12 Best Graphic Design Software Of 2021 [Free & Paid]

12 Best Graphic Design Software [Free & Paid]

Whether you are a beginner graphic designer or an experienced digital artist, using the right tools or software can enormously multiply your talent. A well-built graphic design software provides impulsive controls and flexibility that a beginner can easily understand and has excellent tools for an experienced user. 

You need graphic design software in all your ventures, whether you have to start a blog or edit product photos for your e-commerce business. Choosing the best graphic design software can take your brand or business to the next level.

A capable graphic design tool enhances efficiency and helps put stunning creativity into real-world design.

There is so many graphic design program available on the internet; however, the best way to identify which software would be the best for you is to get hands-on with the tool and experiment with them. By using them, you would get a basic idea about the software and its functions. Every graphic design program is characterized by its features, ease of use, performance, cost, and availability. There are many free as well as paid graphic design software available in the market. Many paid graphic design software offers a free trial for users to understand their product better.

How would you know which is the best graphic design software to use. Don’t worry, we have already done the hard work for you and made a list of the best graphic design software. 

In this blog, We will discuss each graphic design software, its functions, Pros and cons, and its pricing structure.

Here’s the list of best graphic design software for you:-

Disclaimer: The list doesn’t imply their ranking or anything; it’s a simple order.

1. Adobe Photoshop

Our first software is Adobe Photoshop; I am sure you must have heard about this software. Adobe Photoshop is considered the best popular graphic design software; millions of people worldwide use this software.

It is a robust software that works efficiently even for a large or heavy project and works on many platforms.

adobe photoshop graphic design software

Key Features of Adobe Photoshop

  • You can edit your image as well as can create naturalistic artwork.
  • It offers a lot of design tools for both mobile apps and web software.
  • Adobe Photoshop offers you an intriguing and more customizable user interface. It provides several targeted workspace layouts, including Graphic and Web, Motion, 3D, Painting, and Photography; you can also make your custom layout of panels and windows.
  • It also provides you with active synchronization with Adobe Creative Cloud, 
  • This is a kind of open GIMP software that provides you with a free download and software installation.

Now, let’s discuss Adobe Photoshop’s Pros and Cons.

Pros and Cons of Adobe Photoshop

Pros Of Adobe Photoshop

  • It comes loaded with 3D design capabilities.
  • It gives you the ability to edit animations and video layers.
  • Photoshop has the best user community on the internet, followed by Microsoft Excel.
  • The “Select subject” function uses Adobe Sensei (Adobe’s AI) to do almost all the work for you.
  • It offers you a rich set of typography and drawing tools. 
  • Its smooth user interface provides a lot of assistance for easy use.
  • It also offers a complimentary mobile application.
  • Many design tools come with responsive graphics.
  • Efficient file transfer between different programs
  • Offers a library and photo management with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Cons Of Adobe Photoshop

  • Photoshop needs room for more user modifications like customized panels.
  • Adobe Sensei needs to get bigger and smarter.
  • It is missing the Voice control feature.
  • It Offers lessor support for raster and vector images like SVG files.
  • It provides a large number of features that might overwhelm a new user.
  • Adobe currently offers Photoshop along with the subscription of Creative Cloud. The recurring payment becomes more costly, and people who want to buy software forever don’t have the option to purchase a perpetual license.

Platforms Supported by Adobe Photoshop: Windows and Mac

Pricing Plans of Adobe Photoshop

You can get Adobe Photoshop at a subscription price of US$33.99 or ₹1,675.60 per month per license.

2. Adobe In-design

Another best graphic design software by Adobe that can be used to create designs is the Adobe InDesign. This graphic design program is primarily used in the publishing industry because with Adobe In-design, you can easily design magazines, info sheets, books, posters, interactive PDFs, brochures, etc. With the option of the ‘adjust layout’ option that InDesign provides, you can alter your document’s text, and the graphic will adjust accordingly. 

adobe indesign graphic design software

Key Features of Adobe In-design

  • If you are a beginner, you can easily use Adobe InDesign because it requires a low learning curve and this makes it one of the best graphic design software for beginners.
  • It has the feature of alternative texts of the template. The design gets adjusted automatically, which is great while working on infographics.
  • Adobe’s AI-powered Sensei technology gives you the ability to automatically resizing and arrangement of images.
  • It is excellent for teams; designers can leverage InCopy to work with other team members by sharing text, colours, and graphics.

