Discover 12 Best Graphic Design Software for Crafting Illustrations


Do you want the best software for graphic design? With the sudden rise in technology advancement and AI development, the world of graphic design has transformed. Due to this technology development, designers can now access a wide range of helpful graphic designer software to make their illustrations and designs. 

Finding the right software is essential as it helps designers to enhance creativity and streamline workflow. In this article, we'll explore some of the best graphic design software options available to meet the needs of beginners, professionals, and those on a budget.

What Is Graphic Design Software?

Graphic design software is the quickest way to create and edit digital art or images. It is a suitable tool to make illustrations and designs. Some of the best well-known graphic design software include Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. However, Canva and Figma are new but are more user-friendly, making graphic design accessible to a wider audience.

Best Graphic Design Software

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1. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a premium-level graphic design software that creates vector graphics. It is popular among professionals for designing logos, artwork, infographics, and icons. Illustrator keeps adding new features for users, like the Generative Recolor tool, which uses AI to explore endless color palettes and themes. Know more about best tools to create infographics in our previous.

However, Adobe might not be the best fit for people or organizations on a budget. They offer a free trial, but you are required to provide your credit card information and select a subscription plan when the trial is finished.


  • Image Trace: With its auto-detect feature, you can customize the image.
  • Retype: If you have artwork that contains fonts you don't recognize, you can use the Retype tool to identify them. Once identified, you can use these fonts in your own designs instantly.

2. Canva

Canva is an easy-to-use best graphic design software that makes design simpler. It's ideal for beginners who want to create visually stunning work without the steep learning curve that comes with more complex software. The platform offers various helpful templates, from social media graphics to presentations, making it versatile for projects. Even if you're only starting or working on a tight schedule, Canvas's drag-and-drop functionality and extensive library of images and fonts empower you to produce professional-quality designs with ease.


  • Interface: It has a user-friendly interface that allows you to create illustrations and designs.
  • Collaboration Tools: Effortlessly share your projects with your team using team folders and real-time collaboration.

3. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a top choice for photo editing and manipulation software. It provides users with a variety of tools to create digital art. Photoshop can do many of the same things as Illustrator, but it stands out for its image editing capabilities. 

When it comes to refining images, Photoshop is the best. Its unique nondestructive editing capabilities, combined with countless graphic design tools, make it ideal for people who need precision and versatility in their work.


  • Generative Fill: Generate designs and ideas.
  • Timesaving Features: This feature simplifies the process by allowing you to perform multiple operations and automate repetitive tasks through scripting.

4. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is best graphic design software alternative to Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. It's great for editing existing images and has various features to create stunning effects like layers and filters. You can work with both vector and raster images, and the software supports the SVG file format like CorelDRAW. However, Affinity Photo doesn't include any templates, it is lightweight and takes up very little storage. For thirty days, you may test it out for free.


  • Powerful Digital Editing Tools: This software comes with the ability to merge HDR images, edit raw files, and make adjustments to layers.
  • Optional Overlay Packs: When you register for their service, you will receive additional editing tools completely free of charge.

5. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is the best option for people who want to create designs or are new to graphic design. Users will find the interface to be easy to use and user-friendly. It's comparable to Adobe Illustrator and has similar design tools, including custom keyboard shortcuts that make designing faster and easier. Affinity Designer is suitable for designers who want affordable software without sacrificing features.

30 days of free trial are available with Affinity Designer. After that, you'll need to pay a one-time fee to continue using the software.


  • Timesaving Tools: You can easily design graphics with Affinity's grids, guides, and other tools. 
  • One-Time Purchase: No subscription Fees.

6. Pixlr

Pixlr is a better choice for editing photos and creating graphics on the web. You can access its editing tools from any device through a web browser. Pixlr has a design library with templates, icons, and fonts to help you manipulate and edit photos. Pixlr's AI-powered tool can remove backgrounds, and the AI-created image feature will need additional refinement for better output.


