Top 7 Graphic Design Tools For Making Amazing Graphics

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Graphic Designers are constantly looking for tools that can help them get the job done better and faster. There are others who have joined the design brigade with similar needs and these professionals are not trained to be designers. Today practically every individual looking to create content of any nature needs to know how to use visual tools. You could be a blogger, digital marketer, social media content creator or any professional that is creating visuals for the print and digital world.

A lot of tools allow for non-designers to take up designing and become visualizers in their own right. Here we take a look at some of the best design tools that can help you make stunning graphics and visuals.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop has been the mother lode of image editing and graphics creation for a while now and has been the preferred option for many designers due to its ability to produce graphics that translate well on print and digital.

 

Source: Adobe

Features:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud service.
  • It is rather exhaustive in its use because it allows users to design amazing graphics (that is a given), posters, banners, websites, mobile apps and more.
  • The software provides easy-to-use templates and tools that may not be apparently easy but are very intuitive.
  • It also provides highly professional photography tools that help enhance pictures drastically. It helps create and enhance illustrations and 3D artworks.
  • Photoshop offers a wide range of patterns, effects and advanced brushes that allow users to create and customize digital works of art.
  • Some unique and distinct features that set this software apart from the rest include — brush management, brush smoke smoothing, paint symmetry, color, curvature pen tool, luminance masking controls, group layer arranging, quick share menu, variable fonts and above all, access to Lightroom photos.
  • Photoshop also enables users to easily share creations directly using the app. You can share it on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, OneNote, Skype and Feedback Hub instantaneously.
  • This is a very valuable tool if you need image-editing capabilities that are par excellence.

Pricing:

Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud can either be purchased as a single app or as part of Adobe Creative Cloud software.

Single App (Individual)

$20.99 per month – Annual Plan (Paid Monthly)

$31.49 per month – Monthly Plan

$239.88 per month – Annual Plan (Prepaid)

This includes:

  • The latest version of Photoshop CC.
  • 100GB cloud storage.
  • Your very own portfolio website.
  • Premium fonts.
  • Social media tools.

Single App (Business)

$33.99 per month/license – Annual Plan (Paid Monthly)

This includes –

  • Your choice of one creative desktop app.
  • Premium fonts, 100GB cloud storage and shared asset libraries.
  • 24/7 technical support.

For additional information on plans and pricing, refer to this link.

Canva

Founded in 2012, Canva is one of the most popular graphic design tools, especially for common folks who are not familiar with any design-related software. This tool provides a simple drag-and-drop functionality for users to create designs for every imaginable collateral for the digital world.

Source: Canva

Features:

  • Canva has more than 10 million users and over 100 million designs have been created using this tool.
  • The free version of Canva also provides a generously stocked library of images, illustration assets, icons, shapes, fonts, text styles, templates and layouts. You can also upload your own images to incorporate into the design you are creating.
  • It has preset sizes for everything from varying social media assets (read cover images for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.) to brochures, flyers and posters. You can also create a customized canvas with specific dimensions.
  • All you need to do is choose a template or layout, drag and drop graphic elements from the library, add text and adjust font type/size, color filters and opacity based on your preferred aesthetics for the graphic you are creating.
  • Canva is a very intuitive interface that allows users to imagine and build as they go along.
  • It is limited in its scope for customization and is perfect for users who are looking to create a quick yet quality graphic without much fuss.

Pricing:

Canva has a Free Forever package which comes with limited features that include:

  • Two folders for designs.
  • 1GB of storage (photos/assets).
  • Choose from over 8,000 templates.
  • Capability to upload external images.
  • Choose from millions of images, prices start at $1 each.

Canva for Work is priced at $12.95 per team member/month and offers the following features which are rather exhaustive:

  • Unlimited folders for designs.
  • Unlimited storage (photos/assets).
  • Capability to upload external images and custom fonts.
  • Choose from millions of images, prices start at $1 each.
  • Choose from over 400,000 free images, icons, illustrations, layouts and templates.
  • Use custom dimensions for resizing preset templates.
  • Choose from a customized color palette specific to your brand.
  • Save customized templates for each user and the team.
  • Retain a transparent background for designs while downloading.
  • Export designs created as animated GIFs.
  • Team functionalities and priority support.

Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer is indeed the perfect cross-platform for the 21st century. It is built keeping the design needs of our current digital age in mind. This tool provides a lot more functionality as compared to others in the space.

