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The Best 5 Graphic Design Software Choices for Beginners

Posted by The Boingo Graphics Team on Aug 27, 2019 11:45:00 AM

Creating eye-catching visuals for your brand can move leads through your sales funnel. Intriguing, high-quality graphics hook potential customers and keep them interested. The tool you use to design marketing material graphics affects the quality of your end products. Using the right tool depends on what you will be designing: logos, illustrations, brochures, or mailers. The best choice will also vary, based on your marketing budget. Ask the right questions and review the top five choices before selecting the best graphic design software for beginners.



It’s easy to bring your vision to life – even as a beginner – with the collection of tools available on Adobe Photoshop. As Adobe puts it: “The creative world runs on Photoshop.” This is true; millions of people around the world rely on Photoshop for creative expression, and have for over a decade. Photoshop is a reliable and trusted resource that can handle anything from subtle changes to total transformations.

Photoshop contains all the basic software you need as a graphic designer. You can easily edit and combine images, auto-fix imagery, and edit videos. You can also do much more as your skill level grows. Photoshop has been a major contender in the graphic design field for years, but it is far from stagnant – it’s always getting better. Adobe introduces new features into its Adobe Creative Suite regularly. You can become a Creative Cloud member and instantly receive these updates as they roll out. 


  • Plenty of tools, both beginner-level and advanced, are available on one platform.
  • Video and image editing are smooth and simple, with unparalleled editing features.
  • It is easy to design and create graphics for a variety of print or web marketing materials.
  • All-purpose software allows designers to create virtually anything. 


  • The interface can be a lot to absorb in the beginning, with so many tools and features.
  • The price is higher than other options, although there is a 30-day free trial.
  • It can be difficult to adapt to updates and new tools once you’re used to the old ones.
  • Updates are not made annually but at more frequent intervals. This can lead to bugs.



GIMP, short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a cross-platform open source image editor. It is available on multiple operating systems, all for free. GIMP provides sophisticated graphic design and image editing tools to get many different jobs done. It has an advanced image editing suite that is highly flexible, with a fully customizable interface and handy full-screen mode. Many people refer to GIMP as a free Photoshop alternative. GIMP has a strong community that can help support you while you learn the tool. 


  • It’s very easy to use (many say easier than Photoshop) – perfect for beginners.
  • It supports all popular file formats and even a few uncommon ones.
  • It’s free to use thanks to the open source platform.


  • It doesn’t come with as many features as Adobe Photoshop.
  • Newer versions may have bugs.
  • Slower feature development because it is community-developed.



Another best graphic design software for beginners exists within the Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator takes artwork a step further than Photoshop, and is ideal for designers who want to craft their own logos, icons, graphics, and illustrations, rather than use photo-editing tools. With Illustrator, you can use vector art to create any type of illustration you want – quickly and easily using the advanced tools.


  • It has helpful features such as transparent export, large file compression, and art board dimension customization.
  • The simple-to-use pen tool lets you create and manipulate vector images.
  • The comprehensive tool integrates with other applications seamlessly.


  • It’s expensive. The price is $20.99 per month as part of the Creative Cloud.
  • It’s too comprehensive. Some users have complained you need a powerful computer to successfully run Illustrator.


Inkscape is an open source software that allows users to create scalable vector graphics. It is the free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It is mainly an illustration tool, but you can use it for many different graphic creations. Both beginners and advanced users can easily create quality logos, web graphics, and print marketing materials. It enables a variety of tasks, ideal for graphic designers with many types of projects.


  • It’s a free and powerful design tool.
  • It makes it very easy to sketch, color, and create illustrations.
  • Potential for creating images and designs is unlimited.


  • It can be really slow, making it difficult to use.
  • It is not possible to reconfigure or customize the tools palette.


Adobe InDesign

Another Adobe product on the list is Adobe InDesign. It is a leader in designing clean layouts for marketing materials such as online magazines, printed brochures, and more. InDesign is a highly flexible tool that makes it easy to create across isolated layers. It is part of the Creative Cloud, meaning users have access to a desktop app. It might be the best choice if you need to design a lot of marketing materials and could benefit from easy layouts.


  • It has everything most users need to design high-quality marketing materials.
  • It is a reliable tool with no major glitches reported.
  • It is easy to use, especially if you are familiar with other Adobe products. 


  • The graphics tools are not as powerful as some other platforms.
  • It is not ideal for editing photos, as that is not its primary task.
  • There is a learning curve, especially if you don’t use other Adobe tools.


The Conclusion

Which choice is the best graphic design software for you? The answer depends on your goals, budget, expertise, and experience using software programs. First, consider your goals for the software investment. What marketing materials are you most interested in creating? Then, plan your budget. 

Your monthly budget for your program is the deciding factor on whether you need an open source solution. Read software reviews and consider the pros and cons of each top choice. Then, sign up for a free trial and find out for yourself which platform you prefer to use. Boingo Graphics offers professional, agency-level graphic design services to make your marketing easier. direct mail graphic design is easy with Boingo Graphics.

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