Best Graphic Design Software
The graphic design tools you need
Whether you are a user or a professional hobbyist, graphics software and personal computers have forever changed the way good designers and artists work. In this section, we review some of the graphical applications that have been around since the beginning. While the Wannabes scores are gone, these programs are still standing. Adobe introduced Illustrator in 1987. In 1989, they released Photoshop, the same year Corel introduced CorelDRAW.
Choices cover a wide variety of needs, from raster and vector image editing to typography to page layout (with InDesign being the main exponent of the latter). We'll add to this with an even larger range of dedicated graphics programs, utilities, and applications.
Software features aside, one of your first decisions when choosing graphics software is how you want to pay: The two Adobe products featured here are only available as part of a huge Creative Cloud subscription suite. while you can get Corel products for a time fee. (That's why the prices in the table above seem odd.)
The right tools for the job
Wherever you look, you see graphics of all kinds. The job titles of their creators are similar: visual designer, user experience (UX) designer, user interface (UI) designer, information architect , web design, illustrator, interaction design, app design, photo editing, animation, surface and pattern design, style design...
Luckily, we have great tools at our disposal, each with its own place in the toolbox. However, as developers expand the functionality of the software, and as we grow into designers, those initial boundaries become harder to distinguish.
For example, while Photoshop is a photo editing tool, it also creates amazing photo-realistic text effects. In 1989, no one would have predicted that Photoshop would become the favorite front-end web design tool (with nods to Sketch and other capable newcomers). While CorelDRAW's forte is in the manufacturing and service industries, you can create amazingly realistic photo illustration vector art using blends, gradients, and transparency. While Illustrator may not be as accessible as Corel, it exists as a professional vector graphics champ, and learning the program is a sound investment for heavy use professionals.
Continue experimenting with any app or combination of tools of your choice. The more creative and curious you are, the more powerful the tool becomes and the more outstanding and unique your design becomes.
How do we do it without them?
In the dark ages BC (before computers), creating a color bulletin, for example, was a huge undertaking that required a team of experts with expensive equipment. I look back and can't imagine how we managed.
Before using the software, once the customer approved the design (presented as loose sketches and tight comps), we recreated it by sketching the layout frame on the illustrator board ( use a parallel ruler, a T square, a non-repro blue pencil, and a triangle). We must then send the approved copy and type specifications in writing to typesetting (via courier to a typewriter with a model printer). Back to us is a strip of photo paper that we cut, rolled the backing with hot wax, and placed on the boards in the columns we sketched. For any artwork (created with a technical pen, ink, and Pro-White constantly clogged), we had to send a luminizer that would return on paper similar to a galley.
If you want the art to be colored, you must specify the screen line value for the stat operator. We assigned different colors by gluing physical art onto different layers of acetate sheets, which we attached to the top of the panel in perfect registration. On top of that, we had to glue a red film, called rubylith, to the acetate and cut out the shapes that needed to be covered. We then sent the transparent image to the color divider, who gave four split film negatives (CMYK). Of course, the film had to be shot for all the layers to be composed on the board. When we annotated our instructions for the offset lithographer, we brought the mechanical boards and large sheets of film to the strippers at the printing house, who cut and integrated the film for delivery printing plate manufacturer. (Not the stripper type.)
This process sounds crazy compared to the process and tools we use now and how we create designs today with the software in this section. A person can now design a project, send their files to an offset printer where they print the files directly onto disc, load them in the press, and print. Digital printing is even easier (although I like the quality of the offset).
Celebrate the choice
Similar to Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of applications is the CorelDRAW 2018 Suite. While our review is specific to the CorelDRAW application, it is gratifying to have access to a family of built-in tools with which you can enjoy the productivity of compatibility and asset exchange. seamless. Adobe's Creative Cloud is still the industry standard, but it's easy to export CorelDRAW files to Illustrator (or Photoshop) formats and simply open the Illustrator file in CorelDRAW.
Each user has different goals, psychology, and abilities, and with this trio of apps, you're sure to discover tools and processes that meet your needs. In the end, you should choose the tools you feel most proficient with and stay with the timely, purposeful upgrades. It's important that your software encourages your technical growth and challenges you to strengthen the skills you need to keep yourself relevant during the visual design and changeover process. now on.
Where are we going?
In our increasingly digital ecosystem, graphic designers can enhance their work if they diversify their skills and expand their talents. Interface and experience design dominates the job market, and with the exploding popularity of smart speakers and digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, and Siri's Assistant, we'll also see change in auditory experience design.
It's a good thing that each of these apps offers tools to design for multiple screen sizes. CorelDRAW allows you to upload directly to WordPress, and Photoshop files are layered as the most requested software by developers. Even Illustrator CC 2018 has a workspace optimized for web and mobile design with a relatively new pixel preview. It also boasts an export process for screens that generates your assets in different sizes and formats, all in one action.
What is not here?
The waters are teeming with other graphics production software from esoteric niche scripts that do only one thing and hybrids that require light coding, to painting, photo editing, sketching programs, CAD and vectors are more mainstream. Add to that a wave of apps developed specifically for touch-based tablets or mobile devices. There are a lot of novel design tools on the horizon and we look forward to discovering more of them. Stay tuned!
The best graphic design software featured in this round:
Adobe Photoshop CC
Pros: Lots of photo manipulation and editing tools. Sleek interface with lots of help. Tools for mobile and web design. Rich set of drawing and typography tools. 3D design capabilities. Synchronized library.
Cons: No perpetual license option. High cost premium version. The interface can be changed many times. Lack of support for HEIC.
Bottom Line: Adobe continues to improve the world's leading photo editing software. Version 2018 adds a new auto-selection tool, raw camera profiles, loads of fonts and drawing capabilities, and support for the Microsoft Surface Dial.
Adobe Illustrator CC
Pros: Killer vector design capabilities. Great Touch Type feature. Simplified free conversion tool. The powerful new Puppet Warp feature allows to transform selected illustrations. Many improvements to existing features.
Cons: Cannot purchase a single, perpetual license. There is no unification of key commands with Photoshop and InDesign.
Bottom line: Despite a bit of resentment from the digital art community about Adobe's subscription-only model, Illustrator CC is the best vector graphics editing program around, and the new features make it even better. Even better for 2018.
Adobe Indesign CC
Pros: Great balanced interface. Easy, intelligent automatic global page adjustment. Contextual information at your fingertips. Huge selection of downloadable fonts.
Cons: Requires registration. Integrated PDF comments need polishing.
Bottom Line: InDesign stays relevant, giving 2019 commercials an edge in meeting ever more demanding customer requirements. Despite its minor weaknesses, InDesign is a must-have for any professional designer.
Coreldraw Graphics Suite
Pros: Capable of professional-grade features. Instant gratifying and easy effects. Highly customizable interface. Unique features. Offers both subscription and outright purchase models.
Cons: Windows only. Some problems are difficult to use.
Bottom Line: CorelDraw is a powerful, capable graphic design application that offers a number of native capabilities that even the Adobe Illustrator Editor requires plug-ins to replicate.
Corel Paintshop Pro
Pros: Photoshop-like features for a lower price. Powerful effects and editing tools. Face recognition. Tutorial. Good assorted vector drawing tools.
Cons: Some operations are still slow. The interface can be cluttered. Ineffective aberration removal.
Bottom Line: Corel continues to add new photo editing capabilities to its PaintShop Pro photo editing software, making it a worthy Photoshop alternative at a reasonable price.