Last updated:
March 16, 2023

9 Best Free Graphic Design Software

This article is perfect for you if you're looking for the best graphic design software! It has a list of 9 top-rated programs, both free and paid.

Anyone who wants to develop a high-quality design needs the best graphic design software and tools.

Graphics design software has permanently transformed the way designers and fine artists work, whether you're a professional or a hobbyist.

What is the best graphic design software and tool?
The best graphic design tool right now is Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign.

Crafting an eye-catching design that resonates with your target audience is essential for success—no matter the size of your business.

Graphic design software is necessary for creating captivating visuals for blogs and optimizing product images for eCommerce businesses in order to elevate brand identity.

As this trend grows, Adobe Photoshop has become the go-to reference point for most graphic designers.

With the right software, designers can create logos, flyers, posters, brochures, webpages, and other marketing materials that will draw attention from potential customers.

Graphic design software can also be used for creating vector graphics such as icons and illustrations which are key elements of a brand’s visual identity.

However, several other visual design software tools have emerged to cater to designers’ different needs and preferences.

A capable graphic design tool enhances efficiency and helps put stunning creativity into real-world design.

The best graphic design software can help you achieve your goals in a variety of ways, such as producing logos, editing images, and website designing.

So, we explored the market for the best and discovered 9 of the most promising options, both paid and free graphic design software for bringing your artistic thoughts to reality.

Best Graphic Design Software

9 Best Graphic Design Software and Tools

  1. Adobe Photoshop—best for photo editing/raster graphics
  2. Adobe Illustrator—best for vector illustrations
  3. InDesign—best for publishers / books / PDFs
  4. Adobe XD—best for UI / web design
  5. Canva—great for photo editing
  6. CorelDraw—great for vector illustrations
  7. Sketch—great for web design
  8. Photopea— best free adobe photoshop alternative
  9. Xara Designer—great for publishers / books

How To Choose The Best Graphic Design Tool

When it comes to developing high-quality graphics design apps, picking the perfect design software is crucial.

What are the factors to consider in choosing the right graphic design tools?

There are a few things to consider when choosing the best graphic design tool for you.

Choosing the Best Graphic Design Tool

Graphic design software is a program or a collection of tools that allows users to create, edit, or manipulate visual representations made out of computer graphics.

To truly appreciate the advantages of these software solutions, you must first understand what to look for.


It should have a high rating of features and functionality.

It can be worthwhile to look into software that has scalable features so that you can add additional functionality as your skills develop.


It should be user-friendly and easy to use especially for beginners.

It is advisable to look for software that you'll feel at ease using on a frequent basis.


It should have high recommendations and satisfactory ratings.

It could be a suggestion from coworkers or colleagues who have been using the app for some time, or you could read or search for product reviews and suggestions online.


With the features and price listed, it is always up to you to decide what is best for you.

If you're a beginner, start with Canva or Xara which are both simple and easy to master.

If you're a professional, Adobe Apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are worth looking into.


A lesser feature selection is generally associated with a lower budget, but nevertheless, it must have a reasonable price.‍

Start with free trials and demonstrations, then upgrade once you've determined which program will provide you with the highest return on investment.

1. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a great choice if you are looking for the most popular and flexible online graphic design software and tool.

Best for raster graphics and photo editing.

It is by far the most popular of all adobe tools—Used by 90% of the creative professionals in the world.

Adobe Photoshop: Best graphic design software for raster graphics and photo editing

Adobe Photoshop has a large number of adobe tools that may be used to paint, sketch, edit, and create photos, banners, logos, and websites.

For instance, it has features ranging from photo editing and retouching to incredible brushes and textures.

Additionally, ‍Photoshop is constantly developing its interface to provide a more immersive design experience.

To do so, it incorporates a variety of workspace layouts for layouts, edit photos, and web management, and more.

Adobe Photoshop also provides a wide range of design tools for both mobile and web applications.

Key Features

  • Content-Aware Crop
  • Face-Aware Liquify
  • Stylus input support
  • Open-Source GIMP Software


  1. Easy customization
  2. Efficient file transfer
  3. 3D design capabilities


  1. Too many features for beginners

Download Adobe Photoshop now

2. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a perfect choice if you're looking for the best graphic design software for graphic illustrators.

Best for vector illustrations.

This Adobe Illustrator is still industry-standard software with the most comprehensive set of tools and functionality for vector editing.

Adobe Illustrator: Best for vector graphics / illustrations.

Further, regarding vector editing, Adobe Illustrator is the king of graphic design applications.

For instance, it makes use of vectors rather than raster graphics made up of color blocks.

