Sure, all the other designers you know are utilizing Illustrator, Photoshop, and Fireworks. However, these mainstream options aren’t suitable for everyone. We typically don’t like to steer a burgeoning graphic designer away from the mainstays of the industry, but in this case, we’ll be breaking down some of the more common alternatives to these popular suites. So whether you’re looking to save a buck, teach someone else the trade, or just a fringe member of the industry,know that there are top design software alternatives!

  1. Bring Out the GIMP: Yes, we’re going to have to talk about GIMP. It’s an open-source and Linux-heavy piece of design software that’s aimed at making your life a bit cheaper and easier. For the most part, you can get away with this software suite as a decent Photoshop or Illustrator replacement. It’s not nearly as intuitive or user-friendly, but if you must, it at least comes with much more documentation than most other open-source softwares of a similar nature. Do we necessarily recommend you design a full website or logo in GIMP? Hardly. Still, it’s large, reputable, and for the most part, comprehensive.
  2. Just Draw it in CorelDraw: This one is not open-source, but if you’re in need of a solid designing software, it will get the job done. It’s a raster-based Photoshop alternative put out by perhaps Adobe’s leading competitor, Corel. Unlike Corel Paint, though it’s much more focused on the design aspects, as well as tools. So in other words, if you’ve been trained on Photoshop, but want something a little less Adobe-based, then Corel Draw will serve as a convenient and intuitive in-between for your special needs.

All of this being said, we still do have to warn you away from using anything but Adobe products. Like Microsoft Office, they’re now the standard faire for the industry, and if you begin to use anything else, you may find your clients aren’t fans of the file formats you produce. It’s a risk you take, and when all other design softwares aim to mimic Photoshop or Illustrator, there’s really not much incentive to jump on a different bandwagon.