Looking for the best software for graphic design? This article tells you about the best graphic design programs on the market, so you can start making things immediately. Graphic design in today’s fast-paced, digital world is all about software. No matter if you are a hobbyist or a professional, computers and graphics tools have changed the way designers and artists used to work.
Most computers already come with Microsoft Paint, which many designers can use to create something basic but beautiful. But the features and options of specialized graphic design software can make all the difference between something being average and being amazing. So, the question of the hour is: what is the best graphic design software free for artists?
It can be hard to find the best solution because there is so much free graphic design software that claims to be the best free graphic design software. You might find the most perfect tools in a parallel universe. But in the real world, perfection is a myth and the fast pace at which new technologies are being made means that you can always find something better. Your final choice is harder to make when you have more robust options and more of them.
Don’t fret yet. I did the hard work for you by trying all of the popular and some of the less well-known tools for graphic design. By narrowing the list down to the 11 best graphic design programs, I hope to make it easier for you to find the right one for your needs. If you are interested in desktop publishing, you can read our article about desktop publishing software.
20 Best Graphic Design Software Solutions of 2023
At the end of this article, you’ll find a complete list of all the best graphic design software.
Adobe Illustrator CC is a great choice for professional graphic designers and artists who need a solution for vector graphics. It has a lot of tools that can help you make great graphic designs for websites, brand logos, video games, and printed materials. It works well with vector graphics so that users can make designs, maps, sketches, and beautifully made illustrations.
The easy-to-use design presets and templates that come with the product make it possible to make designs faster. It works well with Adobe Creative Cloud, which makes it easy for individuals to share projects. The solution can create paths that automatically line up with the nearest pixel grid. This makes it possible to make sharp segments and clear lines. It has a feature called “Snap to Pixel,” which can be changed to line up artwork with exact pixel boundaries.
Price: Adobe Creative Cloud has a variety of pricing plans, starting at $29.99/month.
Adobe Photoshop CC is a program for editing photos, images, and graphic designs. It is made for professional graphic designers, artists, and photographers. It lets users design websites, posters, icons, mobile apps, and banners using easy-to-use tools and templates with the program. For photographers, the app has tools that help them create and improve pictures, which can turn them into great works of art.
Using the free online graphic design software, you can create and improve paintings, illustrations, and 3D artworks. Digital works can be made and changed with the help of brushes and different patterns and effects. Other important features include smoothing brush smoke, managing brushes, access to Lightroom photos, paint symmetry, and controls for luminance masking.
Adobe Photoshop CC is available for various prices, starting at $29.90/month.
Canva is a cloud-based platform that lets it easy to create graphic designs that look like they were made by a professional. It gives you a robust and easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor and access to more than a million graphics, images, and fonts so you can quickly make any kind of content. Best graphic design software for beginners and professionals can use it to make marketing materials, corporate brochures, flyers, invitations, visual charts, book covers, presentations, and more. A huge library of templates can help you start your design project for whatever reason.
You can edit your designs and set up templates and documents with the graphic design software for beginners free solution. And because it’s an online platform, it lets people work together by letting others edit your designs, makes changes to them, or comment on your project. You can also publish your designs online or graphic design software free download and print them. Canva is free for teams with up to 10 members and gives them 1GB of storage and access to more than 8,000 templates. There is also a low-cost plan for work and a quote-based enterprise plan that gives you access to more features, unlimited storage, and advanced tools.
Adobe InDesign CC is mostly used to create, preflight, and publish documents for both print and digital media. It is a page design and layout tool. It is desktop publishing software that can be used to design other projects, posters, brochures, stationery, flyers, annual reports, and magazines. You can also use the platform to create eBooks, interactive PDFs, and digital magazines.
You can work with writers and editors using tools in Adobe InDesign CC. This will help you come up with ideas and design documents much faster. It can share text, colors, graphics, and shapes, and it gives users access to its Creative Cloud Libraries. Other features worth mentioning are paragraph borders, object height and width, endnotes, fonts, and improvements to PDF accessibility.
Adobe InDesign CC can be bought on its own or as a part of Adobe graphic design software Creative Cloud. It can be bought in various ways, with prices starting at $29.99/month.
