Graphic Design Software

Best Graphic Design Software of 2021 (Ranked)

No matter what you are doing you need graphic design software whether you are starting a blog or building an eCommerce website. Selecting the best graphic design software can take your brand identity to the next level.

Considering this trend, Adobe Photoshop has become the reference point of graphic design software and image editing. However, over the years, several other visual design software tools have emerged to cater to different preferences and needs of the designer.

In order to choose the best capable graphic design tool not only for efficiency but also for stunning creativity, I have ranked and reviewed the best software tools available in the industry.

So let’s get started.

What is the Best Graphic Design Software?

1. Adobe PhotoShop

Adobe Photoshop

When it comes to photo editing Adobe Photoshop is the name that first comes to the mind of graphic designers. Additionally, one of the most popular photo editing software tools available in the market. Moreover, its robust package offering excellent graphic design capabilities still makes it a go-to tool for many aspiring designers.

Key Features of Adobe PhotoShop

  • User Interface – Adobe offers several targeted workspace layouts, including Painting, Web and Graphics,  3D, Photography, and Motion. Plus, designers can also create your own custom layout of windows and panel.
  • Design Tools – Offers a lot of design tools for both web and mobile apps.
  • Creative Cloud – Its active synchronization with Adobe Creative Cloud offers a lot of unique features, including Artboards, Face-Aware Liquify, Content-Aware Crop, stylus input support, touch, a glyph panel, synced libraries, the Design Space view, and Cloud Documents among others.
  • Open Source GIMP Software – If you don’t want to pay any bucks then you can download and install this software for free. Finally, make sure you install this on a powerful machine to avoid lag and other performance issues.

Pros of Adobe PhotoShop

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

Cons of Adobe PhotoShop

  • Offers lessor support for raster and vector images like SVG
  • A plethora of features might overwhelm a new user
  • Adobe now offers Photoshop along with the subscription of Creative Cloud.  The recurring payment is very costly and people cannot buy a perpetual license if they want to.

Pricing Plans

Adobe offers Photoshop at a subscription price of US$33.99 per month per license.

2. CorelDraw Graphics Suite

CorelDraw

If you are looking for pro-level features that offer a highly accessible interface with ease of use then CorelDraw Graphics Suite is the one. Additionally, it is a bundle of multiple applications that deliver powerful editing features.

Key Features of CorelDraw Graphics Suite

  • Customizable UI – You get a customizable UI environment for the desktop that provides a window border color scheme,  options for how your documents open, toolboxes, and icon sizing. Users can also visit Corel’s developer community website to design macros that suit their workflow.
  • Content Exchange – As a registered user, you get access to thousands of digital images and high-resolution photographs using Corel’s online digital library. It also offers bitmap fills, vector, more than 500 interactive frames,  350 professionally designed templates, 1000 fonts,  over 2000 vehicle templates, and over 600 gradients.
  • New Pointilizer – Corel’s new pointilizer offers a lot of variable parameters that are not just limited to regular dots.
  • Flexible Payment – Corel offers three payment programs for users to buy the software. Plus, it also offers an upgrade program for existing users at nominal charges.

Pros of CorelDraw Graphics Suite

  • Provides third-party PDF importing and better EPS capabilities and leverages with their GPL Ghostscript feature
  • Works perfectly without any lag with Surface Pen
  • It offers under-the-hood innovation and app-wide workflow and performance enhancements to boost productivity
  • Provides the option to choose GPU acceleration over the default CPU if working on system-intensive and sophisticated vector graphics
  • Also capable of exporting files in up to 48 file types, including TIFF, JPG, AutoCAD, SVG, PNG, and JPG. It can also open 35 file types, including SVG, PowerPoint, PDF, AutoCAD, HTML, EPS,  and even old FreeHand files
  • Offers smooth transition from desktop to tablet mode to leverage touch features

Cons of CorelDraw Graphics Suite

  • Not easy to operate for beginners
  • Unlike Adobe, there are no complimentary mobile applications offered by Corel
  • Multiple payment options my confuse user

Pricing Plans

CorelDraw offers a 15-day free trial. The annual subscription costs $198, or just $16.50/month. Or you can opt for its full version is available for $474 with a 30-days money-back guarantee.