Pros and Cons of Adobe In-design

Pros of Adobe In Design

  • It helps graphic designers to efficiently combine graphics and texts for easier streamlining and optimizations of files.
  • You can use conjunction with adobe photoshop to edit photos with the document and that makes it one of the best editing software for graphic design.
  • Adobe InDesign has lots of tools for laying out, resizing, creating pagination, templates for pages, etc.
  • It can create professional-looking material without having to outsource the project.
  • InDesign syncs pretty well with other Adobe programs. Hence, it’s not usually a challenge to bring in .psd or .ai files, then update them while maintaining their size/detail within InDesign.
  • It gives you the capability of resizing many objects and change the width and height at the same time.

Cons of Adobe In Design

  • The less intuitive user interface can make things difficult for new users.
  • It is sometimes hard to find tools or settings. I wish there were an easier way to find them versus having to look them up.
  • Like all Adobe programs, shortcuts are different. Though tools between programs vary, it’s always hard to get the right consistency between them, which’s the same issue here.
  • It does not work well with opening PDFs.
  • InDesign isn’t necessarily archaic in design and UI. Still, it’s not the kind of program you can use without basic software knowledge of how it works. So much so, I know many colleagues who avoid it entirely when printing, resorting to using Photoshop or Illustrator instead.
  • Relatively expensive than other similar graphic design software available in the market.

Platforms supported by Adobe In-design: Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, Web-based

Pricing Plans of Adobe In Design

You can get Adobe InDesign’s monthly subscription at $20.99. The full Creative Cloud would costs you $52.99 per month.

3. Sketch

Suppose you are a Mac user and don’t want to use Adobe Photoshop or in-design. You can then opt for a mac- only graphic design software that focuses on digital design. These digital designs include websites, apps, and interfaces. Unlike Photoshop, Sketch isn’t very compatible with photo editing or print work. With Sketch, you can easily create a prototype by collaborating with other designers on the platform itself. Trust me, it is one of the best graphic design software for mac users.

Sketch offers a smart layout feature in which the component will automatically resize based on the content. There are hundreds of plugins available in the program that will let you do vector editing and other design work precisely down to the pixel. Digital icons are another thing that through this software. Sketch, on the downside, is not fantastic for print design or illustrations. 

sketch graphic design software

Key Features of Sketch

  • Sketch offers you a cheaper yearly subscription as compared to other best graphic design software.
  • With the help of robust community support, users can easily find custom plugins for specific tasks.
  • It feels excellent to use on multiple screen sizes and resolutions.
  • It also offers artboard library templates for IOS devices and responsive web design layouts.

Pros and Cons of Sketch

Pros of Sketch Graphics Design Software

  • It is easy to learn and use and is suitable for beginners
  • There are so many useful tutorials available for new users to learn.
  • It offers a variety of great plugins and integrations, such as craft plugins and Invision.
  • The Sketch is super -fast and smooth in graphic rendering, and it also offers an infinite amount of space.

Cons of Sketch Graphics Design Software

  • There is no cloud file storage integrated within the program
  • It has no built-in collaboration tools.
  • It is available only for mac users ( it can be considered as a con, right?)
  • It is a tedious task to update the plugin, and finding missing fonts can be a pain.
  • Being a new graphic design tool, it is not entirely developed and required many enhancements.

Platforms Supported by Sketch: Mac only

Pricing Plans of Sketch

The yearly subscription costs $99 per year.

4. Canva

If you are looking for the best free online graphic design software, then Canva would be the one for you. Canva is considered to be the most basic and most comfortable graphic design platform available online. It offers infinite numbers of free and premium templates, elements, and backgrounds as well. It is widely used for making Graphical posts, YouTube thumbnails, Brand or website templates, and some primary graphic design usage. 