GIMP is free and open-source software for editing images. It has a lot of features that can compete with the most popular software in its category. This tool has many features that make it simple to make capable changes to images and turn them into amazing works of art. It has valuable features like noise reduction, image enhancement tools, customizable brushes, and color adjustment tools.
Bezier curves, filters, layer masks, and an animation package are all great features for advanced users that can be found in GIMP. The platform lets you install or download plugins, a useful feature. It has a simple interface that is easy to use and doesn’t need any training. Even though the product might not have all the features of professional editing tools, it has all the editing features you need. Users can improve their productivity with the help of customization options. The software also works with plugins from other companies.
Pixlr is a set of web-based apps for editing photos that can be used on any browser and operating system. The software has all the essential and professional-level photo editing tools you need, multi-image format templates, and more than two million filters, overlays, and effects. It has a lot of tools for advanced editing, but it also has tools for quick fixes and changes that don’t hurt the professional quality. This makes it a useful tool for quick fixes and, if you have native apps for your phone, for editing on the go.
Pixlr is made up of four different programs: Pixlr X, which is an online photo editor, Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, and Pixlr Pro. The first three are free, and the last one has a subscription plan that isn’t too expensive. The software is a lightweight app that consumes little memory, even on mobile devices. There is a strong and large group of people who like Pixlr. It has more than 500 million users and more than 10 billion images that have been edited with its applications.
Gravit Designer is powerful vector graphic design software that you can use online or download and install on your computer. Even though it is a full-featured design solution that you can use for both personal and business purposes, it is offered for free.Screen designs, presentations, high-quality icons, illustrations, app designs, and print materials may all be created using it.
It works on any platform or operating system, claims to be the most accurate, has structured content, grids and auto-layouts, many styles and effects, and a robust text engine. It is made for vector graphics and has advanced tools for sketches, presentations, and transformations, among other things.
Gravit Designer works on graphic design software for macOS, Linux, ChromeOS, and Windows computers, as well as on the most popular browsers. It has dozens of predefined sizes, or presets, that make it easy to make designs for print, social media covers and content, websites, tablets, and smartphones. The software can be changed in many ways and has a simple but easy-to-use interface.
PhotoScape is a desktop program that lets you do more than a dozen design and editing tasks. It is an image editor, a photo viewer, a batch editor, a page merger, an animated GIF maker, a photo splitter, a screen capture tool, a color picker, a RAW converter, and a photo file renamer, and more. All these tools and features are available in free software that is small, quick, and easy to use. Just download it from its official website and install it on your computer.
PhotoScape has a lot of useful tools, but its most important feature is its image editing and design module, which lets you change features like color, size, resolution, brightness, gamma, backlight, and a lot more. It comes with text, design, and drawings tools, such as filters, paintbrushes, effects brushes, and clone stamps.
Works on free graphic design software for Mac, Windows, and Linux machines, so you can use it on any of those. It is available in several languages and has a separate, free version for Windows 10 computers offered PhotoScapeX.
Users can easily turn any information into stylish infographics with designs they can change. With its easy-to-use interface, the dynamic visualization tool is great for students and businesses of all sizes. It makes it easy to make infographics. Choose from a wide variety of templates, images, and designs in the application’s large visual library to make presentations that meet your aesthetic and professional standards.
Easelly lives up to its name by having a drag-and-drop interface that lets anyone make attractive infographics, even if they don’t know anything about web design or graphic design. The design templates can be downloaded for free. In fact, when you go to its website, you can start downloading and making changes to a wide array of templates.
The platform also lets users work together to create infographics. So, if you want to improve the designs, you can work with a graphic designer remotely through the platform. Easily even has graphic design services for users who are very picky about how things look.
10. Autodesk 3ds Max
3D tool for modeling, rendering, and animation Autodesk 3ds Max is designed to be used in games and to show how a design will look. Autodesk has one of the tools for designing and making products. Visual effects artists and pros who work in film and TV, game designers, and people who make virtual reality games significantly use the solution. Uses include building and infrastructure design, construction, product development, and planning in the manufacturing sector.
Autodesk 3ds Max lets you make game worlds, characters, and building environments with a lot of detail. It also makes it possible to animate characters and make scenes with them. The most impressive thing about the solution is that it can render in 3D and simulate real-world camera settings. This will be especially helpful in 2020 and beyond when 3D will be a big part of graphic design trends.