Source: Gravit Designer

Features:

  • Gravit Designer brings a lot of advanced functionalities such as drawing tools, layers, shapes, text, effects, grouping objects and others. These are available in a simple, easy-to-learn and use format.
  • The tool has a well-devised tutorials tab which gives you insights on how to get started with Gravit Designer and use it efficiently.
  • Ideally, Gravit Designer is built for ‘from scratch designs’. However for those that need some guidance and hand-holding it has a small library of pre-sized templates for use in social media and blogs. You have the flexibility to begin with a preset canvas or build your own.
  • The library also contains limited illustrations, shapes and icons. It is not as comprehensive as some other tools but it does come in handy when you are hard-pressed for time and seeking external images is not a viable option.
  • Gravit Designer has a unique feature called the Gravit Cloud. You can create the designs in Gravit Designer, open an account on Gravit Cloud, sync your accounts to easily transfer your designs and share them within your team.

Pricing:

Both Gravit Designer and Gravit Cloud are free tools.

Snappa

Snappa is really good at creating graphics overlaid with well-designed text. This is trending across social media currently and is a tried-and-tested design used to promote everything from a blog post to banners and posts.

Source: Snappa

Features:

  • Snappa has a library of graphics and shapes however these are fairly limited when compared to other apps.
  • The tool also offers an effects sidebar that helps add suitable effects to the image on your post. It could be darkening or simply coloring the background image to make the text pop or even brightening the image to add a direct contrast to the darker text.
  • The sidebar allows for the text to be edited by adjusting the font, size, line spacing, alignment, opacity and the option for drop shadow effect.
  • Premium users have the option of queueing the posts in Buffer.
  • Snappa offers video tutorials to gain insights on how to use the tool.

Pricing:

The Starter Package is free and offers the following benefits to a single user:

  • Access to over 570,000 HD photos and graphics.
  • Allows for 5 downloads per month.
  • Access to limited templates.
  • Only 2 social accounts are permitted.
  • A user cannot save the design.
  • This is a good package to test the app and then opt for a paid one.

The Pro Package priced at $10 per month (billed annually) offers the following benefits to a single user:

  • Access to over 570,000 HD photos and graphics.
  • Access to unlimited templates, downloads and social accounts.
  • Storage for saved designs and folders.
  • Custom font uploads are permitted.
  • Buffer integration is possible.

The Team Package priced at $20 per month (billed annually) offers the following benefits to a team of 5 users:

  • Access to over 570,000 HD photos and graphics.
  • Access to unlimited templates, downloads and social accounts.
  • Storage for saved designs and folders.
  • Custom font uploads.
  • Buffer integration.
  • Facilitates team collaboration.

Desygner

This tool differentiates itself from the rest by being the best for designing on a mobile device. Sound cumbersome? It has a web version too but its mobile version is far better. Desygner is a versatile tool that helps create unique and professional social media images easily and on the go.

Source: Desygner

Features:

  • This mobile design app is as easy to use as a web app, probably easier and a lot faster. This tool is available for both iOS and Android and helps you produce superior quality graphics from your phone.
  • It offers over 5,000 pre-made templates designed by professional designers that can be edited and used to meet your specific requirements.
  • These templates can be used to create everything from banners, social media cover pages/posts, posters, invitations, business cards, header images and every design imaginable.
  • You can use the template or simply start from scratch. Access Desygner’s library contains royalty-free images and design elements that include shapes and icons.
  • Even its mobile app version has all the features the web version carries. It has multiple menus that allow you to customize image and text settings.
  • You can also pull up the list of layers, making it easier to select, deselect and rearrange the elements with just a few taps.
  • The web app works in a similar manner using sidebar menus that help select the design assets and effects required.

Pricing:

The Starter Package which is free, with no credit card details required to be furnished, offers the following:

  • Provides a powerful web and app editor online.
  • Access to over 35,000 HD images and graphics.
  • Provides access to 100s of free templates.
  • Allows for limited photo and design storage, pdf imports and searches.
  • Does not add watermarks on the PDF, JPG or PNG files.
  • Allows for a transparent background to be downloaded with the graphic.

The Premium Package priced at $6.95 per month offers the following:

  • Access to over 1,000,000 high definition images and graphics.
  • Provides access to over 5,000 free templates.
  • Allows for unlimited photo and design storage, PDF imports, downloads, searches and social accounts.
  • Custom font uploads are possible.
  • Does not add watermarks on the PDF, JPG or PNG files.
  • Allows for a transparent background to be downloaded with the graphic.
  • No Ads.

