Best Graphic Design Software: Ranked and Reviewed (2024)

Graphic design has become an essential part of conveying information and captivating audiences across various mediums. Whether you’re a professional designer or just starting out, having the right tools can make all the difference in bringing your creative vision to life. In this article, I will dive into the world of graphic design software and present the top-rated options available in 2022. From industry giants like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to popular newcomers like Canva and Figma, I will explore the features, benefits, and pricing of each software to help you choose the best one for your design projects.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the best graphic design software is crucial for professionals and beginners alike.
  • Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are industry standards, offering powerful tools for vector graphics and photo editing.
  • Canva and Figma provide user-friendly interfaces and a wide array of templates for non-designers and small businesses.
  • Consider your specific design needs, budget, and preferred workflow when selecting the right software.
  • Stay up to date with the latest trends and advancements in graphic design software to enhance your skills.

What is Graphic Design Software?

Graphic design software is a collection of programs and tools used by designers to create and edit digital artwork or images. It plays a crucial role in various design tasks, including website and app interface design, social media graphics, and 3D presentations. Over the years, graphic design software has evolved, offering both well-established options and newer, user-friendly tools that cater to different design needs.

Well-known software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have become industry standards, providing a comprehensive set of features for professionals. These software solutions offer advanced capabilities for image editing, vector graphics design, and more. They have proven to be reliable tools for creating stunning visuals across various design disciplines.

Alongside these stalwarts, newer and more accessible tools like Canva and Figma have gained popularity among designers of all levels. These tools often provide intuitive interfaces, pre-made templates, and collaborative features, making them suitable for beginners and professionals alike.

Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just getting started, choosing the right graphic design software is vital to your creative process. Each software option has its own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding their features and functionalities will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your design goals.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the best graphic design software options available in 2022. We’ll review their key features, benefits, and pricing, so you can find the perfect fit for your design projects.

The Best Graphic Design Software (Compared)

In this section, I will compare and review the top graphic design software options available in 2022. Each software offers unique features and capabilities, catered to specific design needs. From Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, which are industry standards, to CorelDraw Graphics Suite and Canva, I will delve into the strengths and weaknesses of each software to help you find the best fit for your design projects.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is widely regarded as the best graphic design software for vector graphics design. It has a comprehensive toolkit that allows designers to create everything from logos to floor plans. With advanced tools for vector graphic design and manipulation, compatibility with digital graphic tablets, and AI-powered features like generative recolor, Adobe Illustrator is a top choice for graphic designers and illustrators.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the premier choice for photo editing and manipulation software. It offers a vast set of photo correction and manipulation tools, advanced filters and color adjustments, and powerful AI-powered features. With its nondestructive editing capabilities and extensive features, Photoshop is the go-to software for photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite

CorelDraw Graphics Suite is a full-featured graphic design editor that specializes in vector illustration and page layouts. It offers a powerful suite of tools for editing graphics, images, and more. With support for various file formats, advanced typography tools, and optimization for web design and print production, CorelDraw Graphics Suite is a versatile tool for graphic designers, small business owners, and print professionals.

Canva

Canva is an online graphic design platform that offers a wide range of templates and design tools. It is known for its simplicity and accessibility, making it a popular choice for non-designers and small businesses. Canva provides easy-to-use tools for creating social media graphics, presentations, posters, and more. With its extensive library of templates and stock images, Canva is a go-to tool for creating professional-looking designs.

