Graphic design plays a pivotal role in today's world, being used in a wide variety of industries and sectors, from advertising and marketing to product design and web development. It is a creative discipline that combines visual elements, typography and composition to convey effective and attractive messages.

When choosing the right graphic design software, it is essential to consider several factors, such as the functionalities and features offered, the compatibility with different systems, the ease of use and the learning curve, as well as the cost and licensing options.

This article aims to provide a complete guide to buying and comparing the best graphic design software available on the market. We'll take a detailed look at the most popular options, highlighting their pros and cons, as well as the recommended use cases for each.

Whether you are a professional graphic designer or someone interested in dabbling in the world of design, this guide will help you make an informed decision when selecting the graphic design program that best suits your needs and goals. We'll explore the top features of software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, Sketch, and GIMP , giving you an overview of each and highlighting the areas in which they excel.

In addition, we'll provide you with a buying guide to help you assess your own needs, research and analyze options, and consider financials before making a final decision. We'll also recommend additional resources, such as graphic design websites and forums, as well as tutorials and online courses, so you can continue learning and improving your design skills.

Let's start our tour of the best graphic design software and find out which one is right for you!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Graphic Design Program

When selecting a graphic design program, it is important to consider several key factors that will help you make the best decision. These factors include software functionality and features, system compatibility and requirements, ease of use and learning curve, as well as cost and licensing options. Below, we will explore each of these factors in detail:

Main functionalities and characteristics

  • Image editing tools: Check if the software offers a wide range of editing tools, such as color adjustments, cropping, retouching, layers, and filters.
  • Vector Illustration Tools: If you are interested in logo or illustration design, make sure the program offers vector drawing tools, such as custom shapes, pen, and transform tools.
  • Typography and composition: Check if the software provides a wide selection of fonts and text manipulation capabilities, such as kerning, spacing, and text effects.
  • File format support: Make sure the program supports common file formats used in graphic design, such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PDF, and native software formats.
  • Integration with other programs: If you plan to work collaboratively with other designers or use additional software, check the program's ability to integrate with other popular tools.

Compatibility and system requirements

  • Operating system: Make sure the software is compatible with your operating system, be it Windows, macOS, or Linux.
  • Hardware Requirements: Check the software's minimum and recommended hardware requirements to make sure your computer meets the criteria for optimal performance.

Ease of use and learning curve

  • Intuitive interface: Evaluate if the program's interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, which will facilitate your workflow and increase your productivity.
  • Learning resources: Make sure that tutorials, documentation, and online resources are widely available to learn how to use the program efficiently.
  • Previous experience: Consider your level of experience in graphic design. Some programs may be more suitable for beginners, while others may be more comprehensive and complex, intended for more experienced users.

Cost and licensing

  • Price: Evaluate the cost of the software, whether it is a single license, a monthly or annual subscription. Consider your budget and the value for money that the program offers.
  • Licensing: Check available licensing options, such as individual licenses, team licenses, or commercial licenses. Make sure the license model fits your needs.

By considering these factors when choosing a graphic design program, you will be able to identify the option that best suits your needs and goals, maximizing your creativity and efficiency when working on graphic design projects.

It is important to note that each designer may have different requirements and preferences, so it is essential to make an individualized evaluation of these factors to make the right decision. In addition, it is also advisable to look for opinions and reviews from other users or graphic design professionals to get a broader perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of each program.

Remember that graphic design software is a powerful tool that can enhance your creativity and productivity, so choosing the right program is essential to achieve quality results and meet your specific needs. Take the time to research, test, and compare different options before making a final decision.

In the next section, we will make a comparison of the best graphic design programs available on the market, where we will analyze each of them in detail, highlighting their characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. This will provide you with a clearer vision and help you make an informed decision about which of them best suits your requirements and preferences.

Continuing our guide, we'll explore industry-leading graphic design options in depth, so you can select the program that allows you to take your skills and projects to the next level.

