Top 5 Design Software Options for Mac in 2024

In 2024 the latest generation of Apple Silicon Macs offer lightning quick processing power for creative design work. To further facilitate their work, graphic designers and other creative professionals need reliable, speedy, and effective design software. It must have an intuitive interface, offer the most value for money, and support different file formats.

1. Affinity Designer 2

Affinity Designer is design software with an intuitive interface. It has some of the quality features of Adobe but is less expensive and the learning curve isn’t as steep. It is a popular choice for designers who find it smooth, fast, and precise. Users can use various pen and tool shapes, edit images, and build artboards. The default toolbars and shortcuts will feel familiar to Adobe users. Users can switch between tools effortlessly and complete pixel and vector-based designs. A nice feature is the 1,000,000 x zoom for precision drawing. There are no monthly subscription plans. Affinity Designer 2 is available for purchase at a once-off cost of $69.99.

When using design software like Affinity Designer, large project files and temporary data can quickly eat up disk space. Clutter and lack of available memory can cause system functions and applications to slow down. It can be very frustrating for designers to use a sluggish Mac when they have deadlines to meet. Regularly cleaning up the Mac will help to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly. Using the best free tools for cleaning will help to get rid of temporary files, forgotten folders, cache, or system junk. This enables the Mac to perform optimally when doing creative projects.

2. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is widely regarded as the best design software option for graphic designers and artists using Macs. The wide range of tools helps users to create websites, brand logos, complex illustrations, video games, and much more. Design templates are easy to access and integration with Adobe Creative Cloud makes sharing of projects easy.

In addition to the use of built-in templates, users also have access to a vast library of images, videos, and graphics. Designers can use a wide array of filters, brushes, and layers to create vector graphics. They can now also use Adobe Firefly AI to automatically generate images. An Adobe Illustrator subscription starts from $31.49 per month.

3. Inkscape

Inkscape is free design software. It obviously doesn’t deliver what Adobe Illustrator can but for free software it’s impressive. An open-source community maintains Inkscape and it is compatible with the latest MacOS versions. The software is based on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a format that’s easy to import from and export into other design programs. Many useful tools are available to edit nodes, and manipulate aspects like shapes and paths. Users can fill shapes with gradients and add filters. The software supports a wide variety of file formats, including:

  • SVG
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • GIF
  • BMP
  • EPS

One of the disadvantages of using Inkscape is that it only supports RGB. Another con is the need to install XQuartz for it to function correctly on a Mac.

4. CorelDraw

CorelDRAW is part of a popular graphics design suite. In 2019 a Mac version of the suite became available for the first time since 2001. The Mac version is similar to the Windows version and features most of the same tools and many professional-looking templates. Corel worked closely with Apple on the project and users stay inside the familiar Mac environment while using the software.

A useful feature is that users can trace bitmaps and turn them into usable objects. A sketching tool called Live Sketch is supported by AI and allows users to turn freehand strokes into editable curves. Users can create, access, and store designs in the cloud via a web app. A free 15-day trial version is available and you can choose between a monthly subscription for $49.99 or an annual subscription.


GIMP is free design software that many designers from freelancers to small businesses and nonprofits use. This open-source image manipulation software enables professional editing of photos, creation of free-hand artworks, and conversion of files into various formats.

Users can select widget themes, sizes of icons and toolsets. GIMP supports plugins, some of which are pre-installed, and offers many customization options. Plugins allow photographers to add image filters and file formats. Illustrators have access to many painting tools such as brush, pencil, blend, clone, and airbrush. It provides top-notch color management features.

Advanced users can benefit from:

  • Bezier curves
  • Filters
  • Layer masks
  • Animation packages


The best design software for Mac is reliable, intuitive to use, and has many useful tools. Mac users can’t go wrong by using one of the above five options. Some of them are free to use, and users have to pay for others that offer an impressive array of advanced features. The selection of a free or paid tool depends entirely on your work type and the features it needs.