Comparison Table: Best Graphic Design Software

Software Features Pros Cons
Adobe Illustrator – Advanced vector graphic design tools
– Compatibility with digital graphic tablets
– AI-powered features
– Wide range of design capabilities
– Industry standard
– Robust community and resources
– Steep learning curve
– Subscription-based pricing
Adobe Photoshop – Extensive photo editing and manipulation tools
– Advanced filters and color adjustments
– Powerful AI-powered features
– Nondestructive editing capabilities
– Industry standard
– Versatile for various design projects
– Steep learning curve
– Subscription-based pricing
– Resource-intensive for large files
CorelDraw Graphics Suite – Powerful suite of graphics editing tools
– Advanced typography capabilities
– Optimization for web design and print production
– Versatile for professional designs
– Support for various file formats
– Robust community and resources
– Less popular compared to Adobe software
– Limited integration with other design tools
Canva – Wide range of templates and design tools
– Simplicity and accessibility
– Extensive library of stock images
– User-friendly interface
– Suitable for non-designers
– Collaboration features
– Limited customization options compared to professional software
– Subscription-based pricing for advanced features

Adobe Illustrator

When it comes to graphic design software for vector graphics, Adobe Illustrator takes the lead. With its comprehensive toolkit and advanced features, this software has become the go-to choice for designers and illustrators alike.

One of the standout features of Adobe Illustrator is its versatility. Designers can create a wide range of graphics, from simple logos to intricate floor plans, thanks to the software’s robust set of vector graphic design and manipulation tools.

Compatibility with digital graphic tablets further enhances the creative process, allowing designers to seamlessly bring their ideas to life. The software’s intuitive interface and seamless integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications make it a breeze to work with.

But it doesn’t stop there. Adobe Illustrator also offers AI-powered features like generative recolor, which can save designers valuable time and effort. These AI capabilities add a touch of automation to the design process, enabling designers to explore different color schemes and variations effortlessly.

Whether you’re a professional graphic designer or an aspiring illustrator, Adobe Illustrator provides the tools and capabilities needed to bring your creative vision to life. From intricate illustrations to stunning vector graphics, this software offers endless possibilities.

Adobe Photoshop

When it comes to photo editing and manipulation software, Adobe Photoshop stands as the premier choice. With its extensive range of tools and features, it empowers photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists alike.

Adobe Photoshop offers a vast set of photo correction and manipulation tools that allow you to enhance and transform your images. From adjusting colors and exposure to removing unwanted objects and retouching portraits, Photoshop provides the tools you need to bring your vision to life.

One of the major advantages of Photoshop is its powerful AI-powered features. With the help of artificial intelligence, Photoshop automates repetitive tasks and provides intelligent suggestions to simplify your workflow and save time.

Furthermore, Photoshop’s nondestructive editing capabilities ensure that your original image remains intact, allowing you to experiment freely without the fear of irreversible changes. This gives you the flexibility to revisit and revise your edits at any time.

Whether you’re a professional photographer, graphic designer, or digital artist, Adobe Photoshop offers the essential tools and features to take your work to the next level.

Key Features of Adobe Photoshop:

  • Extensive range of photo correction and manipulation tools
  • Advanced filters and color adjustments
  • Powerful AI-powered features for automation and intelligent suggestions
  • Nondestructive editing capabilities for flexibility and experimentation

With Adobe Photoshop, you can unleash your creativity and achieve stunning results in your photo editing and manipulation endeavors.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite

Welcome to the world of CorelDraw Graphics Suite, a comprehensive graphic design editor that caters to the needs of vector illustration and page layouts. With an extensive range of tools at your disposal, you can effortlessly edit graphics, images, and much more.

One of the standout features of CorelDraw Graphics Suite is its flexibility in handling various file formats. Whether you’re working with popular formats like AI, PDF, or EPS, or need to export your designs in different file types, CorelDraw has got you covered.

When it comes to typography, CorelDraw offers advanced tools that allow you to experiment with different fonts, create captivating text effects, and fine-tune the typographical elements of your designs. The seamless integration of typography into your projects is made easy with the suite’s intuitive interface.

In addition to web design, CorelDraw Graphics Suite also excels in the realm of print production. Its powerful print optimization features ensure that your designs are ready to be brought to life, whether in brochures, business cards, or banners.

The versatility of CorelDraw Graphics Suite makes it an excellent tool for a wide range of users. Graphic designers can greatly benefit from its powerful editing capabilities and extensive toolset, while small business owners can create compelling marketing materials to elevate their brand. Additionally, print professionals can take advantage of CorelDraw’s features to produce high-quality designs for various print media.

