5 Best Graphic Design Software of 2023 (Free and Paid Tool)

Best Graphic Design Business

Choosing the best graphic design software is keen to design a professional vector illustration and photo. From turning simple lines into amazing objects, adding creative effects, and photo editing tools, the best graphic editor can help you meet customer’s demand. I ranked and reviewed 5 best graphic design software free and paid, so you can pick the best for the job.

Starting graphic design business can be a little frustrating. You need to figure the right toolset, i.e., computer, software, printer etcetera.

If you are on budget, you have longer time deciding how and when to start. If you have the money to operate, you are wondering the best tool to invest in and when to invest in the tool.

The internet and friends are there to suggest, but if you want to get right with your business, getting the right information from the right source is a must.

As a graphic designer and a website developer, I have used many graphic design software since 2013, and I want to help you make a straightforward decision concerning your graphic design business whether you are on budget or not.

Here are free and paid best graphic design software I recommend for both beginners and advanced designers.

Best Free Graphic Design Software

Living on a tight budget or starting graphic design business with no money? I have used these open-source graphic software for years and I know they are right for the job.

These graphic editors are free. By this, I mean free of cost, free to use and distribute, and free to modify the source code to suit your interest.

Here are my picks for the best free graphic software:


Best Graphic Software for Linux

Inkscape is a vector graphic design software used for creating logos, illustrations and art which require high scalability.

Free Community

Inkscape is a free vector graphic software. It is free of cost, free to use and distribute, and open to peek into the source code.


If you are coming from a background of drag and drop editor, Inkscape may feel different, but with little effort, you will quickly start designing with Inkscape.

Compared to other vector graphic software, Inkscape is easy to use and quick to learn.

Personal experience

I started using Inkscape back in 2019 on Linux when I decided to explore other OS but couldn’t install neither CorelDRAW nor Photoshop.

Inkscape helped with basic designs like business card, cropping photos, simple logo design, etc.

While this vector graphic software lacks the advanced touches of my favorite software, it comes handy and does a clean job.

Another feature I like about Inkscape is its trace tool. With this software, you can automatically trace any image and change the color.

If you want to take your designing to Linux distributions, Inkscape is your best choice per my personal experience.

Operating system and export formats

Inscape is cross-platform, meaning it is easy to run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux distributions.

All Inkscape projects may be exported in formats friendly to web browsers or commercial printers.

Industries to use Inkscape

“The Inkscape application is used across a wide variety of industries (marketing/branding, engineering/CAD, web graphics, cartooning) and individual uses,” Inkscape.


GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, macOS, Windows and other operating systems.

It is free software; you can change its source code and distribute your changes.

Plugins availability

GIMP productivity can be enhanced with many customization options and 3rd party plugins. GIMP’s sophisticated tools open a wide door for all industries including, graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, and scientists.


GIMP is beginner friendly. If you are familiar with Photoshop, you can easily explore the software.

Personal experience

I use GIMP mostly for exporting JPEG photos to PNG before converting to WEBP images for my blog. I like the quality it produces.

Besides, I design other things with GIMP even though it is not my major graphic design software. If you are on budget and looking for free software, GIMP is second on my list and best for Windows.

Best Paid Graphic Design Software

Advanced designers turn to paid graphic design software for their business not because they have too much to spend but they are the best for the job.

When you want to scale your design and provide outstanding artworks for your clients, think paid software.

Most of these editors have trial versions so you can try the program for at least couple of days before deciding to buy or not. The trial version comes with all the features you will get with the paid version.

So, you can download any of the following programs and compare it with your free software to see the difference.

In the meantime, let me help you decide.


Best Paid Graphic Design Software for Windows

CorelDRAW is a professional vector graphics suite distributed with other Corel products such as Corel PHOTO-PAINT, Corel Font Manager, PowerTRACE, CorelDRAW.app, CAPTURE, and AfterShot HDR.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a professional design toolkit for vector illustration, layout, photo editing, and typography projects with total efficiency.

If you are a huge fun of Windows shortcut like me, CorelDRAW supports Windows shortcuts and is both configured with its own additional shortcuts and can be customized to have additional shortcuts added.

Operating systems and multi-asset export

CorelDRAW is a cross-platform software available on Windows 11 and previous versions, macOS Ventura, Apple M1 andM2 chips. Its cross-platform experience also extends to web, iPad, and other mobile devices.

It has a vast array of import and export filters to allow you to work comfortably with the majority of other applications.

Personal experience

I can keep talking about CorelDRAW all day, this is the graphic design software I started with since 2013 and it has become my traditional graphic software.

I have used all the programs that shipped with CorelDRAW but my major purpose for installing CorelDRAW on any PC I own is for vector illustration and it’s always up to the task.

There are more than enough tools to turn basic lines and shapes into complex art work.  Get to create curves with many versatile shaping and drawing tools.

Turn simple lines into amazing objects by simply adding creative effects to your vector artwork with effect tools like Contour, Envelope, Blend, Mesh Fill, and more.

Among the proprietary graphic design software, CorelDRAW is one of the best graphic design software. If vector illustration is your thing, CorelDRAW is your software period.

Things you can do with CorelDRAW

  • Branding & marketing
  • Signage & large-format printing
  • Apparel & textiles
  • Retail & e-commerce
  • Blueprints, maps & schematics
  • Illustration & fine art


CorelDRAW is an advanced graphic design program. It is difficult to learn. You can become a self-taught designer but it takes a lot of effort to master CorelDRAW tools.

For beginners, the interface is daunting. This is as a result of the nature of vector illustration software.

You don’t see objects that you drag and drop. You create everything from scratch which is good for advanced artwork.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor for Windows and macOS. It is the most used tool for professional raster graphics editing.

Operating systems and multi-asset export

Windows 10 version 20H2 and later, macOS 11.0 and later, iPadOS 14.0 and later, Android 7.1 and later.

It has a vast array of import and export filters to allow you to work comfortably with the majority of other applications.

Plugin availability

Photoshop functionality can be extended by plugins. Some of these plugins are created by Adobe such as Adobe Camera Raw, but most are developed by third-parties.

Designers may get some of the plugins for free and some are commercial software.


Adobe photoshop is difficult to learn. A user spends more time with Photoshop to become a professional photo editor.

There are lots of tools to work with to get the desired result, that is why you need to make learning Photoshop a priority if you are going to use this tool efficiently.

Personal experience

Photoshop has the ability to edit and compose raster images in multiple layers, combine, retouch, and remix images.

My favorite feature is making unwanted stuff disappear and turning a boring background into an exotic paradise.


Adobe InDesign is layout and page design software used to create and publish books, digital magazines, eBooks, posters, and interactive PDFs.

Operating systems and graphic formats

Windows and macOS

Work with new graphic formats in InDesign like HEIC, HEIF, WEBP, and JP2K.

Personal experience

InDesign made it to the list because of Quora users remark when a user asked “which one is better: Scribus or Adobe InDesign?”

Many Quora users recommend InDesign for professional graphic design. Having used many Adobe graphic design software for years, I am sure this software will not be any different.

Like many proprietary graphic design software, InDesign has a version you can download for free and try a number of days.

Similar Posts