Adobe Photoshop is widely known as the standard for graphic design.  In fact, it has become part of pop culture and our daily vernacular.  How many times have you heard, “That was Photoshopped”?  It is really no coincidence.  Photoshop really is an incredible tool for creating and editing photos and graphics.

Other extremely popular graphic design programs include Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Paint Shop Pro, and of course, the timeless Microsoft Paint.

Those are the popular graphic design programmers, but there are also some lesser known gems.  We profile those below:


The open source revolution is upon us.  The GIMP is one of the leading graphic design alternatives for Adobe Photoshop, and it happens to be 100 percent free.  The program allows you to do many of the same things that were previously only completed on Photoshop such as creating PSD files, editing photos easily and creating quality-looking text.  Like Photoshop, there are also some nice mods for The GIMP that make it a more useful tool.  Of course, Photoshop does have far more overall capability, but The GIMP is a nice alternative if you don’t want to shell out the money for Photoshop.


From an interface standpoint, Paint.NET looks more like Microsoft Paint than it does Photoshop.  That layout means that it is very simple.  Like Photoshop and The GIMP, Paint.NET includes layers, neat graphic effects for photos and other graphic adjustment tools.  The interface does take some getting used to if you are more familiar with Photoshop, but some of the features are unique and very useful for editing photos.


Picasa, from Google, is more for editing and organizing photos than it is creating and editing graphics like the tools listed above.  Even so, Picasa is a wonderful tool for editing photos and, in fact, has some advantages for photo editing over those more advanced tools.  For one, the simplicity of Picasa allows someone of any technical skill level to quickly and easily adjust photos to their liking.

MS Paint

We save the best for last, of course.  Windows has changed throughout the years, but thank goodness Bill Gates and company have kept MS Paint the same – or similar, at the very least.  The uses of Paint compared to the programs listed above is limited.  However, everyone with Microsoft Windows has Paint, and everyone has probably used it at one time or another.  So even while the uses of the program are so limited, it gets my seal of approval.

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