Canva is the best graphic software for you if you are a beginner and want to design something with a shallow learning curve. Its free version lacks some areas compared to the premium version, but it can fulfil all your basic graphic design needs.

canva graphics design software

Key Features of Canva

  • It is so basic and easy to use
  • It provides an infinite number of free graphic templates.
  • It has so many font designs as well.
  • Canva gives you the ability to download high-quality graphic designs for free.

Pros and Cons of Canva

Pros Of Canva

  • There’s no need to subscribe to or pay for Canva. Even though the free version provides limited options, it’s enough for your basic needs.
  • It offers all the available formats in the market, and if there’s not a template available of your choice, you can make your own.
  • It stores all your designs until you delete them.
  • It offers an easy interface.
  • It has a phone app too, with all the same features.
  • By Canva, you can export your file in many different formats available.

Cons of Canva

  • The images provided by Canva sometimes look similar, which would make you feel like you have limited options.
  • The graphics provided in the free version are tacky and straightforward that users rarely use them.
  • Switching between a personal account and a business account can be confusing at times.

Platforms Supported by Canva: Web browser, Android, IOS

Pricing Plans Of Canva graphics Design Software

For an enterprise plan, you have to pay US$ 30/ month per person, but you can also opt for the pro version for five people at US$ 119.40/ year.

5. Inkscape

Inkscape is another best graphic design software on our list. It can be used easily by designers, illustrators, or web designers. The software has flexible drawing tools, making it easy for beginners to understand the software’s usage and create art without any problems. 

You have to spend some time to understand how to use this software. This software is best used to create vector-based images and needs to be required in SVG format. Inkscape provides you with a lot of filters and a helpful community for the Designer to grow.

inkspace

Key features of Inkscape

  • Inkscape gives you an impressive user interface. If you are familiar with Adobe tools, you can quickly get command over Inkscape too.
  • It has a robust community that helps you to provide regular updates and new features. 
  • It is one of the most potent and capable substitutes of Adobe Illustrator available as a free tool.
  • Users can grasp the open-source code to change the code lines and enhance or personalize the software as per the requirement.
  • It has a Fully anti-aliased Display.

Pros and Cons of Inkscape

Pros of Inkscape

  • Inkscape has high-quality colours and it has flat colours, gradients, and transparency colour levels.
  • High accuracy images can process correctly. Inkscape has a vector graphic standard where the painter can change every part in his/her picture without change image quality.
  • Inkscape is perfect for processing complex objects because it has detailed parameters. The example of detail parameters are lines, fill colours, layers, position, and others.
  • Users can also download or create ready-made plugins.
  • It supports many gradients and comes with a separate tool to create complex combinations.

Cons Of Inkscape

  • Challenging to learn this application for beginners because Inkscape has many complex features 
  • You need patience and precision to produce the best picture. 
  • Inkscape cannot save the documents from documenting file formats like jpeg, jpg, png, and other bitmaps. 
  • Computer work is hard when I make many layers or objects in one worksheet.
  • The Mac version available is not error-free.

Platforms supported by Inkscape: Windows, Linux, Mac

Pricing Plans of Inkscape

Great news! Inkscape is an open-source platform that’s why available for free.

6. Affinity Designer

The sixth-best graphic design software on the list is Affinity designer. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Illustrator, which is especially suitable for someone in the early stage of a design career. The affordable pricing and suitability make Affinity designer one of the best graphic design program to buy.

The Affinity designer is known to work smoothly, improving your workflow. It gives you the ability to show your creativity more freely. You can move and zoom your artwork at 60fps; see the gradients, effects, and adjustments changing live along with the transforms and curve edits. 

affinity designer

Key Features of Affinity Designer

  • It allows you to lock and position objects and elements depending on multiple things, including grids, alignment guides, shapes, and nodes of other items.
  • Through Affinity Designer, you can work in both pixel art environments and vector art environment without opening any other application.
  • Its zoom feature gives users a zoom of up to 1,000,000perr cent enabling designers to design with utmost precision and accuracy.
  • It provides you with an Advanced Memory System.

