The Best Graphic Design Software of 2022 (Free & Paid)

When it comes to developing high-quality graphics and designs, using the correct graphic design software is crucial. The finest graphic design software can help you achieve your goals in a variety of ways, from producing logos and graphics to picture editing and site design.

Professional graphic design tools used to be restricted to only a few options for designers.

Now that the field is leveled, designers have a wide selection of design tool alternatives to pick from, including open-source platforms.

Graphic design software is no longer restricted to PC or Mac operating systems. Many of them feature iOS and Android mobile apps, as well as Linux and Chrome OS compatibility.

What is the Best Graphic Design Software?

To begin, consider the program that is most likely to appeal to professional designers and artists. Premium software has a financial impact, but it also includes a broader set of features designed exclusively for professionals. If you’re creating material for a new website and can’t afford to skimp on quality, the commercial tools listed below could be appropriate for you.


1. Adobe Photoshop

Best overall & best for professionals

Pros:
  • An ever-improving interface
  • Rich range of tools
  • Highly customizable
  • Efficient file management
Cons:
  • Steep learning curve for beginners
  • Less support for vector graphics

Key Features:

  • Advanced photo editing: Retouch, replace, and remix your photos with movable objects, powerful editing tools, and smart features for effects.
  • Simple control: Transform photos and illustrations with one-click selections, unlimited layers, and easy masking.
  • Thousands of customized brushes: Create any texture or design you can imagine with the world’s largest collection of brushes.
  • Preset syncing: Set your preferences on any device, so you can work on projects on your laptop, desktop, tablet, and more.
  • Collaboration: Work with others on the same Photoshop designs, with a handy “sharing” tab.
  • Learn the ropes: Access tons of tutorials, videos, and knowledgebase articles to help you master Photoshop.
  • Creative cloud: Access everything from content-aware crop, to artboards, face-aware liquify, design space views, synced libraries and more on the creative cloud.

What I Like/Dislike About Adobe Photoshop:

Like:

  • It offers a complimentary mobile application
  • Its slick user interface offers a lot of assistance for easy use
  • Got a rich set of typography and drawing tools
  • Comes loaded with 3D design capabilities
  • Offers a library and photo management with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Efficient file transfer between different programs
  • Multiple design tools come with responsive graphics
  • Ability to edit animation and video layers
  • Users can define the size of the canvas, create custom brushes, work in 3D, isolate elements from backgrounds, among others.

Dislike:

  • Adobe now offers Photoshop along with the subscription of Creative Cloud. The recurring payment turns out to be more costly, and people who want to buy software forever don’t have the option to buy a perpetual license
  • A plethora of features might overwhelm a new user
  • Offers lessor support for raster and vector images like SVG files

Photoshop Pricing:

Adobe Photoshop is available as a single app subscription for $20.99 per month, or you can access the full creative cloud for more functionality.

Get started with Adobe Photoshop today.


2. Visme

Best for infographics

visme homepage eng

Visme is an online graphic design application that aids in the creation of visuals for presentations. You may make anything from infographics to charts and graphs to social media posts that are interesting. The best aspect is that you don’t need any design knowledge because the platform is user-friendly, simple to use, and walks you through the whole design process.

Visme also provides a number of templates that you may use to quickly design your graphics. The templates are organized by industry, so you’ll be able to choose one that fits your needs. If you need some ideas, look through the Visme Gallery to see what other people have made.

Key Features:

  • Fantastic flow-chart creation tool
  • Great set of integrations with marketing tools
  • Robust real-time collaboration features
  • Attractive, pre-made data visualization widgets
  • Visme Gallery to get inspired and speed up design process

What we like:

  • Easy to use
  • Wide variety of features and templates
  • Great for creating visual presentations that stand out

What we dislike:

  • Slightly more expensive than other online graphic design tools
  • Lower-priced plans are a bit restrictive
  • Does not support guest collaborators

Visme Pricing:

Visme has both a free and a premium plan. The free plan offers you access to the majority of the services, but only 100MB of storage and a restricted number of templates. The premium plan starts at $12.25 per month (billed yearly) and includes unlimited templates and storage.

Collaboration capabilities, the ability to download files in a variety of other formats, and more storage are all included in the more costly Business and Enterprise subscriptions.


3. Adobe Illustrator

Best for vector illustration

When it comes to design, Adobe understands what they’re doing. For illustration, Adobe Illustrator is the go-to program. This is the product for you if you’re establishing a new logo for your website or constructing a website with a fun, informal atmosphere.

Additionally, all of your designs are 100% scalable to any size.

Key Features:

  • Adobe Illustrator bends to meet your demands with exceptional adaptability. There’s no need to worry if you need to transfer devices because you can access preset layouts and preserve all of your work in the cloud.
  • Adobe’s Illustrator program has been enhanced with artificial intelligence, and we’re not just talking about simple in-panel editing. Adobe Sensei can extract certain hues from a photo and incorporate them into your image automatically.
  • Versatility: As previously said, you may generate graphics of any size here. We’re talking about large billboard-style drawings or little app embellishments. The system may also run on a variety of operating systems.
  • Adobe’s Creative Cloud link: You may connect Illustrator to other Adobe Creative Cloud capabilities to gain access to features in Photoshop and other related programs. With the complete cloud, you’ll have access to more standard templates and visuals.

What we like:

  • Adobe Illustrator has an intuitive interface that feels like it was designed to make your life simpler. With a single click, you may develop comprehensive patterns and employ AI advancements to change your project. It’s sleek and well-designed.
  • Cloud collaboration: Illustrator, like other Adobe products, is all about collaboration. You can keep your works on the cloud, share them with your colleagues, and collaborate on everything.
  • Customer support: In addition to providing a wonderful user interface, Adobe also guarantees that you get the most out of your service by providing guides and lessons.

