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Graphic Design Software – 10 Most Popular Tools to Use

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Apart from being an essential marketing, web design and application development tool, graphic design can also be used to present complex ideas in a simple way that’s also pleasing to the eye. In order to build trust and ensure your brand is recognizable, you need great graphic design, but what tools do you use to produce it? There are so many graphic design tools you can use today and they all have their unique applications. For the purpose of bringing the world of graphic design closer to you, we’ve prepared our list of 10 most popular UX and UI graphic design programs for 2020. So let’s begin:

Adobe Illustrator CC

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Adobe Illustrator CC is a vector graphics solution used by graphic designers and artists. With a wide range of tools that help in the creation of brand logos, websites, print and video games, Adobe Illustrator allows for some beautifully crafted illustrations, vector graphics and sketches. With an array of built-in templates and presets, this software allows for faster design that can be easily accessed and shared (thanks to its integration with Adobe Creative Cloud). 

Why use Adobe Illustrator?

  • This illustration tool allows you to scale designs to any size (whether it’s huge billboards or small mobile screens) without sacrificing quality. 
  • Vector graphics produced in Adobe Illustrator can be exported into most file formats, including JPG., PDF, BMP, SVG, TIFF and others.
  • You can easily integrate Illustrator files into other Adobe applications, including Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and so on. 

Adobe Photoshop

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Adobe Photoshop CC is another tool used by graphic designers, photographers and artists as a unique image, photo and graphic editing tool. It is used to design a wide variety of artwork, including icons, posters, websites, banners and mobile apps (to name a few). Plus, it helps in picture enhancement and creation, making amazing artwork out of simple photographs, illustrations, paintings and 3D art. 

Why Use Photoshop

  • It offers numerous tools that help you create and enhance designs (brushes, patterns and effects). 
  • It is the most widely used tool for image manipulation, but also for retouching of images and for editing video file formats. 

Adobe InDesign

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Adobe InDesign CC is a page design and layout solution that is mostly used in the creation of files for print and digital media. InDesign is a great desktop publishing software that can be used to produce a wide range of beautiful designs, including brochures, posters, flyers, stationery, magazines and reports. The tool is also used to create interactive PDFs, digital magazines and eBooks. 

Why Use InDesign

InDesign allows you to collaborate with editors and writers, making the design process much easier. With access to its Creative Cloud libraries, you can share colors, text, graphics and shapes that will help you come up with layouts and designs much faster. In addition, the tool can be used in web media, digital and print projects and offers professional typesetting and layout tools.

Adobe Lightroom

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Another  popular tool among artists, designers and other creative professionals, Adobe Lightroom includes a subset of Photoshop’s features that are commonly used in image editing. With a wide array of image manipulation tools, Lightroom is a great photo editing program that also serves as a superb photo manager.

Why Use Lightroom?

Apart from offering plenty of image editing tools, Adobe Lightroom makes the editing process much easier due to its amazing catalog. Unlike other tools, (such as Photoshop) Lightroom is a non destructive image-photo editor that keeps all your designs in its database of history and edits. With Lightroom, you can forget about that annoying “save as” button and edit as much as you want without the fear of losing your work.

Canva

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As a cloud based platform that lets you easily create professional, high-quality designs, Canva’s robust editor allows you to choose from a wide range of templates, shapes and fonts and gives you access to over a million images and graphics. This tool is ideal for quick creations of stunning designs, marketing materials, flyers, brochures, charts, invitations, presentations, book covers and more.
 

Why Use Canva?

This nifty tool allows you to configure documents and templates and edit your designs. Being an online platform, Canva lets others comment on your project or apply changes to your design. With Canva, you can easily download and print your designs or publish them on the web. 

GIMP

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GIMP is an open source image editing software that allows for the creation of remarkable designs and image improvements. It helps you enhance designs and images through color adjustment tools, customizable brushes and other tools.

 

Why use GIMP?

Apart from its great image enhancement tools, GIMP offers a simple user interface and numerous customization options. Plus, the platform supports downloadable or pre-installed plugins, which is a very useful feature for customization and extensibility.

Adobe After Effects

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Adobe After Effects is a motion graphics, compositing and digital visual effects software. It is used in film, TV and web video creation and it mostly helps artists create and stylize edited footage. The tool features a vast variety of effects that can be combined to create an unlimited number of artwork.
 

Why use Adobe After Effects

This software has hundreds of effects that can be used to manipulate footage and it allows you to combine video and image layers into the same scene. In addition, After Effects offers a variety of tools and allows for integrations with third party software to create astounding animations. 

Sketch

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A rather specific tool used for interface elements for websites and applications (and for the creation of icons) Sketch is software that is exclusively available for Apple Mac users – designers working on iPad, macOS and iPhone.

 

Why use Sketch?

Sketch is a great vector based tool that focuses on creating great user interfaces (UI). It allows you to create responsive components that automatically resize to fit the content for any device, and it also allows for team collaboration.
 

Principle for Mac

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Another tool used to design interactive and animated user interfaces, Principle is also a quick and adaptable tool used by digital artists and designers.


Why use Principle for Mac

Principle is an amazing tool for Interaction Design. It allows you to design animations, interactions and bring multi screen apps to life by providing you with a wide range of effects, illustrations and transitions.

Figma

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Figma (a browser based design application for UI and UX) is similar to Sketch in terms of features and functionalities, with the exception that Figma works on any operating system. Figma is cloud based, and allows for simultaneous team collaboration, and every member of the team can open, edit and share Figma files. This makes the design process much easier because there is no back and forth in between the file versions.
 

Why Use Figma

Figma is one of the industry’s leading interface design tools because of its robust collaboration features and design tools that allow for stunning illustrations.

So there you have them…

Graphic design helps to convey your ideas and makes you look good, at the same time. Professionally designed, aesthetically pleasing designs will set you apart from the competition and help you boost your brand awareness significantly. By investing in quality graphic design, you will have the ability to present your company as trustworthy and reliable. Therefore, it is safe to say that quality design is the path to success, and the above mentioned tools are certainly the bricks in the pavement.