Adobe Alternatives: The Best Programs to Use for Graphic Design

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Written By Sam Davis Ph.D.

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When it comes to graphic design, Adobe is the king of the hill. However, there are many great alternatives to Adobe that can get the job done just as well. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best creative apps for graphic design and why you should consider using them instead of Adobe's apps. So if you're looking for an alternative to Adobe, read on!

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Replace Adobe Photoshop

What can Adobe Photoshop do?

Adobe Photoshop is probably among the most well known of all of the Adobe tools. It is a program used for graphic design, photography, and even web development. It has a wide variety of features and functions that allow users to create just about anything they can imagine. Adobe's apps have been built on the success of Photoshop.

However, Photoshop is not the only program out there that can do what it does. There are many great alternatives to Adobe Photoshop that can get the job done with an intuitive user interface and professional image editing capabilities. Some of these options even include a free version!

Free Adobe Alternatives

The best truly free Photoshop alternative is likely Photopea, which is a Photoshop clone. While it doesn't have all of the features of Adobe tools, Photopea tops the list of free Adobe alternatives. Before I forked over some cash for Affinity products, Photopea was in my go-to suite of free editing tools to avoid Adobe software.

GIMP is also free for Windows, Mac and Linux Operating Systems. GIMP is a fairly well known free alternative to Photoshop that does some pretty great things. While it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles as Adobe

Freemium Photoshop Alternative(s)

If you're looking for a freemium web app, Canva is probably a good place to go. Canva's editing tools are meant to be an all purpose graphic design suite. Although they can't replace Adobe Creative Cloud outright, Canva's bread and butter is in document and social media graphic design. Professional designers use Canva all the time for small jobs. Their advanced features are nothing to laugh at either.

If you're interested in premium access to Canva, you can get a free trial right here.

One time payment Photoshop Alternative

If you're looking for something a step up from free software alternatives, I recommend that you try Affinity Photo. The Affinity suite is a great line of one-time payment photo, vector, and document editing tools that serve as an alternative to Adobe. Affinity Photo is the Photoshop-like tool; they also have Affinity Designer and another tool for documents as well.

Subscription based best Adobe Photoshop Alternative

If you just want to ditch Adobe but you don't mind paying monthly, there are alternatives to a Creative Cloud membership. The best Adobe Photoshop alternative (paid) is probably Corel Draw or Corel's PaintShop Pro. You may recognize Corel from the olden days (WordPerfect ringing a bell?) – but they're a powerhouse for creative design tools.

Professional editing, ICC colour management, and other tools for digital content creation are easy to use with Corel products. You can get a free trial right here.

NOTE: Gravit Designer used to be a freemium option to replace Photoshop. However, Corel purchased Gravit and has turned it into Corel Vector. More on that below.

Adobe Illustrator Alternative

The Adobe creative suite doesn't only dominate in photo edition. For a long time, Adobe had a stranglehold on vector drawing tools. But there are some great alternatives to Adobe Illustrator out there, no matter your budget.

Adobe illustrator alternative: Inkscape! Free for Windows, Mac, and Linux Operating Systems

While the free version is rarely better, in this case – it's just as good. Inkscape tops most lists of alternatives to Adobe, especially for vector drawing tools, because it is a mature, open source software. With Inkscape, you can create illustrations, logos, diagrams, maps – you name it.

Freemium Adobe Illustrator Alternative

It's somewhat challenging to find a freemium alternative to Adobe Illustrator, because Gravit Designer was purchased by Corel. However, their program Corel Vector DOES have a free trial, so that's something at least. For something like Corel, I would really choose this if I liked the interface more. Image editing capabilities are going to be the most advanced in industry leaders like Adobe.

Get your free trial of Corel Vector here.

One time payment Adobe Illustrator Alternative

I love Affinity Designer so much that I don't even care that they don't have an affiliate or referral program. It's a one time payment, great program with a regular update schedule. You can do almost anything in Designer that you could do with Adobe Creative Cloud, and Affinity has a few companion apps, too. See our in depth Affinity Designer review here.

Get Designer Here

Adobe Creative Cloud Alternatives

If you need the whole package – don't worry. There are suites of software that offer alternates to needing to run Adobe software. Finding an alternative to Adobe, the company, can be challenging. But there are a few options out there! Here's our best list.

Best Adobe InDesign Alternative: Affinity Publisher

Affinity tops the list again. It's a one-time payment for this professional page layout program. I haven't played with it much, but I hear it's a great competitor to Adobe InDesign.

Best video editing software: StoryBlocks

Ok, this is an unusual choice, but hear me out. Most of the time, you don't need a professional video editing tool. You just need *any* video editing tool. So if you're getting into content creation, I recommend StoryBlocks because it has a TON of clips included in the membership.

You won't be churning out stuff in this Adobe Premiere Pro alternative, but you'll be able to edit your YouTube videos up quick in their browser editor. And then you can move on to what you really want to do!

If you really do need video editing software, Camtasia or Final Cut Pro are going to be your best shots. With the cost of video editing software never falling, you may as well consider purchasing a Mac to get access to their programs.

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