Main graphic design programs on the market

In this section, we will take a look at some of the most popular and widely used graphic design software on the market. These programs offer a wide range of functionality and tools for creating and editing images, illustrations, and graphic designs. Below are some of the top graphic design software:

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most recognized and used graphic design programs in the industry. It is a powerful image-editing tool that provides a wide range of advanced features and capabilities for manipulating and enhancing photos, as well as creating striking graphic designs and visual compositions.

Description and outstanding features

  • Image editing: Adobe Photoshop offers robust tools and features for adjusting, retouching, and enhancing images. You can correct the color, exposure, contrast, and sharpness of your photos, as well as remove blemishes, perform precise cropping, and apply special effects.
  • Layers and comps: One of the hallmarks of Photoshop is its ability to work with layers. You can create complex compositions by combining multiple elements on different layers, giving you full control over each element and the ability to make non-destructive adjustments.
  • Selection tools: Photoshop provides a wide range of selection tools, such as the magic wand, lasso, pen, and healing brush. These tools let you select and isolate specific areas of an image to apply effects, adjustments, or make targeted edits.
  • Text and graphic design: In addition to image editing, Photoshop is used for the creation of graphic design elements, such as logos, banners, social media graphics, and other visual elements. It provides advanced text tools, layer effects, and compositing options to create attractive, professional designs.
  • Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud: Adobe Photoshop is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, allowing for easy integration with other programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe XD. This facilitates the workflow between different applications and enhances collaboration on creative projects.

Use cases and applications

  • Photo editing and retouching: Photoshop is widely used in the field of photography to enhance and retouch images, adjust color, perform exposure corrections, and remove blemishes.
  • Graphic and Advertising Design: Many graphic designers use Photoshop to create logos, banners, banner ads, and other visual materials to promote products and services.
  • Image manipulation and compositing: With Photoshop's layering and compositing tools, you can combine images, create stunning visual effects, and perform artistic manipulations.
  • Web design: Photoshop is also used to design user interfaces and create graphic elements for websites, such as buttons, navigation bars, icons, and backgrounds.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based graphic design and illustration creation program. It is widely used by professional designers and artists to create high-quality scalable graphics, logos, illustrations, and other visual elements.

Description and outstanding features

  • Vector-based design: Unlike pixel-based image editing programs, Illustrator uses vector graphics. This means that elements created in Illustrator are represented by mathematical formulas that define lines, shapes, and colors. Vector graphics can be scaled without losing quality, making them ideal for projects that require flexibility and adaptability.
  • Drawing and editing tools: Adobe Illustrator offers a wide variety of drawing and editing tools, including pencils, brushes, geometric shapes, and the Pen tool. These tools allow you to create precise and detailed illustrations, make modifications to shapes, and draw smooth lines and curves.
  • Advanced Typography: Illustrator gives you extensive control over typography, with options to adjust character spacing, set text styles, and precisely manipulate the layout. It also offers a wide range of fonts and compatibility with external fonts.
  • Color tools: Illustrator provides a wide range of color options, from predefined swatches and palettes to the ability to create gradients and mix custom colors. In addition, it allows you to work with RGB, CMYK and other color models, to ensure accurate reproduction in different media and applications.
  • File compatibility and export: Illustrator supports a variety of file formats, including AI (Illustrator's native format), EPS, PDF, and SVG. This makes it easy to export designs to different platforms and media, such as print, web, and multimedia.

Use cases and applications

  • Logo design and branding: Illustrator is widely used to create logos and graphic elements that represent a brand's visual identity. The ability to work with vectors allows logos to be scalable and adaptable to different sizes and applications.
  • Illustrations and drawings: Illustrator is a popular tool for illustrators and digital artists. It allows you to create detailed illustrations, freehand drawings, comics, and complex vector graphics.
  • Design of printed materials and promotional materials: Illustrator is used to design printed materials such as brochures, posters, flyers, and business cards. The ability to work with vectors ensures designs look sharp and high-quality on any print size.
  • User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Design: Illustrator is used by UX/UI designers to create wireframes, mockups, and graphic elements for website and application interfaces. The precision and flexibility of vector-based design allow you to create adaptable and scalable designs for different devices and resolutions.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a complete suite of graphic design programs widely used in the creative industry. This software suite includes CorelDRAW, Corel PHOTO-PAINT, and other related programs that offer a wide range of tools and features for creating graphic designs, illustrations, and image editing.

