best graphic design software

Best 25 Graphic Design Software in 2024 – Free and Paid

Graphic design is an essential component of modern marketing. It includes branding and visual communication. However,  you need the right tools to create stunning visuals. At present, there are plenty of free and paid graphic design software available in the market that offers a wide range of options for both beginners and professionals. Here in this article, we have listed the best graphic design software for seasoned designers or just beginners along with answering some frequently asked questions.

Read: Best Online Graphic Design Courses

What is Graphic Design Software?

Graphic design software is a category of computer programs used to create visual content. It includes such as images, illustrations, logos, web designs, and more. These tools help designers and artists develop graphics, text, and various elements to produce creative and professional visuals.

List of 25 Graphic Design Software

1. Adobe Creative Cloud Suite

Adobe Creative Cloud is a comprehensive suite of software applications and services for various creative purposes. It includes tools like Photoshop for image editing, Illustrator for vector graphics, and InDesign for desktop publishing. Adobe Creative Cloud remains the gold standard in graphic design and is a one-stop shop for professionals. It is a subscription-based platform.

Pros:

  • Industry-standard software for professionals.
  • A wide range of applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more.
  • Seamless integration between software.

Cons:

  • Subscription-based pricing can be expensive for some.
  • The steeper learning curve for beginners.

2. Canva

Canva is perfect for beginners and small businesses. It is a user-friendly graphic design platform that allows individuals and businesses to create a wide range of visual content. It includes social media graphics, marketing materials, presentations, and posters. Canva is known for its simplicity and accessibility, making design tasks more approachable for people with limited design experience.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Offers both free and paid versions.
  • A vast library of templates and stock images.

Cons:

  • Limited functionality compared to professional software.
  • Watermark on free version’s exports.

3. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a professional graphic design software developed by Serif for vector illustration, UI/UX design, print work, branding, and other creative tasks. It is known for its robust feature set, performance, and affordability, making it a popular cost-effective alternative to Adobe Illustrator. H

Pros:

  • Affordable one-time purchase.
  • Robust vector graphic capabilities.
  • Supports both raster and vector design.

Cons:

  • Smaller community and resources compared to Adobe.

4. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

CorelDRAW has been a staple in the graphic design world for years. It is known for its vector editing capabilities and is a powerful choice for professionals.

Pros:

  • A comprehensive suite of graphic design tools.
  • Supports advanced vector editing.
  • Great for both print and web design.

Cons:

  • The interface may feel dated to some users.
  • Not as widely used as Adobe software.

5. Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer is a versatile graphic design tool that works on various platforms. While it may lack some of the advanced features of premium software, it’s a great option for those on a budget.

Pros:

  • Free and paid versions are available.
  • Browser-based and downloadable versions.
  • Cross-platform compatibility.

Cons:

  • Fewer advanced features compared to Adobe or CorelDRAW.

6. Inkscape

Inkscape is a powerful open-source vector graphics editor. It is an excellent choice for those who prefer free software without sacrificing essential design features.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source.
  • Robust vector graphic capabilities.
  • Active user community and tutorials.

Cons:

  • May have a steeper learning curve for beginners.
  • Limited CMYK support for print.

7. Sketch

Sketch is a Mac-exclusive tool tailored for web and app designers. It’s prized for its vector-based design capabilities and intuitive interface.

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for web and app design.
  • Vector-based, making it ideal for responsive design.
  • Robust plugin support.

Cons:

  • Limited compatibility with Windows (Mac-only).

8. Figma

Figma is a versatile cloud-based design tool that excels in collaborative work. It is widely used for web and app design, offering real-time collaboration and prototyping.

Pros:

  • Cloud-based, enabling collaborative design.
  • Suitable for web and app design.
  • Robust prototyping features.

Cons:

  • Limited offline functionality.

9. GIMP – Free Graphic Design Software

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful and free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. While it may not have all the advanced features of Photoshop, it’s an excellent choice for image editing.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source.
  • Extensive image editing capabilities.
  • Active community and plugin support.

Cons:

  • May not be as user-friendly as paid software.
  • Limited advanced print design features.

10. Vectr

Vectr is a beginner-friendly vector design software. It is straightforward to use and a great starting point for those new to graphic design.

Pros:

  • Free and user-friendly.
  • Suitable for vector design.
  • Online and desktop versions are available.

Cons:

  • Limited advanced features.

Read: Top Graphic Design Companies

11. Procreate

Procreate is a top choice for digital artists and illustrators. It provides an array of brushes and tools for creating stunning artwork.

Pros:

  • Designed for iPad and Apple Pencil, ideal for digital illustrators.
  • Powerful brush and painting tools.
  • Supports animation.

Cons:

  • Limited to iPad users.
  • Not suitable for complex vector graphics.

12. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is an excellent alternative to Photoshop. It focuses on advanced image editing.

Pros:

  • Affordable alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
  • Powerful image editing capabilities.
  • Non-destructive editing.

Cons:

  • Smaller user base compared to Photoshop.

13. Pixlr

Pixlr is a web-based photo editor. It is suitable for quick and simple edits.

Pros:

  • Free and web-based.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Offers basic photo editing features.

Cons:

  • Limited advanced features compared to premium software.

14. Krita

Krita is a versatile digital painting software. This design software has a strong focus on illustration.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source.
  • Designed for digital painting.
  • Supports animation.

Cons:

  • Focused on illustration, not suitable for print design.

15. Xara Designer Pro X

Xara Designer Pro X is an all-in-one design solution. It combines combines vector, photo, and web design tools.

