Full HD video clips and animations
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Affordable paid versions
  • Collaborative tools (in premium plans)


You can reach great results, access the most extensive library of creative designs, and store a lot of data, even staying on a free plan.

But signing up for a premium account and getting way more productivity, design, and brand kit tools will cost you just $10 per month. The most transparent and affordable pricing model ever made.

Get Started With VistaCreate

8. Inkscape

Free Vector Design platform for designers, illustrators, and web designers (Free).


Inkscape is the best free alternative design software that provides a wide range of features to cater to the needs of designers, illustrators, and web designers. 

The program works on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS and comes with flexible tools, which helps to shorten the learning curve for beginners. 

Users can also access advanced features such as the free vector software and a powerful text tool that allows experienced professionals to create graphic design projects with ease and efficiency.

Key Features:

  • Advanced Features: The platform has a drawing tool, text tool, embedded bitmaps, clones, etc. to help you create and manipulate objects.
  • Lots of Filters: The software provides a ton of filters to help you create stunning and unique images.
  • Helpful Community: Inkscape has one of the largest and most active communities where users can find support.

Pros of Inkscape:

  • Powerful and reliable design tool
  • Wide range of flexible training tools
  • Bezier and spiro curves
  • Compatibility with multiple file formats
  • Multiline text and full on-canvas editing


You can download and use this powerful design tool for free. 

Choose which version to download, and you will be able to start using the professional vector graphics editor immediately.

Get Started With Inkscape

9. CorelDraw Graphics Suite

Flexible graphic design tool ideal for all-in-one illustration and design ($249/year).

CorelDraw Graphics Suite

CorelDraw Graphics Suite was built for Windows OS, but the graphic design program is now available for Mac users as well. 

It comes with powerful design tools that will help you work faster and smarter. 

You can create professional vector illustrations, and the graphic design program has a wide range of customization options to make your work easier, whether you are designing logos, websites, or print projects.

Key Features:

  • AI Technology: its offers a “LiveSketch” feature for converting sketches into accurate vector curves.
  • Editing and Font Management: The platform comes with Corel Font Manager and PhotoPaint tools. 
  • Impressive File Compatibility: The program supports more than 100 file formats, including Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD, PDF, HTML, JPG, PNG, SVG, and EPS. 
  • Collaboration Tools: Easily share files with your team or clients and other real-time feedback from reviewers.
  • All-in One-Platform: CorelDraw has all the design and layout tools you need to tackle any project.

Pros of CorelDraw Graphics Suite:

  • Fun, easy instant-gratification effects
  • Highly customizable interface
  • Capable professional-level features
  • Unique native capabilities to rival Adobe Illustrator
  • New Progressive image editing feature
Pros of CorelDraw Graphics Suit


This product is offered at a one-time fee of $499. 

Alternatively, you can sign up for the yearly subscription at $249/year. 

The platform offers a 15-day free trial, so you can test drive the software before committing to a paid plan.

Get Started With CorelDraw Graphics Suite

10. Affinity Designer

Best graphic design tool for professional designers ($24.99, one-time fee).

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is yet another leading graphic design tool designed for Windows, Mac, and iPad. 

It was created with professional designers in mind, which puts it in the same category as Adobe products regarding features and costs. 

The toolbar allows you to do everything from cropping and resizing images to text overlay and much more.

Key Features:

  • Dual Environment: Affinity Designer allows users to work in both vector art environments and pixel art environments.
  • Snapping Option: Designers can lock and position elements and objects depending on shapes, alignment guides, etc.
  • Zoom Feature: The zoom feature goes as far as 1,000,000%, allowing designers to have laser accuracy and precision.

Pros of Affinity Designer:

  • Wide selection of colors for enhancing designs
  • Boolean operation for combining, moving, and editing shapes
  • Dynamic on-screen guides for accurate alignment
  • Rope and window stabilizers for smooth curves
  • Powerful iPad app to match desktop application
  • Optimized to work well with both Vector illustration and Raster workspaces


Affinity Designer pricing

Affinity Designer has three pricing plans, each of which is a one-time purchase:

  • Windows: $24.99 (discounted from $49.99)
  • Mac: $24.99 (discounted from $49.99)
  • iPad: $9.99 (from $19.99)

You can sign up for a free 90-day trial for Windows and Mac and try out the software to see if it’s a good fit for you.  

