20 best free and paied graphic design software

Graphic design is a skill in which professionals create visual content to convey messages. Designers use typography and images to meet the specific needs of users and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs to optimize the user experience by employing visual hierarchy and page layout techniques.

Graphic design software are the tools a designer uses to visualise, realise and finalise the ideas that are swimming around in their heads.

A graphics program is defined by its ability to create or manipulate images in real time. Which come with a variety of features and types that make them unique, including different brushes, paint styles, and effects.

It includes tools to draw shapes, create effects and filter colors, add text and frames, build objects with layers, etc.

Graphic design software helps us to make our beautiful, creative and unique designs for logos, brochures, pamphlets, hoardings, flex, visiting cards, books cover, marriage cards, magazines covers, invitation cards, newspapers, product packaging designs, advertising web designs, signage, etc.

Choosing the “best” graphic design software is always difficult because it is a matter of opinion and depends on what you want to create. Every designer must determine which software is best suited to their design style, needs, medium, and, of course, client.

There is not the one best software for graphic design. You need more than one. InDesign for your layouts and everything that contains a lot of text, Illustrator for drawing and logos, infographics and a lot more, Photoshop for photo editing or pixel based illustration… you get the idea.

Adobe Creative Cloud solution are the most common graphic design software packages used by professionals. These are industry standards but it’s not the tools that make great design but how you use it.

If the commercials don’t work out for you, you might want to consider less expensive or open source solutions like – Scribus, Gimp, Krita and InkScape. All quite decent considering they’re free.

Paid software usually comes with more features, customization, and innovative tools. While the free options usually have a limited or simpler version of the paid tools.

Whether you choose an expansive set of professional graphic design tools like Adobe Creative Cloud or a straightforward image editor will depend on your or your team’s specific needs.

There is no “best” software for graphic designing. It usually depends on your creativity.

Graphic Designers like to use drawing tablets for art, digital illustration or photo retouching work, which makes the job easier & more fun than using a mouse. Having a drawing tablet will make your life as a designer so much easier and more enjoyable.

Vector VS Bitmap Graphics: What’s the difference?

vector vs raster graphics

There is software more suited to different types of imagery, for example, vector and bitmap (or raster).

Vector graphics are a combination of mathematical formulas that define shapes, colors, and placement. It is made up of lines, shapes, and points.

They can be edited to the smallest detail and scaled to any size, as often as you need.

Vectors are incredibly versatile. which are the primary choice for printing, logos, signs, illustrations, infographics, and creating animations.

For example, A logo is a vector image. It can be used in almost any circumstance and printed in different locations, from the head of a letter page to a billboard on the side of a building.

Versatile for many business applications, UI designers are able to edit vector graphics and quickly generate new ones to meet project requirements.

Vector images are also useful for providing powerful, straight-forward messaging to a variety of audiences.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is an XML-based vector image format for defining two-dimensional graphics, having support for interactivity and animation.

Vector images are edited by manipulating the lines and curves that make up the image using a program such as Adobe Illustrator.

Bitmaps also referred to as raster images, are made with pixels. They are commonly photographs and images. As they are made up of pixels, they risk becoming blurry or unproportionate when resized.

The three most popular image formats used on the Web (PNG, JPEG, and GIF) are bitmap formats

Bitmap graphics can be edited by erasing or changing the color of individual pixels using a program such as Adobe Photoshop.

Designers use bitmap images for websites featuring products, restaurants, travel, tourism, and e-commerce because the images are more visually appealing.

Through the use of lifelike imagery, designers can create a sense of desirability and credibility that engages the user.

20 Best Graphic Design Software for Designers in 2023

Compare the 20 best Graphic Design software currently available using the table below.

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC Software for Graphic Design

Adobe Photoshop CC is arguably the most popular graphic design software and is used by millions of artists around the world.

Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Systems.

It has an intuitive user interface and a comprehensive toolset that includes gradient fills, blending modes, and specialised layers.

It’s used to edit and create images, as well as perform other graphic design tasks such as image composition, image manipulation (resizing, cropping, etc.), color correction, sample touch-up and digital painting.

With Photoshop you can easily combine multiple images and even remove unwanted objects from the image. It offers basic features like perspective correction, channel mixing, and clone stamp tool.

The advanced features include blemish removal, one-touch filter, and image rendering, all of which are easy with Photoshop.

Now it adds mind-blowing neural filters, automatic sky replacement, and even better selection tools.

Along with image editing, you can create naturalistic artwork and composition in this software. You can define the size of your canvas, isolate elements from backgrounds, create custom brushes, work in 3D,do much more.