Pros:

  • Advanced vector and photo editing capabilities.
  • Supports web design.
  • Offers a range of templates.

Cons:

  • Less known compared to Adobe and CorelDRAW.

16. Medibang Paint

Medibang Paint is a popular choice among comic and manga artists. It is equipped with specialized tools for creating comic visuals.

Pros:

  • Free and user-friendly.
  • Ideal for comic and manga artists.
  • Offers cloud storage and collaboration.

Cons:

  • Specialized in comic-style art.

17. Crello

Crello is an online graphic design tool that simplifies the design process. It is ideal for social media graphics and simple designs.

Pros:

  • User-friendly online design tool.
  • Offers templates for various design needs.
  • Suitable for social media graphics.

Cons:

  • Limited compared to more advanced software.

18. Designhill

Designhill is an online platform that specializes in graphic design services and creative solutions. It serves as a marketplace where businesses and individuals can connect with talented graphic designers and other creative professionals.

Pros:

  • User-friendly logo maker.
  • Access to a library of design elements.
  • Affordable logo design solution.

Cons:

  • Limited to logo design.

19. Vecteezy Editor

Vecteezy Editor is a web-based tool that allows users to create, edit, and customize vector graphics directly in their web browser. It is a versatile tool for vector graphic design and illustration.

Pros:

  • Free and online.
  • Offers access to Vecteezy’s extensive library of vector graphics.
  • User-friendly interface.

Cons:

  • Limited features compared to desktop software.

20. Blender

Blender is a powerful and versatile open-source 3D computer graphics software used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D models, and more. This software offers a powerful suite of tools for your creative projects.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source.
  • Powerful 3D modelling and animation software.
  • Extensive community and plugin support.

Cons:

  • Specialized for 3D work, not for 2D graphic design.

21. Adobe XD

Adobe XD is a specialized tool for designing websites and mobile apps with a focus on UX/UI.

Pros:

  • Ideal for user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design.
  • Prototyping capabilities.
  • Integrates well with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps.

Cons:

  • Subscription-based pricing.

Read: How to Start a Graphics Design Business

22. Autodesk SketchBook

Autodesk SketchBook is a versatile digital sketching tool available for various platforms.

Pros:

  • Free and user-friendly.
  • Great for digital sketching and drawing.
  • Cross-platform compatibility.

Cons:

  • Lacks some advanced features of premium software.

23. PaintShop Pro

PaintShop Pro is a budget-friendly photo editing software with a user-friendly interface.

Pros:

  • Affordable alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
  • Extensive photo editing features.
  • User-friendly interface.

Cons:

  • May not be as feature-rich as Photoshop.

24. Serif DrawPlus

Serif DrawPlus was a vector graphics editing software developed by Serif, a British software company. It was designed to create, edit, and manipulate vector graphics, making it suitable for various design and illustration tasks.

Pros:

  • Affordable vector design software.
  • Suitable for both beginners and intermediate designers.
  • Offers animation tools.

Cons:

  • Less advanced than Adobe Illustrator.

25. Scribus

Scribus is a desktop publishing software suitable for creating print materials like brochures, magazines, and flyers.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source.
  • Desktop publishing software for creating print materials.
  • Supports advanced typography.

Cons:

  • May have a steeper learning curve.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the best graphic design software for you depends on your specific needs and skill level. Adobe Creative Cloud remains the industry standard for professionals, while Canva and other user-friendly options cater to beginners and small businesses. Open-source software like Inkscape and GIMP are excellent choices for those on a budget. Whether you are creating illustrations, editing photos, or designing websites, there’s a tool for you in the diverse landscape of graphic design-related jobs.

More on Business Software:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential features to look for in graphic design software?

Essential features include a user-friendly interface, a wide range of design tools (e.g., brushes, fonts, shapes), support for vector and raster graphics, layer functionality, photo editing capabilities, and compatibility with common file formats.

Which graphic design software is best for beginners?

Graphic design software suitable for beginners includes Canva, Gravit Designer, and Crello. These tools offer user-friendly interfaces and a variety of templates to get started quickly.

What graphic design software is best for professional designers?

Professional designers often prefer Adobe Creative Cloud software, including Adobe Photoshop (for image editing), Adobe Illustrator (for vector design), and Adobe InDesign (for desktop publishing). CorelDRAW is another popular choice for professionals.

Are there free graphic design software options available?

Yes, there are free graphic design software options, such as GIMP, Inkscape, and Krita. These open-source tools provide powerful features without the cost of subscription-based software.

What is vector graphic design software?

Vector graphic design software, like Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW, focuses on creating graphics using vector shapes and paths. This allows for scalable and non-pixelated designs, making it ideal for logos and illustrations.

Can graphic design software be used for 3D design?

While most graphic design software focuses on 2D design, there are specialized 3D design tools like Blender and Autodesk Maya for creating three-dimensional models and animations.

How do I choose the right graphic design software for my needs?

Consider your specific design requirements, budget, and skill level. Evaluate software based on its features, ease of use, and compatibility with your operating system. Many software options offer free trials, so you can test them before committing.

What is the difference between raster and vector graphics in design software?

Raster graphics, like those in Adobe Photoshop, are composed of pixels and are best for images and photographs. Vector graphics, as used in Adobe Illustrator, are made of paths and are ideal for logos and illustrations due to their scalability without loss of quality.

Can I use graphic design software on different operating systems?

Yes, many graphic design tools are available for various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. Some even offer online, web-based versions that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.