Get Started With Affinity Designer

11. Xara Designer Pro X

All-in-one design tool for professional designers ($199/year).

Xara Designer Pro X

Xara Designer Pro X is a fully integrated, single-package solution that will take care of every one of your graphic design requirements for both web and print.

The software is built for both vectors and bitmaps. The platform can handle everything in one place – from photo editing, illustration, DTP (desktop publishing), document creation to websites, web graphics, and more.

Designed for Windows OS, the program comes with hundreds of design elements, template layouts, and a photo archive with over a million images to help you get started quickly.

Key Features:

  • Drag-And-Drop Functionality: This is a time-saving feature that is perfect for amateur designers and facilitates quicker execution for experienced users.
  • Faster Performance: The platform has a sophisticated, superfast vector rendering engine that allows designers to efficiently create complex graphic designs.
  • Direct Action Tools: This set of tools offers robust capabilities and stable functionalities, making it ideal for general use.

Pros of Xara Designer Pro X:

  • Designers can zoom up to 25,601%
  • Sync files with Google Drive and Dropbox
  • Supports a wide range of file formats
  • Import and export Adobe PST files
  • Anti-aliasing tool to improve on-screen images


Xara Designer Pro X pricing

The company’s flagship product includes all the templates and features of the following tools in one convenient, fully integrated package solution:

  • Photo & Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer Premium
  • Page & Layout Designer 

You can get all of this for $199/year (discounted from the regular price of $299).

Get Started With Xara Designer Pro X

12. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

A reliable, open-source image editor for all platforms (Free).


GNU image manipulation program works on all major platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

It’s an open-source program that offers many of Photoshop’s features for free and lets developers change the source code and distribute the program.

While many people think of it as a simple photo editor, it comes with tons of customization features. You can also use third-party plugins to improve the platform’s functionality, boost your productivity, and create exceptional designs.

Key Features:

  • GEGL Scripts: GIMP is an open platform that allows designers to process images and create unique artworks from scratch.
  • Flexibility: This tool is a lot more than just an editor to retouch images, it also provides multiple professional quality features as well.
  • Compatibility: The software is compatible with a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Solaris, and BDS.
key features

Pros of GIMP:

  • GIMP’s platform has an active community of developers
  • The software is regularly updated with new features added
  • Robust sketching tools including pencil, airbrush, and cloning
  • Work on modular or single-window interface
  • Optimal use of computing resources for speedy performance


This is an open-source platform, and it is completely free for designers to download and use the software.

Get Started With GIMP

13. Gravit Designer

Drag-and-drop design software is perfect for beginners (Starts from Free).

Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer is one of the best free graphic design software that fits in multiple categories. The platform employs a freemium model, and you can use it on Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS. 

The software allows you to apply several targeted workspace layouts, textures, gradients, borders, blending modes, and effects to any object. 

There’s also a robust editor, which makes this the perfect tool for amateur designers to create content such as social media posts. More advanced artists can unlock more tools like the pen tool for drawing unique graphics by upgrading to Gravit Designer Pro.

Key Features:

  • Unique Functions: Gravit Designer offers tools to create animations, borders, and various other shaping functions.
  • Customizable Interface: You can fully customize the software according to your needs and make your workspace your own.
  • Portability: The software offers cross-platform portability so designers can work efficiently from any machine.

Pros of Gravit Designer:

  • Supports multiple file formats for import and export
  • Modern, fully customizable user interface
  • Pro version comes with unlimited cloud storage
  • Easily edit scalable vector graphics
  • Flexibility through desktop and web versions


Gravit Designer pricing

You can use Gravit Designer for free. However, if you want to unlock additional features such as work off-line, touchscreen support, unlimited cloud storage, and version history, then you need to upgrade to the paid-for plan, which costs $49/year (discounted from $99).

Get Started With Gravit Designer

14. Photoscape

A fun and easy photo editing software that enables you to fix and enhance photos (Free).


This is yet another free graphic design app that offers a wide range of indispensable features to help you edit and manage your images. 

It’s perfect for beginners because, in addition to being free, it comes with a wide range of tools, such as page, batch editor, viewer, and screen capture. 

There are also tons of advanced editing tools to choose from, which makes this software perfect for experienced designers, as well.