If you are someone who works with illustrative designs, you can even draw or paint anything you like. It offers a wide range of features, including tools for painting, sculpting, and creating textures. Additionally, it has a wide range of plugins that can be used to enhance the functionality of the software.

Photoshop supports many different file formats including: TIFF, PSD, GIF / PNG / JPEG / TGA / BMP / PNG etc., allowing users to save their work in various file types depending on what they are working with at any given moment in time.

With some of the later iterations of photoshop you can create really good vector graphics and import into Illustrator if you wanted to do detailed touch ups.

Whether you are looking to create banners, posters, websites, or logos, this best graphic design software can do it all for you.

Photoshop was the original Adobe software, and remains the most popular. Some stuff will be easy for beginners to pick up, but a lot of the more advanced stuff requires commitment to learning the ropes. Luckily, Photoshop’s popularity means there’s a ton of online courses and resources (both paid and free) to get you up to speed.

Compatibility: Windows and Mac OS

Pricing: Photoshop subscription alone is $20.99 per month, but the Adobe Photography plan (Lightroom and Photoshop) is $9.99 per month. The All App plan is $52.99 per month.

With a Photoshop free trial, you get seven days to use the full version of the software, at absolutely no cost, which gives you access to all the latest features and updates.

2. Adobe Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator CC graphic design Software

Adobe Illustrator CC is a vector graphics editor and design program developed and marketed by Adobe Inc. But it have some tools and functions in common with photoshop.

Adobe Illustrator’s strengths include collaborative editing, improved graphic snapping, and cloud storage.

You can share projects due to AI’s integration with Adobe Creative Cloud. Users can create clear lines and sharp sectors as the paths get automatically aligned to the closest pixel grid.

Use Illustrator’s mesh tool, pen tool, swatches, and colors or Shape and Pathfinder tools to create stunning logos, typography, icons, and sketches. It is also widely used for designing print materials like brochures and posters.

To draw, you can use the shaper tool and create vector shapes. Geometric shapes can be added to other outlines and can be moved, reshaped, and scaled. Even the fonts in the software can be manipulated according to your needs by adjusting their weight, slant, or width.

Adobe Illustrator also has an extensive selection of fonts so you can add text to your artwork easily.

Designers can work more efficiently with the In-Panel Editing tool, which allows them to modify multiple artboards at once.

Additionally, you can recolor artwork with a single click, create unique effects, and much more with Sensei AI-powered features.

Thanks to the vector format, Illustrator supports scaling images up and down much better than raster-based images with no loss of quality. Which is great if you’d like to put a logo created for a business card on a billboard.

Just like Photoshop, you will find millions of resources to learn the entire set of Illustrator’s features.

Though it will take some time to learn, the nearly limitless potential for creating vector designs is well worth the effort. For beginners, Adobe provides professionally designed templates to save time.

Illustrator is the best vector-graphics editing program around, and it just keeps getting better. New feature arrivals include more collaboration options, integrated tutorials, and support for 3D assets.

Compatibility: Windows and Mac

Pricing: Individual app costs $20.99 per month. The Adobe Creative Suite is available for $52.99 per month.

All of Adobe’s software packages are exclusively available through membership, making them a dominant player in this market. Of course, this has the benefit that you’ll be able to install and utilise the newest elements as soon as they’re available.

3. Adobe Indesign CC

Adobe InDesign CC DTP software for graphic design

Adobe InDesign CC is an excellent page layout solution with tools precise enough to satisfy even the most demanding professional.

This graphic design software is used primarily in the publishing industry because you can design magazines, info sheets, books, posters, interactive PDFs, brochures, etc. with it.

Whether you want to create print-based documents or interactive digital magazines, InDesign integrates smoothly with the rest of the Creative Cloud application suite to provide a seamless production experience.

The Creative Cloud Libraries can help you share text, colors, and graphics with other members.

The ‘Adjust Layout’ option allows the designer to modify the text of a template without having to worry about any changes in design. This is fantastic for infographics since it allows the designer to change the text and simply adjust it automatically.

The AI-powered Sensei technology integrated into InDesign makes the automatic arrangement and resizing of images.

Designers may use Adobe InCopy to collaborate with other team members by sharing text, colors, and graphics.

It is an excellent option for web designers to utilize to export clean, simple codes while developing layouts for websites. Because It can assist you in eliminating superfluous div tags and pointless content grouping from HTML documents.

Adobe InDesign has become a household brand for ad agencies and publishing houses all over the world.

This is because of InDesign’s subject-aware text wrapping, convenient color location, Adobe Fonts auto-activation, HSB compatibility, and other features.

Further, managing design elements and generating immersive experiences in any format is a breeze with this tool.

InDesign basics are relatively easy to learn, although some of the more complex text control features can take some time to master. This makes it simple enough for casual users to work with, yet powerful enough for the most demanding professional users.

