35 Best Graphic Design Software

35 Best Graphic Design Software

13min read  

11 Mar 2021

Every artist will agree that the right tools are imperative to their craft. While traditional painters need a canvas, specific brushes, acrylics, and oils, the only thing a digital artist needs is suitable design software.

The right graphic design software will convey your vision as smoothly and effectively as possible. So it’s worth your time to search for the right tool.

Whether you’re a novice or freelance designer, have a big budget or none, you’ll find software options that will match your expertise level and objectives. We have gathered a list of the best graphic design software, photo editors, and infographic makers to help you find your ideal program quicker.

Let’s start exploring!

 

Online Graphic Design Software

 

Renderforest logo

  1. Renderforest Graphic Maker

Being recently launched, Renderforest Graphic Maker is an online platform for quick and effortless graphic creation. Here, you’ll find an ever-expanding library of templates that can be customized with a few clicks.

It's an excellent option for creating polished graphics on the go, even if you lack professional design skills.

The platform is cloud-based so that you can access your designs from any device. An iOS app is also available, with the Android version coming soon. The free plan gives you unlimited exports but limited designs, while the flexible subscription plans, starting at $6.99 per month, offer premium designs, full color customization, and link-sharing options.

 

Vecteezy logo

  1. Vecteezy Editor

Vecteezy is a browser-based vector-editing software. The tool is quite simple and requires no special skill set. You can either customize existing vector designs or create your own. The only supported format, however, is SVG. 

The tool offers complex transitions, keyboard shortcuts, and other features you might find helpful in your designing process. While it’s not the most advanced graphic design software out there, it’s a competent tool for quick editing.

You can use the program for free or pay for more perks and benefits like unlimited downloads, access to vector artwork libraries, and ad-free editing. A yearly subscription will cost you $9/mo, while a monthly one will be $14.

 

Pixlr logo

  1. Pixlr

Pixlr is a well-equipped photo and graphic design editor accessible on the web and mobile. Desktop apps will soon be available for subscribed users. It’s a powerful photo editor to boost images with built-in effects, overlays, and filters.

Pixlr has two apps: Pixlr X and Pixlr E. The difference between them is that the former is beginner-friendly with no learning curve, while the latter is a more sophisticated tool with layers, brush controls, cloning, and filters. The essential editing tools are available for free. To unlock more features like an AI background remover, you’ll have to switch to one of the two paid plans at $4.90 and $14.99/mo.

 

Canva logo

  1. Canva

Perhaps, Canva is the most popular online graphic design platform among its counterparts. The tool is well known for its simple, drag-and-drop editor and versatile templates. Though, you can opt for a blank canvas if templates are not what you’re looking for. The software is packed with many fonts, icons, colors, and other design elements.

Canva can also be found as a mobile app. It’s a solid choice for individuals and small companies that need quick and pain-free creation. Use Canva for free or purchase a plan to access more templates, stock footage, and cloud storage. Pricing starts at $12.95/mo and goes up along with the size of your team.

 

Sumopaint logo

  1. Sumopaint

Sumopaint is an in-browser drawing tool and image editor that provides a wide choice of design tools such as brushes, text elements, unique effects, and anything else you’ll need to manipulate a photo or draw. The online app is free, but a downloadable version is available for Pro ($9/mo) and Edu ($19/mo) members.

Another Sumo app that might avail graphic designers is Sumophoto. As suggested by the name, the software is more attuned to photo editing, so expect to find more adjustments tools, filters, and effects here. The interface is fairly simple and, therefore, suitable for newbies.

 

Visme logo

  1. Visme

If you’re searching for more online options with a straightforward editor, you’re in luck because Visme certainly fits the criteria. With a platform that’s easy to navigate, Visme is a great solution for non-professionals. The software offers interactive flowcharts, icons, and other widgets to help visualize data with a few quick edits. 

The categories of ready-made layouts range from presentations and infographics to social media graphics. Premium templates come at a cost, along with more storage space and third-party integrations. Pricing starts at $15 per month, and you also have an opportunity for a custom plan.

 

Gravit Klex logo

  1. Gravit Klex

Klex is a free graphic design software with a simplified toolset that’s accessible to beginners and can also meet the needs of professionals. The pre-designed templates make it faster and simpler to create graphics for businesses, blogs, social media, and other projects. 

You’ll find multiple effects and filters, fonts, gradient fills, as well as stickers and stock images. The more advanced features allow you to recolor images, manage shadows and saturation, and add your watermark to the designs.

