Graphic design is becoming one of the trendiest occupations for solo talents to pursue. Whether you are a freelancer or just a person interested in getting started with a new pursuit, you’re going to need the right tools for the job. In the case of graphic design, this means you’re going to have to learn about some software.
Using the right software is an important part of being a graphic designer today. It’s an important tool that every designer needs because of the practical applications they offer. You can use graphic design software apps to:
- Make logos
- Design websites
- Edit photos
- Create illustrations
- Animate for videos and NFTs
Learning how to use graphic design software effectively can buy you time and help you pursue your design career much more professionally.
This list is going to introduce you to some of the best graphic design software that you can use. We selected these programs for reasons that include accessibility, pricing, and features. We’re going to discuss the reasons why we love the products, some potential drawbacks, and pricing options. With that said, let’s take a look at the best graphic design software options we have out there.
Piktochart is a great tool to use for those looking for something simple and intuitive to use. This program offers effective solutions to individuals as well as businesses looking to improve the effectiveness of their visual media. It does this by offering a wide selection of templates that are easy to use and can be adapted for multiple purposes.
In all, Piktochart is a great versatile tool to use if you need to develop some effective visuals suitable for various platforms.
However, that ease of use is also a bit of a drawback. While great for people who want simplicity, it might feel restrictive for those who want more functions or tools to develop their own media. And while it does offer a free mode, the features are a bit limited compared to other available options.
Piktochart offers the following pricing options:
- A free version with limited features
- Pro version for $14.00/month
- Enterprise version for teams of 25+ with custom pricing options
- Education and nonprofit plans with special discounts
Pixlr is a design software program that couples ease of use with some of the best photo editing features that you can find. Pixlr offers several features that make it easier to start using the program and quickly create high-quality content. Some of these features are:
- A wide selection of templates
- A collage maker
- AI tools that allow quick and professional editing
There are some drawbacks to using Pixlr revolving around its limitations. For example, it lacks some key features that other competitors offer. Some of the features that are offered are also available in higher quality on other platforms.
Pixlr has three pricing options available to users:
- A free version of the product with limited features
- Premium version for $7.99/month ($4.90/month with a yearly plan)
- Creative Pack for $14.99/month ($29.99/month with a yearly plan)
Corel offers several state-of-the-art features and programs that produce great content. It offers great tools and resources such as:
- An online digital library that contains content accessible to all users
- Tons of images and videos as well as professional templates
- High compatibility with different file and image types, giving you a wider variety of material to work with
- Fully customizable tools and UI that you can shape to fit your needs.
CorelDraw does have its faults, however. While its customizable UI and expansive list of features is a benefit for experienced designers, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the options. It is also a more expensive program, that although offers flexible payment options, can also be confusing.
Corel offers several different services that can be specially selected as well as content packs. This makes placing a price range on the products difficult. It offers:
- 15 day free trial
- Full product for $499 (prices vary by region)
- Annual subscription for $249, which comes up to around $21/month
Xara Designer Pro offers a robust system for editing and creating visual content ranging from web design to photo editing. The primary strength that Xara offers is its powerful tools:
- “Direct Action Tools” give you a bevy of options to create and edit the content in almost any fashion you can imagine
- A great drag and drop feature that makes executing commands simpler
- Compatible with various file types and connected to extensions like Dropbox and Google Drive
With all these heavy-duty options and features, however, come some drawbacks. In particular, it can be a bit overwhelming to have to learn how to use all these features. A steep learning curve might turn away some who aren’t as technically experienced in using programs. Another potential snag is that Xara is currently only available on Windows, so it’s not compatible with those who work on other systems.
Xara offers 3 products with different pricing options:
- A free version with some limited features/functions
- Pro for $12.95/month
- Pro+ with some expanded features for $16.95/month
Sketch is a software program that is optimized for those who are looking to design and edit websites, apps, and UI. Its features also make it great for designing content to be displayed on mobile devices. Sketch also offers several template designs and customizable plug-ins that give you better control over your work. It gives you all this at a very affordable price.
Sketch does have a few problems though. Because it’s a relatively new product, it lacks some of the polish of more established brands. This can be seen in a lack of certain tools for features such as illustration. It is also only available for MacOS, so Windows and Linux users are out of luck.
Sketch offers 2 subscription options:
- Standard option that comes with a free trial and costs $9/month
- Business option that is customizable depending on your needs
Affinity Designer is a great alternative for any graphic designer that is tired of constantly having to deal with the pain of handling subscriptions. It offers fast and complete design software that covers all of your basic requirements for a one-time cost of $54.99. The tools and rich options available on desktop devices can also be ported onto your iPad with a special program as well.
Affinity Designer’s biggest drawbacks lie in that it does not offer a comprehensive list of features that some of its competitors have. Some of these are very technical and might not be as big of an issue for people who value simplicity, but some technical issues are present such as the lack of vector pattern tools.
Affinity Designer has different products that suit your specific needs but are all available for a one-time price of $54.99. There is also a plan that you can use on your iPad for $9.99, but it lacks some of the features.
Gravit Designer is a high-quality design program that aims to deliver you the best available imaging software to use when creating or editing visual content. It offers a plethora of technical features to give you the best tools for the job. It offers features such as:
- A great selection of templates for specific media like social media platforms
- Tools such as bezigon or lasso for additional ways to execute your vision
- Systems in place for intuitively creating websites and designs.
Gravit Designer has a lot of tricks up its sleeve to help shape up your designs into the content you want.
With all these options, however, come some potential shortcomings. To put it simply, there’s a lot to figure out, and even for people with some experience with using graphic design programs, it can be a bit tricky to pick it up. It also, unfortunately, lacks a real-time collaboration feature for people who work together in teams.
Gravit Designer offers 2 versions:
- A limited free package
- Gravit Designer Pro which is the full version and costs $49.99 for a yearly subscription
Inkscape is a free graphic design program that makes great use of vector tools that rival pricier options. Inkscape specializes in grade-A vector-based tools that give you the ability to create crisp and clear visuals. It’s also compatible with different image formats. Finally, it is also customizable via the use of file extensions according to your needs. Free and approachable, it’s the perfect graphic design software for beginners.
Inkscape’s biggest drawback is that it is simply not as powerful as some of the other options that you would find on this list. It does not process as quickly as its competitors can, and it lacks some of the touch or polish that more established options would have, with there being some occasional bugs.
Inkscape is an open-source platform and a completely free graphic design software.
Keep an eye on this article, since we will be revisiting and updating it in the future as new and improved graphic design software emerges! You can also subscribe to our weekly digests for useful guides and articles similar to this one by becoming a Ruuler.