There are different ways to pay for the software, starting at $185/month.
Onshape is a design platform for 3D CAD, data management, and real-time collaboration hosted in the cloud. It is intended for designers, manufacturers, and engineers to use. It helps them, and their team work closely together no matter where they are because the software can be used on any device and accessed from any web browser. Onshape also has version tools and gives instant access to a single master CAD, so you don’t have to copy or duplicate files. Its features include part or component modeling, assembly modeling, drawing, file sharing and import/export, and data management.
Onshape offers cutting-edge parametric 3D modeling and detailed 2D drawings that can be linked. It lets you design from the top-down, model with multiple parts, and edit in place. It provides a secure, centralized online database that lets team members who are allowed to see design changes made by other team members.
For educational purposes, the software is free. It has standard, professional, and enterprise plans for business use that start at $1,000 per user per year.
Inkscape is open-source software for graphic design with many features and is known for making it easy to make vectors. It has a wide array of vector editing tools that are very helpful for graphic designers. These tools can change graphic elements like shapes, paths, text, clones, gradients, and transparency effects, among many others.
Metadata from Creative Commons, node editing, path operations, circumfluent object text, and node editing are also supported, among many other things. The solution is so robust that it’s on par with tools that cost a lot more. Users can play around with image shapes, add filters, and fill them with gradients in Inkspace. Projects can be saved in SVG, EPS, JPG, BMP, PNG, PostScript, or TIP formats, then exported to vector-based formats.
Inkspace is free, so you don’t have to worry about spending money on the app.
Autodesk SketchBook is an app that artists, designers, and other creative professionals can use to sketch on their computers. It has easy-to-use but powerful drawing and painting tools for making artworks, visual designs, and stunning illustrations on desktop and tablets. It has an easy-to-use interface and a lot of tools, such as customizable brushes, gradient fills, a color library, advanced layers, blending modes, perspective guides, stroke stabilizers, and layers. All these tools and features are intended to make painting and drawing feel natural, whether you use your finger or a stylus.
The software’s powerful digital drawing engine lets you create works of art quickly and precisely on canvases that are up to 100 megapixels in speed. It works with many different image formats, such as JPG, PSD, PNG, TIFF, and BMP. Autodesk SketchBook comes in three versions, each one optimized for the device and platform you’ll be using it on: desktop, Windows 10, and mobile. The software is free for one person, but a license for multiple users costs $85 per year.
PaintShop Pro is software for editing pictures. It is easy to use and has many features, such as the ability to draw, edit, and fix pictures. It has high-ability tools that create it easy to edit images, give graphic designs, and improve your photos with features like restore, quick fixes, effects, and retouch. The software is not only cheap, but it also has a number of changes that users have asked for.
The creative tools, easy-to-use interface, and faster performance of PaintShop Pro are sure to boost productivity. The tools and features of the platform are straightforward to change so that you can make your editing environment. Also, it lets you not only edit photos but also organize them with its built-in organizer and look at EXIF data and geotags, search for faces and rate images.
There are two business plans for the software, with prices starting at $63.99.
Piktochart is graphic design software that runs in the cloud and helps you create professional-looking presentations and infographics. It lets you make content quickly and tell powerful visual stories, whether infographics, reports, printable posters, or slide presentations. With a drag-and-drop editor, the process is quick and simple. You can choose from 600 pre-made templates, add interactive elements like charts and images, change the fonts and colors, and then print or share them online.
You can make visual messages and stories for marketing, business, or education in just a few minutes. Piktochart has a lot of design options and lets you publish in HTML, so you can make designs and presentations ready to be put on the web. It also lets you save your finished project so you can make changes to it later or use it as a quick reference. Educational plans for Piktochart can be used by individuals, teams, non-profits, and schools. Prices start at $12.50 a month.
16. Photoshop Elements
Photoshop Elements is a desktop program you can use to make, edit, organize, and share photos. It is intended for professional photographers and people who work in the photography business and need to manage track of many images.
The software lets you edit photos intelligently, using machine learning to make quick improvements and fine-tunes. For example, you can use an open eye and set the software to automatically apply it to all pictures with blinking or squinting eyes. There are also guided step-by-step edits for adding effects, custom frames, and other image edits.
