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Top Graphic Design software in 2020

Top Graphic Design software in 2020

Graphic designers everywhere will ask the  question:

What is the best graphic design software this year?

I have compiled the most complete graphic design software list in 2020 just for you. Below you will find the:

  • The best raster and vector graphics editors
  • Free online graphic design software and paid
  • Their top features
  • Pricing plans
  • PROs and CONs


Related articles:


Without further ado, here are the best graphic design tools in 2020:

1. Adobe Photoshop

Graphic Design

Platform: Desktop & iPad

Pricing Plan: starting at $20.99/mo


Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular and used graphics editing software. It was developed and published by Adobe Incorporation. Its uses are not only limited to graphics editing alone, but digital art as a whole.


  • Very widely used. This means that there are a lot of learning resources. Best resources for learning Photoshop can be found at the Adobe Website, PSDDude Photoshop Tutorials and Tuts+.
  • It has probably the most advanced engine for photo editing. In recent years Adobe perfected its machine learning & AI assist (Adobe Sensei Engine) that can do automated photo editing (content aware fill, content aware scale, etc)
  • Batch processing with Photoshop actions
  • Supports masks, alpha compositing and several tools


  • Quite costly and you need a powerful computer.
  • Updates are mandatory which means that in theory you are not allowed to use versions older than the latest. This creates some nasty problems with incompatible features (eg. old actions might not work anymore)
  • Has limited and selected features for iPad users
  • Limited support for raster and vector images like SVG files.
  • Can be very intimidating for a beginner graphic designer

2. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

GNU Image Manipulation Program

Platform: Desktop/Tablet

Pricing Plan: FREE


GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a graphic designing and editing software used for image editing and retouching. It can also be used to perform specialized editing and digital art designs.


  • It’s free and easy enough to use
  • Opens almost all file formats
  • Wide range of tools and features
  • Easily expandable and supports command line batch mode


  • May not have all features and user tools user needs to complete a task
  • Interface is cluttered and almost jam packed
  • Difficult to work with text
  • Unstable and prone to crashing in some installations

3. Corel Draw

Corel Draw

Platform: Desktop/iPad

Pricing Plan: $198/yr


CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor used to create logos, flexes, invitation cards and any kind of vector designing based on the lining. It has a wide range of existing images and logos that can be customized.


  • Very effective tool to design two dimensional images such as posters and logos
  • Allows user to create customized logos and posters
  • Allows users to import/export images
  • User friendly interface
  • Good for beginners and easy to use.


  • Has many features that might take a long time to learn.
  • Errors on drawings can be easily spotted, especially when images are enlarged
  • Performance issues and instability when working with large or complex documents
  • Lack of smart guides
  • Quite expensive

4. Xara Designer PRO X

Xara Designer PRO X

Platform: Desktop

Pricing Plan: $299/yr


Xara Designer PRO X or Xara for short is an advanced but easy to use graphic design tool available on Windows. It allows its users to create, edit, and design media such as web pages, photos, and other illustrations easily. It has tons of features that make it an amazing graphic design tool and it is available at affordable prices of about $299 per year.


  • Easy to use
  • Drag and drop features
  • Anti-aliasing features that speed up the editing process
  • Can zoom up to 25,000% and more
  • Capable of syncing files with Dropbox and Google Drive
  • Supports importing and exporting Adobe PSD files, including layer support, alpha channel, and 16-bit color and CMYK layer conversion
  • Array of tools for drawing, 3D extrude, text handling, blends, page layout, live effects, transparency and feathering, and shadows and contours


  • Only available for Windows
  • Its advanced features are sometimes hard to use
  • The masking feature is cumbersome and difficult to understand

5. MockoFun


Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: FREE (option for Premium User starting at $4.99/mo)


MockoFun is one of the coolest online graphic designing, photo editing and text editing tool. You can use it to get basic graphics editing done.