Compatibility: Windows and Mac

Pricing: $20.99 per month for the single app or $52.99 per month for Adobe Creative Suite.

4. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer Graphic Design Program

If you are looking for the less expensive version of Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer is the perfect alternative.

This tool is a combination of vector and raster design tools that graphic artists, web designers and game creators can use to create vector graphics, UX/UI designs and concept art.

Affinity Designer has animation tools which enable designers to create animations; and photo editing capabilities which enable more detailed manipulation of photos that with basic image editing programs

The “snap” function in Affinity Designer is similar to Illustrator’s and allows you to lock items in place.

The Grid Systems feature allows designers to set up grids when designing isometric game graphics and icons. Also, it allows for detailed layouts by giving designers complete control over angles, gutters, spacing, and subdivisions.

You can use rope and window stabilizers with Affinity Designer to generate smooth and accurate curves, resulting in attractive vector graphics.

Additionally, Affinity Designer incorporates a lot of functionalities to play around with, like easy color swatching.

Other advanced features that may be included in some packages for Affinity Designer are 3D modeling tools which allow users to create 3D objects with realistic textures.

Affinity Designer is also compatible with various tools, including Illustrator and Photoshop PSD files, which promotes convenience.

Affinity Designer is currently getting a regular stream of updates that just keep adding features and improving accessibility. Anyone on a budget, but still wants to create high-level, highly professional work should definitely give this one a go.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac and iPad

Pricing: Purchase either the Windows or macOS version for a one-off payment of $69.99 or get the entire suite (with Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher) on all Compatibility for only $169.99 with the Universal License. You can also buy the iPad version on its own for $19.99. No monthly costs whatever you decide.

5. Affinity Publisher

Affinity Publisher DTP Software for Graphic Design

Being Adobe InDesign’s direct rival, Affinity Publisher has done brilliantly in keeping the tools and features similar, but they are still missing a few pro Adobe features.

Affinity Publisher is part of a three-app package that includes the vector illustration app Designer and the bitmap photo editing app Photo – together, they make a professional-quality graphic design suite.

Affinity Publisher is an easy-to-use software that comes with a much affordable price tag. It comes with all you want in desktop publishing software. It supports frames with smart scaling options, advanced grids and anchors.

Also, this desktop publisher software supports tables, custom table formats and text wrapping around any object or image. Plus, you can create text frames of any shape and have full control over character and paragraph styles.

For faster work, it offers automatic creation of indexes and tables of contents, search and replacement with support for RegEx regular expressions, a complete undo history and alternative modes.

The program allows you to work with multiple file types (vector and raster) and it gives you full control over your color choices! You can edit and retouch images, create full-blown multi-layered compositions, or make beautiful raster paintings.

You can create content for books, magazines, marketing materials, and social media content. This publishing application gives you the power to combine your text and graphics so you can present a very attractive page layout that is ready for publishing.

Compatibility: Windows and Mac

Pricing: Purchase either the Windows or macOS version for a one-off payment of $69.99 or get the entire suite (with Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer) on all Compatibility for only $169.99 with the Universal License.

6. CorelDraw

CorelDraw Graphics Design Program

CorelDraw is one of the most powerful vector-based software available today, and it can be used for creating any type of graphics you could imagine.

Being a robust software, it has maintained it’s position in the race because of it’s unique qualities and highly used in printing house.

The CorelDraw Graphics Suite is a full package bundle that offers pro-level features allowing professional designers to create vector illustrations, use various layouts, edit photos and take advantage of typography tools to deliver outstanding design projects.

Some of its features are – color balancing, contrast adjustment, Special effects, and it’s capability of working with multiple layers and pages.

It has an online library that gives you access to thousands and thousands of digital images, templates, fonts, templates, frames and more.

Further, it has a customizable desktop UI environment, including icon scaling, toolboxes, and a window border color scheme. This specifically designed interface makes it an easy-to-use software.

CorelDRAW’s LiveSketch lets you turn a sketch into accurate vector curves. You can use AI technology to create Live Sketch, which converts sketching into precise vector curves.

The software has web graphic tools and presets to develop creative web content; you can publish directly into your WordPress site through it. The file compatibility is also overwhelming; the program supports over 100 file formats.

It is commonly used by professionals for tasks such as logo design, packaging design, and layout design.

CorelDraw owes its popularity to its in-built productive functions, ease of use and tutorial tips and videos. It also has an in-built alignment guide which helps users to place objects as per their requirement.

This best graphic design software is always up-to-date and includes powerful tools, like customization options, that help designers work faster and smarter.

