Which graphic design programs should be used

Most people when they hear words like “computer graphics“or”graphic design“, immediately thinks of a very famous application: Adobe Photoshop. Those who rely on 3D animated movies probably think of Autodesk 3ds Max or Maya. An architect finally immediately thinks of Autodesk AutoCAD. But in reality, most of the work of a modern graphic designer it is not performed with these applications but with others. That is, with programs to create two-dimensional graphics intended for print or the web.

For example, the now infamous logo that any company first asks of a graphic designer is not designed with any of these programs. The layout of a magazine, brochure or graphic for a website is not designed with these programs. So what programs do you need to do all this? Simple: gods Vector graphics programswhich can work in RGB and CMYK color spaces and which can communicate with other desktop publishing applications.

Graphic design: trading conditions

Synthesis to the maximum is necessary learn the meaning of these “technical” terms to understand the difference between an Adobe Illustrator and an Adobe Photoshop (the first is just one of the software we mentioned earlier). Here is a very short glossary.


  • Pictures vector. The vector images are not composed like the bitmap images (processed by Photoshop, for example) of a map with pixels in different colors. They are formed by lines and corners that can be moved, rotated, resized as desired, while retaining their properties and overall image quality intact.
  • Desktop publishing. By these words we mean the activity of drawing and organizing graphic and textual elements on a page, which will then be printed or published on the web. Also in this case, it is not a bitmap, but text blocks and vector images that can be moved, shrunk, rotated and changed at will to compose the page.
  • Drawing board. In a graphic design program, this term means the workspace, the white sheet, where you can draw and modify the above elements.
  • RGB and CMYK. These are the two main color models used in the world of graphic design. RGB stands for red, green and blue and is the best color space for graphics intended for online publishing, while CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black is the standard used for paper printing.

Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign

Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign are in two de facto standards for the global graphic design and desktop publishing industry. The first program is for creating and editing vector images and is perhaps the most comprehensive software in the industry. It’s perfectly integrated with other Adobe applications, so if there’s also a bitmap image in the sheet as well as vector elements, you can modify it through Photoshop without leaving Illustrator, if necessary.

Today, a graphic designer can hardly find a job if he does not know it very well all the features of Adobe Illustrator and if your job also includes layout of magazines, books, and other printed material, you also need to know how to make InDesign work. Which in turn is the desktop publishing standard for the completeness of the tools offered.

Both software dedicated to professionals and the result of decades of development (Illustrator was born in 1987, InDesign in 1999) they are not at all easy to use and require a lot of study and work. But once mastered, they allow us to create state-of-the-art digital publishing work.

Serif Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher

Serifs Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher offer aban alternative to the two giants of Adobeat an extremely advantageous price and with a much more accessible learning curve. Affinity Designer is an amazing one Vector graphics editor can be compared today to Illustrator in terms of functionality, but has a more modern design that flows silky smooth.

It can handle both vector and bitmap elements, allows you to create unlimited drawing boards, uses very precise positioning grids to easily center and adjust, and can see a live preview of what your work will look like after export. Designer can be used with Affinity Photo (ie the Serif alternative to Adobe Photoshop) and Affinity Publisher, ie Serif’s solution for desktop publishing.

Publisher then beats it with Adobe InDesign, thanks to a similar set of tools in completeness and power. However, even in this case, the interface is more modern and fluid. The publisher also offers “Preliminary verification in real time“, which scans layouts for any errors that are difficult to notice to the naked eye (such as overlapping images) but that would appear during printing. Like Designer, Publisher works with Affinity Photo.

123RF Vectr

Developed by 123RF, a company that offers graphic designers a huge archive of images for use in their publications, Vectr is a fully online graphic design tool. And that makes it very suitable for those who do not have a particularly powerful computer to operate. But working online does not mean that you can not leave a job open to complete it later: each project we work on has a unique URL that everyone can access to make changes.

This makes Vectr a great opportunity for collaboration for designers working together or just to show your work in real time to a client and receive their feedback. However, Vectr is a simpler vector graphics editor than the previous ones, but powerful enough to perform professional work. It’s free too, but it shows ads on the side of the screen. However, there will be a paid pro membership in the future to work without seeing ads.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite

CorelDraw is another historic name in computer graphics: its first version dates back to 1989. Over the years, Canadian Corel has developed a full suite of seven applications for vector graphics, bitmaps and desktop publishing, which are sold together. But still today, the heart of the suite is Corel Draw which has long been the program to beat when it comes to vector graphics (in the 90s graphics were divided into “CorelDraw School“and in”Illustrator school“).

Now this software is an “all in one” app: an advanced vector editor that you can use for both graphics and desktop publishing via a customizable user interface. The suite also features Corel Photo-Paint, a competitor to Adobe Photoshop (with the same note “Photo-painting school“), Corel Font Manager, to manage downloaded fonts, Corel Capture, which is a basic screenshot program, and Corel Aftershot 3, which is an HDR and RAW bitmap image editor.

Curated by Cultur-e

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