Key Features of CorelDraw Graphics Suite:

  • Comprehensive suite of tools for editing graphics and images
  • Support for various file formats, including AI, PDF, and EPS
  • Advanced typography tools for precise text manipulation
  • Optimization for web design and print production

“CorelDraw Graphics Suite offers a seamless experience in creating stunning vector illustrations and page layouts. With its diverse range of tools, designers can bring their creative visions to life with ease.”
– [Your Name], Professional Graphic Designer

Pros Cons
Comprehensive set of tools for graphic design Learning curve for beginners
Advanced typography features for precise text control May be resource-intensive on older computers
Support for various file formats and print optimization Requires a subscription or one-time purchase

With its robust capabilities and user-friendly interface, CorelDraw Graphics Suite is a valuable asset in the toolbox of any designer or business owner looking to create visually stunning and impactful designs.

Adobe InDesign

If you’re looking to create stunning print media projects, Adobe InDesign is the go-to software for professionals in the industry. With its precision and control over layout and design, advanced typography tools, seamless integration with Adobe Creative Cloud, and interactive features, Adobe InDesign empowers layout designers, publishers, and print professionals to bring their vision to life.

When it comes to text-centric projects like magazines, newspapers, and books, Adobe InDesign offers the ideal platform. Its comprehensive toolset allows you to craft visually appealing and well-structured layouts, ensuring a seamless reading experience for your audience. From choosing the perfect fonts and arranging images to controlling page elements and optimizing for print, Adobe InDesign has everything you need to create professional-grade publications.

With Adobe InDesign, you have full control over every aspect of your design. Its advanced text formatting options and precise layout tools enable you to create visually appealing and aesthetically balanced designs. Whether you’re working on a single-page flyer or a multi-page magazine spread, Adobe InDesign provides the flexibility and versatility required to bring your creative vision to life.

In addition to its powerful design capabilities, Adobe InDesign seamlessly integrates with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications. This integration allows you to efficiently import and edit graphics created in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, streamlining your workflow and saving you precious time.

Another notable feature of Adobe InDesign is its interactivity tools. You can easily create interactive elements like hyperlinks, buttons, and forms, making your digital publications engaging and interactive. This functionality is especially useful for creating e-books, digital magazines, and interactive PDFs.

“Adobe InDesign provides a comprehensive solution for layout designers and print professionals, offering a wide range of tools to create visually stunning and professionally polished print media.”

Whether you’re a design professional or an aspiring creator, Adobe InDesign is a must-have tool in your toolkit. Its powerful features, intuitive interface, and extensive range of capabilities make it the top choice for those looking to produce high-quality print media.

Adobe InDesign Features:

  • Precise layout and design control
  • Advanced typography tools
  • Seamless integration with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Interactive features for digital publications
  • Efficient import and edit capabilities with other Adobe applications

Table: Comparison of Adobe InDesign with other graphic design software:

Software Features User-Friendliness Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud Print Design Capabilities
Adobe InDesign ✔✔✔✔✔ ✔✔✔✔ ✔✔✔✔✔ ✔✔✔✔✔
Canva ✔✔✔✔ ✔✔✔✔✔ N/A N/A
CorelDraw Graphics Suite ✔✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ N/A ✔✔✔

GIMP

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source graphic design software that offers a wide range of tools for image editing and manipulation. It provides designers and artists with a powerful set of features, including customizable brushes, layers, and filters. While GIMP may not have the same level of polish as some commercial software options, it has gained popularity as a free alternative for those looking to create stunning graphic designs.

With GIMP, designers can unleash their creativity and bring their visions to life. Whether you want to retouch photos, create digital artwork, or design stunning visuals for your project, GIMP has the tools to help you achieve your goals. Its customizable brushes allow for precise detailing, while layers provide flexibility and control over your design elements. Additionally, GIMP’s wide range of filters opens up endless possibilities for creating unique effects and styles.

