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Top 9 programs for professional designers

Designers need libraries with shapes, palettes, fonts, templates, and a space where they can combine all into one beautiful image. Let's look at the most popular software for designers in more detail.

Programs for graphic designers

Undoubtedly, one of the most popular and multifunctional programs for designers, these are programs from the Adobe Creative Cloud package. They are simple and intuitive. If you have ever used one of the programs from Adobe Systems, it will be very easy to understand the others.

 Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop can be called a professional designer program. Because everyone who feels creative potential and wants to realize it, creating graphic design, should be able to use it at a very high level.

We are sure that more than 90% of our users and readers have used this program for graphic designers at least once. If you want to master this program better, become a professional, there are many different video courses.

Everyone will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this program. Let's formulate the пeneral advantages of Adobe Photoshop:

  • intuitive interface, a lot of working tools, different shapes and outlines for drawing;
  • ability to work with 3D graphics;
  • if you know all the features and chips well, you can create unreal things;
  • many designers work with photoshop, so it will be easy to collaborate and share files with them;
  • perfect for retouching, photo processing not only at the amateur level, but also for high-quality images.

But even such a great program has its drawbacks. The main ones are: the premium version is quite expensive, you need to activate the license from time to time, and you need a fairly powerful computer.

Adobe Illustrator

One of the best programs for working with vector graphics. It is using for creation icons, illustrations, banners, flyers, logos, and, running a little ahead, website layouts. It has many features, such as Touch Type, Free Transform, and Puppet Warp.

The vector image can be greatly enlarged or reduced, and it remains clear. So in Adobe Illustrator, you can easily create the necessary pictogram or a whole collage of images, and then use them anywhere and in any size.

Among the disadvantages are differences in the commands from Photoshop and InDesign, a limited time license, and a small difficulty in learning.


Adobe InDesign

Do you need to make a poster, poster, brochure, leaflet, newspaper? Then you should master to work in the Adobe InDesign environment. If you are already familiar with other products from Adobe Systems, you can create good layouts after a week of studying this program.

A small drawback consists in highly specialized using of this product. It is used more often by those who work with printing. Despite this, Adobe InDesign is useful not only for designers who work in the publishing house of the print press. The program will be useful for designers (and maybe even journalists and bloggers) who layout web logs. Using InDesign you can create an excellent cover and interesting magazine pages.

If you want to work in printing industry, then in addition to Photoshop and Illustrator, you must know how to work in InDesign. Of course, the main graphics are developed in the first two programs, but the text markup in the last one.

Adobe After Effects

The fashion direction of design, although existing more than a century, is motion design. Did you hear that? This is about everything that moves in the picture: the animation of photos, letters, individual elements. Mostly this type of graphics is used to create movie screensavers, ads, or documentaries. It will be interesting and useful for every designer to get acquainted with Adobe After Effects, because animation is really in trend now.

Pros: an experienced designer who understands the tools of this program will be able to edit the video sequence, add special effects, animation, and create three-dimensional images. And he will never be out of work.

Cons: the price and the fact that you often need to install additional plugins.

Web design software

All of these applications belong to the programs that web designers use. But you can also add a few more.

Adobe XD

Adobe XD is the perfect program from the Adobe Creative Cloud package, created for a web designer. You can create layouts for a variety of sites, adaptive pages, and web applications. A selection of the main features:

  • you can create your own component presets if you need to use some elements frequently;
  • a convenient system for saving changes - something similar to the version history;
  • you can open everything you need in Photoshop;
  • working with vector graphics;
  • import projects from other web design programs;
  • animation, video, interactive and much more;
  • working on a single project as a team.

As for pricing policy, you can personally use it for free, and for companies there are several options for purchasing a license.


Online service for developers and designers. Creating a website is now easier, because the designer and programmer can edit the same project together and immediately take into account the made changes. Figma allows you to create interfaces in an online application.

Program features:

  • multi-user editing mode;
  • cloud storage service;
  • components (create your own blanks that you use frequently);
  • grids and other things;
  • free mode with a limited number of projects.


Another application for vector graphics. Overall, this is a good replacement for Adobe Photoshop, especially if you are working more with website development.

Sketch is mainly used for creating interfaces. It has everything you need for design: guides, grids, symbols, vector editing, libraries. But there is no Windows version, only Mac - this is the main drawback of the program. The disadvantages also include slow work with large files, no compatibility with Adobe products, only the paid version.

What's good about Sketch:

  • CSS logic is used;
  • convenient work with text;
  • symbols and dynamic buttons;


Macaw has a slogan: "Stop writing code, draw it!" The peculiarity of this program is that the designer first develops the layout of the web page, and at the output it receives not only a beautiful image, but also files *.html and *.css, which the developer can use.

Of course, for a good result, the designer must know the basics of layout. Knowing the basics, anyone can easily create a landing page, a stub page, or a prototype site. It is very simple, and most importantly - fast. The code is quite clean and clear. It is easy to fix if necessary. And it still takes less time than creating a layout from scratch.

This service also offers:

  • the use of the component;
  • remote preview (your computer works as a server);
  • adaptability;
  • positioning, interactive, etc.

Checkiant time tracker

Ideal for graphic designers, web designers, freelance designers, and those who work in a team. Tracking the time spent on completing a task is the key to a good income and open relationship with the customer or boss.

Checkiant's simple time tracker is perfect for tracking worked hours. And here are a few features of this app:

  • The interval system clearly shows how much time you spent on a particular task, client, or project.
  • Sorting checkins by date/client/project.
  • Create a variety of reports.
  • Flexible system of settings, hints for each section of the app.
  • The history of rates is saved.
  • The service have a video conference with the team.

A novice designer can choose any of the these applications and discover new talents. A designer with experience can experiment with programs that they haven't used before. Fortunately, there are enough programs for everyone now and everyone can find what they like. Just remember to keep track of time to know how many hours a day You spend on each project and how much time you spend on acquiring new skills. 




See also:

Top 12 programs for remote work

Deadline - friend or foe

An effective time management for developers