  • Drag-And-Drop Interface: Simple to use even if you don't have much experience editing or creating images.
  • AI-Powered Tools: You can use this tool to remove the background from images, generate them, and more.

7. Sketch

Sketch is a best graphic design software mainly used for creating web and mobile designs, but also for vector graphics. It is a Mac app that designers can use, while others can view and comment on designs from any browser. Sketch was the go-to tool for web design and prototyping before Figma came along. Developers can see related CSS by using plugins that make sharing designs easy.


  • Uncluttered Interface: Allows you to get up and running quickly without distractions.
  • Guest Collaboration:  Allows freelancers to set up temporary project access.

8. Vista Create

Vista Create is a free graphic design tool with templates, scheduling, and a brand kit. It's great for social media graphics and has drawing tools for animation and photo editing. There's a 30-day free version, but after that, users must sign up for a plan. It's most cost-effective for solopreneurs or freelancers.


  • Social Media Scheduler: Utilize the scheduler built into the software to upload graphics.
  • Creative Assets: It lets you access to royalty-free vector, photo, and video libraries.

9. Figma

Figma is a best graphic design software, especially for web and app design. It's easy to use and popular with web designers and UX experts. It can also be utilized for editing photos. Figma has a helpful community that shares UI Kits and other resources. It's easy to move design elements between platforms. You can even copy CSS code and apply it to your own app or website!


  • Third-Party Integrations: Connect your favorite apps.
  • Cost: It comes with 24/7 customer care support system for all your problems.

10. PhotoScape X

PhotoScape is a free software that lets you edit your images. Its drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to use. You can also rename files and do minor editing in batches to save time. If you need more features, there's an upgraded version called PhotoScape X and a paid version called PhotoScape Pro X. The latter is compatible with Macs.

PhotoScape X brings new features like animation effects, filters, macros, frames, and the ability to merge HDR images. You can buy it once from the official Microsoft or Apple Store.


  • Multiple Language Support: This application is available in several languages.
  • Advanced Features: Animated GIFs, filters, and effects, as well as brushes and tools.

11. Inkscape

Inkscape is a software that deals with vector graphics, just like Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer. However, some people find its interface uncomfortable compared to these other programs. What makes Inkscape unique is its calligraphy tools, which are great for graphic tablets.

Inkscape has many features that allow you to create detailed vector designs, such as path operations, node editing, and layering. While some people think it is slower than other vector tools, it has the advantage of being free, which makes it a popular choice for many people.


  • Useful Text Tools: Supports line spacing; provides multi-line support; provides letter spacing.

12. GIMP

GIMP is a best graphic design software that you can use to edit photos for free. It is an excellent substitute for heavyweight software like Adobe Photoshop, and it offers comparable features. GIMP comes with a user-friendly interface that you can customize to suit your preferences.

Although GIMP can work with Photoshop files, there may be compatibility issues due to frequent updates in Photoshop. Nevertheless, GIMP has outstanding support, including a helpful community, documentation, and knowledge base. 

It's worth noting that GIMP has a steep learning curve, which may pose a challenge for some users. Despite this, it is a robust software that can be an excellent option for those who want a lightweight and free graphic design tool.


  • Powerful Suite Of Tools: Provides several tools for editing photos, including a channel mixer and perspective clone.
  • Cost: It is available free to download.

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The graphic design industry has undergone a significant transformation with the advent of advanced technology and AI development. The article showcases a diverse range of graphic design software that caters to the needs of different individuals, including beginners, professionals, and budget-conscious individuals. 

The software options range from industry leaders like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to user-friendly options such as Canva and Figma, each with unique features and capabilities. Designers can choose from Adobe's precision tools, Affinity Designer's cost-effectiveness, or GIMP's free and robust capabilities based on their preferences, skills, and project requirements. Ultimately, choosing the best graphic design software depends on individual preferences and needs.

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