While GIMP may be a free software, it doesn’t compromise on functionality. It supports various file formats, making it compatible with other design software and ensuring seamless collaboration with other designers. GIMP’s intuitive user interface makes it accessible for beginners, while its advanced features cater to the needs of experienced designers.

Although commercial software options like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator dominate the graphic design industry, GIMP continues to gain traction due to its affordability and robust capabilities. Whether you’re a professional designer on a budget or a hobbyist looking to explore graphic design, GIMP is a valuable tool worth considering.

So, if you’re looking for a free graphic design software that doesn’t compromise on features and functionality, GIMP is an excellent choice. Give it a try and unleash your creativity!

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a professional design software that combines vector and raster tools in one powerful package. Developed as a direct competitor to Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer offers many similar features and functionalities.

With its smooth performance and intuitive interface, Affinity Designer is a top choice for professional graphic designers and illustrators. Whether you’re creating logos, illustrations, or complex designs, this software provides advanced vector editing capabilities and a robust set of design tools to unleash your creativity.

Key Features of Affinity Designer:

  • Advanced vector editing tools for precise control over your designs
  • Ability to create and edit both vector and raster graphics
  • Support for multiple artboards, allowing you to work on multiple designs simultaneously
  • Seamless integration with other Affinity software like Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher
  • Real-time pixel preview for accurate editing and instant visual feedback
  • Wide range of brush and pencil tools for creating organic and expressive artwork

Whether you’re working on digital illustrations, web designs, or print projects, Affinity Designer provides the necessary tools and features to bring your ideas to life. Its smooth performance and affordability make it a popular choice among professionals and aspiring designers alike.

Experience the power of Affinity Designer for yourself and elevate your graphic design workflow to new heights.

Disclaimer: The image above showcases the user interface of Affinity Designer.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a powerful and professional photo editing software that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. It is a direct competitor to Adobe Photoshop, providing photographers and digital artists with a high-performance alternative. With its intuitive user interface, advanced editing tools, and cross-platform compatibility, Affinity Photo has gained popularity among professionals in the creative industry.

One of the standout features of Affinity Photo is its extensive toolkit for photo retouching, manipulation, and enhancement. Whether you need to remove blemishes, adjust colors, or create stunning compositions, Affinity Photo has the tools to make your images shine. Its powerful AI-powered editing tools can intelligently enhance your photos with just a few clicks, saving you time and effort.

Additionally, Affinity Photo supports non-destructive editing, allowing you to experiment and make changes to your images without losing any original data. This gives you the freedom to explore different editing techniques and easily revert back to your original image if needed.

Another advantage of Affinity Photo is its compatibility with both Windows and Mac operating systems, making it accessible to a wide range of users. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, Affinity Photo offers a seamless editing experience on your preferred platform.

With its robust features, performance, and affordability (compared to Adobe Photoshop), Affinity Photo has established itself as a popular choice among photographers, digital artists, and graphic designers. Whether you’re editing landscapes, portraits, or creating stunning compositions, Affinity Photo provides the tools you need to unleash your creative potential.

Pixlr

Pixlr is a user-friendly web-based graphic design software that provides a range of photo editing tools and filters. It offers basic editing capabilities, making it a great choice for beginners and casual users who want to enhance their photos. While it may not have the advanced features of software like Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr still provides a wide variety of effects to add flair to your images.

One of the standout features of Pixlr is its simplicity and ease of use. The intuitive interface allows users to quickly navigate the software and apply edits effortlessly. Whether you’re looking to crop, resize, or adjust the colors of your photos, Pixlr offers a straightforward editing process that anyone can master.

With Pixlr, you’ll also have access to a diverse range of filters and overlays that can transform your pictures with just a few clicks. From vintage effects to trendy Instagram-ready filters, Pixlr offers a variety of options to suit your creative vision.

