Back to list

The complete guide to the best graphic design tools of 2024

{{ $t('article.attributes.headline') }}

Alice Rottmann

Head of Marketing

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, graphic design has become essential for businesses, marketers, and creatives alike. As we step into the year 2024, the demand for innovative and efficient design solutions is only getting bigger. Whether you're a seasoned professional seeking to reorganize and enhance your workflow or an aspiring designer eager to explore ways to express your creativity, having access to the right tools is vital.

But what exactly is graphic design and why is it so important these days? Well, graphic design is about creating visual messages using art and technology. It includes print, digital media, and motion graphics, used in advertising and user experience design. It helps businesses build brand identity, convey messages, and engage with users. In today's digital world, it's crucial for web design, social media, and content. From logos to websites, graphic design captures attention and communicates effectively, making ideas memorable.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take an in-depth look at the top graphic design tools that are a significant part of the industry in 2024. From powerful software suites to intuitive online platforms, we'll explore many different options designed to meet the unique needs and preferences of all designers across the globe.

If this sounds interesting to you, come along as we dive into the world of graphic design and uncover the features, functionalities, and benefits of each tool. Whether you focus on photo editing, vector graphics, user interface design, or animation, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and elevate your design capabilities in the new year.

Adobe Creative Cloud: Your design sidekick

Adobe Creative Cloud is like a superhero for graphic designers. It comes with awesome tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Whether you're editing images, creating vector graphics, or designing layouts, Adobe has got you covered.

Adobe Photoshop: A leading image editing and graphic design software that is essential for creating and editing photos, graphics, and designs.

Adobe Illustrator: With its variety of tools and features, Adobe Illustrator is an indispensable tool for creating vector graphics, illustrations, and logos.

Adobe InDesign: InDesign is the go-to software for creating layouts for print and digital media, such as brochures, books, and interactive PDFs.


  • Lots of tools for different design jobs
  • Cloud storage for working together easily
  • Access to Adobe Stock for cool images and graphics
  • Smart tools powered by AI
  • Always getting new features with updates

Wacom Tablet: Bridging the gap between traditional and digital art

For artists and designers seeking a more tactile approach to digital creation, the Wacom Tablet provides an enchanting drawing experience that closely replicates the feel of traditional pen and paper. With its pressure-sensitive stylus and responsive surface, Wacom tablets offer unparalleled precision and control, enabling artists to express their creativity with fluidity and nuance. Whether used in conjunction with software like Photoshop, CorelDRAW, or Clip Studio Paint, the Wacom Tablet remains a cornerstone of digital artistry, blurring the lines between analog and digital mediums.


  • Feels similar to traditional pen and paper
  • Versatile tools
  • Cost-efficiency
  • Instant sharing

Affinity: Powerful and cost-effective alternative

Affinity Photo offers a cost-effective alternative to Adobe software for image touch-ups. It supports both vector and raster images, with features like layers and filters for stunning effects. Although it lacks built-in templates, the software is lightweight and offers a generous 30-day free trial. Its versatility extends to 360-degree image editing and real-time editing without lag.


  • Robust editing tools
  • Single payment and free trial
  • Helpful customer support
  • Asset-library

Affinity Designer is like the underdog rival to Adobe Illustrator, packed with excellent tools that won't break the bank. With features like color management and a one-time payment plan, it's perfect for any project.


  • Manages colors in various ways
  • Tools like grids and guides save time
  • No subscriptions, just a one-time payment
  • Generate as many artboards as needed for creativity

PopChar: Your ultimate special character solution

PopChar, a versatile character map tool, simplifies the process of searching and inserting special characters. It saves recently used characters for quick access and allows users to mark favorites. The tool enables you to visualize how a specific character looks across all available fonts, enabling you to choose the perfect font for your design. Additionally, PopChar identifies ligatures, which appear as single characters but consist of multiple characters, simplifying character insertion. Emojis are easily browsable and searchable, with detailed options for skin tones and flags. For symbols with skin tone variants, PopChar displays indicators, making emoji selection straightforward. The software's font preview and sample text views facilitate font exploration and sheet creation for design discussions or catalogs. Users can print or save these sheets as PDF documents. Overall, PopChar streamlines the process of finding and inserting special characters and emojis, catering to users' diverse needs in character selection and insertion.


  • Find and use characters instantly
  • Preview how fonts and text will look together
  • Supports fancy font features and colorful emojis
  • Works with all your programs, not just one

Espresso Display: Unleash your productivity anywhere

Espresso Display is a game-changer for on-the-go productivity enthusiasts. As a portable second monitor powered by USB-C, it boasts a slim, lightweight design that fits effortlessly into laptop bags or backpacks. Its USB-C compatibility ensures seamless integration with laptops without the need for extra power adapters. Its standout features include the Jot and EspressoFlow software. Jot is designed to enhance drawing and annotation capabilities, ideal for professionals who frequently interact with visual content. EspressoFlow allows users to tailor their screen setup and manage workflows effectively, promoting an efficient and customized user experience. While not a software per se, Espresso Display is a crucial tool that facilitates better execution of graphic design tasks. Additional intelligent design elements such as automatic screen rotation and dual USB-C ports further enhance functionality and ease of use.


  • Portability
  • Plug-and-Play for quick and effortless setup
  • Enhanced productivity for remote workspaces
  • Innovative features with Jot and EspressoFlow

Figma: Changing UI design

Figma is a standout for designing user interfaces (UI). It works right in your web browser and lets you collaborate in real-time. Plus, it helps you make designs that can change and adapt easily.


