18th October 2023

What software do graphic designers use?

Graphic designers are responsible for creating visual content that mediates a message or idea.

They are incredibly important and useful in many industries, including advertising, government agencies and manufacturing.

Given graphic designers rely on software to deliver optimum results, it’s worth asking the question: ‘What software do graphic designers use?’

What are the typical technology demands of graphic designers?

Graphic design is inexorably intertwined with technology because it is a career that combines art and tech to produce logos, brochures, websites and other types of visual content.

As their role is technical, graphic designers need to have an acute understanding of recent design trends and software that can assist with their work.

They will also rely on colour theory, layout design, and typography to help them achieve a final design.

Under the umbrella term ‘graphic designers’, there are many different varieties. With that in mind, the technology demands of each individual graphic designer can fluctuate.

User experience graphic designers are individuals who work on designing the user experience of digital products like websites and mobile apps. Their role requires them to produce appealing interfaces that create a seamless user experience. They will also be required to stay up to date with recent technological advancements, trends and software to guarantee their designs are innovative and stand out.

Web design is another role within the field of graphic design. This entails the construction of the design elements of a website for practical and aesthetic purposes. In this role, designers use technology to help them create visually appealing and functional websites, whether that is through layout or typography.

Another element of graphic design is illustration, where visual designs are created for books, magazines or advertising campaigns – to identify just a few examples. Although initial sketches can be drawn by hand, illustrators will typically rely on computer software to create and edit images for the final product. This is why having computer sketching capabilities is incredibly important for this type of role.

Of course, graphic design is not just limited to print. Motion graphic designers create animations, videos and moving graphics. This can include animations for advertisements, ‘How to…’ videos, and title sequences for movies or television shows.

What are popular software (or apps) that graphic designers use?

It is equally as important to know what apps to use for graphic design as it is to know how to become a graphic designer.

In fact, the importance of graphic design software cannot be underestimated, as software and tools play a huge role in creating visual designs.

In graphic design, software can help to create, edit and manage 2D images, digital images, clip art, web graphics, logos, headings, backgrounds and digital photos. This type of software is also usually multifunctional, allowing users to use their own designs to make templates and customise them. Graphic design software caters to designers all over the world to speed up the process of creating everything, thus making individuals more productive.

Experienced digital artists and graphic designers who are already talented in this field can use this software to enhance their potential. However, for those just starting out in the world of graphic design, it can be difficult to get an answer to the question ‘what are the best graphic design programs?’

High-quality graphic design software will have enhanced functionality and controls that will be easily understood by a beginner, but also has advanced tools for experienced users.

First, graphic designers need to be proficient in computer-aided design software. Computer-aided design, which is also referred to as CAD, is the use of computers to help in the creation, editing, analysis or optimisation of a design. Not only does CAD software equip graphic designers with the correct tools, but it also helps to enhance productivity levels as well as ensuring the design has better quality.

This valuable tool also permits graphic designers to transform their designs by allowing them to create complex two and three-dimensional designs. By allowing users to create a database, graphic designers are able to elevate their designs beyond what traditional software tools will allow them to. Some examples of CAD software used in graphic design are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Paintshop Pro and Corel Graphics Suite.

Illustrators also rely on computerised sketching apps. Some examples of popular computerised sketching apps are Adobe Illustrator Draw, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Colorcinch, PaperColor and ProCreate Pocket. These types of apps give graphic designers the freedom to move beyond the limitations of sketching and colouring by hand, endowing them with the creativity and flexibility to make changes quickly to a design.

As mentioned above, web development is a key part of graphic design and there are popular apps in this field. Website development software permits graphic designers to create designs on an array of content management platforms. Some of the most common website development software programs are WordPress, Bootstrap and Dreamweaver. Designers can use these tools to assist them in creating illustrations, designing logos, arranging images and producing icons. When using these types of apps, it is also beneficial for graphic designers to possess a basic understanding of programming languages like HTML and CSS.

What are they used for?