  • It’s FREE and easy to use
  • Can be used by both non-graphic designers and advanced designers
  • Advanced photo editor with stunning filters like: Oil Paint, Anaglyph, Kaleidoscope, Polar Coordinates, Dithering, etc.
  • Pre-made design templates editable online
  • Text editor offers typography features including 800 fonts, text styles and creative text lettering. Also includes a cool curved text tool
  • Access to over 250,000 stock images, vector shapes and illustrations
  • Access to overlays and special effects
  • Can be used successfully as an online logo maker too
  • Exports JPG, PNG with transparent background and print ready 300dpi PDF


  • No free-hand drawing yet
  • You can only save up to 10 designs in the free version

6. Procreate

What Graphic Design Software Should I Use In 2020

Platform: iPad

Pricing Plan: $9.99


Procreate is a raster editor software for graphic design and digital painting. It is designed for iPad users to explore their artistic possibilities. It comes with many classic and digital art tools


  • It gives the natural feel of physical drawing.
  • Supports import/export to Adobe Photoshop
  • Can be used by beginners and professionals alike.


  • It was designed specifically for iOS and iPad users
  • Has limited abilities and features, edit and render texts and vector graphics.

7. Canva

Graphic Design Software Should I Use In 2020

Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: FREE (option for Pro subscription from $9.99/mo – $30/mo)


Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users create images, fonts and illustrations tool. It is very popular graphic design tool that allows social media users to create posters, graphics and presentations.


  • Offers a wide range of easy-to-use designed templates
  • Allows for the import of customized photos and images
  • A huge library of templates and designs that can be used to make simple designs


  • Maximum functions are only available to Canva Pro users-subscribed users
  • Limited free icons, illustrations and graphic elements

8. PicMonkey

Pic Monkey

Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: $7.99/mo – $33.99/mo


PicMonkey is an online photo editing and graphic design service. It transcends the regular photo editing tool. It also comes with a wide selection of graphic elements such as: greeting cards, wedding invitation cards, announcements cards, business cards etc


  • Has an integrated cloud storage options where users can save pictures
  • Saved pictures are re-editable
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Easy clicks and instant navigation of tools to edit image


  • May be slow to load on browser
  • Only premium users have access to full package and full design templates

9. PixTeller

 Pix Teller ,Graphic Design

Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: $7/mo – $12/mo


Pixteller is particularly remarkable for its simplicity and easy navigation. Its Easy-to-Use Design & Animation tools can be used by anyone to create Images, GIFs & Videos for personal or business use, with no special know-how.


  • Great for personal or business use.
  • Can be used by everyone and anyone.
  • Doesn’t need special editing or digital skills to navigate
  • Can be used to create theme-based images


  • Only has limited features and tools.
  • Lacks in tutorials for how to use the tool
  • Doesn’t have to many pre-made templates

10. BeFunky

Be Funky

Platform: Mobile/Online

Pricing Plan: $4.99/mo — $6.99/mo


BeFunky is an excellent photo editing application with a wide range of picture editing tools. You can do a whole lot of activities like resizing, cropping and filtering options. With its 30+ tools, there’s a whole lot of effects you can bring to images.


  • Well-designed and functional interface
  • User friendly and easy to manipulate
  • Has an undo button to change a previous photo effect


  • It’s best for Android phones and users.
  • Plus account where users get to enjoy optimal use of the app isn’t free

11. Pixlr


Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: FREE (option for Advanced and PRO $3.99/mo — $14.99/mo)


Pixlr is a popular online photo editing application. It has an improved and advanced AI intelligence and Machine Learning used as a tool to enhance and improve photo outlook.


  • Easy to use and master for beginners.
  • Modern photo editing features and tools
  • Has different packages for beginners and pros.(Pixlr X and E respectively)
  • Availability of wide range of stickers, borders and other graphic elements just to perfect your photo editing.
  • AI powered tools for quick and professional editing


  • Is not compatible with all image and file formats
  • Limited features for text
  • There aren’t too many tutorials on how to use the tool

12. Photopea


Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: FREE (with Ads or Premium for $9/mo – $400/mo)


Photopea is an online multimedia software for editing files from native apps. It is used to edit images and add graphic effects to pictures.


  • No account required to use
  • Very good performance
  • Supports PNG, JPG, SVG, GIF and PDF export formats
  • Can read and save Photoshop PSD files, Photoshop brushes and Photoshop custom shapes
  • Edits photos easily on web browser
  • Great user support


  • Is a bit complicated to use (emulating Photoshop)
  • Lacks some of Photoshop’s features

13. Adobe Illustrator

 Adobe Illustrator

Platform: Desktop

Pricing Plan: $29.99/mo


Adobe Illustrator is unarguably the most popular vector graphics editor for creating print or web. So far, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have been the standard for creating logos, artworks, fonts, graphics comics and concept arts.


