The decreasing online user attention span has compelled businesses and individual marketers to create sensational graphics that instantly entice their target audience. Tools help you create the things that you dream, think, or ideate. Thanks to rapid technological advancements in design tools, today there are sophisticated graphic design tools to produce captivating visuals.
Whether you are an experienced designer or an amateur digital artist, graphic design software gives you the flexibility to transform complex ideas into impressive designs. Although there are numerous tools, it is important to use the right graphic design tool to create visuals that make an impact. So, how do you know which tool helps you get the desired outcome?
We have put together the top 30 graphic design tools to create stunning designs that entice your target audience.
The graphic design landscape is far different than what it used to be, years ago. High-quality software for graphic design was hard to come by, and it is hard to fathom that the core of the revolution which changed how designers work today took place within a couple of years. With the release of the Apple Macintosh, there was a surge in the way graphic design tools were developed, allowing designers to print out proofs instead of haphazardly sticking them together and then taking a copy of them. Today, there are hundreds of graphic design tools out there, including quite a few amazing free graphic design software. Let us have a look at some of them -
Currently provided as a part of the Adobe CC (Creative Cloud), Photoshop has always been way ahead of competing programs. Although on the expensive side, Adobe Photoshop is pretty much the best graphic design software for professional layered image editing, typography, drawing, and typography support in one single program.
It is one of the most robust image editing software available online for free. First developed as a part of an undergrad senior design project, Paint.net is still maintained by a few people who helped develop it in the first place and supports an intuitive interface with layer support, unlimited undo features, and other useful tools.
Also popularly known as the GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP is extremely useful for image authoring, composition, retouching, etc. Once again as free software, GIMP can work across multiple operating systems while providing a sophisticated toolset on par with the Adobe suite of products.
Although the software itself is a paid one, it still manages to provide a robust suite of tools for graphic designers, while maintaining a level of user-friendliness which is quite surprising for first users. Serif Affinity Designer is one of the few graphic design software in this list that is capable of 3D rendering, while helping in proper asset management, symbols, constraints, etc.
This image editor is web-based and has an offline component for professionals who do not mind paying a measly amount for offline access. Since this software needs Adobe Flash, therefore you need to ensure your browser supports flash before trying it out. Most of the tools available are pretty standard, but the online component makes it easy to drop off at one place and get to work from another easily.
This software is especially suited for professionals who need to work regularly on 3D models, illustrations, animations, etc. Its comprehensive set of tools can help you create visually arresting creations with top-notch graphics while being able to use its online marketplace for 3D artifacts and images to suit your creation.
Nowadays, graphic designers are paying a lot of importance to infographics, and how they help to easily disseminate information. This software can not only help you create stunning infographics but also conveniently share them with your audience.
This software has a free as well as a paid component and features realistic brushes, an intuitive user interface, and support for a variety of third-party modules. This software is Windows only and runs on a powerful core for better performance.
Photo Pos is an award-winning image editing and retouching program and is a great free software for all beginner graphic designers who are still testing the waters. It supports a variety of image types and can help create stunning text and photo effects in a short time.
This is a comprehensive open-source 2D animation studio and is a powerful tool designed for producing feature-rich presentations and high-quality animation without having to pay for expensive software.
One of the best examples of how open-source software often trumps paid software, Blender is a 3D creation suite maintained by thousands of working professionals and supports the complete 3D pipeline - from initial modeling and rigging to complete rendering and motion tracking in one place.
Pencil is a cross-platform 2D animation software, Pencil is ideal for people working on Mac OS, Windows, or Linux, and helps to create traditional hand-drawn 2D animations in double quick time.
This software specializes in isometric pixel art, a retro graphic design choice that is all the rage nowadays, particularly among Indie game developers. Anim pixels can help create exceptional 2D and 3D graphic animations.
This software is exceptionally important and has a rich feature set when it comes to real-time 3D modeling and is supported by an intuitive UI feature touch-and-drag input for ease of use. One can create complex 3D models from simple primitives using this software.
Presentations are often overlooked as a simple activity, but any graphic designer worth his salt will tell you how difficult it is to create a presentation that holds onto the viewers' attention for longer periods. Prezi allows you to create exceptional presentations online, and buying the pro subscription means you can keep your creation private and only share it with the people you want to.
One of the easiest and most wonderful 3D design software, this erstwhile Google product is one of the best go-to software when you need to design a complicated 3D design in a short period. It is highly accurate and can help you create exceptionally detailed renders easily.
An application specialized in creating 3D animations using predefined templates, 3D Plus 2 can record the creator's work in progress while allowing them access to a customizable toolset that only grows better with time and experience.
One of the simplest 3D modeling and animation software, K-3D features a plugin-based procedural engine which in turn makes it a versatile software of choice for polygon modeling, while also having the basic tools for creating animations.
Today, graphic artists, especially people regularly creating illustrations and drawings use sketchable which is available as a Windows 10 app to create stunning drawings easily on a tablet or MS Surface. One can also edit pics, and if so inclined, scribble drawing notes too while at it.
This software is purpose-built for graphic designers and artists who require a professional-level drawing program with all the bells and whistles in one complete package. The pro version also allows you to save your creations on the cloud while giving you a few other nifty tools.
Part of the Calligra project, Karbon is a vector drawing application that features a highly customizable, easy-to-use interface which is great for beginners and professionals alike. This software can help you create logos, clipart, and even photorealistic vector images easily.
Free software which can easily rival the likes of CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, etc., Inkscape can help you produce professional quality vector images while running on Mac, Windows, as well as Linux. It uses the open standard SVG as its native format and is continuously supported by an active community.
This software is ideal for beginners who are looking to delve deep into the world of photo editing and retouching. Not you can you enhance the pictures from your digital camera easily using this software, but also perform complicated tasks such as panorama stitching easily.
If you are looking for a free, but easily customizable program that can help you draw natural artwork as well as refine digital photos, then this old, but still useful software can be of great help.
One of the biggest challenges which graphic designers face is dealing with their font workflow and synchronizing their font collection across various machines they work on. This tool can not only provide a centralized place to access all your fonts but also has auto-activation plugins for Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, etc.
This graphic design software is available both as an online version, as well as standalone a desktop app for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. It has a large number of drool-worthy vector features which are versatile enough to create stunning website designs, icons, logos, etc.
Available on iOS and Android, Pixlr is single-handedly responsible for the spurt in interest in graphic design as a career for many people. Its intuitive touch interface, combined with some effective, high-end tools makes it the ideal companion for a graphic designer on the move.
Sculptris makes it to the list purely based on its performance, which allows even beginners to get started with the art of digital sculpting, by taking cues from Pixologic's ZBrush.
Creating a wireframe is an important part of a designer's workflow and is painfully underappreciated when it comes to its overall usefulness. This software specializes in creating customizable wireframes while allowing the user to drag, drop, and even rearrange elements without having to start over.
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