Description and outstanding features

  • CorelDRAW: It is the main program of the suite and it is designed for the creation of vector designs. It provides intuitive and easy-to-use tools for drawing shapes, creating artwork, manipulating objects, and applying effects. CorelDRAW also offers advanced typography, color editing, and project management features.
  • Corel PHOTO-PAINT: It is a pixel-based image editing program that allows you to retouch and enhance digital photos. It provides tools for editing, color correction, exposure adjustments, and blemish removal. It also supports layers and special effects to achieve professional results.
  • Other Programs: In addition to CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT, the suite includes other programs such as Corel CONNECT, Corel CAPTURE, and Corel Font Manager. These add-on programs offer additional features for font management, content search, and screen capture, improving designer workflow and efficiency.
  • Intuitive interface: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite stands out for its intuitive user interface that makes it easy to navigate and access tools and features. Control panels and customization options allow you to tailor the work environment to individual user preferences.
  • File compatibility and export: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite supports a wide range of file formats, including AI, EPS, PDF, PSD, JPG and more. This allows efficient sharing and export of designs across different media and platforms.

Use cases and applications

  • Logo Design and Vector Graphics: CorelDRAW is widely used for creating logos, vector graphics, and scalable graphic elements. Vector drawing and editing tools allow designers to create precise and detailed designs.
  • Print and advertising design: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is used to design printed materials such as posters, brochures, advertisements, and banners. Its design and editing capabilities allow you to create stunning designs to promote products and services.
  • Illustrations and graphic design: Artists and designers use CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT to create digital illustrations, graphics, and complex graphic designs. These tools offer a wide variety of drawing, editing, and image manipulation options.
  • Web and user interface design: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is used to design user interfaces (UI) and create graphic elements for web applications and websites. Vector-based design capabilities and image-editing tools allow you to create attractive, adaptable designs.


GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open source graphic design program. GIMP offers a wide range of tools and functions for image editing and manipulation, making it a popular alternative to commercial programs.

Description and outstanding features

  • Image Editing: GIMP provides image editing tools that allow you to adjust the color, exposure, contrast, and sharpness of your photos. It also offers features to remove blemishes, perform precise cropping, clone areas, and apply special effects.
  • Layers and Masks: GIMP supports the use of layers and masks, giving you flexibility and control in image composition and manipulation. Layers let you work on different elements independently, and masks let you hide or reveal specific parts of an image.
  • Selection Tools: GIMP provides a variety of selection tools, such as the Magic Wand, Lasso, and Color Selection, that allow you to select and isolate specific areas of an image to apply edits or effects.
  • Customization and Plugins: GIMP is highly customizable, which means that users can adjust the interface, keyboard shortcuts, and panels to suit their preferences. Furthermore, GIMP supports the installation of plugins and add-ons to further extend its capabilities and functionality.
  • File Formats: GIMP supports a wide range of file formats, including JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, and many more. This allows you to import and export images in different formats and collaborate with other programs and applications.

Use cases and applications

  • Photo Editing and Retouching: GIMP is used by photographers and photo enthusiasts to touch up and enhance their images. You can adjust color, tone, and contrast, as well as remove blemishes and perform spot corrections.
  • Graphic Design and Digital Art Creation: GIMP is used for creating graphics, illustrations, and digital art. Drawing and painting tools allow you to create original and artistic designs.
  • Web and User Interface Design: GIMP is used for designing user interfaces (UI) and creating graphical elements for web applications and websites. You can design buttons, icons, navigation bars, and other visual elements.
  • Open Source Projects and Education: GIMP is a popular choice in open source projects and educational settings due to its free availability and active community of users and developers.


