Top Software That Graphic Designers Use 2022
Graphic designers need tools like almost any other profession to do whatever job they do. Whether you are making logos, animated videos, infographics, designs for physical products, creating and designing websites or whatever project that you are working on, this article will cover some of them.
Some of the software that we list will be free, some will have a free trial version and some are paid.
Photoshop is from Adobe and is the most popular graphic design software program that is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and is available as part of a subscription. Photoshop is used to create logos, banners, icons, infographics, backgrounds, to edit images and photos. Photoshop allows you to define the size of the canvas, isolate elements, create custom brushes, work on 3D and more.
Photoshop allows you to work with several file formats.
Learning Photoshop is easy enough to create simple designs or to make edits of images or photos. Of course, to get good enough to be considered a professional takes time and more effort.
Photoshop is available for both Windows and Mac.
Illustrator is another software program from the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and is available as part of a subscription. Illustrator lets you work on vector graphics which can be scaled to any size without loosing any resolution. You can create logos, icons, banners, graphics, artwork and more with Illustrator.
Learning Illustrator is easy to get started learning. You can learn to make logos, icons, banners and more rather quickly. As with a lot of graphic design software, the more effort and time that you put into learning Illustrator, the better you will be.
Illustrator is available as a mobile version called Adobe Illustrator Draw.
Illustrator is available for both Windows and Mac.
Figma is a browser based wireframing and prototyping software. The fact that it is browser based is important because all that you need to use it is an internet connection.
It does not matter whether the computer or laptop that you are using is a Mac or a PC because the Figma and all of the files that you create and use are online, compared to most other design software which is downloaded to your computer or laptop.
There are browser and minimum operating system requirements, but they are rather low, which means that you can use almost any laptop or computer and still use Figma.
Figma is mainly used by UX and UI designers to create wireframes, prototypes, web interfaces and even icons and other graphics.
One of the big draws of Figma is that it is free to use for personal use and charges if you want to share your work with others, for example, when collaborating with other UX and UI designers. You use Figma for free to create and store three active projects at a time. That is more than enough for you to work on small projects and to learn how to use the software. You can upgrade to one of their relatively inexpensive paid plans whenever you want.
Another draw is that Figma is easy to learn and use. All of the files are intuitively organized and everything for the project that you are currently working on is on one screen. An example of this is that all that it takes for you to switch from the design tools to prototyping tools to code that you can pass off to developers is to click a tab.
Pixlr is a free online photo editor that also has iOS and Android apps. It is similar to GIMP and Photoshop and has a suite of photo editing and image creation software.
Pixlr offers free as well as paid software. You can use Pixlr X and Pixlr E for free. The first paid tier is their Premium plan which is $7.99 for a monthly subscription and $4.90 for a yearly subscription.
The Premium plan, in addition to Pixlr X and Pixlr E, also offers access to Pixlr Mobile Apps, Stories, Remove BG and Photomash, no ads, access to AI tools, exclusive video tutorials, support for 8196×8196 resolution, Access to 50,000 templates, fonts and elements, stickers and overlays. The Premium plan allows for only one user.
The Team plan allows for up to five users, with each additional user costing $3.99 each. You also get everything that you get in Premium, plus team collaboration and other features.
Pixlr supports the following file types: JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and PXD (which is their layered format).
One thing that I currently do not recommend Pixlr for is for print.
Sketch is a vector graphics editor that is available on Macs, but can also be used by using their browser based app. You can browse your documents, inspect designs, export assets, comment with annotations, manage users, and invite guests for free. Sketch does offer a free 30 day trial, and has a $9 a month subscription plan and a $20 a month subscription plan.
Sketch also has an iPhone app that let’s you view documents, play with prototypes and mirror designs as you edit them on your Mac.
Sketch is mainly intended for UX and UI design graphics such as prototypes, wireframes and other designs like icons. Sketch allows users to share files online.
Sketch is not built for photo editing, print work or illustrated art since it does not have the features for that.
Affinity Designer is a cheaper alternative to Adobe’s Illustrator. Affinity Designer let’s you work on both vector graphics and raster graphics and let’s you easily switch between them easily.
You can use Affinity Designer on both Macs and Windows platforms and it also has an app that is available on iPads and has the same features available on the desktop versions.
Some of the features that Affinity Designer has are shortcuts, the ability to track version history, the ability to save designs in the following multiple formats: PSD, PDF, SVG, JPG and more. The built-in vector tools lets you use custom pens, nodes, brushes and pencils to add contours, create abstract shapes, design offset paths, build grid patterns, create isometric planes, manage pixel snapping and handle alignments.
Affinity Designer is great for UX and UI designers who want to create logos, illustrations, print projects, icons, UI designs, wireframes, mock-ups and more.
Affinity Designer is available for a one time price of $54.99.
InDesign is a layout and page design software in the Adobe Creative suite for print and digital media. It is used to create graphics designs and to design books, digital magazines, eBooks, posters, brochures and interactive PDFs.
The “adjust layout” option that InDesign comes with, allows you to change the text in your document and the graphic will adjust accordingly.
The learning curve for InDesign is very low and it is easy to use. InDesign makes it easy to design elements.
InDesign is available on both Mac and Windows computers.
You can get InDesign for $20.99 a month by itself or for $54.99 a month as part of the Adobe Creative Suite.
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These articles are only some of the tools that graphic designers use to do their job of creating logos, icons, infographics, creating banners, wireframes, prototypes, publishing books, brochures and more.