1. Adobe Illustrator
  2. Procreate
  3. Adobe Photoshop
  4. Canva
  5. Figma
  6. Sketch
  7. GIMP
  8. Affinity Designer
  9. Now You Know

Nowadays, more graphic design tools are available than ever before. In the past, graphic designers (professionals and newbies alike) had to pick from a handful of options.

Luckily, thanks to technology, the number of graphic design tools has increased substantially. But with so many options to choose from, which ones are the best?

Let's have a look at 8 graphic design tools and explore their features.

1. Adobe Illustrator

The most popular graphic design tool - by far.

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based design software used to create logos, icons, drawings, typography and illustrations.

Its powerful tools allow designers to create intricate designs with ease while maintaining high-quality resolution.


  • Generate colour with text prompts: You can explore endless colour combinations and turn words and concepts into colour palettes.
  • Identify and edit fonts in images: You can identify and edit any font in an image or outlined vector text. With a quick swap and edit, you can update your designs seamlessly.
  • Make realistic mock-ups: You can visualise your designs in real life with a mock-up. All you have to do is place our vector artwork on a blank product image, and the tool will automatically adjust the corners and curves.

2. Procreate

This one is for our Apple users.

Procreate is a graphic design tool made exclusively for iPad and Apple Pencil. It is powerful for creating sketches, rich paintings, illustrations, and animations.

Procreate offers a portable art studio at your fingertips.


  • Speed: with the Valkyrie Engine an 120hz performance, Procreate is incredibly fast and responsive. This means that you won't have to wait even a second for your artwork.
  • Custom Brushes: You can tweak your brush or create your own from scratch using Procreate's advanced brush studio.
  • QuickShape: You can draw the shape you want, hold and let QuickShape do the rest. This feature is perfect for creating symmetrical shapes or patterns.

3. Adobe Photoshop

An industry standard and favourite.

Graphic designers worldwide use Adobe Photoshop to create photos, graphics and art, especially for desktop publishing.

Photoshop has a plethora of tools that beginners and pros can use. The user-friendly interface and tutorials definitely make this one of the easiest apps for learning graphic design.


  • Edit images in your browser: You can add, remove, or expand content in images online. You can also upload and edit multiple file types, including PSD, TIFF, and HEIF.
  • Apply filters: With over 30 adjustment presets, you can change an image's look and feel with just one click.
  • Make objects appear larger: You can enlarge or shrink content so that it matches the background of an image.

4. Canva

You might have noticed the social media posts about how many graphic designers are favouring Canva over Adobe these days.

The reason for this?

Canva is an easy, user-friendly, drag-and-drop online design app.

Canva shines thanks to its vast template gallery that accommodates many different industries. From construction to weddings, you can find it all.


  • Social media integration: You can create different types of social media platform designs all in one place and share them immediately.
  • Photo editor: Canva allows basic photo editing. You can crop, add filters, and enhance images easily.
  • Drag-and-drop design: The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create designs without prior graphic design knowledge. It's perfect for beginners and professionals alike.

5. Figma

With Figma, you can get many features for free, including unlimited cloud storage.

You can work with your colleagues in real-time, making it perfect for collaborating on projects or giving feedback.

Graphic designers who work closely with web designers and developers favour Figma as it's specifically designed for interface design.


  • Dev Mode: You can clarify designs and give developers the tools they need to translate them into code.
  • Create realistic prototypes: Realistic prototypes allow you to quickly iterate ideas and adjust designs on the go.
  • FigJam: A virtual whiteboard that allows you to brainstorm and plan projects together with your team.

6. Sketch

Again - for our Apple users.

Sketch is a vector editing software exclusive to Mac. It helps you handle your workflow with a customisable interface that works with your plugins.

You can design websites, prototyping, icons, symbols, illustrations, and so much more.


  • Automatic save for workspace documents: You don't have to worry about losing your progress as Sketch automatically saves your workspace documents.
  • Vector editing tools: Vector editing tools allow you to easily control shapes and paths for a precise design.
  • Smart layout: You can create designs that automatically resize when you edit content, saving you hours of time.


GIMP is the most popular open-source graphic design tool.

What makes GIMP a stand-out tool is its ability to support all file formats, digital retouching, and create new designs from scratch!

You can also create your own interface that allows you to experience a more personalised workspace.


  • Supports all platforms: Whether you use Linux, Microsoft Windows, or macOS, GIMP works seamlessly on all platforms.
  • Customisable interface: You can personalise your workspace by choosing from a range of themes to make it your own.
  • Advanced editing tools: With advanced editing tools such as layers, masks, and filters, you have complete control over your designs.

8. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is an award-winning vector graphic design tool that is known for its powerful features and versatility.

This tool is feature-packed and attracts graphic designers, web designers, game developers and other creative professionals.

With Affinity Designer, you can create high-quality concept art, print projects, logos, icons, UI designs, mock-ups, and so much more!


  • Pixel-perfect designs: You can use the pixel preview mode to view vectors (standard and retina) resolution for precise output.
  • An unlimited number of artboards: You can create an unlimited number of artboards in different sizes, making it easier to manage multiple projects.
  • Sophisticated typography options: With advanced text tools, you can produce your own typography and add ligatures, artistic text, and paragraph styles.

Now You Know

These are 8 graphic design tools that every designer should know about.

Whether you're a beginner, a pro, or just a business owner wanting to create graphics for your brand, these tools will make the process simpler and more efficient.

We at Starbright offer graphic design services in South Africa, and our team has extensive experience working with these tools.

Contact us to see how we can help bring your creative vision to life!