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Design Software

Graphic design software programs are powerful applications that combine multiple features for graphic design and editing such as photo editing, digital imaging tools, print layout features, and vector imaging features. With this type of software, designers can create and edit images and then export them into several different types of formats including JPG, GIF, and PDF. Graphic design software is primarily used by professional graphic designers, both free-lance designers and those part of in-house design departments. Whether designing logos, webpages, newsletters, or publications, the best graphic design software will have dozens of features that result in a professional-looking final product.

That being said, non-professionals can also use graphic design software. Though they may not require the most advanced and most expensive programs, non-professionals can use graphic design software to edit family photos, design documents for organizations and events, and for other personal creative purposes. The best graphic design software is easy to use with several levels of sophistication. New users can quickly learn some of the basic functions and as they spend more time and require more advanced features, they will learn how to use more tools within the program.

There are many different software options for graphic design and they are available at very different prices. The most professional software products such as the Adobe Creative Suite are extremely expensive, especially for the non-professional user. Depending on what program you choose, you will have access to a different number of graphic design features. When selecting graphic design software, you will first need to determine what your specific needs are and how much you are willing to spend. From there, you can choose from the different options and find the program that is right for you or your company.

Usability and Learning Curve

The professional software used by graphic designers can appear incredibly complicated to a first time user. There are dozens and possibly hundreds of features, and some programs can be overwhelming. It’s important to find design software that will not be too difficult to use. Reviews will often note how complex or simple the interface and tools are, and you can get a good estimation of usability by reading the reviews we’ve aggregated on Cloudswave. You will also want to get a trial version or watch some tutorials before buying design software. Considering the significant price tag, it only makes sense to give the software a test drive before making a purchase, and this is especially important if you are new to design. The best software will be relatively easy to learn. It may feel a little overwhelming at times, but you will be able to learn basic photo editing quickly and then learn about more advanced features when you continue to use the program.

Software Specialty vs. Your Specific Needs

If you decide to purchase one of the most expensive design software products, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, you will get a powerful set of tools that will help you with basically any design task. If you have very specific needs, it might be smarter and less expensive to buy a different design software. There are many software products that lack the total number of features, but can do a few design tasks extremely well. These products will be less expensive and may be all you need. Before buying software, figure out exactly what type of design you will be doing. Some software is very good at photo editing, others at vector graphics, and others at 3-D modeling. Some programs are better than others are for creating original images and designs as opposed to editing. Even areas as narrow as logo design have software specifically tailored to them. If you need all-purpose design software, then you may want to acquire one of the more comprehensive design products. If you realize that you only need design software to complete very specific types of tasks, it might be a good idea to look at some of the more specialized products.

Free Software

There is a surprisingly large number of free design software available. Though none of these options will be as powerful and comprehensive as the most expensive software packages, they may have the functionality you need and many can still produce at a very high quality. Most free software excels at photo and image editing, but there are many exceptions. Whatever types of design tasks you need to do, there is most likely an assortment of free programs that can help you do it. Even 3D creation and modeling can be done on free software, and often at a fairly high level of sophistication. There is literally no cost to trying free software before deciding to purchase something else. If it fulfills your needs well enough, it can be a great way to save you money while still providing the design functionality you are looking for.  



Cloudswave Awards Q2 2016 : Best Design Software

The Cloudswave Awards is a seasonal ranking of the Top 10 business applications across several categories.
This ranking is based on the cloudswave score, the weighted average score that captures the essence of multiple critic reviews into one number.

Find out more about this scoring system

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