  • Advanced and sophisticated graphics tool
  • Has a wide range of tools and features.
  • Creates both print and web graphics.
  • It’s the standard for all other vector graphics.


  • No canvas rotation feature (users have been asking it for a long time)
  • Complex. Not suitable for beginners
  • May take a long time to learn and master
  • Some performance issues on older computers
  • Default settings for some tools are a bit weird

14. Affinity


Platform: Desktop/iPad

Pricing Plan: $49.99(one-time payment)


Affinity is a graphics vector design software and shape drawing tool. It supports raster brushes and custom vector, dynamic symbols, stroke stabilization, text style management, and vector/pixel export options. It can be used to create graphics art and digital design.


  • Good alternative for Adobe Illustrator
  • Compatible with most graphics file formats
  • Can import data from files, especially Adobe Freehand (specifically versions 10 & MX)
  • Allows user to set up grid and isometric video game graphics.
  • Very intuitive and flexible gradient tools
  • Seamless in-application switching between vector and raster graphics editing (Affinity Designer)
  • Great tools for isometric design


  • Lacks image tracing
  • Doesn’t allow export of .AI files
  • Doesn’t provide tools for text warping
  • A bit of a complicated UI and sometimes it’s hard to find a certain tool
  • Has some minor performance issues on older computers
  • No support for RTL/BIDI languages
  • The brush engine isn’t as developed as with other tools

15. Inkscape


Platform: Desktop

Pricing Plan: FREE


Inkspace is one of the most popular Vector graphics editor. It can be used to design, create or edit vector graphics.


  • Supports multiple vector formats
  • Powerful tool to create two dimensional vector images logos, designs and other scalable vector graphics
  • Created shapes can be manipulated with transformations such as moving, rotating and scaling.


  • Beginners and non tech savvy folks might struggle maximize its features
  • Options and features are limited
  • No support for CMYK colors
  • Does not export to .AI

16. Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer

Platform: Desktop/Online

Pricing Plan: FREE (option to upgrade to PRO $49/yr)


A free vector design application that’s great for logo making, photo manipulation, illustrations and animations. You can use Gravit online with their cloud-based software — though some reviews claim that it runs a bit slower than the locally-installed version. The layout is sleek and fully customizable.


  • Cool and plenty of features and capabilities
  • Cloud storage is very useful
  • Can import most vector formats (including .AI)


  • Free version not nearly as effective as Pro
  • Performance problems with large images
  • Complex UI, not suitable for beginners
  • No grid snapping

17. Vectornator


Platform: iPhone/iPad/iOS

Pricing Plan: FREE


Vectornator is an vector graphics design software that can be used to design and almost everything. It’s flexible and intuitive.


  • Has an intuitive user interface
  • Has a wide variety of tools and features
  • Easy clicks to create amazing and creative layouts
  • Effective tool for producing vector drawings with a pen tool.


  • Specifically for iPhone, iPad and Mac users
  • May consume a lot of time, especially if you aren’t good at using the iPhone pen.

18. Vectr

What Graphic Design

Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: FREE


Vectr is free, intuitive, simple,yet powerful to perform vector graphics editing tool. It is used by bloggers, digital marketers and website designers.


  • Handy and easy for new users of vector
  • User friendly interface


  • Limited templates for users
  • It’s mostly best for simple tasks and small projects.

19. Tailor Brands

Tailor Brands

Platform: Online

Pricing Plan: $3.99 – $12.99


Tailor Brands is a graphic design tool for quickly generating a logo. They have a wizard like logo building process, a very good tool for those with little design experience.


  • Design logo
  • Quick Images
  • Lots of presets
  • Covers a range of tasks (e.g. socal media)
  • Relatively cheap
  • Great for those with little experience


  • Not the most advanced tool for logo design
  • There is no free trial
  • Limited customization options of the end result

In Conclusion

Doesn’t matter if you are into vector graphics, logo design, photo editing, marketing design, etc. I hope that you found this list useful. For sure I could not include ALL of them, but I did try to include the most important graphic design software and the most trending graphic design software in 2020.

If you are looking for a tool for your next graphic design project, now you know what your options are regarding graphic design software.


