The best graphic design software programs are high-end applications used primarily in a professional environment, whether that is for in-house graphic design or by freelance graphic designers.
It’s almost impossible to name one “best,” but of the high-end professional applications, Adobe InDesign is certainly the most prolific page layout program, and it continues to improve with each new version. Along with its partners, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, this Creative Cloud trio is arguably the best graphic design software on the market today.
Choose Graphic Design Software Based on Task
That said, the best graphic design software is the software that works best for you. Specific programs are better suited for certain tasks than others. Although the previously mentioned programs are considered industry-standard; they are not the only choices. Here’s an FAQ for you:
Who Are the Key Publishers of Graphic Design Software?
- Adobe is the maker of InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Framemaker, Dreamweaver and other software.
- Quark’s powerhouse page layout software—QuarkXPress—is still massively popular despite losing its crown to Adobe.
- Microsoft produces Publisher, which is ubiquitous on Windows computers.
- Corel develops CorelDraw and PaintShop Pro X9, among others.
- Serif’s PagePlus, PhotoPlus, DrawPlus, and WebPlus are affordable alternatives.
What Are the Graphic Design Software Categories?
- Page Layout
- Photo Editing
- Web Design
Minimum Requirements for Graphic Design Software
In addition to a word processing program, every designer needs either page layout or web design software (depending on their field) and photo editing software. Most also need a scalable vector graphics drawing program, but some SVG features are incorporated into high-end page layout software, so you might be able to get by with those unless you are doing logo design.
A logo designed in Photoshop cannot be enlarged without losing quality; a logo designed in a vector art program (like Illustrator) can be sized to fit on a business card or the side of a huge truck with no loss of quality.
What About Web Designers?
You need to know HTML and CSS like the back of your hand. When you do, you can write a killer website using only a word processing program. That doesn’t mean you might not prefer to use a software program to help you out. Adobe’s Dreamweaver is just such a high-end program, but there are affordable alternatives such as CoffeeCup and Kompozer.