What we dislike:

  • It’s a pretty chunky application that requires a lot of bandwidth
  • Costs a lot more than some basic vector and illustration options

Adobe Illustrator Pricing:

Available at a price of $9.99 for personal use, or $33.99 for enterprise use. You can also get it as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.


4. Corel Draw

Best for digital illustration

CorelDraw has all the functionality you’ll need to create professional-looking graphics, logos, and marketing materials. It’s a fantastic application for anyone interested in creating vector drawings. CorelDraw is a must-have program if graphic design is a part of your job.

There are a number of other tools, such as progressive picture editing and better color substitution, that are useful for adding your brand colors to material.

Key Features:

  • Content exchange: One of the most interesting aspects of Corel Draw is the community experience. When you join up, you’ll have access to a digital library with thousands of photographs, graphics, themes, typefaces, and interactive frames.
  • Collaboration: By bringing your team members closer together, Corel Draw guarantees you don’t squander time on complicated tasks. It’s simple to collaborate on projects and annotate them in real time. There’s also a search tool in the comments area.
  • Vector illustration: As previously said, Corel Draw is a major player in the vector and illustration world. Create a variety of shapes and lines with ease, and utilize effects like mix and contour to bring your ideas to life.
  • Adobe’s Creative Cloud link: You may connect Illustrator to other Adobe Creative Cloud capabilities to gain access to features in Photoshop and other related programs. With the complete cloud, you’ll have access to more standard templates and visuals.

What I Like/Dislike About CorelDraw Graphics Suite:

Like:

  • It offers app-wide workflow and under-the-hood innovation and performance enhancements to boost productivity
  • Works perfectly without any lag with Surface Pen
  • Users get the option to choose GPU acceleration over the default CPU while working with system-intensive sophisticated vector graphics
  • Smooth transition from desktop to tablet mode to leverage touch features
  • It offers better EPS and third-party PDF importing capabilities and leverages with their 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 old FreeHand files

Dislike:

  • Unlike Adobe, there are no complimentary mobile applications offered by Corel
  • Two many payment options might confuse the user
  • Not easy to operate for beginners

Corel Draw Pricing:

A 15-day free trial of CorelDraw is available. The complete edition costs $499 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You may also pay $249 for an annual subscription, which is only $20.75 per month.


5. Adobe InDesign.

Best for digital publications

I recommend Adobe InDesign to publishers that want to develop visually attractive and functional products. InDesign is a wonderful software for individuals who wish to generate attractive layouts for published works rapidly, and it has a smaller learning curve than Photoshop.

Key Features:

  • Easy access to stock imagery: Included in the bundle is a plethora of royalty-free content for your ebook, magazine, or other digital project.
  • Collaborate: Share material and feedback on the designs you create with your team. You may share your work in a matter of seconds and annotate each PDF.
  • A variety of formats are available: Create your own template based on what seems right to you. eBooks and online documents that integrate text with video, music, and animation are supported by InDesign.
  • Adobe is continually improving its feature set in order to provide the greatest presentations. You may quickly identify a certain color and utilize subject-aware text wrapping to prevent difficulties with clarity.
  • Adobe fonts: To make your material stand out, InDesign will automatically identify and activate all of the available Adobe fonts in your library.

What we like:

  • Adobe InDesign is far more user-friendly than other Adobe applications like as Photoshop. Tags, anchor text frames, tables, captions, and other features may be easily added to your publication.
  • HTML exporting is available from Adobe, allowing you to effortlessly exchange simple code with your colleagues during the web development process. You’ll also receive built-in features to help you get rid of DIV tags that aren’t essential for your code.
  • Because this program is the industry standard for publishing, you’ll be able to discover lots of forum support and assistance to get you started.
  • Connections to the Creative Cloud: If you want to, you may use InDesign and Photoshop at the same time, along with other Creative Cloud programs.

We don’t like:

  • This is a product designed for people who know how to build publications
  • Quite expensive compared to other products
  • PDF comment integration is a little clunky in places

Adobe InDesign Pricing:

For $20.99 per month, InDesign is available as a subscription service. Subscriptions to the full creative cloud cost $52.99 per month.


6. Affinity Designer.

Affinitty Drawing

Most people think of Affinity as the less expensive version of Illustrator. It’s simple to understand why. There’s a lot of features to play around with, like fast color swatching and a grid system to guarantee you’re producing your drawings at the appropriate scale, just like in Illustrator. The “snap” option in Affinity is similar to Illustrator’s and allows you to lock items in place.

Key Features:

  • Works anywhere: Affinity works with Mac, iPad, Windows, and other operating systems, so you can design wherever you like.
  • Grid and snapping: Create a grid system to help you make the most of your angles and spacing or create a more intuitive layout. Snapping ensure you can lock products into position.
  • Multiple environments: You can work in both pixel and vector art environments without having to jump between applications.
  • Workflow tools: This is a product designed for productivity. You get access to a ton of features like saveable histories and keyboard shortcuts.

What we like:

  • Lightweight speed: Unlike Illustrator, Affinity doesn’t take up a huge amount of space on your computer. You can pan and zoom at 60FPS, access live previews and enjoy features with smooth speed.
  • Flexibility: Make designs as simple or complex as you like. The Affinity Designer has an engine that can genuinely handle hundreds of objects with no lag. The company advertises “thousands”, but we didn’t put that to the test.
  • Live outlines and grids: It’s easy to create accurate designs when you can create live outlines and grids to suit you.

What we dislike:

  • Some limitations on your exporting options for files (no AI)
  • No artificial intelligence enhancements like with Illustrator

Affinity Pricing:

A one-time fee of $49.99 is all you need to pay.

Best Graphic Design Software for Beginners

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