Originally posted by John Negoita

Design Tips Graphic Design Tips

How to perfect your brand presentation

How to perfect your brand presentation : Back in the day, the concept of a full “brand identity design” applied mostly to major corporations with a huge marketing presence. Everyone else got along well enough with just a logo; at best, one that could be stamped on letterhead and business cards too.

Now, even small businesses have to think right from the start about how their brand is going to work across a website (on several types of device), social media, print media, product packaging and swag; and, yes, letterhead and business cards as well.

And you, the designer, have to find a way to present your design in a way that proves it is up to the task. How on earth do you fill such a tall order?

To find the answer, we sifted through the best, most professional and innovative brand presentations and campaigns of 2016—among them Grubhub, Guinness, AT&T and the Tate—to see how the world’s best design firms presented their initial work. We grouped our findings into the 10 categories below.


Related articles:

1. Illustrate your concept

Most logos have an underlying concept or idea, even a simple one. Manual’s design for Fort Point Beer Company, for example, uses one of the steel trusses from a picturesque bridge near the brewery’s location. By including a handsome photograph of this object in their brand presentation, they really make their concept click.

Illustrate your concept
Image via Manual

The same firm also designed a new identity for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. By itself it  might just look like an abstract polygon, but in fact the concept was based on the unique shape of Yerba Buena’s site, and is also meant to represent arrows expanding outward to signify growth. The concept behind this one is a little less obvious, so their map image, which they also animated to illustrate the expansion component, really makes a difference.

Illustrate your concept
Image via Manual

2. Showcase your creative process

As any art lover will tell you, knowing the story behind how a great work was created can really add to your appreciation of it. The same goes for your branding work. DesignBridge had an especially impressive process in creating Guinness’ new, more realistic harp logo. They went to one of the oldest harp manufacturers in the United Kingdom to actually spend time with the instruments and capture their visual essence. They make sure to highlight this special effort in their brand presentation, and also include sketches to show their working process.

Showcase your creative process
Image via DesignBridge

Interbrand took a simple but effective approach in their brand presentation for AT&T. They simply included a collage of photographs documenting their creative process. It gives a sense of the many iterations they considered before arriving at the finished product.

Showcase your creative process
Image via UnderConsideration

3. Distinguish your design from the old one

If a company has hired you to create their first ever brand identity, then you have a clean slate. But if you are replacing an existing one, then you need to make an extra effort to demonstrate how your work is superior to what came before. Wolff Olins‘ approach was to juxtapose their sleek new design (shown at left above) with a motley collage of old brand materials (right), which together show how crude and disjointed the old brand had become.

Distinguish your design from the old one
Image via Wolff Olins

Interbrand’s AT&T design is very similar to the old one. Their task was not a complete overhaul, but rather a small tweak to make the brand more effective across new 21st century media. Thus, their approach to presenting their work was simply to overlay their new design on top of the old one and point out its small but significant improvements.

Distinguish your design from the old one
Image via UnderConsideration

4. Go into detail

Typographic wordmark designs require a tremendous amount of precise crafting. Unfortunately, to a layperson client, it might look like you did little more than select a font. To show them that your design is more than “just a font,” do what Uber did: go in to detail with a grid that shows all the specific lengths, widths and angles that make your wordmark aesthetically successful.

Go into detail

5. Show your design’s flexibility

Recognize that hexagon? It’s the outline of Manual’s logo for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (discussed earlier). This image is a mockup of how their design could be modified to visually organize Yerba Buena’s advertisements, season catalogs or even signage. Such flexibility is a key value in contemporary branding. If you can show that your design can unify a complex platform of marketing elements, you will be in good shape.

Show your design’s flexibility
Image via Manual

Can you spot the logo here, by Interbrand Australia for Australian Design Center? This “modular” logo’s basic form is the third one from the left, consisting of three simple blocks topped by a triangle. Its genius lies in its flexibility: it is able to expand to incorporate other visual and textual elements, or contract into smaller shapes to fit on smaller screen sizes. If the designer had simply presented the logo’s primary form to the client, it might have seemed ridiculously simple. But by showing its various iterations, it looks marvelously versatile.

