25 Best Graphic Design Tools for Designers

graphic design tools

Graphic design has grown to become the soul and heart of every business in this day and age.

From packaging design to branding, digital ads, photography, illustration, typography, motion graphics, and so much more, many brands and companies use professional, eye-catchy graphic design to capture the attention of their audience, sell products and services, and ultimately reach out to a new market.

Although graphic designers do the bulk of the work creating unique, beautiful brand designs, none of that will be possible without the right tools. Imagine a baker without his mixer or a chef without his culinary tools, the result is not going to be desirable.

Similarly, a graphic designer without the right design tool is also likely to fail at creating the right designs. With a clear understanding of the role of graphic design in business growth, we have come up with a comprehensive list of the best graphic design software available in the field today as advised by top designers.

Keep reading!

25 Best Graphic Design Tools For 2023

Below are the best 25 graphic design creative software for professional graphic designers in 2023:

1. Adobe Photoshop

graphic design tools free

Adobe Photoshop is one of the longest-serving design software that remains in the industry standard for desktop publishing. It is also a popular software among many graphic designers for many obvious reasons. Aside from its wide array of image editing tools that supports designers from all levels from beginner to pro, it also has a user-friendly interface and a large collection of well-written tutorials.

Like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop also offers a seven-day free trial with 100 GB of cloud storage, and Lightroom includes 1 TB.

Pros:

  1. It has an extensive library of stock images, fonts, videos, templates, and icons.
  2. It has excellent integration with other Adobe programs.
  3. It supports multiple file formats including PSD, JPG, and PNG.
  4. It works well on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Cons:

  1. It is resource-demanding.
  2. It has an expensive pricing plan.

2. Adobe Illustrator

free graphic design tools

Adobe Illustrator is another popular software widely used among graphic designers. It’s commonly used to design logos, artwork, infographics, flyers, icons and so much more. Unlike other design software that uses pixels, Illustrator uses mathematical formulas for seamless resizing.

Its key features include the Adobe Sensei AI used to match colors from photographs, an extensive library of Adobe stock templates, images, icons, and fonts, access to Adobe creative cloud, data merge, and social media. Although Adobe Illustrator offers a seven-day free trial, you have to provide a credit card details to start.

Pros:

  1. It has excellent integration with other Adobe programs.
  2. It has an extensive library of stock images, fonts, videos, templates, and icons.
  3. It enables users to start from scratch or choose a template.
  4. It works well on Windows, Mac, iPad, and Android.

Cons:

  1. It has expensive subscription plans.
  2. It is resource-heavy.
  3. High learning curve

3. Procreate

online graphic design tools

Procreate is a graphic design software made exclusively for iPad and Apple Pencil. Unlike the first two software, it offers a one-time purchase with no free trial or version available and gives access to 200 customizable brushes, an intuitive selection of complementary colors, and a color drop tool for fill, unifying image management for creating the perfect look with no in-app purchases.

One of Procreate’s best features is its ability to work in 3D and preview it in real-time in AR. It also serves as a good starting point to try out animation.

Pros:

  1. It supports Apple Pencil
  2. It has an extensive tutorial library.
  3. It has an intuitive user interface.
  4. Import Photoshop brushes.
  5. It is built to work on iPad.

Cons:

  1. It has no free version.
  2. It requires a steep learning curve.

4. Affinity Designer

graphic design tools online

Affinity Designer is a worthy competitor to Adobe Illustrator due to the similar suite of design tools, intuitive user interface, and many user-friendly features. It is an excellent choice for novice graphic designers looking for an affordable alternative without sacrificing functionality.

Another interesting feature of Affinity Designer is its version history which allows you to go back up to 8,000 steps including its 1,000,000% zoom. Overall, it is a great choice if you are looking to improve your graphic design career.

Pros:

  1. It is reasonably priced.
  2. It demands less resourcing.
  3. It offers excellent customer service.
  4. Raster and vector workspaces in one program
  5. It has unlimited artboards.
  6. It works well on Windows, Mac, and iPad.

