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The 9 Best Graphic Design Programs on Windows – Review Geek



  Graphic Design Programs
Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Graphic Design is complicated work, so it requires complicated tools. There are plenty of options for software today, from well-known programs that have been around for decades to newer contenders trying to prove their worth. With so many options available, choosing which program to master for hours can be difficult, especially for new designers. That's why we've rounded up the best of the best for this list to make that choice a little easier.

What You Should Know First

If you are new to the world of graphic design, you need to know some basic terminology before choosing a program.

  • Vector Graphics: Vector graphics are vital in the design world because you can resize them as much as you want without losing image quality. If you were to create and resize a raster image (a typical JPEG and PNG image), the quality would be lost as you increase the scale. This is especially bad for logos and images as they are usually used in different sizes. Therefore, design-oriented programs are useful because they specialize in editing vector graphics (although some also have raster editing capabilities).
  • Desktop Publishing: This form of design is used when creating online or print publications. It includes rearranging text and images to be clearly understood and visually interesting. Everything from magazines and email newsletters to the website you're currently on is to some extent an example of desktop publishing.
  • Artboards: In a graphic design program, an artboard is just your workspace. Here you actually create your logos, images and illustrations.
  • RGB and CYMK: These are the two main color models used in the graphic design world, where RGB (red, green and blue) is better for online and electronic design, while CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) is better for print publications.

Now that you know the basics, let's talk about how these programs should perform.

What to look for in a graphic design program

With so many options, you don't have to settle for insufficient applications. Here are some things to consider before choosing a program:

  • Intuitive: Graphic design programs are complicated pieces of software and as such can be difficult to design intuitively. However, developers can still find ways to get it to work, whether that's through built-in tutorials or tool tips that explain various tools and options to new users.
  • Performance: Design programs can easily slow down the performance of your computer. While this is expected to some degree, it doesn't excuse programs from being poorly optimized.
  • Basic Tools: Any graphic design program should let you do the basics: creating objects (creating shapes and lines), object manipulation (moving, resizing and warping those shapes), text creation and access to color models (like the aforementioned RGB and CYMK).
  • Advanced Tools: The most powerful graphic design programs have so many advanced features that we can't possibly list them here. In particular, Boolean edits (which simply allow for more complex shapes) are very useful for creating unique images.
  • Pricing Model: Many programs have switched to subscription-based payment models instead of large ones. time payments. No matter how you feel about that, there are still quite a few options in both camps.

Finally, we are going to quickly mention photo editing programs, since they also have some graphic design options. . We've focused on design-oriented programs for this list, but a good photo editor is still a useful tool for a designer.

With all that out of the way, let's start talking about the actual software.

Well-known Powerhouses: Adobe Illustrator and InDesign

You probably already know about Adobe. Adobe offers some of the best creation programs available today and, no surprise, this also translates to its graphic design programs: Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign.

  Illustrator
Adobe

Illustrator is simply a great vector graphic editor. It has a huge toolset with support for third-party plugins, and the connection to the rest of Adobe products can be vital for certain situations. For example, if you need to update a photo before inserting it into an image, you can easily edit it in Photoshop or Lightroom and then throw it into Illustrator without complications.

Illustrator is easily one of the most powerful graphic design programs around, and for professional and high-end users it is an easy choice to recommend, especially due to its high industry acceptance. It covers all the basics and includes a wide range of advanced tools such as in-depth tools for creating and drawing objects (ideal for infographics).

Illustrator, like all other Adobe products, uses a monthly subscription payment model. You can use Illustrator for $ 20.99 per month, or you can get it as part of the Creative Cloud plan for $ 52.99 per month (including all Adobe programs.)

  InDesign
Adobe

While Illustrator is for vector editing, InDesign focuses on desktop publishing. Posters, magazine pages and business cards can all be easily created in InDesign – and that's just the tip of the iceberg. As with Illustrator, when it comes to this form of design, InDesign is one of the most powerful options on the market.

And like Illustrator, InDesign can also be used with other Adobe products. It is undoubtedly even more useful here, as you are probably using images and illustrations created in your layouts in other programs. You can also install third-party plugins here.

InDesign's pricing model is the same as Illustrator's, with $ 20.99 a month separately and $ 52.99 a month to get it as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.

The Adobe Rival: Affinity Designer and Publisher

Serif has made its intentions with the Affinity software line quite clear – these programs are made to rival those of Adobe, and that is easy to see with Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher.

  Affinity Designer
Serif

Affinity Designer is a great vector graphic editor. It can easily match Illustrator in function and has a more modern design that is silky smooth. You have full access to both vector and raster editing, and you can switch between them with the click of a button. You can create unlimited artboards, use in-depth placement grids for easy centering and alignment, and see a live preview of what your image will look like after exporting.

Designer can also be used in conjunction with Affinity Photo (Serif's Photoshop alternative) and Affinity Publisher (which we'll talk about next) for some added versatility.

Between the wide feature set and the more modern design, Affinity Designer is an easy recommendation for both experienced and brand new designers. It even manages to get a cheaper price tag than Illustrator and only costs a one-time payment of $ 49.99.