Sketch is a graphic design and user interface (UI) creation program widely used by digital product designers and design professionals. It is specifically designed for interface design and prototyping, and has earned a solid reputation in the design community.

Description and outstanding features

  • User interface design: Sketch is specially designed for creating user interfaces. It provides specific tools and functions for designing reusable screens, interface elements, icons, and components. Its focused approach to user experience (UX) design makes it easy to create intuitive and engaging interfaces.
  • Simplicity and efficiency: Sketch stands out for its minimalist and easy-to-use interface. Its simple and clean design provides a seamless and distraction-free design experience. In addition, using shared symbols and styles in Sketch allows you to create and update designs efficiently, while maintaining consistency throughout your project.
  • Prototyping features: Sketch offers prototyping tools that allow you to create interactive flows between the different screens of an application or website. You can add transitions, animations, and links to create interactive prototypes and show how the interface will work in practice.
  • Integration with collaboration tools: Sketch supports real-time collaboration and design review through third-party tools such as InVision and Zeplin. This facilitates teamwork and efficient communication between designers, developers, and other team members.
  • File Compatibility and Export Sketch supports a variety of file formats, including PNG, SVG, PDF, and more. It also allows the export of assets and layouts in different sizes and resolutions, making it easy to adapt to different devices and platforms.

Use cases and applications

  • User interface (UI) design: Sketch is used to design user interfaces for mobile apps, websites, and software in general. It provides specific tools for creating interface elements, organizing screens, and designing consistent user experiences.
  • Interactive Prototyping: Sketch's prototyping features allow you to create interactive prototypes to validate ideas, demonstrate user flows, and simulate interaction in an app or website.
  • Graphic Element Design: Sketch is used to design icons, illustrations, and other graphic elements used in user interfaces and digital applications.
  • Collaboration and Team Workflow: Sketch supports collaboration tools, making it easy to review and work together on design projects.
  • User Experience (UX) Design: Designers use Sketch to create an intuitive and engaging user experience, focusing on usability and interaction between users and interfaces.

Conclusions and recommendations

As you come to the end of this best graphic design software comparison and buying guide, it's important to summarize the key takeaways and offer recommendations to help you make an informed decision about which software to use. Here are some general conclusions and recommendations:

  • Assess your needs and level of experience: Before choosing a graphic design program, consider your specific needs and level of experience. Some programs may be more suitable for beginners, while others offer advanced functionality for professionals.
  • Features and capabilities: Analyze the features and features of each program and evaluate which are the most relevant for your projects. Consider aspects such as image editing, vector design, creating user interfaces, compatibility with file formats, among others.
  • User Interface and Ease of Use: Intuitive and easy to use user interface is important, especially if you are new to graphic design. Look for programs that are comfortable to use and offer a manageable learning curve.
  • Compatibility and collaboration: If you plan to work as a team or need to integrate your designs into other tools or platforms, consider the program's compatibility and collaboration capabilities. Some programs offer integration with popular collaboration and export tools in different formats.
  • Budget: Cost is also a factor to consider. Some programs are paid and require a monthly or yearly subscription, while others are open source and free. Consider your budget and evaluate if the selected program fits your financial possibilities.

Recommendations according to different user profiles

  • For professionals and power users: If you're looking for a complete set of advanced tools and functionality, Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, is a solid choice. You can also consider CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, which offers a wide range of tools for graphic design and image manipulation.
  • For Beginners and Users on a Limited Budget: If you're just starting out in graphic design or are on a tight budget, GIMP is an excellent choice. It is free and open source, and offers many features similar to commercial programs. You can also consider Sketch if you focus on user interface design and prototyping.
  • For UI/UX designers: Sketch is a standout choice due to its specific focus on UI design and prototyping functionality. It is widely used by digital product design professionals.

Remember that this guide provides general recommendations and it is important to consider your individual needs before making a decision. You can also explore the trial versions or free trial periods offered by many programs to see if they suit your requirements and preferences.