The evolution of technology has completely transformed every facet of our lives. It is changed how we perform even the smallest of tasks and the same can be said for drawing and its related disciplines. Earlier designers and artists used paper, pencil and pigments to create designs, now it can all be done from the comfort of your own computer. If you are interested in becoming a graphic designer and are not sure which graphic design software to use, then read the following blog.

What is graphic design?

Graphic design is described as the process of creating visual and textual content with the aim of communicating a specific message. The graphic design consists of several categories such as website design, computer graphic design, animation, advertising design and magazine design. This form of design includes certain key facets like texture, line, colour, space, shape, form and size.

Graphic design software for beginners

  • Adobe Photoshop: this is an image and graphic design programme that allows users to design icons, websites, mobile apps and posters with the help of built-in templates and easy-to-use tools. It’s available for both Windows and Mac OS X. Photoshop is considered an excellent graphic design programme for beginners as it includes features like:
    • Auto-fix: adjusting the design using a single touch;
    • Basic: cropping, flipping, straightening or rotating the image;
    • Colour: using controls to enhance the colour of an image;
    • Blemish removal: the capacity to remove smudges;
    • One-touch filter: users can choose from a variety of 20 interesting effects;
    • Image rendering: option to make the image panoramic;
    • Borders: users can add a personal touch with the help of borders;
    • Sharing feature: users can share their design on social media sites like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.

Adobe Photoshop has a variety of pricing plans including special prices for students. You can take a look at the pricing here.

  • Inkscape: Inkscape is an open source graphic design software that works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It is a vector graphic programme that has a simple user interface (UI) and a variety of tools to create web, logo and print designs. Inkscape consists of a variety of features like:
    • Option to edit the source code of image;
    • Ability to move screen pixels;
    • Edit gradients and clones on the canvas present;
    • Fill paint-bucket.

Inkscape is also used for creating objects, manipulating objects and stroke formatting. It primarily uses SVG, but it has options for exporting the format to PDF, PNG, EPS and others. SVG is an XML-based two-dimensional graphics file format.

GIMP: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is another open source graphic design program which is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. GIMP has a modern, interactive and customisable UI that makes it easy to use for beginners. One of the best features of this tool is that it allows users to create high-definition graphics. It has a full-screen mode that enables users to view and edit their design at the same time. GIMP comprises a myriad of attributes which allow users to design artwork and icons, edit images and develop designs using layers, masks, textures and more.

  • CorelDraw: CorelDraw is one of the more popular graphic design programmes for beginners as it enables them to create attractive designs while honing their skills. CorelDraw owes its popularity to its in-built productive functions, ease of use and tutorial tips and videos. It also has an in-built alignment guide which helps users to place objects as per their requirement. Editing vector objects in CorelDraw is made easy with assistance from tools like Attract, Repel, Smear and Twirl. This graphic design software also allows users to integrate apps like Bitstream Font Navigator, Barcode Wizard and Duplexing Wizard. CorelDraw can be purchased for Windows and Mac OS X, apart from this it also offers a student version of the software. Click here to find out more about the cost of CorelDraw.
  • Adobe Illustrator: Adobe Illustrator (AI) is a vector graphic design software that enables users to create designs, sketches and illustrations for logos, videos games, print and websites. AI allows users to create designs quicker with the help of its built-in design templates. They can also share projects due to AI’s integration with Adobe Creative Cloud. Users can create clear lines and sharp sectors as the paths get automatically aligned to the closest pixel grid. Similar to Adobe Photoshop, AI offers a variety of pricing plans with special prices for students.
  • Canva: Unlike the other graphic design programmes mentioned, Canva is a cloud-based graphic design platform. Canva has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, coupled with access to a huge variety of graphics, fonts and images, thus helping users to create a variety of designs for any type of content. It is often used by beginners as it includes a large variety of templates for developing brochures, invitations, marketing materials, infographics, flyers, presentations and more. Canva also allows users to edit the built-in templates as per their requirements. Furthermore, since it is an online platform, collaboration with other users is easily achievable. Canva has two plans — one is free and the other is paid. You can compare the two plans and their features here.

If you have a knack for visual details and colour coordination, are creative and want to learn graphic design, London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA) offers graphic design degrees and courses like the HNC/HND in Graphic Design, BA Graphic Design and CPD Graphic Design.

Want to read more about graphic design? Check out A Beginner's Guide to Graphic Design and Why Study an HND/HNC Graphic Design Course in London?

This article was written by Varun Mehta and edited by Anisa C.