When listing what apps are used for graphic design, it is crucial to mention the specific uses of each type of app. Although these apps share many of the same features, they are all unique in their own way and can help graphic designers in different capacities.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is among the most commonly used software by graphic designers all over the world. With a whole host of advanced tools, Photoshop can create banners, posters, websites or logos. Photoshop also caters for graphic designers with varying levels of expertise, allowing them to create small and detailed designs. Those graphic designers who specialise in illustration can also use it. The capabilities of Photoshop extend beyond just creating designs because it also permits image editing, resizing of canvases, the isolation of elements from backgrounds, the application of effect, the editing of animation and video layers, the creation of custom brushes, the adding of text, and the ability to create 3D stunning visuals. For those who are wanting to use Photoshop to help their graphic designing career, it is advised to choose Photoshop CC as opposed to other versions as it offers the most features and updates.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is another impressive graphic design app related to vector design. It facilitates the creation of artwork, icons and posters, which is perfect for graphic designers employed by commercial businesses. Available on Windows, MacOS and Android devices, this app can also be accessed on a mobile version too, making it even easier to work on the go. Moreover, fonts can also be skewed as the software permits their weight, slant or width to be adjusted. While templates are available for experienced graphic illustrators to use, there are also pre-made professionally designed templates present for those who do not want to start from scratch.


Canva is another great graphic design program that allows designers to use images, fonts, shapes and elements to create designs. It has pre-made templates, which can be used to create professional designs. There are also elements present that can be added to your creation like hand or digitally-drawn illustrations, frames and borders. A whole range of things can be turned into designs including printables, infographics and websites for business owners, online entrepreneurs and marketers.


Lunacy is gaining more attention among graphic designers who specialise in UI, UX and web design. With the basic features that other graphic design apps have, as well as advanced tools geared towards helping graphic designers save time, this app is highly rated. Not only is it free, but it also has a library of thousands of icons, illustrations and pictures that are ready to be used. This app also integrated modern AI technology which makes tasks like removing the background, upscaling images, and generating text, even easier. The platform is optimised to work offline, which is perfect for those graphic designers who want to operate from remote areas where there is little connectivity. Furthermore, its advanced features allow for collaboration with other designers, which can speed up the design process overall.

Adobe InDesign

With Adobe apps dominating the field of graphic design, it is also worth mentioning the popularity of Adobe InDesign. This publishing software is targeted towards those professional graphic designers who are involved in the print and digital media sector. The handy tools and features on this app allow users to create professional graphic designs such as magazines, info sheets, books and posters with typography as well as choose from an impressive image library. The great thing about this app is that it permits users to seamlessly share their designs in a PDF format as well as manage productions with Adobe Experience Manager. These PDFs also have the capabilities of being interactive, including authorising collaboration with others.

Keen to find out more?

There is an abundance of graphic design software systems that aid graphic designers to create and edit digital images, illustrations and logos. Whether it is raster graphics software that is geared towards those creating pixel-based images, or photo editing software tools for those wanting to edit and alter their designs, there are endless options when it comes to finding ways to make the graphic design process easier.

Whatever graphic design software you choose, it goes without saying it cannot be used without a high-quality device. Performance is essential for graphic designers who want their software to run smoothly and to ensure they are they are producing their best work. With many graphic designers requiring multiple software applications, it is critical you have hardware that can handle it.

A laptop or computer is required for graphic designers as they allow them to work independently or as part of a team through virtual collaboration. They also facilitate multiple projects to be worked on at the same time, which can skyrocket a graphic designer’s productivity. Above all, these devices are needed to store software programs that assist in the production of digital ideas such as photo rendering and editing.

At Lease Loop, we understand the importance of brilliant performance when creating visual concepts that motivate, inform and grab the attention of consumers.

Given a Mac is globally recognised as the industry standard in terms of computers and laptops, we tailor our Apple Mac leasing for business solutions accordingly. By working with us, Mac leasing becomes a flexible agreement during which we support you throughout.

Whether you are just starting in the realm of graphic design or have been in the field for a while, Lease Loop can help because we stock1 16″ MacBook Pro’s and  other Apple releases.

By offering affordable access to cutting-edge tech, we are dedicated to helping potential graphic designers stand out.

With this in mind, why not reach out today for more information about leasing a MacBook Pro.

Get in touch by dialling 01952 876928 or fill out our online contact form to find out more about prices, products, and services.