3. Adobe InDesign

Adobe Indesign

If you are in the publishing business then Adobe Indesign is the must-have software for you.  It offers excellent capabilities to design stunning brochures, magazines, and info sheets while easily exporting them to HTML or PDF.

Key Features of Adobe InDesign

  • Adobe InCopy – You as a designer can leverage InCopy to work with other members of the team by sharing graphics, colors, and text.
  • Ease of use – Unlike PhotoShop, InDesign requires a low learning curve. That means new users can quickly learn how to combine graphics and text to achieve amazing results.
  • Sensei Technology – Adobe’s AI-powered Sensei technology ensures arrangement and automatic resizing of images.
  • Adjust Layout – The ‘Adjust Layout’ feature offers you to change the text of the template, and the rest of the design gets adjusted automatically.

Pros of Adobe InDesign

  • It is an industry-standard for desktop publishing.
  • It allows users to add captions with hyperlinks, table of contents,  footnotes, anchor text frames, keywords, and add tags to indexes
  • Provides Capability to resize multiple objects and change the height and width at the same time
  • Graphic designers can efficiently combine text and graphics for easier optimizations and streamlining of files.
  • Supports HTML exporting to export clean and simple codes during the implementation of the website’s layout designs.
  • Assists in eliminating redundant div tags in HTML files along with insignificant content grouping.
  • You can leverage the Eyedropper tool to apply for size or position instantly to another object within the document.

Cons of Adobe InDesign

  • Relatively expensive than other similar software available in the market.
  • It’s made for enterprise users and not suitable for general users.
  • User Interface is less intuitive for news users.
  • Relatively expensive than other software available in the market

Pricing Plans

Adobe offers InDesign at a monthly subscription of $20.99. The full Creative Cloud costs $52.99 per month.

So now let’s cover the basics.

What Are the Benefits of Graphic Design Software?

A capable graphic design software tool will enable you to design visually stunning images and graphics.

Here are some important features a capable graphic design software should bring to the table:

1. Cost Efficient

Try to leverage free open source graphic design software apart from the paid tools that offer great value for money. This will save a lot of expenses on shooting real objects.

2. Scalability and Flexibility

It provides the flexibility to create visually stunning graphics and images without actually tampering with them. Moreover, you can export the files into multiple formats instantly for easy distribution to other marketing platforms.

3. Increased Engagement

Brand engagement is enhanced by the graphic design software by creating high-quality visuals. The visuals help to send a clear message to the concerned audience.

4. Branding

Graphic design tools help businesses in maintaining their brand positioning by embedding watermarks and logos on marketing collaterals. You can build and save templates in the software to maintain consistency of image design and size.

Best Graphic Design Software – Final Summary

This wraps up my list of best graphic design tools. I will keep updating the list with other relevant tools available in the market.

Make note that finding the best graphic design software that meets all your requirements can be overwhelming. To make the right decision you need to ponder on these few essential points :

  • Features – If you require intricate vector designs regularly then go for Adobe Photoshop. Otherwise, free software tools like Inkscape can help you manage the basic editing work.
  • Budget – Firstly decide by weighing the features that you can get from paid USP tools with offerings from open source tools. Then analyze the budget that you have for paying the subscription for graphic design software.
  • Collaboration – Make sure that your graphic design platform is equipped with cloud capabilities is your job includes frequent collaboration. This will ensure that you will have seamless collaboration and sharing of files among teams.

Hope these points help you to make the right decision without much confusion.

Which graphic design software do you use? Let me know your feedback in the comments below.

More from Smashitbuck: Do refer to my other articles on task management software, document management software, best OKR software.

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