Key Features:

  • Multilingual Interface: The platform allows designers access to over 30 languages through the use of downloadable modules.
  • Design Module: This packs a lot of features, including adjustments for color, size, gamma, backlight, brightness, and resolution.
  • Robust Editing Features: On the platform, you’ll find well-labeled features, including splitter, color picker, raw converter, face search, and auto-contrast.
key features

Pros of Photoscape

  • Simple, beginner-friendly interface
  • Highly responsive and lightweight
  • Includes free Photoscape X Edition for Windows 10
  • Cross-platform app compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Open raw photos and convert to JPEG easily


You can get Photoscape free of charge. Download it from the website, and you will be able to start using the photo editing software to fix and enhance your images.

Get Started With Photoscape

Additional Graphic Design Software

Here are a few other graphic design platforms that aren’t included in our list but are worth mentioning:

  • Visme: The perfect tool for creating presentations, infographics, and videos.
  • Genial.lyA free tool for creating graphic designs that bring your content to life.
  • VectrThis is a powerful tool that uses mathematical equations to help you create graphics easily and intuitively.
  • ColorcinchThe simplest and most reliable tool for editing and cartooning images.
  • PixTellerA free image editor and animation maker for creating stunning visuals.
  • Design Wizard: A wonderfully simple graphic design app for new and skilled designers.
  • Infinite Design: A blazing fast app with impressive image editing features.
  • Pixlr: One-click editing for professional-quality images without the learning curve.
  • ProcreateA robust iPad program for designers who want to sketch on the go.
  • Vectornator: This is a graphics editor for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Although it’s fully featured, it’s free to use.
  • Krita: This is a great free and open-source painting tool. It focuses specifically on painting though.

What Features to Look For in Graphic Design Software

Not all software is built the same. Some may work better for you than others, depending on the types of features on offer. 

For instance, the software can be priced at the low end of the spectrum but lack many of the features for speed and creative control. 

On the other hand, you may find top-of-the-line design software with a wide range of advanced tools – but it has a huge learning curve and is unsuitable for beginners.

Below, I’ve listed some of the most important features to consider before choosing the best graphic design software to suit your needs.

Read through the list, and, depending on your priorities, you will be better able to pinpoint the best option to help you bring your vision to life.

1. Ease of Use 

Most graphic design software comes with a bit of a learning curve, which is to be expected. However, if you’re new at this, it’s important to ensure that the platform you choose makes it as easy as possible for beginners to get up and running using the program’s image editing and illustration tools. 

Look for a simple and intuitive user interface, as well as documentation and tutorials for how to get started quickly and easily.

2. Templates 

Creating anything using graphic design usually takes a lot of time and talent to produce the desired result. That’s why it’s always a good idea to look for graphic design software that comes with a wide selection of pre-fabricated templates. 

These will give you a foundation on which to start creating your visuals and help you save a lot of time on your projects.

3. Effects 

For the most part, the best graphic design software on the market comes with basic tools for creating great effects. But, some outshine others by providing advanced photo editing features to create unique and dramatic effects on your images. 

So, if this is an essential feature for you, consider how many image filters the software offers. Some programs, like Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro, have dozens of filters.

4. Illustration Tools

If you do a lot of work with graphics, gradients, and shapes, then it’s important to choose the best graphic design software with the right illustration tools, such as vector brushes or the pen tool. 

The software you choose should allow you to complete your tasks and create design elements quickly while producing high-quality results.

5. Image Database 

If you have to do a photoshoot for each project, it can adversely impact your productivity and effectiveness. 

However, with a large image database of high-quality, industry-specific illustrations and photos, at your fingertips, you will be able to work faster and produce improved results.

6. Customizable Workspace 

In addition to having all the tools you require to create unique designs, you also need to be able to set them on your workspace in a way that makes sense to you. 

Workspaces differ from one software to the next. But, the best graphic design software will allow you to easily customize your workspace so you can navigate the software more efficiently.

7. Collaboration Tools 

Using old-fashioned methods for file sharing invariably creates problems with lost information, revision tracking, confusion, and a host of other problems. 

If you work with a team, you need to choose a graphic design software solution with built-in collaboration tools to make your work a lot easier so you can boost productivity and accountability. This can be especially important if you’re using social media management tools to manage your online presence.

8. Printing Features 

Depending on how important the finished product is, you want to choose the best graphic design program with printing features that make it easy for you to present your finished work to others. 

For instance, if dealing with printed articles, you might want features that allow you to set up the page to “bleed” so the creases of the magazine appear continuous and colored. 