All the features are free to use, but you’ll be required to create an account in order to enter Gravit Cloud.

 

PixTeller logo

  1. PixTeller

PixTeller is a versatile program that handles both photo editing and animation making. The design tool’s easy-to-use interface doesn’t demand any prior experience or knowledge. You have an option to create a project from scratch or use preset layouts to ease your job. 

The supported export formats are PNG, JPG, and PDF. You can get started with PixTeller for free, then upgrade to either of the two plans — Pro ($7/mo) and Diamond ($12/mo). The first one gives you a license for the graphic tool, while the second one also includes the animation maker.

 

Design Wizard logo

  1. Design Wizard

Design Wizard is an image and video editor that aims to simplify the creation of both. It has a broad spectrum of templates for business and personal use. This is a great choice if you want to customize a ready-made layout quickly, but the minimalized design tools won’t give you advanced features and control over the finer details.

The software integrates with HubSpot, Buffer, Intercom, and Marketo, making it easy to schedule or share your content. With the free Basic plan, you can pay as you go for downloads. Otherwise, you can join the Pro or Business plans at the cost of $9.99 and $49.99 per month, respectively.

 

Snappa logo

  1. Snappa

Snappa has managed to build a good reputation for itself as a quick and simple graphic design software. It gives you presets in your preferred image dimensions, unlimited stock photos, a background removal tool, effects, vectors, and shapes.

The free version limits you to three downloads per month, but you can unlock more downloads and features at $10/mo and enable team collaboration at $20/mo.

 

BeFunky logo

  1. BeFunky

BeFunky is designed to meet everyone’s essential photo-editing needs with its online photo editor, collage maker, and graphic designer. The latter introduces a plethora of templates ready to be customized, but you can go for a  blank canvas to assemble your graphic from zero.

The basic editing tools and templates are available for free, but you can purchase more features like object and background removal, art effects, touchup tools, and more. The pricing is quite affordable at $6.99 per month, and it reduces to $4.99/mo if billed annually.

 

DesignBold logo

  1. DesignBold

If you’re not into heavy editing and wish to create professional-looking graphics without much effort, DesignBold is a suitable option for you. The template-based graphic software gives you over 10000 layouts, even with the free version. But if you find those are still not enough, you can access additional 4000+ premium templates and a few other perks with the Pro membership plan at $7.99/mo.

 

Stencil logo

  1. Stencil

Stencil is a social media graphic maker that allows for a speedy and foolproof editing process, social sharing, and post scheduling. The graphic maker’s close integration with Buffer enables users to instantly schedule their designs for posting.

Stencil’s huge library of 5,000,000 royalty-free images is fully provided by its partners — Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels. So expect no shortage of high-quality stock photos. The graphic design software is available both for free and with a charge. Pricing begins at $9/mo.

 

Desktop Graphic Design Software

 

Gravit Designer logo

  1. Gravit Designer

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS

Gravit Designer is comprehensive graphic design software for vector art. It runs with the same engine as its online sister Gravit Klex but is significantly more powerful. The app is perfectly capable of handling professional graphic design projects, but novices can benefit from it just as much, thanks to the tool’s easy navigation.

Gravit Designer integrates well with all the standard operating systems. It’s available for free, but you’ll have to purchase a plan for unlimited cloud storage, offline editing, version history, and other benefits. A yearly subscription will cost you $49.

 

Inkscape logo

  1. Inkscape

Operating system: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Inkscape is a vector graphic editor packed with flexible design tools and functionalities. The user interface might take some getting used to, but it’s worth it if you want advanced features that might be missing in some of the web-based applications. Object creation and manipulation, cloning, mesh gradients, and bitmap tracing are just a few of the features.

Your HTML knowledge can also come in handy, as the program allows changes directly in the source code. Did we mention that Inkscape is entirely free?

 

Adobe Illustrator logo

  1. Adobe Illustrator

Operating system: Windows, macOS

Adobe Illustrator is undoubtedly one of the most recognized vector design software, and rightfully so. The full-featured tool has it all to help you create complex illustrations like logos and artwork. With the highly customizable user interface and ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, your workflow efficiency will be at its peak.

On the downside, those new to the Adobe systems might find that the software requires a steep learning curve. However, beginners can make use of the templates offered by Adobe Illustrator, while more experienced creators will be able to control every aspect of their work.

You’re free to design offline with no worries, as your files will automatically be synced to Adobe Creative Cloud.

