Graphic Design Software

A great graphic design software combines sophisticated artistic tools with AI-enhanced features to produce captivating artworks. Furthermore, its ease-of-use and intuitive nature should allow for wide-ranging projects.

Canva is an easy and cost-effective graphic design program with a robust library of templates, fonts and images for graphic creation. Available on iOS and Android devices alike.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a go-to application for designers, web developers, photographers and graphic artists of all kinds. It enables them to edit digital or scanned images as well as create graphic designs from them – while its effects such as blurring or sharpening make for exciting graphic design creation.

Thomas and John Knoll created Photoshop in 1984 before selling it to Adobe Systems in 1988. Now part of Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop includes several extensions such as Lightroom, Elements and Fix.

Adobe Photoshop’s greatest strength also happens to be its greatest weakness: an easy learning curve and interface designed around manual actions rather than automated solutions. Adobe also regularly releases updates which may cause performance hitches in Photoshop.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is an advanced vector-based editing program used for producing high-resolution graphics. Ideal for designing images intended to be printed in various sizes, vectors allow the vectors to be scaled without losing clarity or resolution when resized; also useful in creating logos, icons, and complex designs.

Since 1987, Adobe Freehand was first released and continuously improved and updated. Today it boasts features that rival those found in popular programs like CorelDRAW and Macromedia Freehand. Available to DU students, full-time faculty, and benefitted staff without cost; adjunct faculty or non-benefitted staff can request access via catalog request.

Illustrator objects consist of two main components: paths and strokes. Paths can take any shape imaginable and possess various attributes which can be edited.

Xara Designer Pro X

Xara Designer Pro X is an all-inclusive graphic design software suite for illustrations, photo editing, desktop publishing and web design. Featuring an intuitive single workspace for quick and easy use and vector-based drawing tools that let you easily create flexible lines, shapes and curves, this graphic design software supports CMYK color printing with high resolution for printing quality drawings without losing quality as you scale them up or down in size. Additionally it also supports high resolution printing.

Xara Designer Pro X also comes equipped with the ability to automatically match document colors for faster workflow, and you can add 3D objects into your designs. Created by Gaddesden Place-based company Xara Ltd.

Easy layout tools make this software ideal for quickly designing brochures, multipage booklets, community bulletins and PTA handouts. Plus it provides powerful text effects such as bullets and numbers – not forgetting powerful text effects with powerful text effects such as drop shadows.


GIMP is an open-source graphics software program for image manipulation and creation that’s free and available across a range of operating systems. Its feature set offers numerous tools for photo and image editing such as filters to adjust brightness/color as well as retouching/cleaning tools as well as features to add textures/lighting effects.

GIMP can be tailored to each user’s individual needs by hiding or calling up toolbars and other panels, resizing and positioning panels as desired, creating custom dashboards or dockable dialogs, as well as supporting many file formats, including PSD, PNG and JPEG files as well as Adobe PDF documents and the raw image format produced by many digital cameras (UFRaw or its community-supported fork nUFRAW). Furthermore, there are various selection tools such as rectangular/circular selections as well as free/fuzzy select and scissors select.


Canva is a design tool with seemingly simple functionality, yet powerful capabilities under its hood. This free design software features such as curved text, animation effects and free access to Adobe stock images (all for commercial use).

Design tools are easy to learn, enabling you to quickly produce various visuals for social media, presentations and banner ads. Templates also make the experience smooth.

Canva offers an impressive library of icons, shapes, graphics and videos, as well as an excellent mockup tool. With it’s ability to produce realistic mockup images of designs in their real-life context (ie book covers or smartphone screens), Canva can save both time and effort when creating designs for real world use.

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