Adobe Illustrator's strengths include collaborative editing, improved graphic snapping, and cloud storage.

Additionally, you can recolor artwork with a single click, create unique effects, and much more with Adobe Illustrator Sensei AI-powered features.

Adobe Illustrator also has an extensive selection of fonts so you can add text to your artwork easily.

However, with a limited free version to use, there isn't any excuse for not giving it a try.

Finally, Adobe Illustrator provides an intuitive user interface that makes working with it easy even for beginners.

Designers can work more efficiently with the In-Panel Editing tool, which allows them to modify multiple artboards at once.

Key Features

  • High Compatibility
  • In-Panel Artboard Editing
  • Highly Accessible Interface
  • Easy Customization


  1. Relatively small graphic files for easy sharing
  2. Crisp and sharp graphics


  1. Costly
  2. Occupies much space

Download Adobe Illustrator now

3. Adobe InDesign

If you are a digital publisher looking for the best graphic design software to create stunning layouts, Adobe InDesign is the best tool for you.

Best for page design—print or digital.

This tool has an outstanding capability for creating beautiful magazines, information sheets, newspapers, flyers, and brochures that can be simply exported to PDF or HTML.

Adobe InDesign: Best for page design—print or digital

Being a component of Photoshop CC, InDesign you get to enjoy most of the features, and you can access it separately or as part of the Adobe Creative Suite.

Additionally, the tool has become a household brand for ad agencies and publishing houses all over the world.

This is because of InDesign’s subject-aware text wrapping, convenient color location, Adobe Fonts auto-activation, HSB compatibility, and other features.

Further, managing design elements and generating immersive experiences in any format is a breeze with this tool.

It is supported by help content, and in-app guided tutorials to help you learn as you create, as well as access to in-app Adobe Stock search, to help you find and license graphic design elements with ease.

So, if you want a tool for page design, whether print or digital, Adobe InDesign is the solution.

Key Features

  • Sensei Technology
  • Multiple Page Use
  • Text Wrapping Features
  • Master Page Availability
  • Powerful Features


  1. Great desktop publishing standard
  2. High text and graphics compatibility
  3. Quality content production


  1. Expensive
  2. Poor user interface

Download Adobe InDesign now

4. Adobe XD

If you’re a graphic designer who focuses on creating website layouts and applications, Adobe XD is the tool you need.

Best for web design.

It comes with multiple templates, allowing you to see your designs on different devices and platforms, like phones and websites.

Adobe XD: Best software for web design

Additionally, if you’ve had a prior experience with other Adobe software, operating Adobe XD should be a breeze.

Even better, the software is compatible with Mac and Windows, making it a great option for all users.

Further, the availability of iOS and Android apps means you’ll always have access to your Adobe XD designs.

If you are in a dilemma on whether the software is good enough, you can always subscribe for the 7-day free trial.

So, these outstanding features make Adobe XD one of the best graphic design software.

Key Features

  • Content-Aware Layout
  • 3D Transforms
  • Ability to Import from other Software
  • Repeat Grid
  • Best for brand kit
  • Adobe stock pro


  1. Attractive UI
  2. Compatible with Mac and Windows
  3. Great sync with other Adobe software


  1. Can’t design customized shapes
  2. Limited access to the free version

Download Adobe XD now

5. Canva

If you are looking for a product designed for users with little or no experience with graphic design, Canva is the perfect option for you.

Great for photo editing.

It is a web-based app that is also available for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows.

Canva: Great graphic design software for photo editing

Canva is an excellent tool for both newbies and pros who want to produce sophisticated art projects in a matter of minutes.

Primarily, it's ideal for quickly cropping and resizing photographs, as well as adding filters, frames, text, and effects.

Team folders help you stay organized, store brand assets, and manage content Plan, create, schedule, and publish your social media posts directly from canva real-time collaboration

Canva is even more impressive because of its straightforward navigation, user-friendly, and clean design.

When you incorporate these properties with its pre-made templates, it becomes so enticing.

So, if you’re a beginner looking for the best design software for your needs, you can't go wrong with Canva.

Key Features

  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Free Design Templates
  • Drag and Drop Ability
  • Stocky Imagery
  • Template layouts


  1. Budget-friendly
  2. Offers a professional look
  3. Easy to use


  1. Lack of a project backup option
  2. Limited apps and integrations

Download Canva now

6. CorelDraw

If you're looking for the best paid graphic design software for your vector illustration projects, CorelDraw is certainly the perfect match for you.

Great for vector illustrations.