Cons:

  1. It has no cloud services
  2. It has complex documentation.

5. Canva

graphic design tools for beginners

Canva is a free graphic design software that provides an all-around solution for creating a wide variety of projects from infographics to flyers, explainer videos, web design, t-shirts, icons, logos, branding and so much more. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for graphic designers of all levels from beginners to pros to use.

Canva has a large library of images, templates, backgrounds, and fonts for free, while some more advanced ones require in-app purchases. It is specifically rated as one of the graphic designer tools due to its ability to work with a broad range of industries, many thanks to its huge template library.

Pros:

  1. It has a free version
  2. It is easy to use
  3. It has a rich collection of resources and tutorials.
  4. Wizard for on-the-fly creation
  5. It works well on Web browsers, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Cons:

  1. It has uneditable downloads
  2. It has limited free stuff, with in-app purchases

6. Gravit Designer

best graphic design tools

Gravit Designer is a GNU image editing and manipulation program and vector illustration software that supports RGB color space, by adding HSB and CMYK at the pro level. It has an easily customizable and user-friendly program in addition to 500 MB of cloud storage with the free plan and unlimited storage with the pro version.

The pro version allows you to work offline with a touch-enabled device. It also includes options to export up to 300 dpi with the ability to assign reviewer and approval roles in the pro version.

Pros:

  1. It has a free version available
  2. It has social media support
  3. It has an intuitive interface
  4. It enables autosave.
  5. Zoom up to 25,600%
  6. It works well on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Linux

Cons:

  1. The free plan does not support Google Drive integration
  2. No real-time collaboration

7. Adobe InDesign

best tools for graphic design

Adobe InDesign is Adobe’s standalone desktop publishing program and it’s slightly different and a bit more technical from other Adobe programs. Unlike Illustrator and Photoshop which designers from all levels can still work with, InDesign is best suitable for pro designers.

InDesign is also mostly used for designing image-heavy posters, presentations, and documents. It supports documentation and is resource-heavy like most Adobe programs with a rich library of images, templates, fonts, and more. InDesign also offers a user-friendly setup guide and templates for creating professional-looking ebooks

Pros:

  1. Layering functionality
  2. It is excellent for image-heavy presentations
  3. Allows easy collaboration.
  4. It works well on Windows and Mac.

Cons:

  1. It is expensive
  2. It has large file sizes
  3. It doesn’t have an easy and user-friendly interface like other Adobe programs
  4. It doesn’t integrate well with other Adobe programs.

8. Pixlr

free online graphic design tools

Pixlr is an image editing app that works well in browsers for desktops and mobile apps supported in both iOS and Android platforms. Formerly part of the Autodesk family, Pixlr now operates on its own and is the basic program with all the essential editing tools. It has a free trial and free version, although the free version is ad-heavy.

Pixlr is easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of editing or image design experience. It has a rich template library with professional-looking templates and also supports several file formats, including SVG and PSD.

Pros:

  1. It is affordable
  2. Allows social media integration
  3. There are version options for skill level and needs
  4. It works well on Cloud, web-based, iPad, Android

Cons:

  1. It does not support TIFF or BMP.
  2. It is not intuitive
  3. It has a limited number of templates

9. Figma

online graphic design tools free

Figma is a collaborative web application for user interface design and offers a lot of features for free graphic design software. Its key strength is the vector graphics, with an impressive range of tools and free unlimited cloud storage with the free version. Figma allows its users to create and administer private plugins with an affordable plan.

It is small-business friendly and gives a lot of latitude for small teams, with unlimited cloud storage, customization, and drafts for free.

Pros:

  1. It is free to a considerable extent
  2. Offers private plugins at the organization-level plan
  3. It has excellent features in pricing plans
  4. Cross-platform at the free tier.
  5. It works well on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS

Cons:

  • Only has extra security features for organization level
  • Lower-price tiers have no shared fonts.

10. Inkscape

tools for graphic design

Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor that allows you to create vector images primarily in Scalable Vector Graphics format. Though its free plan is packed with a lot of functionality, it isn’t as intuitive as the paid programs. It is an excellent companion software with similar programs like Adobe Illustrator because of its flexibility and file support.