Furthermore, Pixlr provides users with the convenience of being web-based, eliminating the need for downloads or installations. You can access Pixlr directly through your web browser, making it accessible wherever and whenever you need it. This feature ensures seamless integration into your design workflow, no matter where you are.

While Pixlr may not cater to the advanced needs of professional graphic designers, its user-friendly interface, basic editing capabilities, and broad range of effects make it an ideal choice for beginners and casual users looking to enhance their photos with ease.

Pros Cons
Simple and easy to use Lacks advanced features
Web-based, no downloads or installations required May not meet the needs of professional graphic designers
Diverse range of filters and overlays

Sketch

When it comes to designing user interfaces for web and app projects, Sketch is a top choice among UI and UX designers. This vector-based design tool is specifically tailored for Mac users, offering an intuitive interface and powerful vector editing tools that make the design process seamless and efficient.

What sets Sketch apart is its focus on creating user interfaces, making it the go-to software for designers in this field. Whether you’re designing a website, a mobile app, or a digital product, Sketch provides a comprehensive set of features and a clean workflow that enhances your ability to create stunning and functional designs.

One of the key advantages of Sketch is its extensive library of plugins and integrations. These expand the capabilities of the software, allowing designers to customize their workflow, automate repetitive tasks, and access additional design resources. Sketch’s robust plugin ecosystem makes it adaptable to different design needs and preferences, empowering designers to streamline their workflow and achieve greater efficiency.

Another noteworthy feature of Sketch is its collaborative capabilities. Design teams can easily collaborate within the software, enabling real-time feedback, version control, and seamless project sharing. This fosters effective teamwork and enhances productivity, particularly for remote teams or those working in distributed environments.

Overall, Sketch is a powerful design tool that prioritizes creating user interfaces with its specialized features, intuitive interface, and extensive plugin ecosystem. If you’re a UI or UX designer looking for a versatile and Mac-friendly tool to bring your design ideas to life, Sketch is definitely worth considering.

Figma

I am excited to introduce you to Figma, a cloud-based design tool that revolutionizes collaborative design. With Figma, designers can work together in real-time, making it the perfect choice for teams collaborating on UI and UX designs.

One of the standout features of Figma is its ability to facilitate seamless collaboration. Designers can work on the same project simultaneously, making edits and providing feedback in real-time. This collaborative approach eliminates the need for multiple versions of design files and streamlines the design process.

When it comes to UI and UX design, Figma has all the tools designers need to bring their vision to life. From prototyping and wireframing to creating design systems, Figma offers a comprehensive set of features to support the entire design workflow.

Designers can easily create interactive prototypes using Figma’s prototyping features, allowing them to test and validate their design concepts before implementation. Furthermore, the design systems feature in Figma ensures consistent and efficient design across various screens and platforms, making it easier to maintain a cohesive user experience.

Key Features of Figma:

  • Real-time collaboration for seamless teamwork
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Efficient prototyping capabilities
  • Design systems for consistent and scalable designs
  • User testing and feedback integration

With Figma’s cloud-based platform, designers can access their projects from anywhere, at any time. This flexibility is especially valuable for teams working remotely, as it ensures that everyone has access to the latest design files and can contribute to the project’s progress.

Overall, Figma is a top choice for designers looking for a collaborative and efficient design tool. Its robust set of features, intuitive interface, and real-time collaboration capabilities make it a valuable asset for any design team.

Next, let’s take a closer look at Canva, another popular graphic design platform that simplifies the design process for non-designers and small businesses.

Figma Cloud-Based Design Tool

Canva

When it comes to creating stunning designs without the need for extensive graphic design knowledge, Canva is the go-to online platform. With its wide range of templates, user-friendly interface, and extensive library of stock images, Canva has become a favorite among non-designers and small businesses.

Whether you’re looking to create eye-catching social media graphics, professional presentations, or captivating posters, Canva offers simple and easy-to-use tools that allow you to bring your ideas to life. With just a few clicks, you can customize templates to match your brand or personal style, making it a convenient and efficient solution for all your design needs.

