Adobe leads the industry when it comes to graphic design and Adobe Illustrator is easily the best graphic design software for Mac of 2024.
When it comes to working with vector graphics, Adobe Illustrator’s AI format is so widely used that it’s virtually essential when it comes to sharing and collaborating with other graphic design professionals.
When it comes to designing logos, icons, typography and other complex illustrations, Adobe Illustrator produces truly outstanding results.
There’s an unparalleled choice of brushes and filters and layers – far more than you’ll probably ever need in fact – but it’s an example of how powerful and complete Illustrator is. From enormous advertising hoardings to tiny logos, Adobe Illustrator has templates for everything.
Adobe Illustrator has also been updated to use the Adobe Firefly AI which is the best AI art and image generator to automatically generate images and content.
Pricing: $22.99/month or included in Creative Cloud subscriptions
We think Inkscape is easily the best free graphic design software for Mac on the market.
Inkscape can even import CorelDRAW files and there are very few free design applications that can do that.
Inkscape is a vector graphic design software based on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) – an open source XML based format that you can easily import and export into other graphic design programs.
Among Inkscape’s many features are object creation, object manipulation, fill and stroke, text support, rendering and more.
Inkscape is regularly maintained by the open source community and is compatible with the latest versions of macOS including macOS Sonoma.
On the downside, Inkscape is RGB only. You’ll also need to install XQuartz first in order to run Inkscape on Mac and then need to configure XQuartz correctly to ensure that Inkscape runs correctly on Mac.
Of course, Inkscape is nowhere near the same level as Adobe Illustrator but considering it’s completely free to use, it’s a very impressive graphic design tool.
You can download Inkscape for free to see for yourself. Note that there are two downloads – one for Intel Macs and one for Apple Silicon Macs.
CorelDRAW was only finally re-released on Mac in 2019 but no roundup of graphic design software would be complete without featuring Corel’s products.
CorelDRAW is both a vector drawing software and desktop publishing software combined and is aimed more at the Illustrator crowd than Photoshop users.
The Mac version isn’t quite the same as the Windows version although it still features most of the same precision tools for online graphics, vector effects and a huge choice of professional looking templates.
The responsiveness of the Intel Mac version seems a little laggy at times although CorelDRAW has been recently updated to work on M1 and M2 Macs with a faster more responsive interface.
There’s also no AI art generator in CorelDRAW for Mac yet.
In just a few years, Affinity Designer has rapidly become one of the best graphic design applications for Mac and won an Apple award for design.
It’s easy to see why too with Adobe quality features and interface touches but without the price tag or learning curve.
Affinity Designer claims to be the “fastest, smoothest, most precise vector graphic design software available” and although that may be pushing it, it’s certainly a powerful and impressive graphic design application.
Affinity Designer 2 is incredibly fast working at an impressive 60fps, well designed, relatively easy to use but packs a serious design punch even compared to Adobe Illustrator.
Some of the nice touches in Affinity Designer 2 include a 1,000,000 x zoom for precision drawing, support for Photoshop PSD import and export, customized tool palettes and layer support.
Affinity Designer 2 also runs on iPad so you can draw in it using the Apple iPad Pro which is one of the best drawing tablets for Mac.
For just $52.99, Affinity Designer 2 is an incredibly good value professional design software for Mac.
It’s not on the same level as Adobe Illustrator but it’s definitely suitable for those that are looking for a desktop app with Illustrator style features.
If you don’t need something complex and shiny on your Mac and just want a free drawing program on your Mac, then take a look at OpenOffice Draw.
Draw is part of the excellent Office for Mac alternative OpenOffice and is a surprisingly accomplished drawing tool that doesn’t cost a cent.
It doesn’t have the features or polish of most of the graphic design apps featured here but as a drawing tool, it’s very easy to use.
Especially if you just want to draw org charts on Mac or business processes, OpenOffice Draw is ideal although for more advanced design such as dealing with layers and different paint brushes, it’s not really suitable.
However, there are useful tools such as a 3D object manipulator, smart connectors to create professional flowcharts on Mac and you can import images from most major file formats (but not SVG or Photoshop).
For a basic free graphic designer, OpenOffice Draw is worth looking at.
EazyDraw has been around for many years on Mac – since OS X 10.2 Jaguar in fact – and there’s no denying it’s definitely a bit dated nowadays compared to recent competition such as Affinity Designer and Sketch.
EazyDraw is more of an all round drawing application that’s suitable for everything from technical drawing to 3D logo design and creating floor plans on Mac.
EazyDraw offers some unusual but interesting purchase options too.
You can try EazyDraw for free but its limited to 20 objects. However, a better option is to pay $20 for a trial license which allows you to use it with no limits for 9 months.
If you decide it’s the graphic design tool for Mac you’ve been looking for, you can deduct the $20 from the full purchase price of $95. Alternatively, you can even order USB Flash drive for $119.04 with EazyDraw installed that you can plug-in and run anywhere.