Inkscape also offers support for line spacing, multi-lines, and letter spacing and has a wide array of helpful tools such as Bézier curves, calligraphy tools, and Node selection. It can import AI and CorelDRAW files and render primitive vector shapes and text.

Pros:

  1. It has a built-in XML editor.
  2. It supports SVG file
  3. Cross-platform
  4. It has command-line export support
  5. It works well on Windows, Mac, web-based, Linux

Cons:

  1. It is hard to navigate on small screens
  2. It is not-intuitive

11. GIMP

graphic design tools and equipment

GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphic design software program that is mostly used for image editing and image manipulation, free-form drawing, transcoding between different image file formats, and more specialized tasks. Gimp is a lightweight alternative to more sophisticated programs like Adobe Photoshop.

Gimp also provides much of the same functionality for free and has a customizable workspace with user-friendly navigation. It has a powerful suite of tools for photo editing, such as a channel mixer, and allows you to work with 2D from scratch or templates.

Pros:

  1. It has frequent updates
  2. No bloat
  3. It has a powerful suite of tools
  4. Tons of support
  5. It works well on Windows, Mac, and Linux

Cons:

  1. It has a steep learning curve
  2. Clunky CMYK image support

12. Sketch

best online graphic design tools

Sketch is a vector graphics editor specifically for macOS developed by the Dutch company Sketch B.V. It helps to manage your workflow with a customizable interface that uses your plugins. Sketch offers basic functionality and has strong community support to provide solutions when the software falls short.

It offers a free 30-day trial but no free tier for individuals. It also makes it easy to create mobile interfaces and its guest collaboration feature adds the ability to create temporary project access with freelancers.

Pros:

  1. It is easy to use for beginners.
  2. It has strong community support.
  3. It has excellent support documentation

Cons:

  1. It supports Mac only
  2. It has an expensive subscription model
  3. No version comparison feature

13. PhotoScape

tools needed for graphic design

PhotoScape is a free graphics editing program developed by MOOII Tech, Korea. It has a basic toolbox of drawing tools and its drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to use and perform simple tasks such as resizing or cropping.

PhotoScape users can create animation effects, more filters, macros, added frames, and a merge to HDR function to the table. It has multiple language support with 30 languages and paper-print functionality such as Print graph paper, lined paper, or even sheet music. PhotoScape also has advanced features including animated GIFs, internet face search, and batch rename.

Pros:

  1. It is easy to use.
  2. Enables batch editing
  3. Works with RAW images
  4. It works well on Windows and Mac.

Cons:

  1. The free version has infrequent updates
  2. Dated UI in PhotoScape version

14. Vectr

graphic design tools 2023

Vectr is a free web-based graphics editor platform that you can either use online or on one of the several desktop options. It is mainly used to create vector graphics and typography. Its extensive library of guides and tutorials makes it easy to create vector graphics and intuitively bring designs into reality.

Pros:

  1. It is free
  2. It has a rich collection of resources and tutorials
  3. Blur-free graphics without pixels
  4. It works well on Windows, Mac, web-based, Linux, Chrome OS

Cons:

  1. It requires an internet connection
  2. Has no import functionality
  3. No media library

15. Krita

free graphic design tools for beginners

Krita is a free and open-source raster graphics digital art software developed primarily to design digital art and 2D animation. It is also used for photo editing and is best suitable for individuals who are new to illustration and want to explore editing without a subscription. Krita also has a rich lineup of brushes, vector tools, and brush stabilizers.

Pros:

  1. It is easy to use.
  2. It has a customizable workspace
  3. It supports audio import
  4. It is optimized for drawing
  5. It works well on Windows, Mac, web-based, Linux

Cons:

  1. It lacks technical support
  2. It has a dated UI

16. Lunacy

best graphic design tools for beginners

Lunacy is a free graphic design software built for UI, UX, and web design. It has a rich library with thousands of icons, illustrations, and photos available on the app. Unlike Figma, Lunacy is not only built to work online as most of its features work offline too. An interesting feature of Lunacy is its AI-powered tools that help to perform routine tasks such as background remover, image upscaling, avatar, and text generators.