  • Teamwork made easy with real-time collaboration
  • Designs that can stretch and change thanks to vectors
  • Preview your designs to see how they'll work
  • Lots of extra tools you can add for even more power
  • Helps you lay out designs quickly and easily

CorelDRAW: Your all-in-one design companion

CorelDRAW remains a top choice for graphic design, excelling in vector illustration and page layouts. Available across major platforms, it offers robust editing tools for photography and typography. Its real-time collaboration feature enhances teamwork. CorelDRAW's extensive file format support suits diverse professional needs, making it ideal for web and print projects alike. It's perfect for beginners and professionals seeking versatile design solutions across various industries.


  • Powerful editing toolset
  • Advanced typography tools
  • Available for both Windows and Mac platforms
  • Compatible with third-party plugins

Canva: Perfect for beginners

Canva offers a user-friendly platform for creating diverse projects like infographics, web design, and T-shirts through its intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Despite its vast template gallery, free features are limited, and additional graphics often require purchases. While lacking in some advanced functionalities, it suits beginners and small businesses seeking basic graphic design solutions.


  • Perfect for people with little to no experience in graphic design
  • Provides various types of app integrations
  • Entirely online
  • Drag and drop

Pixlr: Image-editing for all platforms

Pixlr, a web-based image editing tool, is accessible via browsers or mobile apps for iOS and Android. It offers essential editing features without the complexity of more advanced software. Formerly part of Autodesk, Pixlr stands alone with support for various file formats and an affordable pricing structure, however, the free version is ad-heavy. Subscription options start at $1.99/month for an ad-free experience.


  • Simple Drag and drop
  • Professional templates
  • AI-powered tools
  • Dynamic animations

Sketch: User-friendly – but only for Macs

Sketch is a specialized software designed for editing images on Mac operating systems. Its interface is highly adaptable, and it offers numerous plugins to enhance your productivity. However, its exclusive compatibility with Macs, which may suck for Windows users. Despite this, Sketch is favored for web design due to its user-friendly features. While lacking a free option for individuals, its strong community support and extensive plugin library compensate for this drawback. For businesses seeking personalized solutions, contacting Sketch directly for business options is a good idea.


  • Simple interface
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Comprehensive support
  • Strong community

Lunacy: AI-powered design

Lunacy offers free vector graphics editing and design with a wide array of built-in graphics like icons and illustrations. It's equipped with AI-powered tools such as a one-click background remover and image upscaler. The software also features smart avatar and text generators, all presented in a user-friendly interface, making it an accessible choice for beginners seeking powerful design capabilities without cost.


  • Compatible with various designs and hand-off tools
  • Time-saving features and pre-made graphics
  • Facilitates seamless collaboration
  • Available for Windows, MacOS and Linux

Inkscape: Free availability

Inkscape specializes in vector graphics akin to Adobe and Affinity. Notably, its calligraphy tools, especially compatible with graphic tablets, stand out. Path operations, node editing, and layering support complex vector designs. Although perceived as slower, its free availability renders it appealing to a broad user base.


  • Big collection of drawing instruments
  • Free availability
  • Works with all operating systems
  • Progressive node and path operations

GIMP: Versatile Open-source Solution

GIMP stands out as top-tier graphic design software, particularly for Linux users, but it's compatible with Windows and Mac OS. As a free, open-source tool, it offers a wide range of photo editing and 2D art creation features. Despite lacking native CMYK support, it excels in RGB and raster graphics. GIMP is ideal for budget-conscious designers, photographers, and artists, offering comparable features to premium options like Adobe Photoshop.


  • Open-source and free
  • GEGL integration
  • Native Linux compatibility
  • Script-Fu scripting for automation

Procreate: Your Art Studio on the IPad

Procreate, designed exclusively for iPad and Apple Pencil, offers a comprehensive art studio experience. Priced at $12.99, it provides robust 3D painting, advanced brush control, and PDF import/export. Unique features like 3D design and real-time AR preview set it apart. With 200 customizable brushes, intuitive color selection, and finishing filters, it's ideal for beginners and professionals alike. Plus, it offers a one-time purchase model, eliminating in-app purchases.


  • Comprehensive tutorial library available
  • User interface designed for easy use
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil for precise input
  • Ability to import Photoshop brushes for enhanced creativity

Blender: Pushing the Boundaries of 3D Graphics

For designers and animators who want to explore the realm of 3D graphics, Blender offers a feature-rich platform that rivals its commercial counterparts. As a free and open-source software, Blender empowers artists to explore 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and visual effects without the obstruction of either licensing fees or proprietary restrictions. Its robust toolset and active community support make it a compelling choice for professionals and enthusiasts alike, driving innovation and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in 3D design.


  • Free and open-source
  • Tools for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering
  • Active community support groups
  • Constantly improving versions

To put it in a nutshell

Now that we wrap up our exploration of the best graphic design tools of 2024, it's clear that the landscape of design software is diverse and dynamic, catering to a wide range of needs and preferences. From industry giants like Adobe Creative Cloud to innovative newcomers like Figma and Lunacy, designers have a number of options to choose based on their specific requirements. Graphic design plays a crucial role in today's digital age, where visual communication is necessary in order to capture the audience’s attention and to convey messages effectively. Whether you're a veteran professional or a promising new designer, having access to the right tools can significantly enhance both your creativity and productivity. As we look to the future of graphic design, it's clear that innovation will continue to drive the evolution of design tools and methodologies. With emerging trends like augmented reality and responsive design shaping the digital world, designers must stay agile and adaptable, embracing new technologies and techniques to stay ahead of the curve.

All in all, the best graphic design tools of 2024 empower all designers to push boundaries, unleash their creativity, and bring their visions to life in ways that used to be unimaginable. As we navigate the ever-changing world of design, we should let these tools be our companions on the journey to creating beautiful and impactful visual experiences.