Show your design’s flexibility
Image via Interbrand Australia


Being flexible doesn’t have to be as complicated as Australian Design Centre’s acrobatic manuever. Wolff Olins made a more simple effort to show how their elegant wordmark can shift and bend into different formations while still being recognizable as the brand that it is.

Show your design’s flexibility
Images via Wolff Olins

6. Prove it is adaptable

This suggestion is similar to the last one, but not quite the same. Proving flexibility means showing your design is capable of shape shifting to work across different environments. Proving adaptability means showing how one single design can maintain its integrity within different parameters. Here, Interbrand shows its client how their logo can look good in front of white backgrounds, black backgrounds, colored backgrounds and photographs—something that was not true of the old, three dimensional looking design.


Prove it is adaptable
Image via UnderConsideration

Another example is Design Bridge’s Guinness logo. Here they show how it still looks good in black and white, and in an embossed gold form. Very handsome indeed.

Prove it is adaptable
Image via DesignBridge

7. Justify your color scheme

The color scheme is one of the most tricky and ineffable, yet crucially important, aspects of a brand identity design. There are tons of questionable studies out there about the psychology of color, but at the end of the day it largely comes down to sensible taste. How do you convey something like that to a client? Skip the Pantone swatches and demonstrate your color scheme using real brand elements, like Manual did with their stationery for YBCA.

Justify your color scheme
Image via Manual

Uber took a more more innovative, adaptable approach to color: the color scheme and graphic background patterns for their app change depending on one’s location in the world. This idea is somewhat opaque in theory, so their visual demonstration is very helpful. Each of these collages shows a city and a typical local pattern or landscape, next to the color schemes into which these translate.

Justify your color scheme
Image via UnderConsideration

8. Show off your typeface

Kudos to you if you have the skills to create a custom typeface for your client, like Enchilada (great name, by the way) did for Rotterdams Harmonisch Orkest. But even if you’re just selecting a typeface from existing options—which is totally fine—it’s still a good idea to do what Enchilada did and present an industry-standard sample to your client. Take Enchilada’s cue and ditch “Lorem ipsum” in favor of a brief explanation of why your typeface is the right choice for the brand.

Show off your typeface
Image via Enchilada

9. Put product packages in their best light

Showing off a product packaging design to a client is especially difficult, because you have to convey something three-dimensional using just two. Roll-outs are of course a necessary component, but it’s also a smart idea to show how the design will look in real life. This Budweiser mockup by Jones Knowles Ritchie is especially effective because of how they angle each bottle to provide a view of the design as a whole.

Put product packages in their best light
Image via UnderConsideration

This image by Manual for Fort Point is also a lesson in presentation. By filling up the whole frame with their can designs, rather than having them stand before a white background, they create a much more compelling image.

Put product packages in their best light
Image via Manual

10. Capture every application

Like we said at the start, nowadays designers must assume that their design will appear absolutely everywhere, from tote bags to iPhone screens to architecture. North does a good job of showing how their refresh of the Tate brand will look on pins, t-shirts and even shoes. This photo looks like it is of actual merchandise, but if you are creating a brand presentation for a client, you could easily do something similar in mockup form.

Capture every application
Images via UnderConsideration

This image of Interbrand Australia’s design for Australian Design Centre conveys an important lesson: always try to show how your brand work will look in the actual space where it is going to appear—not just a generic one. If you can add it to a photograph with real people, all the better.

Capture every application
Image via Interbrand Australia

Lastly, don’t forget to keep in mind the hottest, newest technology. Wolf Ollins was quick to show its client, Grubhub, how their design would look on an Apple Watch interface.

Capture every application
Image via Wolff Olins

Via Alex Bigman

Design Tips Graphic Design Tips Typography Tips

50 top typography tutorials

50 top typography tutorials: Master the basics, improve your skills and more with these high-class typography tutorials.

typography tutorials
(Image credit: Markus Spiske/Pexels)

The web is brimming with typography tutorials, but many are low quality and others are very out of date. So we’ve trawled the internet to uncover the diamonds in the rough, in the form of 50 top-quality typography tutorials, to bring your knowledge and skills up to speed.

Perhaps you’re looking for a good introduction to the fundamentals of typography? Or perhaps you want to develop and push your type abilities further? Either way, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for on this list, which includes typography lessons in the form of traditional text-and-image tutorials, animations and video, and even games.