Compatibility: Windows and Mac

Pricing: CorelDraw offers a 15-day free trial. The complete edition is available for $499 with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also buy an annual subscription for $249.

7. Figma

Figma Online Graphic Design Program

Figma is a web-based design application that allows designers to collaborate on designs in real-time. It is popular for its ability to create responsive web designs and its collaboration features.

Figma provides designers with all the tools they need for the design phase of their projects, including vector tools for illustration, prototyping capabilities, and code generation.

Figma offers a preview feature that allows you to simulate the user experience and look for errors or UX enhancements.

You can enjoy designing with this software because it is rapid and really effective. It includes everything you need for free to make incredible logos, social media graphics, presentations, and more.

You want to engage with your team, Figma incorporates FigJam, a great whiteboard tool where you can share ideas, materials, examples and curriculum, that everyone can access it at the same time and work on the canvas together.

It also has different functions than the main Figma “Design files” (sketches, post its, notes, highlighters).

Figma has premade templates and a big community you can source from. you could create dozens of formats and sizes on one canvas, With Canva you are limited to one size for each file.

A lot of plugins make it much, much easier to create different materials, charts, textures and layouts.

With the Figma font plugin (or just the desktop version/app) you can use all local fonts you have installed on the pc its run on. So you don’t have to buy fonts and can play around with fonts and font styles.

The real showstopping part of Figma that makes it stand out from other graphic design software is how easy it is to create prototypes. This is essential if you ever design an app or web design layout. It can show your clients exactly what you have in mind for how everything works together.

Compatibility: Web cloud-based for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS

Pricing: Figma has 3 pricing edition(s), from $144, $540 to $900 annually subscription.

While there are paid versions of Figma, the free version is perfect for most designers and can hold up to three projects at once. which provides nearly full access to the features and assets you’ll find in Figma Pro.

8. Adobe XD

Adobe XD Graphic Design Program

Adobe XD is a vector-based design tool specifically for UX design. It was released in 2016 with UX-specific features that were not available to designers using Photoshop or Illustrator.

XD combines lightweight layout and drawing tools with simple button linking to different artboards to simulate navigating through an app or site.

Tools like 3D transformation, component templates, and content-aware layouts can save designers tons of time while producing polished and beautiful-looking work.

All paths and shapes are vector based, and XD can easily import vector based files from Illustrator and they can copied between.

The vector elements in Adobe XD can then be exported as SVG or PDF for use in development, marketing materials etc.

Adobe’s Coediting tool lets you save a project to the cloud and invite other editors to design together in real time or share with clients..

Repeat grids are awesome. They allow you to make copies of an element and automatically arrange them in a grid. Using controls you can easily change the vertical and horizontal spacing. This can save you a huge amount of time, preventing the need to manually copy and paste (and change) elements in your design.

Adobe XD offers both native and third-party plugins. While Adobe has offered plugin integration for longer than Figma, its library of options is significantly smaller. If there’s a particular plugin you can’t live without, this could dictate your choice of design software.

Finally, We have document assets, which allow you to save colors and character styles in a single repository, and then apply them to other elements.

Compatibility: You can use it as a desktop app on your Windows and Mac OS computer or cloud app on iOS and Android mobile devices.

Pricing: Adobe XD offers subscription pricing at $9.99 per month, or $52.99 per month as part of a Creative Cloud app bundle. You can try it out with a seven-day free trial.

9. Sketch

Sketch graphic design software

Sketch is a popular vector-based graphic design application for Mac users which help in creating UI/UX-based designs. It is known for its ease of use and its focus on user experience design.

It has recently impacted graphic design competition, with some developers preferring Sketch files from designers over layered Photoshop files.

Unlike Photoshop and other image editing tools, it isn’t built for photo editing or print work purposes.

Sketch offers tools similar to Adobe XD or Figma, with a significant focus on collaboration.For concept designs, icons, and web elements, Sketch is tough to beat.

Sketch offers full support for Retina and non-Retina displays, dark and light UI, Touch Bar support, built-in spellcheck, and native fonts and emojis.

it includes an iOS artboard collection as well as responsive web design templates. Additionally, Sketch has hundreds of custom plugins available for designers to employ on a project-by-project basis.

With Sketch, you can collaborate with other designers on the site to make a prototype. According to the content, the item will seamlessly resize thanks to the program’s intelligent layout capability.

The best thing about Sketch is the prototype feature. With this feature, users can mock up website designs, apps, and more. This is the perfect way for you to show your clients exactly what you envision happening once your designs are installed and come to life.

Its cost-effectiveness, screen templates, and great mobile/web experience get this software a place on the list.

It’s also accessible enough for newbies to learn and has a lower learning curve than most product design solutions. Moreover, there are numerous tutorials to learn it from.