You may also want the option of showing your printer’s marks to enhance the package-and-print process. 

Yet another important printing feature is the “prepress support”. This feature automatically ensures that there aren’t any errors before the finished project goes to the printer.

9. Importing and Exporting Files 

If you intend to use different files on your graphic design software, you need to ensure that they are compatible. 

The last thing you want is to be unable to open shared files on your program. So make sure the software you choose supports the files you typically use on your projects, including common ones like PDF, JPEG, and BMP.

Why Should You Use Graphic Design Software 

You may be wondering why it’s even necessary to use graphic design software. 

Well, the answer is simple. 

Having the best graphic design software will help you create stunning visuals quickly and easily. The right tools not only make life a lot easier for graphic designers, but they also come with other benefits, such as:

  • Time-Saving: the best graphic design software and templates give you a head start when creating visually stunning graphics. It saves a lot of time when you don’t have to start from scratch.
  • Cost-Efficient: Whether you use free or paid tools for designing your visuals, being able to leverage the best graphic design software will help you bring down expenses by removing the need to show true objects.
  • Scalability: The leading design software has features that let you export files in multiple formats and easily distribute them on different marketing platforms.
  • Branding: Organizations can use the best graphic design apps to maintain their brand positioning through the use of watermarks and embedded logos on marketing materials. Saving templates on the software can help maintain consistency of design, style, image size, etc.
  • Flexibility: The right graphic design app will allow you to create beautiful graphics and images in one convenient place without having to use many different tools.
  • Improved Results: Using the best graphic design software helps you create better visuals that result in higher levels of engagement from your audience. Ultimately, this contributes towards a variety of other marketing goals and it can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

How to Master Graphic Design Software

Mastering graphic design software comes down to two things: learning and practicing. Here are a few things you can improve your skills and produce better results.

1. Sign up for free trials

If you want to achieve better results with the software, there are some steps you can take, such as signing up for free trials and trying out as many different graphic design apps and apps as possible. 

In time, this will help you create stunning digital art quickly and efficiently, and you will be able to express yourself in distinctive new ways.

2. Learn through YouTube video tutorials

Alternatively, you might look to learn through YouTube video tutorials. There are tons of great YouTube channels where you can learn everything you need to know about graphic design from experienced tutors. 

Here are some of the most popular channels with a wealth of information to help you sharpen your design skills:

This channel regularly uploads videos centered around the Adobe Creative Suite and motion graphics.

Here, you will find plenty of informative tutorials to help you improve your day-to-day design tasks.

This channel is filled with a lot of professionally shot tutorials for creating different types of logos and icon designs.

On this channel, you’ll find a lot of videos, quick tips, and tricks for Photoshop and Illustrator for designers of all skill levels.

3. Sign up for courses or classes online

You can also sign up for free or paid courses on sites like Skillshare and Udemy.

Here are a few examples of courses from Udemy that are designed to help you master graphic design and software by doing practical, real-world projects:

Learn what you need to know to break into the world of graphic design.

Lessons include how to create eBook Cover, Icon Set Design, Social Media Design, Digitizing Sketches, WordPress Web Design, GIFS, Adobe Xd, and more!

Project-Based Learning For Beginners: Learn Photoshop and Illustrator by creating posters and more.

These courses will teach you everything you need to become confident using your chosen graphic design software. 

You will create different types of visuals and bring all your visions to life with ease.

Whichever avenue you follow, the trick is to continually learn and practice your skills. That is the only way to grow as a graphic designer so you can get the most from your graphic design software.

Summary and Top Picks

Whether you are an amateur designer or a digital artist with years of experience and a site fully created with a website builder for artists, it’s crucial to choose the right tools if you want to bring out your creative flair.

This article contains my list of the best graphic design software options available to you right now. Regardless of your needs or budget, you’re sure to find something to suit your requirements.

Here are my most recommended picks:

  • Adobe Photoshop – Best all-around image and graphic design software ($20.99/month).
  • Adobe Illustrator – Reliable software best for vector editing and illustration ($20.99/month)
  • Adobe InDesign – Powerful software best for publication layout and design ($20.99/month).

A complete beginner on a tight budget might be better served using a tool like Canva, which is free and has a super-easy drag-and-drop editor. On the other hand, an experienced professional might require a well-built platform with advanced tools designed to multiply their talent exponentially.

Either way, this article has all the information you need to help you make the right choice for you.

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