 

Adebe Photohop logo

  1. Adobe Photoshop

Operating system: Windows, macOS

In the graphic design world, Adobe Photoshop hardly needs any introduction. It has become the industry benchmark and the go-to tool for most digital artists. Apart from a customizable user interface, Photoshop offers an all-inclusive toolset for photo manipulation, 3D art, typography, and even animation. 

Object isolation, path editing, and a plethora of art brushes are just a few of the perks you can expect to find on Photoshop. The advanced drawing tools will help you create smooth illustrations down to pixel level.

Being a rightful member of Adobe Creative Cloud, Photoshop is often compared to Adobe Illustrator. The most obvious difference is that Photoshop is raster-based, unlike Illustrator. Photoshop is best suited for editing photos to perfection, while Illustrator is a better choice if you’re looking to create art from scratch.

Photoshop has a few subscription plans; the most inexpensive option is the Photography plan at $9.99/mo, and the price goes up from there.

 

Adobe InDesign logo

  1. Adobe InDesign

Operating system: Windows, macOS

Ready to talk about yet another member of the Adobe Creative Cloud family? We hope you are because Adobe InDesign is a must-have for professionals in the print industry. The graphic design software helps design clean layouts for magazines, book covers, flyers, postcards, and the like. 

It’s a less demanding Adobe product with a much lower learning curve. InDesign is great for combining text with graphics, but it’s not the most potent app when it comes to manipulating photos due to its limited editing tools.

The program is on the pricier side at $20.99 per month for the Single App plan. Just like with all its products, Adobe offers a 7-day free trial to experience the app and see whether it’s right for you.

 

Vectr logo

  1. Vectr

Operating system: Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

Vectr is free graphic design software for vector art, as the name has already given it away. It’s a competitive tool for working with 2D graphics. Designers can find filters, shadows, and all the basic functionalities they’ll need in the process of creating graphics. Vectr can also be used as a web app.

The tool allows real-time team collaboration via unique project links. The dashboard is not as busy as that of the Adobe Creative Cloud apps, but step-by-step tutorials are still available on their website in case you need some guidance.

 

GIMP logo

  1. GIMP

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a great open-source program with impressive, enhanced features. The graphic design software caters to visual artists of all skill levels thanks to its clean and intuitive interface and top-notch design toolkit.

The features include color correction, cloning, painting brushes, high-level enhancement settings, just to name a few. GIMP works with all the widespread file formats.

 

CorelDraw logo

  1. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

Operating system: Windows

Want to combine a simple user interface with a high-level toolset? CorelDRAW has done it! The powerful graphic editor comes with pre-made templates, frames, 600+ gradients, 1000 fonts, 48 export formats, and other high-level features. The software only runs on Windows.

CorelDRAW might not be the most beginner-friendly platform, but it’s a great fit for professional use. A 15-day free trial is available, though you’ll have to transition to a subscription plan to keep using the program. An annual plan ($399.00/year) and a one-time purchase ($785.00) are available.

 

Corel PaintShop logo

  1. Corel PaintShop Pro

Operating system: Windows

This Corel product comes from the same developer, but it focuses explicitly on photo editing. The flexible editor supports both vector and raster graphics as well as multiple import and export formats. Various plugins are available, so you can easily align the program with your workflow.

You get a 30-day free trial before making a purchase for $79.99 (or $59.99 if you’re upgrading from any previous version).

 

Creately logo

  1. Creately

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux

Creately is a platform to make visual designs, brainstorm, and collaborate in real-time. It has an array of templates categorized into marketing, product, strategy, education, and other groups. The tool doesn’t give you endless artistic freedom, but it’s handy for creating flowcharts, infographics, storyboards, and other business diagrams.

An online cloud edition of the software is available if you don’t wish to download the app. You’re allowed to create up to three documents with the free version; otherwise, you can subscribe to one of their pricing plans starting at $4.95/mo.

 

Krita logo

  1. Krita

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS

Krita is a raster graphics editor and painting program launched by a group of artists who wanted to make digital painting accessible to everyone. The tool is quite easy to adapt to, yet it delivers a broad range of professional drawing tools.

The software is free to use, but you can make one-time or monthly donations to support the creators.

 

Affinity Designer logo

  1. Affinity Designer

Operating system: Windows, macOS

Affinity Designer is a professional vector and raster graphic maker offering a rich toolset to create art, prints, logos, icons, UI designs, and more. Expect advanced color correction, curve manipulation, and live pixel preview.