This graphic design software is a full-featured graphics program for Windows, iOS, Mac OS X, iPad, and other mobile devices.

CorelDraw: Great for vector illustrations.

CorelDraw has features like advanced image editing and enhanced color replacement, useful when adding your brand colors to content.

‍Additionally, the tool gives you access to a digital collection with thousands of high-resolution photos available online.

CorelDraw also includes templates, fonts, professionally designed templates, interactive frames, gradients, vectors, and bitmap fills.

Further, it has a customizable desktop UI environment, including icon scaling, toolboxes, and a window border color scheme.

When you combine these features, ‍CorelDraw stands out as one of the best graphic design software for vector graphics.

Key Features

  • Copy Curve Segments
  • Touch-Friendly GU Interface
  • Gaussian Blur Feature
  • Healing Clone Tools
  • Intuitive Interface
  • Vector shapes


  1. Occupies less space
  2. OS independent


  1. Unsuitable for video and picture encoding

Download CorelDraw now

7. Sketch

Are you looking for the best and most affordable graphic design software to use for iPads and Mac?—If so, Sketch is for you.

Great for web design.

It is a useful web-based graphic design tool that is available as a web-based solution as well as a downloadable app.

Sketch: Great for web design

When it comes to generating outstanding visual elements for a website, app, or product design, Sketch can compete with more expensive editing applications.

For instance, it includes an iOS artboard collection as well as responsive web design templates.

Additionally, Sketch has hundreds of custom plugins available for designers to employ on a project-by-project basis.

So, as a Mac user, there’s no better tool to use for your graphic design work than Sketch.

‍However, Sketch is not designed for photo editing, unlike Photoshop and other image editing software.

Key Features

  • Screen Templates
  • Customizable Plugins
  • Artboard Presets
  • Shortcuts
  • Best for professional designers


  1. Color accuracy
  2. Easy to use
  3. High connectivity
  4. Best for vector images
  5. Best for graphic design elements


  1. Available only for Mac
  2. Lack of automatic layout

Download Sketch now

8. Photopea

Photopea is a free graphic design software that allows users to create and edit images, illustrations, and designs.

Best free graphic design software—alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

It's a great choice for beginners who don't have a lot of experience with any graphic design software or who are just starting.

Photopea-Free graphic design software—alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

Photopea offers tools for creating graphics from scratch, editing existing images, and working with layers.

It also has a range of filters and effects to give your designs a unique look.

The interface is intuitive and easy to use, making it ideal for both graphic designers as well as those just getting started in the world of graphic design.

With its wide selection of features, Photopea is one of the best symbolic design software options available today.

Key Features

  • User-friendly
  • Intuitive Workspace
  • Highly Compatible
  • Advanced Manipulation
  • Professional designs


  1. Opens multiple file types
  2. Lightweight
  3. Open to vector illustration
  4. Advanced features
  5. Best user interface


  1. Browser Limitations

Download Photopea now for free

9. Xara Designer

If you're an all-around designer who requires a little bit of everything, Xara Designer can do the tricks for you.

Great for publishers/books/PDFs.

It's the ideal graphic design software for those looking for a one-stop shop for all design chores.

Xara Designer: Great for publishers/books/PDFs.

Xara is widely used to make graphics, edit pictures, and build web pages for web and print design solutions.

The software is also convenient for beginners, thanks to its user-friendly interface and publishing ability.

It can be used to create logos, illustrations, websites, advertisements, brochures, and more.

Professional graphic designers use this type of software to create stunning visuals that help businesses stand out from the competition.

This type of software offers a variety of features such as vector editing, color management tools, photo manipulation capabilities, text effects, and 3D modeling.

Further, Xara comes with a number of templates to assist you when getting started.

However, it lacks some of the professional features required to produce higher-quality work.

Nonetheless, Xara still ranks as one of the best illustrative design software.

Key Features

  • Direct Action Tools
  • Drag and Drop Feature
  • Collaboration with Xara Cloud
  • Anti-Aliasing


  1. Quality images
  2. Easy to use
  3. Customer support


  1. No batch processing

Download Xara Designer Pro now


On any list of the best illustration design software, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator are always included, being Photoshop, always at the top.

What is the best graphic design software for you?

These products are the industry standard and by investing in other Adobe Creative Cloud Express components, you may enhance your skills even further.

Canva and Xara are great options for beginners because it makes it simple to create graphics for any occasion.

In the end, the greatest illustrative design software depends on your needs, usage, budget, and skills.

Look over our list of the 9 best graphic design software and tools, and don't be afraid to try out the different possibilities, I am sure you will find the perfect match for you.

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