Compatibility: Mac os

Pricing: Yearly subscription of $99 or $9 per month with a 30-day free trial. There is no free version.

10. Procreate

Procreate Digital Painting application for Graphic Design

Procreate is a digital illustration and painting app specifically for the iPad, it offers a range of brushes, layers, templates, fonts and tools for creating digital art.

Procreate allows designers to use the Apple Pencil to draw directly on the screen to get amazing results.

The software combines the tactile feel of traditional art – recreating tools like pens, paint, and pencils – with all the benefits of digital art – such as quick deletion, instant sharing, and hundreds of resources at your fingertips.

Procreate includes a heap of useful tools for tweaking and editing your artwork, like blur, color balance, sharpening, QuickShape, StreamLine, and many more.

It allows you to create expressive digital art in any aesthetic from rich oil paintings to edgy charcoal drawings, detailed illustrations, and more.

One of its outstanding features is the ability to work in 3D and view the result in real-time in AR. If you have long wanted to try your hand at animation, Procreate would be a great starting point.

Procreate is loved by artists and designers across the world for the freedom in creativity this intuitive digital art studio supports. supporting freedom of expression and precision for any level and need.

Procreate works well hand-in-hand with Vectornator, if you need to transform your raster image from Procreate into a print-ready vector image. you can also save as an AI, PDF or PSD file which completely integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud products.

Compatibility: iPad os

Pricing: one-time payment of $9.99, with no subscriptions needed.

11. Pixlr

Pixlr Online Photo Editor for Graphic Design

Pixlr is a suite of free image editing apps you can use in your browser. It allows you to do everything from creating animations to editing photos and basic graphic design work. It supports several file formats, including SVG and PSD.

There are three different apps under the Pixlr brand name, each with a specific use. Pixlr X is aimed at beginners looking to make quick edits, while Pixlr E is an advanced photo editor that gives you all the tools to edit and enhance your images with powerful effects, filters, and stabilizers.

And then comes Photosmash Studio for removing backgrounds and creating beautiful visual assets with just one click.

The apps are great for users of all levels, and the interface is intuitive, so even if you’re new to graphic design, it won’t take long before you feel comfortable using it.

The software offers all essential photo editing tools for basic and professional-level enhancements, multi-image format templates, and over two million filters, overlays, and effects.

While it has an array of tools for sophisticated editing, it also provides tools for quick image fixes and tweaks without sacrificing professional quality. This makes it a handy tool for swift touch-ups and, with native mobile apps, for editing on the go.

The software is a lightweight app and consumes little memory even as an app for iOS and Android on mobile devices. This tool is great if you want to create designs for social media or touch up your images before uploading them to the web.

Pixlr has a solid and large community of fans. To date, it has racked up more than 500 million total users and 10 billion total images edited using its applications.

Compatibility: web-based for all platforms; App editions for iOS, and Android.

Pricing: Subscription plans for Pixlr Pro edition start from $5/month. It also has a free and 30-day trial version. Unfortunately, the free version has a lot of ads.

12. Corel Vector

Corel Vector Online graphic design softwaregraphic design software

Corel Vector (formerly Gravit Designer Pro) is a vector graphics editor that is known for its simplicity and ease of use.

With Corel Vector you can create 3D models, logos, illustrations, web graphics, infographics and much more. It is often used by professionals for tasks such as logo design, branding, and layout design.

The majority of software for designing vector graphics is locally installed due to the intricacy of images, however, Corel Vector also includes online possibilities.

The cloud-based option for Corel Vector is accessible via any browser and can seamlessly store data for both web and personal storage.

Corel Vector comes with a range of features such as vector editing tools, a color palette system, a layers control panel, and more.

Powerful vector manipulation gives you complete control over every design aspect. great for creating beautiful illustrations, typography, geometric shapes, and much more.

Corel Vector offers unlimited cloud storage space, PDF export up to 300 dpi (good for offset printing), CMYK, RGB, HSB colour space editing), you can work offline and have a few more export and project history options.

The software also offers an intuitive user interface with drag-and-drop capabilities that make it easy to get started quickly.

The software supports JPEG, PDF, SKETCH, EPS, and SVG file formats, making it ideal for creating graphics that can run on different platforms.

Also, the software has a huge library of vector assets, including emojis, illustrations, and forms.

This software strikes an excellent balance as lightweight and accessible software that anyone can use.

Compatibility: web-based for all platforms; downloadable editions for iOS, Windows, Linux, and Chromebook OS.

Pricing: 15-day free trial, $70-$100 yearly subscription

13. SVG-edit

SVG-Edit Online graphic design software

SVG-edit is a fast, open source, web-based SVG drawing editor that works in any modern browser. This is built entirely on HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript without requiring any server-side processing.