The Premium Package priced at $6.95 per month offers the following –

  • Access to over 1,000,000 High Definition images and graphics.
  • Provides access to over 5,000 free templates.
  • Allows for unlimited photo and design storage, pdf imports, downloads, searches and social accounts.
  • Custom font uploads are possible.
  • Does not add watermarks on the PDF, JPG or PNG files.
  • Allows for a transparent background to be downloaded with the graphic.
  • No Ads.

For details on their Business Package click here.

Piktochart

Piktochart is an easy-to-use design maker, infographic maker and print maker. It caters to four main categories of graphics that include infographics, reports, presentations and posters and provides heaps of templates for each. It is mainly known for its infographic creation abilities. To create visual assets not appearing in any of the four categories mentioned above such as blog headers, social media posts, and newsletter banners, just choose a template from the poster category and customize it to the required dimensions.

Source: Piktochart

Features:

  • Piktochart is essentially a cloud-based infographic solution that requires no expertise to create professional-grade infographics. It is the perfect tool for seasoned designers and individuals just getting started.
  • This tool contains easy-to-use graphics, maps, charts and allows for high-resolution downloads.
  • It provides tons of design flexibility and innovation geared towards producing digital-ready infographics.
  • It has many themed templates which can be easily resized. You can also add interactive features such as charts, maps, videos and hyperlinks.
  • It has a very user friendly and intuitive interface making it easy for the user to navigate the tool and create graphics.

Pricing:

Piktochart offers several pricing options, including packages for non-profit organizations and education packages.

The Lite Package is priced at $12.50 per month and it offers:

  • Over 600 templates.
  • 100MB storage for image uploads.

The Pro Package is priced at $24.17 per month and it offers:

  • Over 600 templates.
  • 100MB storage for image uploads.
  • HD image and pdf exports.
  • Remove Piktochart watermark.
  • Password protection for published graphics.
  • Custom brand colors and schemes.
  • Animated icons and SVGs.
  • Ability to create folders.

The Pro Team Package is priced at $82.50 per month for 5 users and it offers:

  • Access to all the Pro features.
  • More image upload space.
  • Template customization.
  • Project sharing.
  • Design collaboration.
  • Annotated commenting on visuals.
  • Roles and permissions.

Stencil

This tool offers a lot of flexibility with pre-set image sizes and is known for creating better engagement through social media posts, content marketing visuals, email images, ad graphics and more. Images created using Stencil garner the following kind of engagement – 89% more favorites, 150% more retweets and 84% more clicks.

Source: Stencil

Features:

  • Stencil has partnered with Pixabay and Pexels to provide over 1,500,000 royalty-free stock and high-resolution photos that you can choose from and new ones are added every week.
  • It has partnered with The Noun Project and Icons8 to give you access to over 1,000,000 icons and graphics that are royalty-free under the provisions of Creative Commons (CCO) license and can also be bought at a nominal fee for commercial use with zero attribution.
  • Stencil also gives you access to over 100,000 inspirational quotes that combine well with powerful images to make social media and blog post banners.
  • It has over 650 templates which can be easily edited in no time.
  • It provides 41+ pre-set custom sizes for social network covers and posts, ads, blog posts and more. You can also create custom sizes.
  • The Stencil library has 2,300+ Google Web Fonts that you can choose from to add the right aesthetic to the image you select.
  • Stencil has also integrated with Buffer to facilitate scheduling on social media.
  • It has many images that facilitate live previews before sharing and additionally also has the Facebook Ad Grid incorporated. So if you are creating a Facebook ad using Stencil you will know while creating the graphic if it is within Facebook’s recommended text limits.

Pricing:

The Free Plan provides the following benefits:

  • Create 10 images per month.
  • Access to limited images and icons.
  • Store up to 10 favorites.

The Pro Plan priced at $9/month (if paid annually) offers the following:

  • Create up to 50 images/month.
  • 1,500,000+ photos that are royalty free (CCO) and can be used for personal or commercial purposes without attribution.
  • 1,000,000+ icons, graphics.
  • 2,300+ Google fonts.
  • Ability to upload new fonts.
  • Add Logo/Watermarks.
  • Store up to 100 favorites.
  • 650+ amazing templates.
  • 25 Instagram SMS/month.
  • Dedicated premium support.

The Unlimited Plan priced at $12/month (if paid annually) offers the following:

  • All the features included in the Pro Plan.
  • Create unlimited images.
  • Store unlimited favorites.
  • 100 Instagram SMS/month.

Note: All paid plans come with a 7-day money back guarantee.

What Works for You

Every designer and content creator has a specific need and skill set which helps them adapt to technology and tools in different ways. Often what may work for one totally bombs for the other. Try these tools out to gauge what fits perfectly in your wheelhouse.

 

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