Best Design Software 2021

Design software is built to help various types of businesses create graphics and content. These can include presentations, social media posts, posters, and infographics. There are design systems that focus primarily on ready-made and highly shareable content for marketing purposes, as well as more targeted solutions dedicated to prototyping or photo editing.

These solutions typically offer features like design templates, photo editing, collaboration, and cloud storage. Design software provides value for a wide range of user types. Generally, small businesses with simple graphic design and marketing needs will find entry-level solutions like Canva and Visme helpful.

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Highest Rated Design Software

Design software is used by all types of businesses for their content creation and graphic design needs.

Design Software Prices

Design software prices range from $0 to $50 per user per month. Most small businesses will pay around $10 to $15 dollars per user per month for design software. Here are details that will help you compare prices for the most popular design software platforms.

Software VendorStarting Monthly Price per UserFree Trial
Adobe Illustrator$20.99Yes
Adobe Photoshop$20.99Yes
Adobe XD$9.99Yes
Adobe Spark$9.99Yes

Design Software FAQs

Design software allows small and medium sized businesses to create content, facilitate team collaboration, and edit their photos.

There are numerous benefits that design software offers. This includes:

  • Creating and storing presentations, graphic designs, and social media posts
  • Editing photos and graphics
  • Creating interactive prototypes
  • Automating social media posts with a content planner

The cost of design software depends on how many team members you have. You can expect to spend about $0 to $15 per month per user depending on which software and plan you're purchasing.

The best design software for you depends on what your business needs. The best software for small businesses with simple graphic design needs is Canva. Companies in need of the most advanced solutions for either photo editing or prototyping will find Adobe Photoshop or Figma ideal.

Canva is one of the most popular design tools in the market today. It has served over 30 million users.

The most common design software features are:

  • Design template creation
  • Content creation
  • Photo editing
  • Prototyping
  • Cloud storage
  • Collaboration

Design Software Research & Advice

Design Software Comparison

By Yousef Fatehpour |

With several high-quality options to choose from, it can be hard to find the best design software for you. We've spent over 100 hours...Read More >

Figma Competitors & Alternatives

By Yousef Fatehpour |

Are you considering purchasing Figma to manage your design needs? Before making the purchase, it’s best to learn about Figma’s top...Read More >

Visme Competitors & Alternatives

By Yousef Fatehpour |

Are you considering purchasing Visme to manage your design needs? Before making the purchase, it’s best to learn about Visme’s top...Read More >

Canva Competitors & Alternatives

By Yousef Fatehpour |

Are you considering purchasing Canva to manage your design needs? Before making the purchase, it’s best to learn about Canva’s top...Read More >

Canva vs. Visme

By Yousef Fatehpour |

Is Canva or Visme the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you decide which design tool is the...Read More >

Figma vs. Sketch

By Yousef Fatehpour |

Is Figma or Sketch the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you decide which design tool is the...Read More >

Why You Should Trust Our Recommendations

The team at SoftwarePundit has been testing software since 2017. We’ve hand-tested over 250 software products in that time, including four in the design category. We applied the same rigorous process to each piece of design software that we analyzed. The specifics of our design category research process are outlined below.

Yousef led our analysis of design software. He has spent more than 250 hours evaluating leading design software solutions.

In addition, all research and content was overseen by Bruce Hogan, SoftwarePundit’s Co-founder & CEO. Bruce has more than a decade of experience researching, building, and reviewing the world’s best software products. His technology advice has been featured on a wide range of media sites such as AngelList, CMSWire, Dental Economics, iPhone Life, Reader’s Digest, Thrive Global, U.S. News, and the Zapier Blog.

How We Selected the Best Design Software

We selected the best design software based upon a number of criteria. The most important criteria were each software tool’s features, usability, price, and customer support. The details of our analyses are captured in the in-depth reviews we publish about each software tool.

There are a handful of critical features that you should look for in design software. We prioritized the following features in our analysis:

  • Designs: Different design software systems offer different design types. For example, prototyping software may be limited to wireframes. Solutions geared towards small businesses with minimal design experience usually offer an array of design types, including presentations, videos, social media posts, and infographics.
  • Tool Kit: The breadth of tools a design software offers in its tool kit is critical for both new and experienced designers. A robust tool kit gives users more flexibility in what they can and cannot create in any given design software.
  • Collaboration: Many design tools offer a multitude of ways to communicate and collaborate with your company team members. The best solutions offer user-friendly, real time collaboration with detailed commenting features.
  • Exporting & Sharing: Flexible exporting and sharing options are important for designers. This is especially true for users looking for print-friendly PDFs or marketers interested in uploading their designs directly to social media.

How We Evaluated Design Software

We used the same rigorous process to evaluate design software as all other software categories. For the design category, Yousef invested several weeks researching the market, testing out key design features, and publishing his insights about the tools.

Yousef signed up for free trials of each solution listed above to gain a deeper understanding of each design tool. This allowed him to authenticate the features offered by each solution. He spent hours testing each tools’ user interface, design types, tool kit, and exporting options. He also downloaded the mobile app version of design solutions to understand the mobile experience for small businesses.

In addition to conducting conversations with the software companies and hand-testing every piece of software, Yousef also spent dozens of hours interviewing real customers of the software tools listed above. Design software customers that provided insights that were included in our analysis and reviews were:

  • Christian Ungureanu: Christian Ungureanu is a senior digital marketer of QuickMail. He currently uses Figma.
  • Huy Doan: Huy Doan is a digital marketer at Collato. His company currently uses Canva.
  • Chukwuemeka Chukwudi: Chukwuemeka Chukwudi is a blogger at DepreneurDigest. His company currently uses Canva.
  • Patty Malowney: Patty Malowney is the creator of Badass Web Goddess. She currently uses Canva.
  • Aaron Thomas: Aaron Thomas is a managing director at Hive19. His company currently uses Adobe Photoshop.
  • Denis Jastrzebski: Denis Jastrzebski is the owner of Hawking Design. His company currently uses Figma.
  • Oliver Feakins: Oliver Feakins is the CEO of Trusted Search Marketing. His company currently uses Canva, Sketch, and Figma.