SVG-edit is intended for users who need to do quick edits to existing Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) images and do not want to use proprietary or open-source software that requires installation.

The software can modify or output SVG files and support conversion to other file formats such as PNG, BMP, WMP, and JPG. The solution offers simple navigation – you just drag and drop an image on your browser, and you’re good to go.

Among its core features are freestyle drawing, wireframe modes, lines, polylines, converting shapes to path, raster images, stylized text, layers, color and gradient selection.

Freehand Drawing is easy and convenient, you can change the color of the fill and stroke, as well as the opacity and thickness of the stroke.

When it comes to typography, the tools available will seem fairly simple if you’re used to using a cooler editor. The choice of font is limited to categories: Serif, Sans-Serif, Cursive, Fantasy and Monospace, and styles – Bold and Italic. You can set any size you like.

It doesn’t have a big range of advanced tools, but for simple vectors, or even slightly more detailed ones, it’ll do the job just fine. the tool still has a relatively low learning curve with a clear interface and allows you to export in both raster and vector formats.

What’s more – as the tool is open source, there are new features being added all the time. And you can also download and modify the code ( the repository is on GitHub) using one of the best code editors – making your own version if you want.

Compatibility: web browser-based for all platforms.

Pricing: Free

14. Gimp

Gimp graphic design software

If you’re interested in photoshop, a free alternative is GIMP. It is a great program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. It also has a rich history, having been around since 1996.

The UI isn’t quite as sleek and appealing as some of the others on this list, but all of the advanced features, like retouching, cropping, drawing, etc. are all there.

An enormous number of graphical design elements, logos, interface components. It also contributes to top-notch color management features to ensure high fidelity color management.

GIMP comprises a myriad of attributes which allow users to design artwork and icons, edit images and develop designs using layers, masks, textures and more.

This sophisticated graphic design program offers a variety of specialised features, including noise reduction, visual editing tools, and customizable brushes. You may also utilise the animation kit if you want to approach creative animations individually.

One of the best features of this tool is that it allows users to create high-definition graphics It has a full-screen mode that enables users to view and edit their design at the same time.

The user interface of the tool is customizable. If you know how to code, you can customize it according to your needs and take it to a higher level.

As a bonus, GIMP has a built-in file manager similar to Adobe Bridge. While GIMP has a huge library of available plugins, it doesn’t support Photoshop plugins, which could be a setback to many users.

Besides being free, GIMP gets regular updates as it’s an active community of developers. Separately, the support for GIMP is outstanding. The documentation, knowledge base, and community are beneficial.

Despite its reliability, GIMP requires a difficult learning curve. As it often happens with open-source software.

GIMP is one of the lightest and most feature-packed free graphic design software out there. It is easy to use and can be used to create a wide range of content.

Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Linux.

Pricing: Free

15. Krita

Ktita digital painting software for graphic design

Krita is a free and open-source raster graphics editor that is popular among artists and graphic designers.

Krita doesn’t do photomanipulation much, thanks to that it’s much more focused for painting, illustration. With Krita, you can create stunning illustrations in no time!

One of the standout features of Krita is its wide range of brush engines and customizable brushes, which allow you to create a wide variety of effects and styles.

It also offers you brush stabilizers, OpenGL accelerated canvas, colour management support, a pop-up color palette, templates, and a resource manager to import brushes and texture packs from other artists.

It also has a robust set of features for working with layers, including support for layer groups, blending modes, and layer masks.

In terms of photo editing, Krita has a range of tools and filters for adjusting colors, contrast, and other image properties. It also has support for working with raw files, which can give you more control over the editing process.

Although it is a raster graphics editor it also offers vector tools so that we can do non-destructive editing in this software and this non-destructive feature will do editing without harming original raster graphics.

Path tool, Selection tool, Text tool, Fill and Gradient Tool, and Vector art tool are those tools that get involved in editing as vector editor. All these tools have adjustable parameters. The projects save to the SVG format.

For 2D animation, it offers you Onion skin features by which you can have good control of the timeline.

It can help design comic books, drawing such as smooth shapes, vanishing points, advanced selection functions, layer masks, etc.

Krita’s interface is easy to personalise, the panels and drawers can be moved around and placed where it’s most comfortable, and when you feel at home, you can save the layouts.

The Krita tutorials included on their site will help you make the most of this great free design software and make the most of it you should.

Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android.

Pricing: Free

16. Inkscape

inkscape Graphic Gesign Software

Inkscape offers a completely free way to create vector images, and competes with Adobe Illustrator in terms of available features and tools.