We’ll be adding to this list as time moves on, so make sure you bookmark this page, and come back from time to time to see what’s new in the world of typography tutorials.

We’ll start by looking at tutorials to help you with mastering the fundamentals of typography – skip through to another page if you’re after something more advanced.

01. The ultimate guide to basic typography

typography tutorials
(Image credit: TutsPlus)

If you’re just getting started with type then this guide to basic typography will set you on the right course by teaching you the essential terms, clarifying a few terms that tend to get misused, explaining different types of font files, figures and symbols, and even going through some useful typesetting terminology.

02. Typography basics explained

Not sure exactly what typography terms mean? This video gives you a short and snappy overview of the six most important terms, namely typography, body copy, display type, hierarchy, kerning and leading.

Six further terms (tracking, widows and orphans, serif fonts, sans-serif fonts and script & cursive fonts) are explained in part two, which you can watch here.

03. Beginning graphic design: typography

This quick cartoon video from, complete with a jaunty elevator-music soundtrack, runs through the basics of typography including the different types of fonts and common typography terms. You’ll find the text version of the tutorial here.

04. Everything you need to learn typography basics

This introduction to typography starts from the point of view of a marketing professional, who recognises its importance in strengthening a brand and highlighting the central message of a campaign.

Author Brittany Leaning went on a typography course at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and here she explains the fundamentals of what she learned, including a detailed look at the anatomy of type.

05. Lecture 110: Introduction to typography

This video provides an academically rigorous overview of typography, including both a definition of terms and a practical guide to how to place text and create character and paragraph styles within Adobe InDesign CC.

It’s actually a straight recording of a university lecture (by Grant Adams at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California). So you’re best off skipping the first three minutes, where the remarks are purely focused on the students about to take the course.

06. A crash course in typography: The basics of type

typography tutorials

It’s probably wise to get back to basics before you go running off into the typography sunset. Here, Cameron Chapman gives you the lowdown on everything from fonts to displays.

07. Paragraphs and special characters

typography tutorials

In this typography tutorial, Cameron Chapman is back to tell you that yes, designing headers and titles may be more artistic, but the set body text is just as important. Discover why with this step-by-step guide.

08. Principles for combining typefaces

Combining typefaces can be dangerous business, especially if you mix two that certainly don’t belong together. Avoid any upset with this typography tutorial that shows you the importance of contrast and mood.

09. Pulling it together

Now you’ve got the basics down and you’ve dabbled in paragraphs and combining typefaces, take a look at how to pull it all together. In this typography tutorial, Cameron Chapman rounds it all up and shows you how to finish in style.

10. Typography terms every designer must know

typography tutorials

Our article introduces the fundamental concepts and rules of typography, followed by a detailed illustrated glossary of its main terms. Learn about choosing a font, sizing, leading, tracking and kerning, measure, hierarchy and scale, and more.

11. How to work with type in InDesign

Art editor Jo Gulliver shows you some of her most valuable typographic tools in Adobe’s publishing software. Focusing mainly on the Character Formatting control panel, she explains how these options can be used on a day-to-day basis to help speed up your workflow in InDesign.

12. 10 rules to help you rule type

This three-and-a-half minute typography tutorial video introduces 10 golden rules to help you improve your type skills and improve your graphic design layouts. Yes, the same text could have just been written as a standard tutorial, but hey, this is just a little more fun.

13. How to format text in InDesign

Part one of this crash course looks at what typography is and how you can format your type using the Controls panel in InDesign. In part two, you can delve further into the world of typography with a look at four special typographic effects that can help your InDesign layouts stand out.

14. Match fonts from an image in Photoshop CC

One of the standout features of Photoshop CC is that it can automatically analyse, identify and match fonts pictured within a photo. It then gives you a list of similar fonts installed on your machine, as well as others to download on Typekit. This quick video shows you how it all works.

15. Best practices of combining typefaces

Combining different typefaces within your design is part art, part science. This Smashing Magazine tutorial by Douglas Bonneville explains some of the most important best practices to follow when mixing two or more fonts, as well as some common mistakes.

16. Typography manual critique

One of the best ways to improve your typography is to follow an in-depth critique of what other designers have done when it comes to their use of type. This analysis of the Futur Typography Manual with Molly Drill is full of amazing insights about what to do (and not to do) when it comes to print typography.