Lunacy like Figma also enables collaboration with other designers and has an intuitive interface that comes in 21 different languages.

Pros:

  1. It is easy to use.
  2. It comes in 21 languages
  3. Has AI-Powered in-app tools
  4. It works well on Windows, macOS, and Linux
  5. Value for money

Cons:

  1. Lack of advanced prototype feature

17. Mega Creator

best free graphic design tools

Mega Creator is an online DIY graphic design software for creating high-quality icons, illustrations, photos, backgrounds, and AI-generated faces. It is one of the best online graphic design programs for web and mobile app designers, copywriters, bloggers, social media marketers, and virtually everyone in need of quick, easy, and quality designs.

It enables users to create illustrations by customizing thousands of flat and 3D illustrations and edit custom photos by editing and cutting out photos of people, animals, objects, and AI-generated faces. With Mega Creator, you can either create the design from scratch or choose from the available social media templates for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Pros:

  1. Free Trial
  2. Built-in Templates
  3. Transparency Tool
  4. Premium Icons
  5. Image Editor
  6. Enables Collaboration
  7. It works well on Web Browser

Cons:

  1. It’s a bit pricey
  2. It allows only authorized users to access the file

18. CorelDRAW

web graphic design tools

CorelDRAW is professional graphic design software developed by Corel Corporation for creating vector illustrations, logo designs, graphics, layouts, editing photos, and designing websites.

Previously built for Windows OS, CorelDRAW is now available for Mac and uses AI technology to provide you with LiveSketch which converts sketches into vector curves. CorelDRAW is also the name for the Corel graphics suite which includes tools for graphic design as well as layout. Corel graphics suite also has Photo-Paint and Corel Font Manager for photo editing and font management. 

Pros:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Multi-platform
  3. User-friendly design interface
  4. Can export to many widely used formats
  5. It has a solid functionality
  6. It works well on Windows and Mac

Cons:

  1. It hangs easily
  2. Difficult to upgrade to newer versions.
  3. It takes longer to convert files

19. Eagle

free tools for graphic design

Eagle is a powerful, easy-to-use digital asset management software designed to help users easily collect, search and logically organize their design files. It is the best option for anyone struggling to organize files such as images, videos, fonts, documents, audio, 3d objects, or reference materials, and manage digital assets using customized filtered conditions by colors, dimension, size, formats, rating, notes, and more.

Graphic designers or concept artists use Eagle to import and organize files without managing them in a separate organizer. It can instantly preview over 90 file formats and help you easily identify duplicates.

Pros:

  1. Ease-of-use
  2. Customer Support
  3. Value for money
  4. Functionality
  5. It works well on Windows and Mac

Cons:

Lack of support and responsiveness in English

20. Xara Designer Pro X

graphic design software tools

Xara Designer Pro X is a comprehensive design and image-editing software developed by a British software company, Xara. This software combines photo editing, vector illustration, desktop publishing, and graphic & web design all in a single solution.

Xara Designer provides users with hundreds of template layouts, design elements, and over a million archive photos to create custom design elements and use them in any of your designs. It also has tools like gradients, outlines, and transparency to give your artwork and designs a special touch.

Pros:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Value for money
  3. Features
  4. Customer support

Cons:

  1. The free trial is ad-heavy
  2. Only works with Windows

21. Visme

what tools do you need for graphic design

Visme is an all-in-one online design tool used for creating presentations, infographics, and other visual content. It has an easy drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy for businesses and individuals to create stunning and interactive visual content.

Visme offers its users access to millions of stock photos, videos, icons, animated graphics, fonts, and graphs to create designs and customize the available templates as much as they want. However, only paid account users have access to premium templates and features like the brand kit and many others. An interesting feature of Visme is that it allows users to bring life to their visual content with advanced animation and interactivity features.