While this software lacks Illustrator’s processing power and polished look, it’s still exceptionally full-featured.

Inkscape provides significant text editing, Bezier and Spiro curve types, and broad file compatibility.

Additionally, it includes an extension-based approach that makes it simple to add new features, and there are several incredible ones available.

The many effects and advanced, industry-grade options available in Inkscape are numerous. such as alpha blending, cloned objects and markers. It comes with multiple gradients and helps you create complex combinations too.

You can use it to create a business card, logos, online graphics, website, user interface, poster, paper scrapbooking, flyer, or just to practice your skills.

Try experimenting and practicing the fundamentals of digital drawing with the pencil tool, transform tool, ellipses tool, and many more.

Inkscape supports the SVG format and can import and output pictures in PostScript, EPS, JPG, BMP, PNG, and TIP formats.

Inkscape is developed in 2003 and has an extensive community of developers and professional users happy to answer questions and help beginners. and they provide regular updates and new features.

With a wide variety of vector editing and designing tools, this application proves handy for graphic designers. The designers familiar with Adobe can efficiently operate this tool.

Once you get past the steep learning curve and outdated interface, you’ll have some of the best open-source design software at your fingertips.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux. Just keep in mind the Mac version isn’t quite as stellar as the one on Windows.

Pricing: Free

17. Scribus

Scribus DTP software for graphic design

Scribus is a free and open-source desktop publishing program that has been made available to most desktop operating systems and multiple languages. For someone who prefers not to pay for software, Scribus is a perfect solution.

The app was created in 2003 , and uses a similar system of frames and layers to InDesign and Affinity Publisher. It has features that include vector drawing tools, emulation of color blindness, and import and export for many file types.

You can get professional features such as OpenType, CMYK color support and commercial-quality PDF production, but you don’t get much in the way of fonts and Pantone colors aren’t supported. Scribus tries to make up for this with its selection of versatile drawing tools.

Another downside is that you can’t import files from other apps like InDesign or QuarkXPress. For zero cost, that’s a compromise most people will be willing to make.

The drawing tools are surprisingly versatile, and there are some decent templates too. with this, Scribus makes creating brochures, business cards, and other publications a breeze.

The publishing procedures with Scribus can be resolved by shifting and dragging the elements inside the page, as you like. Created documents can be saved in the most popular text and image formats.

It supports many different graphic formats, the SVG format, the CMYK colors, and ICC management of the colors and scripts in Python language (that is, macro programmability). but the file format of this software is XML-based.

With it, you can design leaflets, books, posters and magazines. Besides, you can create interactive forms and PDFs to post to social media.

the powerful Scribus toolset does take time to master. That’s the trade-off for choosing the top free DTP tool packed to the rafters with professional-grade features.

Scribus also has an enthusiastic community around it, so it’s easy to find advice and tutorials if you get stuck on how to do something. but there’s still a significant learning curve.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac and Linux

Pricing: free

18. Canva

Canva Online graphic design software

Canva is an easy alternative for those without the time – or the money – to get to grips with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.

Canva is a web and mobile based design tool that you can use without any prior knowledge at all. It’s impressive because of its straightforward navigation, user-friendly, and clean design.

Canva has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, coupled with access to a huge variety of graphics, fonts and images, thus helping users to create a variety of designs for any type of content.

The built-in photo editor is ideal for quickly cropping and resizing photographs, as well as adding filters, frames, text, and effects.

It is often used by beginners as it includes a large variety of templates for developing brochures, invitations, marketing materials, infographics, flyers, presentations and more. Canva also allows users to edit the built-in templates as per their requirements.

You can use Canva to add animation effects to your designs. Simply choose Animate from the drop-down menu. All of the available effects are displayed here. Block, Breathe, Fade, Pan, and Rise are all free; additional paid animations are also accessible.

Canva has an useful feature that will enable you to schedule your postings to social networking sites, which allows you to share your photos on popular social media networks.

Furthermore, since it is an online platform, collaboration with other users is easily achievable (for up to 10 people with the free version of the software).

Canva offers you the simplest way to share and export your files with an easily-accessible share button and it is compatible with almost all devices.

If you’re not looking to produce books or magazines, but instead want to quickly put together brochures, images and adverts for Facebook and other social media, your CV or a letter, Canva is the program for you.

Compatibility: Web Browser cloud-based for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS; App version for iOS and Android.

Pricing: Canva is free to use and offers paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise for additional functionality.

The free version has a slightly reduced set of features, but there are no limitation to how many designs you can create with the free edition.

Unlike many free design tools, Canva doesn’t impose a watermark on designs made via the free version, which is a huge pro.

19. Vectr

Vectr Online graphic design software

Vectr is a free vector graphics editor that is designed for creating and editing vector images. It is available for both stand-alone desktop and web-based use.