17. How to kern type

Kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between letters to achieve a visually pleasing result. One of the most important typography skills you need to learn, here Meryem Meg and Brian Hoff offer some pro advice about how to get it right.

18. Typography design & art direction

This video tutorial investigates a little-discussed but very important topic: how to approach art directing another designer when it comes to typography. The critique focuses around the launch of a new newspaper magazine focused on the business of design, and includes some fascinating insights into its layouts.

19. Art direction & typography part 2

The above video continues the lesson in typography and art direction begun previously, in discussion with graphic designer Minhye Cho. 50 top typography tutorials

20. Design a typographical poster in InDesign

typography tutorials

This tutorial from Future Publishing art editor Jo Gulliver walks you through the process of creating a typographical poster using InDesign. She demonstrates how to apply a document grid, and how to create and edit the typography within it.

21. Photoshop tutorial: Create a text portrait poster

This Photoshop CC tutorial from Blue Lightning TV shows how to design and create a powerful text portrait poster. This 11-minute typography tutorial takes you through each operation simply and clearly.

22. 4 steps to using variable fonts

basic typography
(Image credit: Future)

Variable fonts are the latest and greatest thing in web typography, enabling you to define all manner of type variations within a single font and saving you the performance hit of having to load multiple fonts. This tutorial takes you through the four steps to using variable fonts online.

23. Make interactive 3D typography effects

basic typography

Here we’ll create a type effect that uses the shapes of letters as a mask to some fast, free-flowing particles trails that will dynamically swirl and move through the letters. Not only will there be this beautiful animation, but as this will be rendered onto the HTML5 canvas element, this will be transformed in 3D to rotate towards the mouse as it moves around the screen. This is perfect for site headers or just when you need to grab the user’s attention for a call to action.

24. Better web typography in 13 simple steps

basic typography

Web typography means getting acquainted (or re-cquainted) with the rules of classic typesetting, but there’s more. With the web being a fluid and malleable medium, designers have to be able to predict the end result across different browsers and end users. This tutorial examines the basic dos and don’ts of typography, specifically applied to the web.

25. How web typography is just typography, sort of

Typography is often taught as a completely separate discipline from web design, but Amy Papaelias feels that’s a mistake. In this talk, part of TypeCooper West’s Letterform Lecture Series, she demystifies web typography and argues it should be seen as an integral to learning web design.

26. Improve web and mobile app typography

The short video lists five essential principles to improve the typographic quality of your web and mobile app. Paulo Stanley offers this practical guide to start you on the road to creating typography for screen design.

27. Improve web type with CSS font-size-adjust

Best practices of combining typefaces

Font-size-adjust in CSS lets you specify your font size based on the height of lowercase letters, and its use can make a big different to the legibility of your web text. This tutorial explains the thinking behind this property and how to use it in your projects.

50 top typography tutorials

28. The rules of responsive web typography

basic typography

Responsive web typography is tricky, but it’s become the cornerstone of good web design, so you need to get it right. This tutorial provides the foundation from which to begin, and covers both the design principles behind responsive typography and practical solutions for it.

29. Master accessible web typography

basic typography

The rise of responsive web design has made accessible type selection more important than ever if your web content is to be readability by the maximum number of people. Here, Fontsmith presents the results of its work with Mencap on accessible typefaces, and the new best practices that have emerged from it.

30. Fluid responsive typography with CSS poly fluid sizing

basic typography

Fluid layouts are now an established part of web design practice, but fluid typography is still relatively new. This tutorial examines how to use established browser features, Sass and some simple algebra to create scalable, fluid type that works across multiple breakpoints and predefined font sizes.

50 top typography tutorials

31. Responsive font size and fluid typography with vh and vw units

Beginning graphic design: typography

Another tutorial on how to create fluid typography, this one is almost exactly one year older than the one above, but it’s still worth a read to help you get your head around this discipline within web typography.

32. Performance and web typography

One of the many things you have to consider when selecting and implementing your web fonts is the effect your choice will have on the performance of your site. This conference talk by Helen Holmes explains the best ways to can optimise your font files for the web.

33. How to create your own font

How to work with type

In this tutorial, Yulia Sokolova explains how she created her first font, from drawing the initial design to digitising it and then turning it into a useable font.