Pros:

  1. It is easy to use
  2. It has a rich library of templates, photos, icons, and fonts.
  3. Users can easily share content
  4. Easy to publish online
  5. Free Version
  6. Customer support is available

Cons:

  1. Only works on Web Browser

22. Genially

Genially is a web-based all-in-one tool that allows users to create animated and interactive designs. Users can either create their design from scratch or choose from thousands of templates to develop posters, infographics, social media content, client pitches, interactive images, website sliders, dossiers, gamification and so much more.

Once you have finished adding all content to the design, you can add interactivity and animation effects and save, after which you share the design via a link, embed it on a webpage, or online platform, or download them. Genially is mainly used by teachers, marketers, designers, and businesspeople from all over the world.

Pros:

  1. Free plan
  2. Customizable Branding
  3. Data Import/Export
  4. Collaboration Tools
  5. Document Management
  6. Third-Party Integrations
  7. It works well on Windows and Mac

Cons:

  1. Not easily accessible via mobile phones
  2. No free trial

23. Colorcinch

new graphic design tools

Colorcinch is a simple-to-use and minimalistic free photo editor that has rich features and a vast arsenal of tools to help non-tech users easily create professional-level graphics and photo enhancements. Colorcinch also enables users to quickly and easily edit photos using an arrange of editing tools to crop and rotate images and adjust exposure, contrast, and color as well as advanced image editing.

It has a rich photo editor and cartomizer that allows designers, photographers, and hobbyists to enhance photos and create stunning artwork in minutes. It has extensive libraries on the internet for filters, effects, overlays, masks, graphics, and icons.

Pros:

  1. It has a simple and clean UI
  2. It is affordable
  3. Free plan.
  4. Easy to use.
  5. Many filters and effects.
  6. Has an offline version too.

Cons:

  1. Effects can take too long to apply.
  2. Relies on your internet connection
  3. Lacks basic editing tools

24. VistaCreate (Formerly Crello)

graphic design tools for windows

VistaCreate is an online graphic design software made to create original, high-quality and impressive visual content. It has a rich library of templates, fonts, illustrations, stickers, and other elements and a wide range of editing tools that graphic designers and digital artists can use to create and customize professional designs.

VistaCreate requires free signup to create customizable social media, web, print, and ad content. Its in-app tool allows users to remove backgrounds easily, add texts and objects, change fonts and colors, resize images, upload illustrations and do so much more. With VistaCreate’s 10,000 animated objects, users can create trendy designs and high-quality brand visual designs. Lastly, its free plan gives users access to tools and the library but requires a paid account to be eligible for unlimited downloads and some extra features.

Pros:

  1. It has free and easy-to-use editing features.
  2. Free plan
  3. Design formats for any business needs.
  4. Ready-made templates
  5. Huge library of objects
  6. Video editing options

Cons:

  1. Lack of tutorials and documentation
  2. Lacks basic editing tools

25. Design Wizard

simple graphic design tools

Design Wizard is free online graphic design software that enables graphic designers and digital artists to easily create, share and download images in minutes. Its free plan allows users to access a huge library of 1 million copyright-free images and 15,000 templates that can be used to create or customize designs for social media, businesses, or everyday use. Interestingly, Design Wizard also integrates well with Hubspot, Marketo, and Buffer.

Pros:

  1. Easy to use
  2. User-friendly Interface
  3. It loads faster
  4. Free plan
  5. Has an impressive amount of editing options
  6. Numerous templates to use.
  7. Huge library of images and templates

Cons:

  1. It is expensive
  2. Basic pre-made templates
  3. Free plan downloads are watermarked
  4. The presence of many features makes it a bit hard to use.

Conclusion

Graphic design has grown so important in today’s world of advertising and marketing. So much goes into the creative process and without the right tools and software, there’s less chance of creating high-quality, professional designs. To help you create better designs (and in good condition), we have identified the 25 best graphic design tools and software to work with as a graphic designer.

Good Luck!


Ready to create more
designs for lesser costs?

Start your 21-day free trial
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.