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The Best Graphic Design Software of 2019

The top 5 graphic design and illustration tools ranked and rated.

The Best Graphic Design Software of 2019 January 5, 2019Leave a comment

Senior Editor at Productivity Land. Productivity hero by day, Twitter nerd by night. Follow me and let's talk about all things productivity. 😄

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I have always been fascinated by creative talent and design thinking. It is a rare trait and requires great skill to perfect. Which is why I always wanted to do this roundup of the best graphic design software.

From vector design to animations, video, photography, branding, visualization, prototyping and more, design is a core part of your product/service. Which is why, your design team needs to be on top of their productivity game to get things done.

In this roundup, we will be looking at some of the best graphic design software and apps that your design team should be using in 2019.

Let’s begin.

Best Graphic Design Software – PC and Web

1. Adobe Illustrator – Best Vector Graphic Design Software

I have been doing quite a bit of designing over the past few years myself. I’m nowhere near as good as most of the design talent you will find on the internet, but I have been using a range of graphic design tools.

Adobe Illustrator has been one of them, and it is my top choice for this roundup of the best graphic design software.

Adobe’s Illustrator is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud platform, a suite of design tools powered by the cloud. It is one of the most mature graphic design tools in the market, having been around for over 31 years and counting:

What makes designing in Adobe Illustrator easy is its nifty keyboard shortcuts and tricks. Press ‘P’ to select the Pen tool. ‘A’ activates the Direct Selection tool. Holding Shift restrains vector proportions when you’re resizing it. Holding Shift and Ctrl/Cmd resizes the shape from all sides in equal proportions.

You get the gist – Illustrator is one of the most mature graphic design software in 2019 and it should definitely be in your design software stack.

Key Features:

Let’s look at some of the key features that Adobe Illustrator has to offer:

  1. Pen Tool
  2. Vector Brushes
  3. Vector Tracing
  4. Gradients & Opacity
  5. 3D Effects
  6. Custom Brushes
  7. Grids
  8. Custom Guides
  9. Snap-to Alignment
  10. Font Styles
  11. Tablet Compatibility
  12. Text Wrap

The latest stable update to Illustrator CC 2018 brings some great added functionality, such as the intelligent Properties panel that show relevant properties whenever you select an item, the text management capabilities on the cloud, and more.

Pricing:

Adobe Illustrator is available with the following pricing plans:

  1. Individuals – at $20.99/month, single app, 100 GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Fonts, Spark with premium features
  2. Business – at $33.99 per license/month, license management, web-based admin console, advanced support and more
  3. Students and Teachers – at $19.99/month for the first year ($29.99/month after Year 1), all Adobe CC apps, 100 GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Fonts, Spark with premium features
  4. Schools and Universities – at $14.99 per user/month or $155.88 per device per year, 100GB of cloud storage, per license, for easy file sharing, 24/7 tech support and more

2. Gravit Designer – Best Free Graphic Design Software

Gravit Designer ranks #2 on my list of the best graphic design software. It is a full-featured vector design and illustration app which can serve a range of purposes, from presentations, corporate identity to animation, concept art and more.

Made by the Corel Corporation (creators of CorelDraw), this free graphic design software comes with a nice and elegant UI, is available for online use, Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS.

Gravit has a detailed SVG editor that can edit SVG images to perfection. It supports non-destructive Boolean that makes it ideal for UI design.

Key Features:

Let’s look at some of the key features that Gravit Designer has to offer:

  1. Powerful pages
  2. Vector
  3. Auto layouts
  4. Powerful grids
  5. Text
  6. Export
  7. Multiple styles

3. CorelDRAW – Feature-Packed Graphic Design Software

Next up is Corel Corporation’s CorelDRAW 12. It is a feature-packed design tool aimed at professional designers, illustrators and creatives. The only drawback for those thinking of moving to CorelDRAW is that this is not available as a standalone option, unlike the apps in the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.

I have worked with print collateral quite a bit, and one thing is for sure – CorelDRAW is an absolute must-have for most print vendors. It has a range of quick keyboard shortcuts that make working inside the tool easier than most apps.

With the new 2018 update, Corel has introduced some notable enhancements, such as the Block Shadow effect, used to give a 3D extruded shadow effect to text and vector objects. Another inclusion is the Symmetry drawing mode. This allows users to design quicker by mirroring drawn paths and vector objects.

Key Features:

The latest features added to the 2018 update include:

  1. Symmetrical Drawing Mode
  2. Block Shadow Tool
  3. publish to WordPress
  4. Impact tool
  5. Pointillizer™
  6. PhotoCocktail™

Pricing:

The CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2018 is available with the following pricing plans:
1. Buy – Upgrade from a previous version: at $329 (not applicable for Academic, Home & Student Suite, OEM and NFR versions)

  1. Buy – one-off purchase: at $669
  2. Subscription – at $198 or $16.50 per month, billed annually

4. Adobe Photoshop – Best Graphic Design Software for Mac

Photoshop is often considered the king of photo editing and manipulation, and rightly so. It is an all-in-one solution for all your photo editing needs.

I have seen Photoshop being used extensively for all kinds of design work, including UI design, video editing, animation work, print collateral, designing magazines and editorials and more.

Adobe Photoshop is also part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite; however, it is available as a standalone option if you’re looking for one.

Key Features:

The latest Photoshop CC (14.1) brings with it some great new improvements:

  1. Content-Aware Fill reimagined
  2. Frame tool for easy masking
  3. Multiple Undo
  4. Symmetry mode
  5. Live blend mode previews
  6. Better “Export As” experience – preview multiple artboards
  7. Flip Document view
  8. Lorem Ipsum text mode
  9. Customizable keyboard shortcuts for Select and Mask

Pricing:

Adobe Photoshop is available with the following pricing plans:

  1. Individuals – at $20.99/month, single app, 100 GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Fonts, Spark with premium features
  2. Business – at $33.99 per license/month, license management, web-based admin console, advanced support and more
  3. Students and Teachers – at $19.99/month for the first year ($29.99/month after Year 1), all Adobe CC apps, 100 GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Fonts, Spark with premium features
  4. Schools and Universities – at $14.99 per user/month or $155.88 per device per year, 100GB of cloud storage, per license, for easy file sharing, 24/7 tech support and more

5. Vectr – Best Graphic Design Software for Beginners

Vectr comes in on the 5th spot for my roundup of the best graphic design software. It is often considered an alternative to Adobe Illustrator, because it offers a comprehensive set of features for day-to-day vector design tasks.

Another big plus for Vectr is that it’s free to be used. Also, with Vectr’s live online collaboration and synchronization options, you can co-design and co-create with anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is a great free graphic design software for beginners who are just venturing into the graphic design industry.

Vectr is available for free for Windows, macOS, Chrome OS and Linux. It is also available as a web app with identical functionality.

Key Features:

Vectr offers all necessary features to get started with vector design. These include:

  1. Pen tool
  2. Shape tools
  3. Arrange elements
  4. Align elements
  5. Pathfinders
  6. Fills and strokes
  7. Gradients
  8. Filters
  9. Backgrounds
  10. Borders
  11. Shadows
  12. Opacity
  13. Typography

And that brings us to the end of this roundup of the best graphic design software. Did your favorite graphic design app make it to my top 5? Let me know through your comments below.

Useful resource: 6 video editing apps for your phone.


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Senior Editor at Productivity Land. Productivity hero by day, Twitter nerd by night. Follow me and let's talk about all things productivity. 😄

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