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Graphic Design Software for Designers in 2020

Graphic Design Software for Designers in 2020

Whether you are an amateur graphic designer or an experienced digital artist, using the right tools can multiply your talent exponentially. A well-built graphic design software provides intuitive controls and flexibility that can be easily understood by a beginner but also has vastly superior tools for an experienced user.

The best way to know which software would suit you best is to get hands-on with the tool and experiment with them. Each of the software is characterized by its features, ease of use, performance, cost, and availability. Many paid graphic design software provide a free trial for users to give them a better understanding of the product.

 

Best Paid Graphic Design Software

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop - famous graphic design software

Adobe Photoshop is arguably the most popular software for graphic design and is used by millions of artists around the world. Whether you are looking to create banners, posters, websites, or logos, this best graphic design software can do it all for you. From small edits to sophisticated designs, Adobe Photoshop has tools for every level. If you are someone who works with illustrative designs, you can even draw or paint anything you like.

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.

Platform: Windows and Mac

Sketch

Sketch - Graphic Design Program

Sketch is a Mac-only graphic design program that focuses mainly on digital design. These digital designs are used to create websites, apps, and interfaces. Unlike Photoshop, Sketch isn’t built for photo editing or print work. With Sketch, you can create a prototype by collaborating with other designers on the platform itself. The program has a smart layout feature in which the component will automatically resize based on the content. There are hundreds of plugins in the software which will let you do vector editing and other design work with precision down to the pixel. Digital icons are another thing that can be created through this software. Sketch, on the downside, is not great for print design or illustrations.

Platform: Mac

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator - Graphic Design Software

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

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. For beginners, Adobe provides professionally designed templates to save time. The user interface of the program is helpful, but there is a steep learning curve to get good at illustrator.

Platform: Windows and Mac

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer - Best Graphic Designer Software

The Affinity Designer is a cheaper alternative to illustrator, which is especially suitable for someone who is in the early stage of design career. The software is known to work smoothly, which can improve your workflow and make you express your creativity more freely. You can move and zoom your artwork at 60fps; see the gradients, effects, and adjustments changing live along with the transforms and curve edits.

Affinity Designer lets you work on both vector and raster workspaces, and you can switch between them easily. This software can work on any device, and you can create unlimited artboards within it. Affinity designer provides a graphic design app for the iPad with the same features offered on the desktop versions. Advanced color controls are provided where you can work in RGB or LAB color spaces with up to 32-bits per channel. You can find a wide range of toolset in the program which can be used to achieve a high level of accuracy and productivity. The grids and guides are fully customizable, where you can change the spacing, sub-divisions, gutters, angles, etc. Another powerful feature of Affinity designer is that you get floating-point accuracy by zooming your artwork, even by more than a million per cent.

Platform: Windows, iPad, and Mac

Adobe InDesign

Adobe Indesign - Graphic Design Program

Another software by Adobe that can be used to create designs is the Adobe InDesign. 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. With the ‘adjust layout’ option that InDesign provides, you can change the text of your document, and the graphic will adjust accordingly.

The properties panel has been redesigned to give you more intuitive control over the tools. The Sensei technology integrated into InDesign makes the automatic arrangement and resizing of images. Beginners can quickly learn this graphic design software because it has a low learning curve. To work with other members of your team in creating a design, you can use Adobe InCopy. The Creative Cloud Libraries can help you share text, colors, and graphics with other members.

Platform: Windows and Mac

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019

CorelDRAW was earlier built only for Windows OS; it is now available for Mac as well. With this graphic design program, you can create professional vector illustrations. There are powerful design tools to help you work faster and smarter. You will find numerous customization options, whether you are working on logos, web design, or print projects. CorelDRAW now uses AI technology to provide you with LiveSketch, which converts sketching into precise vector curves. The suite contains tools for graphic design as well as layout. It has Photo-Paint and Corel Font Manager for photo editing and font management.

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.

Platform: Windows and Mac

Xara Designer Pro X

Xara Designer Pro X - Best Graphic Designer Software

Xara Designer is built for both bitmaps and vectors. The program can handle desktop publishing, graphic design, illustration, photo editing, all in one place. The graphic design software provides you with hundreds of template layouts, design elements, and over a million archive photos to get you started quickly. While drawing any shape, lines, or curves using vectors, you would not face any loss in quality when you scale it up. You can create custom design elements and use them in any of your designs. Tools like gradients, outlines, and transparency in the software will give your artwork a special touch.

Platform: Windows

Best Free Graphic Design Software

GIMP

GIMP - Free Graphic Design Software

GIMP is a free graphic design software that works on many platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. GIMP is an open-source program that allows you to change its source code and distribute the program. There are many customization programs and 3rd party plugins that can be used in GIMP to improve your productivity and create better designs. GIMP can also be used to retouch images, wherein you can even make creative composites. Interface components and mockups can also be designed, along with print designs such as icons and logos.

Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac

Gravit Designer

This is another free graphic design software that can be used to create vector-based designs. You can create logos, edit photos, and create illustrations and animations in this program. Gravit does not have an offline version in the free plan. The software is fully customizable according to the user’s needs. The pro version of Gravit is paid and has more advanced features like advanced export options, offline version, more color space, etc.

Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS

Inkscape

Inkscape - Open source graphic design software

Inkscape, like many other platforms, provides multi-purpose use. It can be used by designers, illustrators, or web designers. The software has flexible drawing tools, which make it easy for beginners to understand the software and create art without difficulty. As the text is an integral part of graphic design, Inkscape has a powerful text tool at your disposal. This software is open source and can be used with any platform. A designer has to spend some time to understand how to use this software. This software is best used to create images that are vector-based and needs to be required in SVG format. Inkscape provides a lot of filters and a helpful community for the designer to grow.

Platform: Windows, Linux, and Mac

Vectr

Vectr - Free Graphic Software

Free graphics software, Vectr can be used to create vector graphics. These vectors created won’t lose their quality when scaled. Vectr doesn’t use pixels to create the design; it uses mathematical equations. This free graphic design software is available both online and for desktop. Vectr provides you with an easy to use platform which you can use to create any 2D graphics. It can be business cards, logos, posters, brochures, etc.

Vectr provides you with detailed guides on how to use the program, which you can use to learn and create anything with your imagination.

Platform: Windows, Web Browser, Linux, Mac, and Chrome OS

Canva

Canva - Online Graphic Design Software

If you have no previous experience in designing and you are looking for something very easy, then Canva is for you. This free online graphic design software allows you to create designs easily and quickly. There are a ton of templates, fonts images, many of which are free to use. Canva works on the drag and drop concept, where you only need to select the elements and drag it to your work area and customize it. This program does not provide you with advanced features like Photoshop. It, however, solves a beginner’s design need who doesn’t want to get into the process of learning and purchasing premium software. Canva is available as a graphic design app that can be used in Apple and Android devices. The basic features in Canva are free; you will, however, be charged if you want to use more features in it.

Platform: Web Browser, Android, iOS

PixTeller

PixTeller - Free Graphic Design Software

PixTeller is an easy to use editor tool that can be used to create graphic images (downloadable in PNG, JPG, PDF format) and animations (downloadable in MP4, GIF format). Anyone can use it to make images, animated gifs & videos for personal or business use, with no technical or design knowledge. Creating graphics is a time demanding process, but with this design tool, anyone can make personalized visuals from scratch or by customizing any pre-made templates in minutes.

Platform: Web Browser

Design Wizard 

Design Wizard - Online Graphic Design Software

Design Wizard is an online graphic design software, the pricing of which starts at free and increases along with the features. This graphic design software provides users with more than a million curated images, 15000+ templates. Another interesting feature of Design Wizard is its integration with Hubspot, Marketo, and Buffer.

Platform: Web Browser

 

Design Agency Cape Town

What Is Good Design?

What Is Good Design?

Good design is not just what looks good. It also needs to perform, convert, astonish, and fulfill its purpose. It can be innovative or it might just get the job done.

A good design cannot be measured – multiple perspectives are needed.

 

Good design is innovative

Innovative design can both be a break-through product or service, and a redesign of an existing product or service. A break-through product adds a before unseen value and function to the market and the user, while a redesign improves an existing product.

 

Good design is functional

Useful design fills its intended function – and likely both a primary and secondary function. A useful design solves problems and through its design, it optimizes a given functionality.

 

Example of a well-designed webpage

Take a look at our well designed, professional and engaging homepage

Design agency cape town

Example of a well-designed web-page

Good design makes a product useful

It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

 

Good design is aesthetic

An anesthetic product has an inherent power of being able to fascinate and immediately appeals to its user’s senses.

“Only well-executed objects can be beautiful. The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products used every day have an effect on people and their well-being.

 

A good design is intuitive

Intuitive design explains itself and makes a user manual unnecessary. A design makes how to use, perceive, and understand a product obvious. A good design explains its function.

“It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

A good business

Assuming a product is designed to sell, a good design does well in the competition and stands out in a competitive market. Good business means a positive profit, why a good design sells well.

A good design is honest

“An honest design communicates solely the functions and values it offers. It does not attempt to manipulate buyers and users with promises it cannot keep.”

A good design is long-lasting

In a society of over-consumption, a good design has an important objective. It builds on sustainability in the sense that design and materials are durable and not just a trend. Waste and over-consumption is not a part of good design.

“It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

A good design is user-oriented

Good design is based on its use and designed to improve a given situation for its user. The user-oriented design adds value to both intellectual and material value to its product and in turn, increases satisfaction and the life situation of its user.

A good design is unobtrusive

“Products and their design should be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools and are neither decorative objects nor works of art.

A good design is focused

A good design is effective and efficient in fulfilling its purpose. It relies on as few external factors and inputs as possible, and these are easy to measure and manipulate to achieve an expected other output. A good design is always the simplest possible working solution.