  Affinity Publisher
Serif

Affinity Publisher has many of the same features as Designer, only for desktop publishing. You get many of the same powerful tools as Adobe InDesign here, in addition to a more modern and smooth user interface. Publisher also has a "Live Preflight Check" feature, which scans your layouts for hard-to-notice errors (such as overlapping images) – this can certainly save your skin a few times.

Like Designer, you can also use Publisher with Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. And, as we mentioned in the InDesign section, it's extremely useful to have an easy way to edit images and photos before putting them into your layouts.

Affinity Publisher follows the same pricing model as Designer and costs a one-time payment of $ 49.99.

Free and open source: Inkscape

  Inkscape
Inkscape

All the programs we've talked about so far come with quite high price tags, which makes sense because they're from the most powerful program & # 39; s on the market. However, Inkscape not only manages to match those programs (even if they don't quite match it), it's also completely free.

This is largely because Inkscape is open-source – meaning anyone can open the source code and mess around with it. This opens the door for third-party changes and add-ons, meaning it's easy to customize Inkscape to your liking. As varied as graphic design can be, it's nice to have a program that can be adapted to your needs.

Even without third-party content, Inkscape is still an impressively powerful vector editor. You can do all the basics you'd expect, such as object creation and manipulation, access to both RGB and CYMK color models, and extensive text creation options. It also includes some of the more advanced features, such as boolean operations.

And, as we said, Inkscape is completely free.

Online Design: Vectr

  Vectr
Vectr

Design programs can be quite intensive on your system, so it's always great to see web-based options that can reduce how much your computer processes. That's part of what makes Vectr so great, but it's not just for those with limited computing power – Vectr has another important feature that makes it a valuable tool in any designer's toolkit.

The best part is that every design you work on has a unique URL that everyone can access to make or review changes. This makes Vectr a fantastic collaboration option for designers who work together or just to show a customer. Vectr, at its core, is a sleek vector graphics editor that is easy to learn but still powerful – just not as powerful as some of the program options we've already mentioned.

Vectr is free to use, but you will have ads on the side of your screen. However, there will be a pro subscription in the future to get rid of this.

Dual Use: Gravit Designer

  Gravit Designer
Gravit

Gravit Designer is another web-based option, except it can also be used offline. It is a powerful vector based editor available on the web or as a downloaded program whatever you want. You can jump back and forth between the two versions with cloud storage, which is great for designers who switch devices a lot.

Furthermore, it is just a good piece of software. The user interface is easy to understand, includes all the basic features that designers need (plus some more complicated ones, including Boolean operations), and you have access to a large library of included fonts and templates for your designs.

Gravit is free to use, but you are missing some options when it comes to color and export. For the full Gravit experience, you want the pro version, which costs $ 99.00 per year. You can learn more about the pro version on Gravit's website.

A Suite of Design: CorelDraw Graphics Suite

  CorelDraw
Corel

CorelDraw is a suite of seven programs all focused on design, including vector editing, desktop publishing and more. All seven programs can be used together for maximum functionality and it is easy to collaborate on projects with other designers. (cCooperation is done with the suite's CorelDRAW.app program.) You can also create easy-to-share previews of your work for clients – it even includes chat windows for feedback.

CorelDRAW is the biggest draw of this pack for designers because it is an advanced vector editor that includes graphics, desktop publishing and a customizable user interface. In addition, there is also Corel PHOTO-PAINT (a powerful photo editor), Corel Font Manager (manages downloaded fonts and lets you install new fonts), CAPTURE (standard screenshot program) and Aftershot 3 (what an HDR and RAW image editor is

The CorelDraw suite is available for a subscription fee of $ 249.00 per year, or a one-time payment of $ 499.00 (although you will lose the collaboration features in the one-time payment option).

All-Ronder: Xara Designer Pro X

  Xara Designer Pro X
Xara

To finish our list, let's go with a program that tries to do everything: Xara Designer Pro X.

Xara Designer Pro X includes vector graphics, photo editing, web design and desktop publishing all in one program Considering how much this program packs, it's a pretty good option for designers looking to broaden their skills, or for those doing a wide variety of work.

Xara Desi gner Pro X still manages to have solid feature sets for all forms of design it includes. On the vector graphics side, you will find all the tools you need to bring your ideas to life. For desktop publishing, you can create layouts and designs in addition to some other useful features, such as the "Magic Color Match" (which will match the color of text and shapes with images in the design). For web designers, Xara Designer Pro X comes with customizable templates and 2 GB of web storage for your website (plus an included domain of your choice).

Xara Designer Pro X is available for a one-time payment of $ 299.00. [19659076] setTimeout (function () {! Function (f, b, e, v, n, t, s) {if (f.fbq) return; n = f.fbq = function () {n.callMethod? N .callMethod.apply (n, arguments): n.queue.push (arguments)}; if (! f._fbq) f._fbq = n; n.push = n; n.loaded =! 0; n.version = & # 39; 2.0 & # 39 ;; n.queue = []; t = b.createElement (e); t.async =! 0; t.src = v; s = b.getElementsByTagName (e) [0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore (t, s)} (window, document, & # 39; script & # 39 ;, & # 39; https: //connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js') ; fbq (& # 39; init & # 39 ;, & # 39; 1137093656460433 & # 39;); fbq (& # 39; track & # 39;, & # 39; PageView & # 39;);}, 3000);
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