The software is ideal for creating resumes, typographic logos, icons, illustrations, business cards, memes, social media headers, and other vector-based designs.

Vectr has a simple user interface that makes it easy to use. It also has a wide range of tools and features that allow users to create complex designs.

Vectr delivers basic tools like pencil, pen, shapes, and text, and the ability to add styles and effects to layers and assets. It also gives real professional quality features including filters, shadows and fonts.

Vectr is designed to be a collaborative tool, it has the ability to share URLs in real-time. This means you can work in teams to create your desired graphics. However, you will need to have an account to create and save your work.

You can also easily share your creations with this URL that you can send by e-mail or share on social media without the need for attachments.

There’s also a chat feature, so collaborators can chime in while you are designing, and you don’t have to deal with tons of notes after-the-fact.

For high-end designers, Vectr likely doesn’t have all of the features you’ll want. But casuals and amateurs alike will find the low learning curve attractive. Plus, there are dozens of tutorials available on their website for newbies.

Compatibility: Web Browser based for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS.

Pricing: free, no paid version

20. Xara Designer Pro X

Xara Designer Pro X graphic design software

Xara Designer Pro X is advanced graphic design software that combines vector drawing, raster photo editing, and page layout in a single application.

With simple drag-and drop functionalities, hundreds of template layouts, design elements, and over a million archive photos, designers can create custom work easily and quickly.

The software boasts of speed and performance in renderings, creation, and adjustments. It has an array of tools for drawing, 3D extrude, text handling, blends, page layout, live effects, transparency and feathering, and shadows and contours.

Aside from design tools, it has professional photo handling capabilities, web graphics and website creation and management features, and industry-standard compatibility – import and export various file formats, including Photoshop PSD files.

Xara Designer Pro X is the perfect choice for professional design work, ideal for print and the web. from simple button or logo designs to incredibly detailed illustrations, posters, multi-page brochures and photo layouts.

The software comes with free tutorials to teach the program’s ins and outs. You can always learn new techniques or tweak existing ones with the help of Xara Designer.

If you’re an all-around designer who requires a little bit of everything, Xara Designer can do the tricks for you. However, it lacks some of the professional features required to produce higher-quality work.

Compatibility: Windows only, But It also comes with a cloud add-on for editing.

Pricing: Xara Designer Pro enterprise license is offered at $299. But, there are often discounts, so you can wait a bit and get a better deal. You can also buy a stripped-down version of the product for $99.94 called Xara Photo & Graphic Designer.

Key Features of Graphic Design Software

drawing in graphic design software

Before committing to graphic design software for your business, you should decide what tools and features you need.

The most common features you should look for are:

User Interface

Most importantly, you want to feel comfortable using the software.

Depending on your skills, you may want a program that: Is easy to use; Has a clean look; Has easily accessible tools; Can be customized.


Creating something from scratch can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you are not a particularly creative person. Having access to a bank of templates gives you a good place to start.

When assessing templates, consider what you will be creating more as different content has different sizes.

If you are more focused on web design, look for a graphic design program specializing in website templates, the same for videos, reading material, and social media posts.

Photo Gallery

Buying props and taking professional photos can get expensive.

Look for graphic design software that also comes with stock photos and images. For the Adobe apps, there is Adobe Stock, a directory of thousands of images, pictures, photographs, and graphics.

Image banks take the stress out of gathering all the resources for a photoshoot and taking the perfect image.

They also save much time and much money.

Collaboration Tools

For those businesses with multiple employees, collaboration tools make operations more streamlined.

Having all the content saved in one Cloud, accessible by everyone, enables quick and easy sharing and cohesive designs.

Some programs also allow you to add comments or feedback to individual pieces. This encourages all employees to follow a standard and make adjustments.


The world of graphic design software has a lot to offer. There are many other graphic design applications available, From easy-to-use programs to more advanced tools, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

It’s a good idea to try out a few different applications and take advantage of the free trials to see which one will fit your needs and help you create stunning visuals.

If you also do video editing there are applications that you’ll probably want to know as well, like DaVinci Resolve or Final Cut or Premiere.

Additionally, some designers may use other specialized software such as After Effects, Autodesk Maya, Blender and Cinema 4D to create animations, 3D models, and motion graphics.

But Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are the go-to apps you’ll need to know if you want a career in graphic design. These programs allow designers to create complex visuals and designs, manipulate photos, and add text and graphics.

With so many options available, now is the perfect time to explore the world of graphic design software and find the right solution for you.

About the author : Clinton Kane

A technical content writer, passionate about sharing high-quality knowledge of pc technology, software, and creative workflows.