Another great thing about Photoshop Elements is that it can manage and organize your photos automatically. It can automatically sort your photos by subject, date, and title, making it easy to find and keep track of them. Even if you have thousands of images, the software can auto-curate them and suggest photos based on smart tags and embedded image details or attributes. A full license for Photoshop Elements can be offered for $99.99.
Venngage is an online app for making infographics that help you tell your stories and show your data quickly. It only takes three simple steps: you choose a template, add visuals and charts, and customize your design. It takes away the hassle and cost of getting professionally designed templates because you can do it yourself with a drag-and-drop interface, a free-form canvas, customizable templates, and quick access to the multimedia design elements you need for your project. You can publish charts, graphs, and infographics right away that look good, create your content’s theme and logo, and share your work on your blog, website, or social media.
Over 21,000 businesses already use Venngage to make reports, infographics, visuals for social media, presentations, posters, marketing materials, and social media posts. It can be used by designers doing work for clients and as a way for schools and businesses to send messages and talk to each other.
Students can use Venngae for free. Paid plans start at $19/month for both businesses and individuals.
Xara Designer Pro is a single solution for making designs for both print and the web. It is on-premise software for Windows PC, but it also has a cloud add-on that lets you edit and share your Xara files and projects from any web browser and device.
The software says it can render, create, and make changes quickly and well. It has an array of tools for drawing, 3D extruding, working with text, blends, page layout, live effects, transparency and feathering, shadows and contours, and more. In addition to design tools, it has professional photo management, web graphics, website creation and management, and compatibility with industry features.
With Xara Designer Pro, you only have to use one piece of software for all your graphic design needs. No more needing separate tools for image editing, illustrations, vector rendering, and web design. You get all of them and more in one strong package. Even though it works quickly, it consumes very little of your computer’s resources. It also doesn’t have a steep learning curve and has a drag-and-drop interface and WYSIWYG editor that are easy to use. The price for a Xara Designer Pro enterprise license is $299.
Scalable Vector Graphics lets you use code to make vector drawings, and SVG-edit is a quick and easy tool to change an SVG file or make an SVG file output. The solution is simple because all you have to do is drag and drop an image on your browser.
The software lets you change SVG files and convert them to other file types like PNG, BMP, WMP, and JPG. Freestyle drawing, wireframe modes, lines, polylines, converting shapes to paths, raster images, styled text, and layers are some of its most essential features.
The next software on our list of the top 20 graphic design programs is Adobe Dreamweaver CC, a complete-featured software for creating websites and mobile content that looks good. You can create, publish, and manage websites, content, and web apps all from a single dashboard with this tool. It has many features you can use to make websites in different languages. Any device and any browser can be used to look at these websites.
Site designers can quickly and easily put their products on the web with this solution because the app comes with customizable templates. Also, it can aid coders in making quick changes and updates. You only have to write the code once when making websites and web apps. The product takes care of the rest. Depending on the device, your website will look different on different-sized screens. Adobe Dreamweaver CC is constantly updated, which helps you get better at coding, publishing, and managing.
The software has individual pricing options for individuals and businesses, starting at $19.99/month.
Basic or loaded with features?
Would you choose a graphics design program that lets you do everything or one that only lets you do the basics? In the same way, do you stand to gain more from a paid design solution or a free one? How you answer these questions depends a lot on what you want to do with them. The products on this list cover all possible needs and use, so you have a lot of choices.
If it is the core of your digital design studio for high-end clients, you should spend money on the most advanced and capable software. It might cost a lot and be hard to learn, but you wouldn’t want anything less than the best design software that can handle projects of any size or complexity. Still, big projects may need more project management tools, so if you don’t have a graphic design team, this is something to keep in mind.
On the other hand, if you’re a marketer who needs to make infographics and campaign posters often, you could try free, easy-to-use online design software with essential tools. If you don’t want to hire someone else to do the design work, that’s the best way. You only need to form a great marketing team, and you’re all set.
No matter what you want to do, Adobe Illustrator CC is one of our programs with the most features.
Suppose you’re looking for a video editing solution to go with your favorite graphic design platform (and round out your tools for making visual content). In that case, you can check out our list of the best video editing software.