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Best graphic design software of 2022: Free and paid, for Windows, Mac, Linux, and online

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Graphic design software can make it easy to create designs that are ready for professional printing or distribution.

Printing artwork is an unusual activity, so you will need a specific software program. A dedicated vector-based graphic designing program is required.

There are many drawing and painting software out there, but it all comes down to the tool you use.

You want a tool that is specifically designed for vector graphics and that offers color editing options in CMYK or HSB, in addition to the more popular RGB.

This is particularly important for graphic designers, as images and designs may need to reproduce in large formats that require professional printing services.

It is therefore essential that graphic design software be able to handle all levels of publishing and print processes.

Desktop publishing software may cover many of the same areas, but it’s more focused than image design on general publishing. There are logo designers, but often a design team will be needed to be able do more than that.

These design software have been tested across many areas, including photo manipulation, vector graphics and web graphics. We also evaluated desktop publishing. We also looked at whether the software is available in cloud, local or online use and if it was free or paid.

These are the top graphic design software platforms.

 

The best graphic design software of 2022 in full

 

1. Affinity Designer

Ideal for professional artwork that can be printed or displayed on screen

There are many reasons to buy

+Inexpensive+Collaboration as standard+Windows PC and Mac

Avoidable reasons

-No natural grid for perspective

Affinity Designer is a replacement for DrawPlus X8 (opens in new window) and was developed from scratch over a five year development project by Serif.

This software is specifically designed for professional designers. It can manage a wide range of design tasks including web, branding and concept art. You might also need repeating patterns on soft furnishings, wallpaper, and ceramics.

Affinity Designer excels at complex, multi-layered documents. It renders at 60 frames per second and can zoom and pan across documents with no visible lag.

It also has inherent cloud functionality, making it an attractive option for designers who are working together towards a common goal. All of this functionality is available for very low prices on either Windows PC or Apple Mac.

2. Adobe Illustrator CC

The best vector-based graphic design software

There are many reasons to buy

+Very powerful+Consistent User Interface with Photoshop+Windows and Mac

Avoidable reasons

-Expensive

Adobe Illustrator  is the vector edition of Photoshop. The two have many similarities and can be used together to help designers who use them both. Adobe Illustrator is a key tool in graphic design since 1987. It is widely considered to be one of the most popular vector drawing programs.

Illustrator is the best tool to create graphics that can be scaled from a stamp to a billboard.

Adobe Illustrator used to be available at a discounted price. However, Adobe now offers the product only on its Creative Cloud (CC) suite. It is expensive.

Although it may have powerful features, frequent updates, and be available on both Apple Mac and Windows PC platforms, the price is prohibitive for occasional users.

3. CorelDRAW

Graphic design software that is easy to use for beginners

Visit the Site Corel Corporation

There are many reasons to buy

+Easy-to-learn and to use+Massively featured

Avoidable reasons

-Expensive

The CorelDRAW Graphics Suite (opens in new window) is actually a software package, not a single program.

Photo-Paint is used to manipulate photos, AfterShot can handle raw files, PowerTRACE can convert bitmap images to vectors and FontManager to organize the text styles that you actually use.

CorelDRAW is the main star. It’s not just a vector-drawing program, but also has a desktop publishing feature that allows you to design multi-page projects.

This latest version has many improvements such as the ability to handle web graphics and edit vector effects. The template menu has also been simplified. These improvements are complemented by the ability to search your images using thumbnails.

It can also be restored to the Mac after a break with a fully functional version.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a well-respected suite of software. It can be used by both Apple and Windows users.

4. Gravit Designer

A great online cross-platform vector editor

Avoidable reasons

Complex designs can slow down the process

Because vector illustrations are complex, most software is installed locally. Gravit Designer however, opens in new tab, offers online options.

Cloud-based version can be used from any browser. It automatically saves to the online storage and locally.

You can also install other versions of Windows PC, Apple Mac and Linux, which you will find on a Chromebook. These releases allow you to better use the computer’s hardware.