Pros and Cons of Affinity Designer

Pros of Affinity Designer

  • Affinity Publisher has to be the number one graphic design software. You can do ~99% of what you can do with Adobe’s InDesign for $50/user lifetime (even cheaper if you buy in bulk) instead of a recurring charge from Adobe every month.
  • It can easily handle Large scale documents efficiently.
  • It offers a wide selection of colors to enhance designs.
  • You would also be able to apply for your work on one project to multiple numbers artboards.

Cons Of Affinity Designer

  • Tool crossover from other Affinity products.
  • Some tools are missing that are available on Illustrator.
  • It doesn’t export files in AI.

Platforms supported by Affinity designer: Windows, Ipad, Mac

Pricing Plan of Affinity Designer

You can get Affinity Designer software for a one time cost of $49.99.

7. Gravit designer 

It is another free graphic design software that can be used to create vector-based designs. It helps You to create logos, edit photos, and create animations and illustrations in this program. Gravit does not have an offline version in the free plan. 

You can customize The software according to your needs. The pro version of Gravit is paid and has more advanced features like advanced export options, offline version, colour space, etc.

gravit designer software

Key Features of Gravit Designer

  • It offers you multiple Styles
  • It can efficiently export High-end projects.
  • It has powerful Pages that give you a lag-free experience.
  • It offers several tools, including the Bezigon tool, Lasso tools, and Pen tool. It also allows adding multiple fills to an element.

Pros and Cons of Gravit Designer

Pros of gravit Designer

  • You can import and export files in multiple formats.
  • You can also edit scalable vector graphics. 
  • You can easily open multiple documents at one time and go to the papers on the tab.
  • Its Pro version gives users a facility of unlimited cloud storage.

Cons of Gravit Designer

  • There is not a lot of information available about the software from official resources
  • A real-time collaboration feature is missing.
  • You can’t run prototypes on your smartphone to find out how they would look.
  • You need an active internet connection to use fonts. 

Platforms supported by Gravit designer: Windows, Linux, Mac

Pricing Plans of Gravit Designer

You can get Gravit Designer free of cost with limited features. Gravit Designer Pro is available for $100.

8. PixTeller

PixTeller comes with one of the most straightforward editor tools to create graphic images (downloadable in PNG, JPG, PDF format) and animations (downloadable in MP4, GIF format). You can consider it to be one of the best editing software for graphic designs.

 Anyone can use it to make images, animated gifs & videos for personal or business use, with no technical or design knowledge. Creating graphics is a time demanding process, but with PixTeller, anyone can make personalized visuals from scratch or customize any pre-made templates in minutes.

pixteller designer

Key Features of PixTeller

  • You can easily create images based on themes
  • It offers a wonderful Image editor
  • It is the most comfortable design program available.
  • You can create your custom posters to go viral

Pros and Cons of PixTeller

Pros of Pixteller

  • There are so many templates to choose from.
  • It kept your designs in the archive to quickly start your work from there or rework them.
  • It provides you with the ability to create social media posts easily.

Cons of Pixteller

  • The images have a watermark, and you have to pay to remove it.
  • You have to select a wanted font for every entry.
  • It lacks proper tutorials for beginners.
  • The other bad thing is that the free user’s design is public, so exploring the software is bad; the ugly templates are there, which is annoying.

Platforms supported by PixTeller: Web Browser

Pricing Plans of Pixteller

PixTeller pricing starts at $9.00 per month, per user. There is a free version available too.

9. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best graphic design software centred around vector design. You can create artwork, icons, posters, etc. You can create designs in Adobe Illustrator that can be used in business cards or billboards and from smartphones to 8k screens. You can use this software to draw, mix, and refine designs to create something spectacular. Adobe has made a mobile version called Adobe Illustrator Draw, one of the best graphic design apps.

