Design Software for Mac: Top Choices for Apple Users in 2023

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f you're a Mac user like me, you know the struggle of finding design software that's compatible with your system. But don't worry, there are plenty of options out there that are tailored just for us Apple aficionados. Let's dive into some of the top design software choices for Mac users in 2023.

Table of Contents

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a household name in the design world, and for good reason. It offers a powerful toolkit for pros, excellent sky replacement tools, and a clean UI. It's the industry standard for raster and layer editing.


  • Powerful toolkit for professionals
  • Excellent sky replacement tool
  • Clean UI
  • Sets an industry standard


  • Requires a Creative Cloud subscription
  • May overwhelm design beginners

Pricing: Adobe Photoshop operates on a subscription model.

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a great alternative to Adobe products, offering a one-off price with no subscriptions. It's a vector-based graphic design software that's also compatible with Mac.


  • Multi-platform
  • One-off price, no subscriptions
  • Outstanding new tools
  • Easy to use


  • No auto-save on Mac
  • Not quite as many tools as Illustrator

Pricing: Affinity Designer operates on a perpetual license.


Canva is an online design tool that's incredibly fast and easy to use. It includes a logo maker, video maker, and PDF editor.


  • Free
  • Incredibly fast and easy to use
  • More powerful than you'd think


  • Premium assets locked behind subscription
  • Not a full graphic design suite

Pricing: Canva offers a free version and a Pro version with a subscription.

Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco is best for drawing and painting on the iPad but is also compatible with Mac. It offers lifelike brush, pen, and pencil physics.


  • Lifelike brush, pen, and pencil physics
  • Available for iPad, iPhone, and Windows tablets
  • Simple, effective animation


  • Can’t create new brushes or access Illustrator brushes
  • No Chrome OS version

Pricing: Adobe Fresco operates on a subscription model.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the premier vector editing and drawing application. It offers the best vector design tools on the market and excellent touch type features.


  • The best vector design tools on the market
  • Excellent touch type feature
  • Simplified free transform tool


  • No perpetual license option
  • No uniformity of key commands with Photoshop and InDesign

Pricing: Adobe Illustrator operates on a subscription model.

Quick Summary

Alright, here is a quick summary. We've explored some fantastic design software options for Mac users, each with its own set of pros and cons.

  • Adobe Photoshop is the go-to for professionals, especially those who need advanced raster and layer editing. However, it comes with a subscription model that might not be everyone's cup of tea.
  • Affinity Designer is a strong contender, offering a one-time payment option and a focus on vector-based design. It's a bit lighter on features compared to Photoshop but offers great value for the money.
  • Canva is the most user-friendly and offers a free version. It's not as feature-rich as the others, but it's perfect for quick and simple projects.
  • Adobe Fresco is your best bet if you're into digital painting and drawing, especially if you're also an iPad user. It's subscription-based but offers a unique set of tools for artistic endeavors.
  • Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for vector editing and illustration. It's packed with features but, like Photoshop, requires a subscription.

So, whether you're a seasoned pro or a budding designer, there's something here for you. Choose the one that fits your needs and budget, and you'll be well on your way to creating stunning designs on your Mac.

Tae is the founder of, a seasoned software engineer, and a military veteran, blending his experience in technology with a background in national defense. His passion resides at the nexus of creativity and cutting-edge software solutions. His goal is to provide readers with in-depth analysis, reviews, and informed perspectives on the dynamic world of software, always with an eye towards the future.

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