If you’re curious about the software used by professional graphic designers, then you’ve found the right place. In this article, we’ll talk about the top software tools for graphic design. We’ll also provide some insider information on what to look for.
Graphic designers are looking for software that has a mix of ease of use, speed, and unhindered creativity. Unlike architects or craftsmen, who often use the software more related to 3D modeling, graphic designers use more photo-based software.
Below, we’ll give you the ins and outs of some of the most common types of graphic design software. If you’re in the market, then stick around.
What is the Best Software for a Graphic Designer?
In the next sections, we will look at three types of software used by graphic designers. This will help explain how they work, and what they are looking for.
Top 3 graphic design software:
- Adobe Photoshop
Let’s look at these in more depth.
Adobe Photoshop and the entire Adobe Suite are known to be top products in the design world. Whether you’re editing videos, touching up photographs, or doing graphic design for businesses, adobe has products and prices for you. Adobe is a very popular option for graphic designers and will likely be part of their toolbox.
Best for: Anyone in graphic design could benefit from Adobe products, be it Lightroom, InDesign, or a host of other products used for photographs and logos. For those who are part of a larger team, Adobe is great, as it’s easy to integrate into other products. Now let’s talk a little bit about price.
Price/free trial: Adobe comes in around $21 per month for tools like InDesign and other members of the Adobe family. The price varies widely based on how you pay, yearly plans will get a discount, and if you pay all at once, you’ll receive an even greater discount. Monthly plans for InDesign will be around $31 per month.
Let’s talk about some common features.
Key Features: Adobe is such a broad and complete tool for graphic design that its features are nearly endless. In an app like InDesign, you can create layouts for books or posters, as well as format PDF documents. However, those are just a few of the many options for graphic designers.
User Experience: Since Adobe is such a popular company for graphic designers, you can find a ton of information on the internet related to this software. For those who are looking to do graphic design professionally, Adobe allows for scaled and incremental growth. Now let’s talk about some pros and cons.
Pros and Cons: a common starting point for graphic designers. However, it’s not the only option, and one of the downfalls of Adobe products like Photoshop is that all the features can feel overwhelming at first. Let’s talk about another option.
Sketch: Graphic Design Software
Sketch is a graphic design software used by individuals and professionals all around the world. It provides a platform for individual graphic designers and it can help professionals and businesses manage their clients. Sketch has plenty of features that help make the business and the art of graphic design easier.
Best for: Sketch is graphic design software that is best for individuals or businesses who want a simple and secure platform for their graphic design. It’s software that allows you to have unlimited viewers and works on the go. Let’s talk about some pricing, then we’ll talk features.
Price/free trial: For the standard options which are aimed at individuals, the price is about $9 per editor per month. For larger businesses, the price is about $20 per editor. The larger price point comes with a few extra features that help graphic designers run their businesses. They offer a 30-day free trial without asking for a credit card number. Let’s talk features.
Key Features: Sketch has features for both large and small graphic design companies. They work with cloud-based technology, which means they host the software offsite, allowing for easy access from anywhere with an internet connection. They allow for previews on a mobile device, and they can help with generating company invoices.
User Experience: This product is known for usability, and for being customer friendly, ensuring that their clients get the information they need. They allow for easy guest collaborators, simple sharing, and fast saving and sync of documents.
Pros and Cons: For those who want an affordable and user-friendly option, Sketch is great, which is why it’s a top choice among graphic designers.
Inkscape: Graphic Design Software
Inkscape is the best graphic design software for those who want a free option. This is an open source tool that brings together a group of artists and designers. It allows people to share work and to learn together, while also providing a platform for questions and answers and for further education.
Best for: Those who want a free option for graphic design or those on a very tight budget. Also a good option for those who want to contribute to the graphic design community as a whole. Let’s talk about prices and free trials.
Price/free trial: Free! Inkscape does have an area for donations or for support, but they are ultimately a free resource for anyone who wants to give them a try. No, they don’t just provide a “free version” the entire thing is free to use.
Key Features: Works with vector design – one of the preferred ways to create logos and illustrations and offers a high degree of scalability. They allow you to easily export your work and download it when needed.
User Experience: They have a community that is there to help make their products the very best they can. For those who are looking to learn more about graphic design, this is a good option.
Pros and Cons: A totally free product is obviously a big deal. However, for someone who is doing this regularly and professionally, it may not be the best choice as the only tool, as there won’t be 24/7 support like there will be with paid products.
Now, let’s talk a little about finding the best graphic design software.
How to Find the Best Graphic Design Software
Here are a few tips for finding good graphic design software. If you’re just a beginner, it can be hard to wade through all the options and find one that works for you. But don’t worry, by the end of this section, you’ll have a roadmap that will help guide your decisions.
Here are some techniques to find the best graphic design software.
Ask Professional Graphic Designers About Their Software
It’s easy to want to look things up on the internet – and there’s nothing wrong with looking at an article (like this one!), but nothing beats reaching out to an industry professional. Most will be happy to answer common questions, and they’ll be able to listen to your specific situation and provide tailored advice.
Know Your Budget
The only reason we place asking industry professionals first is that, sometimes, you need to increase your budget. If you don’t even know what you’re looking for yet, you may place your budget arbitrarily low or even too high. This could cause you to buy something that’s outside of your parameters.
Of course, you will have to be practical, and think about the future, and how much you will be using the software for your business. If graphic design is the central aspect of your business, then it makes sense to go premium, as this is your money maker. However, if graphic design is something you’re doing on the side, then you may be more conservative in your spending.
Use Free Trials and Grace Periods
Free trials are common, but some people don’t use them to their full advantage. If the company says that you can use the software for seven days, then try to take some time in those seven days to really comb through the features and make sure it’s right for you.
If the company requires a credit card for your free trial, it may be wise to ask if they can waive this, or just set an alarm on your phone reminding you to cancel before you’re charged.
Don’t feel bad about canceling during a grace period or asking for a refund if it was promised before you made the purchase. If the graphic design software company gives you any trouble about this, that’s a sure sign that you shouldn’t work with them.
Know Your Skill Level and Your Growth
This is a tricky one. Some people, even beginners, like to start out with the nicest things. This is understandable, especially with things like music, where it will be much more fun (and motivating) to practice on a nice piano, than on a cheap one.
However, when it comes to tech, this can be a little bit trickier. Why?
If you go with the most advanced, professional-grade software, it may be a little above your skill level, giving you a lot of trouble when learning. There’s nothing wrong with struggling in the beginning, everyone does, but you need to ensure you have the time to practice.