The sturdy engine is able to handle heavy documents without lagging. The intricate grid system, alignment guides, and zooming options will guarantee sharp accuracy for your designs. The tool is budget-friendly and works on a one-time purchase basis. A lifetime license for Windows and Mac costs $49.99.

 

Graphic logo

  1. Graphic

Operating system: macOS

Graphic is a vector drawing and illustration software that runs on Apple devices. The application was designed with simplicity and usability in mind to provide an intuitive creating process. You can freely import and export SVG, PDF, and PSD documents.

The sophisticated drawing tools, shape libraries, and effects will enable you to create high-definition graphics, mockups, and UI designs. You can also save and reapply certain styles to quicken the editing process. Graphic is available on the App Store for $29.99.

 

Xara logo

  1. Xara Designer Pro+

Operating system: Windows

Xara Designer Pro is a versatile tool that handles desktop publishing, photo editing, and illustration creation. Pro+ is the latest version of the software that came out in February 2021. The program edits both bitmap and vector graphics. 

It’s available on Windows as a downloadable app, but you can edit your documents online and work collaboratively in Xara Cloud. A lighter alternative to Designer Pro is Xara Photo & Graphic Designer.

Xara offers its cloud services for free, but the desktop application and advanced features can be unlocked with the Pro+ plan at $16.95/mo.

 

Paint.NET logo

  1. Paint.NET

Operating system: Windows

Paint.NET is a free Windows photo editor and a more powerful alternative to Microsoft Paint. The software has support for layers, blending, special effects, and plugins. You can get access to the available plugins through their forum. The program doesn’t cost any money, but donations are accepted on their website.

 

Sketch logo

  1. Sketch

Operating system: macOS

This native macOS vector graphics editor is a trusted tool for many UX/UI designers. Users can customize the shortcuts and add plugins and integrations to optimize the program for their needs. Creators can work with a team of collaborators.

For individuals, a pay-once license will cost $99, while teams will be charged $9 per contributor. A 30-day free trial is available.

 

ArtRage logo

  1. ArtRage

Operating system: Windows, macOS

ArtRage is a bitmap graphics software with specialized painting tools to help creatives make any type of digital art. The versatile drawing kit and simple navigation make ArtRage a suitable tool not only for professionals but also for anyone just getting started with graphic design.

The software is compatible with iOS and Android phones as well. For desktop, ArtRage can be purchased for $79. However, if you don’t need an extensive toolset, you can go for the ArtRage Lite version, available for $29.90.

 

3D Graphic Design Software

 

Sumo3D logo

  1. Sumo3D

Sumo3D is an online editing tool for creating 3D models, objects, and animations. The design app comes packed with a rich library of 3D meshes, colors, and textures. You’re free to add code to tweak your 3D creations just how you like them.

Sumo3D is free to use online, but you can download the app and get access to other Sumo products by subscribing to their Pro plan for $9 per month.

 

Blender logo

  1. Blender

Blender is an open-source 3D content creation platform and is one of the best of its kind. With this tool, you can enjoy a plethora of modeling tools, sophisticated brushes, photorealistic renders, and python scripting options.

As Blender is free, monthly or one-time donations are encouraged. You can also become a Blender Cloud member at $11.50/month to receive tutorials, assets, and extra tools.

 

Clara.io logo

  1. Clara.io

Clara.io is a web-based free graphic design software best known for 3D modeling. The platform provides high rendering quality, a complete 3D toolset, and team collaboration. As powerful as it is, the free version only gives you 2GB of storage and one hour of rendering time each month. To go over the limits, you can subscribe to one of their plans, starting at just $10/mo.

 

Paint3D logo

  1. Paint3D

If you want to experiment with 3D models or 2D sketches and have a Windows-powered device, Paint3D is a great option for you. It’s an enhanced version of Microsoft Paint with a modernized interface and expanded toolset. The program comes as a built-in, free application on Windows 10 computers.

 

 

Daz Studio logo

  1. Daz Studio

You can create high-quality 3D images and videos with Daz Studio — a free 3D art creation platform developed for Windows and macOS. The application allows users to create super detailed characters and scenes, adjust the lighting and camera angles, and achieve highly realistic results.

 

 

There you have our list of the best graphic design software for artists, amateurs, and everyone in between. Regardless of how far your budget can stretch, there are plenty of software options that can meet your requirements and experience level. Happy designing!

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