We have found that the local versions are much more responsive to complex designs than the online version. There is no reason to not give it a shot, even though you have a limited version. Gravit Designer has many impressive examples that show it can be highly effective in certain jobs.

Gravit Designer PRO offers unlimited online storage, increased resolution to 300dpi, expanded print options to CMYK, HSB, as well as advanced export options and version history. All this for a very reasonable annual subscription.

5. Inkscape

Graphic design software for free with many useful features

There are many reasons to buy

+Free+On Windows, Linux, and Mac

Avoidable reasons

-Can be slow sometimes

Many businesspeople are reluctant to use free software for legitimate reasons. However, Inkscape  is definitely worth your time before you buy CorelDRAW or Adobe CC.

Inkscape is a vector tool that allows for extensive file support, text manipulation, and both Bezier curve and Spiro curve types. There are many amazing features available, including an extension model that makes it easy to add new features.

We have one reservation: the software can sometimes be slow on a powerful computer, especially when rendering is involved.

You can download the source code for any version of Linux and compile it as a GPL-licensed app.

6. Sketch

Amazing vector editor created exclusively for Mac

Sketch was not a generic application. Its creators (opens in new window) created a tool that addresses a narrow set of requirements.

Sketch is a screen design tool that focuses on creating icons and interface elements for websites, apps and websites. It is only available for Apple Mac users, so it will be of great benefit to designers who work on iPhones, iPads, and macOS apps.

It can be used in many other ways, but its greatest strength is the creation of user interfaces. It is one of the most popular UI tools on the market. Sketch offers a minimalist user experience and intuitive keyboard shortcuts. It is also rich in features, with a large number of Sketch Plugins.

One Sketch license is required. Licenses are available for multiple devices.

7. Xara Designer Pro X

Windows users have a one-stop solution for creative documents

Xara was founded by the company behind Atari ST and Acorn Archimedes computers. In the 1980s, Xara moved to the PC.

The latest version, Xara Designer ProX is a powerful design tool that works with vectors and bitmaps with equal ease. It can be used for DTP (desktop publishing), illustration, and photo manipulation in one tool.

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A license allows you to quickly mock up something. It includes access to more than a million images and illustrations, hundreds of templates, and thousands of design elements.

There are often discounts available on the price. A reduced version, called Xara Photo & Graphic Designer, is also available. This is often discounted. Steam also offers Pro X at a discounted price.

We also highlight the top laptops for music production and video editing.

What is vector illustration?

Klaus Vossen, Senior Product Manager CorelDraw . We asked Klaus Vossen. What is a vector, and what does it look like?

Let’s begin with Vector vs. Bitmap. Bitmaps are also known as raster pictures. They are made using pixels which are tiny dots of color. Consider photographs! Bitmap images are an essential part of any design workflow. However, they can be very large and varied in quality. They also run the risk of blurring when enlarged.

Vector images, on the other hand, are composed of points, lines and shapes. They can be edited to exact detail and can be scaled infinitely to any size because they are based upon mathematical equations. A single vector image (let’s say a logo) can be printed on any surface, from the corner or a billboard to the roadside. All of this is possible using the same file.

Now that you know what a vector file looks like, it is easy to see why they are so crucial to your graphics workflow. While there are many apps that provide vector illustration tools, professional software is required if you desire professional results.

What is graphic design software?

Graphic design refers to the arrangement and creation of visuals within a project in order to communicate ideas or messages. Software or vector graphics tools allow users to design in many ways, including color editing, correction, color manipulation, and vector graphics.

How do you choose the right graphic design software?

Before you decide which graphic design software is best to download, consider how professional and serious you want the software to look. You can choose to use a less demanding program if you only need to create files and designs. If you are planning to create anything for professional printing, however, you may want to choose one of our more expensive and higher-end programs.

How to test the best graphic design software

We first created an account on a variety of software platforms to test the best graphic design software. This could be either as an online or download account. To test the software’s ability to edit and develop images, we first created an account with a few images. We wanted to test each platform to determine if it could edit a variety of content types and do so consistently and without creating formatting problems or other issues that could render them unusable for printing.

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