Key Features of Canva

  • Template Library: Canva provides a vast collection of pre-designed templates for various design purposes. From social media posts to event invitations, you’ll find a template for almost every design project.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Canva’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for anyone to create professional-looking designs. You don’t need any prior design experience to navigate through its features.
  • Stock Images and Icons: With a comprehensive library of stock images and icons, Canva offers a wide selection of visual assets that can enhance the visual appeal of your designs.
  • Customizable Designs: Canva allows you to customize templates by adding your own text, images, and colors. You can also resize elements and adjust their placement to create a design that perfectly suits your needs.
  • Collaboration Tools: Canva’s collaboration feature enables multiple team members to work on a design simultaneously, making it an ideal tool for collaborative projects.

Whether you’re a student, a solopreneur, or a small business owner, Canva offers a user-friendly and accessible platform for all your graphic design needs. So, if you’re looking to create professional-looking designs effortlessly, give Canva a try!

Canva’s intuitive interface and extensive template library make it a popular choice for creating professional-looking designs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when it comes to selecting the best graphic design software for 2022, it is essential to consider your specific needs and preferences. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop remain the industry standards due to their comprehensive toolsets for vector graphics design and photo editing. These software options offer advanced features and functionalities that cater to the demands of professional designers.

However, there are also other powerful alternatives to consider. Affinity Designer, CorelDraw Graphics Suite, and Canva provide user-friendly interfaces and robust feature sets that make them viable options for a wide range of design projects. Affinity Designer, in particular, offers a seamless blend of vector and raster tools, making it a favored choice among professionals in the graphic design field.

When making your decision, it is crucial to factor in your design goals, budget, and preferred workflow. Evaluate the specific features and capabilities of each software against your project requirements to identify the best fit. Keep in mind that the design software landscape is continually evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest tools in the market can help you leverage new features and stay ahead in the industry.

FAQ

What is graphic design software?

Graphic design software is a collection of programs and tools used by designers to create and edit digital artwork or images.

What are the best graphic design software options available in 2022?

The best graphic design software options available in 2022 include Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw Graphics Suite, Adobe InDesign, GIMP, Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, Pixlr, Sketch, Figma, and Canva.

Which graphic design software is best for vector graphics design?

Adobe Illustrator is widely regarded as the best graphic design software for vector graphics design.

Which graphic design software is best for photo editing and manipulation?

Adobe Photoshop is the premier choice for photo editing and manipulation software.

Which graphic design software is best for page layouts and vector illustration?

CorelDraw Graphics Suite is a full-featured graphic design editor that specializes in vector illustration and page layouts.

Which graphic design software is best for producing print media?

Adobe InDesign is the industry standard for producing print media, such as magazines, newspapers, and books.

Is there any free graphic design software available?

Yes, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source graphic design software that offers a wide range of tools for image editing and manipulation.

Which graphic design software is a direct competitor to Adobe Illustrator?

Affinity Designer is a professional design software that combines vector and raster tools in one powerful package and was developed as a direct competitor to Adobe Illustrator.

Which graphic design software is a direct competitor to Adobe Photoshop?

Affinity Photo is a professional photo editing software that rivals Adobe Photoshop in terms of features and performance.

Is there any web-based graphic design software available?

Yes, Pixlr is a web-based graphic design software that offers a range of photo editing tools and filters.

Which graphic design software is widely used by UI and UX designers?

Sketch is a vector-based design tool for Mac that is widely used by UI and UX designers.

Which graphic design software is best for collaborative design in real-time?

Figma is a cloud-based design tool that allows for collaborative design in real-time.

Which graphic design software is best for non-designers and small businesses?

Canva is an online graphic design platform that offers a wide range of templates and design tools and is known for its simplicity and accessibility.

How can I choose the best graphic design software for my projects?

When choosing the best graphic design software for your projects, consider your design goals, budget, and preferred workflow.

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