9. Adobe Illustrator

Key Features of Adobe Illustrator

  • Users can customize Adobe Illustrator as per their preferences.
  • You can edit multiple artboards at the same time; it would help you to work efficiently.
  • It is highly compatible with numerous devices with different configurations from Mac and Windows.
  • It offers a highly accessible user interface. 

Pros and Cons of Adobe Illustrator

Pros of Adobe Illustrator

  • Illustrator has tons of options for creation. we feel confident in saying that if you can dream up any sort of 2d design, it can be recreated within Illustrator.
  • Using Adobe Illustrator would help you to Connect with other adobe products.
  • Adobe Illustrator CC is the best graphic design software to create scalable designs. This is possible because it is vector-based software.
  • Very reasonable price and comes with the adobe creative cloud package.
  • You get access to over 90 million images, graphics, templates, and videos from Adobe Stock.

Cons of Adobe Illustrator

  • It is not suitable for beginners, requires training to know how to use it.
  • The drawing tool is not as intuitive as the much older and no longer available tool in Freehand.
  • The way selections get made more challenging than it needs to be.
  • It could cover a lot of space on your machine.

Platforms supported by Adobe Illustrator: Windows, Mac

Pricing Plans of Adobe Illustrator

You can get Adobe Illustrator at a monthly subscription of US$9.99 for personal use and US$33.99 for enterprise use.

10. Xara Designer Pro X

Now comes another best graphic design program that is Xara Designer. It is built for both bitmaps and vectors. The program can handle desktop publishing, graphic design, illustration, photo editing, all in one place. It provides hundreds of template layouts, design elements, and over a million archive photos to get you started quickly. 

While drawing any shape, lines, or curves using vectors, you would not face any loss in quality when you scale it up. You can create custom design elements and use them in any of your designs. Tools like gradients, outlines, and transparency in the software will give your artwork a special touch.

xara designer software

Key Features of Xara Designer Pro X

  • The ‘direct action’ tools offer you a set of powerful features and stable functionalities for general purposes.
  • It comes with a significant drag and drops feature, which saves a lot of time.
  • It offers faster performance and gives you an easy way to implement creativity. It also allows users to make infinite modifications through unlimited redo and undo features.
  • It is one of the fastest and most sophisticated vector rendering engines. This gives users the capability to deliver more complex graphic designs.
  • It gives you the ability of non-destructive photo handling.
  • It offers the feature of Intelligent Scaling.

Pros and Cons of Xara Designer Pro X

Pros of Xara Designer Pro X

  • It comes with an anti-aliasing tool that helps you in improving the quality of on-screen images by softening the edges of objects by blending the edges with the background
  • It offers cloud capabilities to view, edit, and update documents through a web browser on any computer or tablet.
  • It comes with a zoom tool capable of zooming up to 25,601% to enable users to take a closer look.
  • Designer Pro provides users with the option of syncing files with Dropbox and Google Drive.
  • It offers support to an extensive range of file formats, including bitmap types like JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, PSD, and allows the import of photos such as RAW or JPEG XR.

Cons of Xara Designer Pro X

  • It is available only for Windows
  • Requires some time to understand all the features efficiently.
  • The masking feature is cumbersome and difficult to understand

Platforms supported by Xara Designer: Only windows

Pricing Plans OF Xara Designer Pro X

It is available at a yearly subscription of $299.

11. Corel Draw Graphic suite

CorelDRAW graphic suite was earlier built only for Windows OS; it is now available for Mac. With this graphic design program, you can create professional vector illustrations. There are powerful design tools to help you work faster and smarter. You will find numerous customization options, working on logos, web design, or print projects. 

CorelDRAW now uses AI technology to provide you with LiveSketch, which converts sketching into precise vector curves. The suite contains tools for graphic design as well as layout. It has Photo-Paint and Corel Font Manager for photo editing and font management.

corel draw

Key Features of Corel Draw Graphic suite

  • It offers you access to the Live Sketch tool.
  • It supports many monitors or multi-display, to increase the area available for computer programs running on a single computer system.
  • You get a customizable UI environment for the desktop, icon sizing, toolboxes, options for how your documents open, and color border color scheme. Users can also visit Corel’s developer community website to design macros that suit their workflow.
  • Corel offers three payment programs through which users can buy the software and nominal charges for regular upgrades. It also offers an upgrade program for existing users.

