Comparing top graphic design software tools? We've compiled some of the most popular software for entrepreneurs — and you.
Which is the best graphic design software for your business in 2020?
We wrote this article (and made a small offering to the taco gods) to help you answer that question. We’ve compiled 10 of the best graphic design software tools available today, so you can compare their features and prices to determine what’s best for you. Plus, we threw in a few current AppSumo deals at the end of the article to support your design efforts.
The marketplace for graphic design tools has a little bit for everyone. If you’re a professional designer looking for a software that keeps up with your talent, we’ve included tools that give you maximum creative control. If you’re a business owner just looking for a simple, low-cost way to create graphics for your business, there are multiple options below for you as well.
Get cozy in your favorite blog reading chair, because here are the best graphic design software tools in 2020.
- Cloud Based Graphic Design Software
- Offline Design Software
- Graphic Design Software for Mac
- Graphic Design Resources to Support Your Workflow
- How to Pick the Best Graphic Design Software
Cloud Based Graphic Design Software
RelayThat isn’t like most of the design tools on this list. It has a singular goal in mind: keeping your company graphics on-brand.
Create stunning images for your company. RelayThat remembers your colors, logo, and other design choices and automatically applies your brand colors and design details to future graphics, making graphic design fast, easy, and always consistent — even when multiple people are creating graphics on one team.
Cost: Get a lifetime deal on AppSumo starting at $49.
Canva is a popular online graphic design tool known and used by seasoned designers and amateurs alike. It has a drag-and-drop functionality, which makes it easy to learn and use.
Free versions of Canva also make it useful for people without a graphic design budget. If you prioritize simplicity, cost-saving, and speed, Canva is a reliable choice.
Cost: Canva uses a freemium pricing model. Premium accounts start at $9.95/month.
Another popular online graphic design tool, Stencil, enables fast graphic creation and photo editing for people on the go. Like Canva, Stencil is a drag-and-drop tool that lets you create stylish designs, fast. In fact, you don’t even have to go to their website to start editing: Use Stencil’s plugin to edit photos without leaving your current web screen.
Stencil also offers thousands of stock images. If you want to quickly throw together inspiring quote posts, Stencil even has a quote feature. Just browse thousands of famous phrases and use the ones you love in a graphic, without transcribing or research.
If you’re deciding between Stencil and Canva, we wrote a post to help you make up your mind.
Cost: Stencil uses a Freemium model. Their premium package starts at $9/month.
This online photo editor and design tool gives you tools and templates to achieve professional designs. Fotor lets you touch up images more than Stencil or Canva. It’s good for designers who want to also clean up or tweak photos through light exposure and photo reshaping.
Fotor provides templates to help you design collages, social media posts, and logos. It includes resizing and other graphic/photo editing effects.
Cost: Fotor uses a freemium model. Their premium package starts at $3.33/month.
Pixlr is another image editing tool that’s often used for online graphic design. You can easily remove image backgrounds, add text and stickers to photos, and use simple filters like you’re on Instagram.
Like many of the online tools in this article, Pixlr also starts free. You can begin editing images, creating graphics, and building out your marketing collateral in minutes.
Offline Design Software
You’ll notice that Adobe is behind multiple amazing graphic design tools on this list. Adobe is one of the biggest names in design software — for good reason. The true Adobe graphic design tool, Illustrator, provides comprehensive tools for creating captivating visuals for your brand.
Adobe Illustrator lets you design freehand, making your art come alive on the screen. You can upload or create new fonts for text the world has never seen before. From simple social media graphics to your company’s logo, Illustrator gives you full creative control.
Cost: Adobe Illustrator starts at $20.99.
Another member of the Adobe suite, Adobe Photoshop, provides robust photo and graphic editing. This tool requires a higher learning curve than some of the drag-and-drop tools mentioned above. But it also offers a much wider range of functions and control. From basic tools like text overlay, to complex features like controlling file sizes, Photoshop has a lot to offer.
Photoshop is used by professional designers all over the world and the Photoshop Elements 2019 Online Introduction Course (free in our store!) can get you started.
Cost: Adobe Photoshop starts at $20.99.
Another top graphic design tool, Affinity, was created for professional designers, putting it in the same camp as Adobe products when it comes to cost and features. The toolbar lets you perform everything from image cropping and resizing to text overlay.
While not exclusively a Mac product, Affinity was designed to cater to Mac products. But they’ve recently released a version for Windows users as well.
Affinity also lets you tap into work from talented artists. Beyond the standard price, you can choose various creative bundles that include exclusive fonts, illustrations, and more.
Cost: Affinity is $49.99. (Yes, that’s a one-time fee, not a subscription.)
Source: Gravit Designer
Gravit Designer can fit in multiple categories in this article. It can be used online, on your Mac or Windows, and more. As they put it, “Apply multiple fills, gradients, textures, borders, effects, and blending modes to any object.”
Gravit is a simple drag-and-drop graphic design tool suite. You can use a pen tool to draw your own graphics. It includes borders and other shaping functions, as well as image upload and editing tools.
Graphic Design Software for Mac
Sketch is a graphic design tool exclusively for Mac users. It’s considered one of the best graphic design software tools on the market, particularly preferred by UX and UI experts. Sketch creates wireframes and clickable product prototypes.
For Mac users interested in designing a usable model before they design their application or website, Sketch makes it easy. Simply mock up your designs in sketch, perform user tests on the clickable designs, and then pass those designs to your developer when you’re ready for a full product.
(If you’re interested in prototypes, you may also consider learning about Adobe XD.)
Graphic Design Resources to Support Your Workflow
After you select the best graphic design software for your business, the next step is to get AppSumo deals on other design-related tools.
JumpStory is a lifetime deal on 15+ million high-quality photos, illustrations, videos, and more. Get it today for just $99.
EpicPxls is an online design template marketplace. Get the fonts, templates, illustrations, and designs you need to make graphic design simpler and faster.
StockUnlimited gives you access to 1+ million high-quality stock photos; songs and sound effects for videos and podcasts; and even a built-in image editor. Get a three year deal on StockUnlimited for $49.
How to Pick the Best Graphic Design Software
What is the best graphic design software for your business? Maybe a better question: What does your heart (and wallet) tell you?
Choosing the best graphic design software ultimately comes down to your priorities. Are you more looking for Illustrator or Canva alternatives? Do you prefer speed or creative control? Are you more inclined to save a few bucks or invest in top-of-the-line design tools? Are you team Edward or Jacob? (Okay, okay, I’ll send that joke back to 2008.)
You’ve got the vision. Now let’s see you bring it to life.
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