Pros and Cons of Corel Draw graphic suite

Pros Of Corel Draw Graphic Suite

  • It offers you a function to “move” graphics all around in it quite well
  • It’s suitable for custom designs you print on signs and merchandise.
  • The functionality is solid.
  • Drag and drop importing of PDF as vector objects for editing figures saves a lot of time.
  • It can export 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.

Cons Of Corel Draw Graphic Suite

  • Unlike Adobe, there are no complimentary mobile applications provided by Corel.
  • It is not a beginner’s cup of tea; it is not easy to operate for beginners.
  • It needs to be easier to do photo design and conversion of images.
  • Each time a version changes, you can’t find things again. You have to search a lot for your preferred tools.

Platforms Supported by Corel Draw graphic suite: Windows, Mac

Pricing Plans of CorelDraw

CorelDraw gives users a 15-day free trial. Its full version is available for $474 with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also go for an annual subscription for $198 or $16.50/month.

12. GIMP ( GNU Image Manipulation Program) Graphics Design Software

So, our last but not the least, best graphic design software is GIMP. It is a free, open-source program that allows you to alter its source code and distribute the program. There are many customization programs and 3rd party plugins you can use in GIMP to improve your productivity and create better designs. 

GIMP can also be used to retouch images, wherein you can even make creative composites. Interface components and mock-ups can also be designed, along with print designs such as icons and logos.

gimp graphic design software

Key Features of GIMP

  • It offers a highly customizable user interface. The community of GIMP has developed several useful plugins for added features free of cost. People who want to do coding can customize it to higher levels as per the requirement.
  • Due to its active developer community, you get regular updates and the addition of new features.

Pros and Cons of GIMP

Pros of GIMP

  • You can get the help of the comprehensive online community of GIMP users.
  • GIMP is a very memory efficient graphic editor with lower resource consumption in old or slow computers.
  • Since GIMP is an Open Source source, you can edit its source codes and add or change its features.
  • It enables you to sketch the drawing by leveraging tools, including cloning, pencil, and airbrush.

Cons of GIMP

  • Sometimes, while working on a heavy project, it crashes.
  • You can’t select many layers at once.
  • If you are a Mac user, the user interface would not feel perfect while using.
  • Change layers come with a non-destructive way of combining many photo manipulations.

Platform supported By GIMP: Windows, Linux, Mac

Pricing Plans Of GIMP

Since it’s an open-source platform, it’s a free version of design software.

Conclusion

Using Graphic design software in the early days was a herculean task. Technology has come a long way, and software now becomes more user friendly and helps users express creativity more freely. Choosing the right platform would depend on your work and what you want to achieve with the software.

In this blog, we have discussed the 12 best graphic design software available on the internet. But you should not rely on any list or something; you should give it a try to various graphic design software and choose that program which suited you the best. 

Think out of the box and choose your own best, preferred, and compatible graphic design software for yourself.

Also, don’t forget to tell us your preferred graphic design software in the comment section.

For further Software reviews, check out our blog on website design software. Also, if you wish to start or design a beautiful eCommerce drop shipping store then chose the best dropshipping tools here.

Which software is best for graphic designing?

Among all the graphics design softwares that are mentioned in blog, adobe package is the best one for graphic designing

What is the best free design software?

Among free graphic design software, canva and inkspace are the best one to get started for free graphics designing.

Do graphic designers get paid well?

According to glassdoor, the mean annual wage for graphic designers in the U.S. in 2020 is $56,680. This is just a tad higher than the mean annual wage for all occupations in the U.S., $52,960.

Show full profile

Mridul is a Lawyer from India, being a Lawyer writing and researching are his forte. He loves to write in various niches due to his Multi-disciplinary education. He has an experience of more than three years of content writing, Apart from writing; playing the Guitar and watching cricket makes him excited.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

How To Buy Saas
Logo
Register New Account
Reset Password
Shopping cart