34. How to create your own font: 18 top tips

How to work with type

After many years as a graphic designer and type enthusiast, Jamie Clarke decided to try his hand at designing a typeface. In our tutorial he shares some of the insights and practical methods he learned to help you to make your own font.

35. Create your own 3D typeface

advanced typography tutorials

In another of our tutorials, Jamie Clarke talks through how he created 3D type family Rig Shaded; a layered or ‘chromatic’ typeface that allows you to choose your own style and colour combinations. He explains how he went about it, and shares a number of insights to help get you started making your own 3D type.

36. The rather difficult font game

This game takes you through a series of various fonts that you have to name from a choice of four. It may sound easy but it’s not. Play it on the desktop or on your iPhone.

37. How to design isometric typography

advanced typography tutorials

Isometric art has a very strict set of rules when it comes to what goes where. It’s pretty difficult to sit down and draw yourself, but when it comes to Photoshop, you can create a guide for anything. In this London-inspired image, we’re going to set out a perfect isometric grid before we build a city of letters, using the Pen tool, selections and layers in Photoshop.

38. How to create reflective typography in InDesign

advanced typography tutorials

Making typography appear as though it’s reflected in the surface it’s sitting on isn’t complicated. It is, however, a little more complex to make it look convincing within the environment that it’s placed in. In this tutorial we’ll run through how to use Adobe InDesign to quickly create an environment for your type to sit in that follows the basic rules of directional light.

39. Create a long shadow text effect in Photoshop

advanced typography tutorials

Photoshop CC includes the ability to add multiple instances of the same layer style to a single layer. This is especially helpful when it comes to create text effects. This tutorial shows you a quick way to add long shadows to your text while still retaining the ability to edit it quickly.

40. Create an editable retro text style in Illustrator

advanced typography tutorials

In this tutorial, Chris Spooner shows you how to create retro typography using the fills and strokes within Illustrator’s Appearance panel. These trendy letters have a faux 3D appearance and are fully editable.

50 top typography tutorials

41. Create a quick duotone text effect in Photoshop

advanced typography tutorials

This short, step-based Photoshop tutorial will teach you how to generate duotone text. Using a texture image, a gradient map, some adjustment layers and filters, you’ll learn how to create this trendy effect in five short steps.

42. Create a vintage film title text effect in Photoshop

advanced typography tutorials

This tutorial by Chris Spooner explains how to create typography inspired by the film title styles of old black-and-white movies. Using the 3D capabilities of Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC, he adds sophisticated lighting and shading to these retro letterforms.

43. Create gold 3D type in Illustrator

advanced typography tutorials

If you want to bling up your typography, follow this Adobe Illustrator tutorial by illustrator Karol Gadzala. Step by step, she explains how to extrude type in 3D, apply metallic materials to give it a golden sheen, and add gems, sparkles and gleams.

44. Create a Chrome text effect in Illustrator

advanced typography tutorials

Chrome text effects are the ’80s and ’90s style that time forgot. But these retro looks are now making a comeback. Follow this tutorial to learn how to produce a similar retro style metallic text effect in Adobe Illustrator.

45. Create custom type designs in Illustrator

This Adobe Illustrator tutorial demonstrates how to create a custom typography design. It looks like it’s been lettered by hand, but it’s actually created by customising ready-made fonts with clever OpenType features.

46. Three ways to add textures to type designs

Match fonts

Photoshop textures are a great way to mimic the aesthetics of old prints and handmade art and give your digital designs more of a tactile appearance. In this tutorial, Chris Spooner explains three ways you can distress your logos and text, each resulting in a slightly different appearance. 50 top typography tutorials

47. Create a blueprint text effect in Illustrator

Match fonts

Learn how to create a blueprint text effect in Adobe Illustrator. This tutorial shows you how to combine simple strokes, basic blending mode techniques and a variety of Transform effects to create this impressive look to your lettering. 50 top typography tutorials

48. Create a decorative drop cap in Illustrator

Match fonts

This tutorial walks you through the process of creating a decorative letter in Adobe Illustrator with a range of vector embellishments. The techniques you learn here can then be applied to all sorts of illustration projects in the future. 50 top typography tutorials

49. Create vector floral typography in Illustrator

Best practices of combining typefaces

Here Yulia Sokolova explains to create a floral typography composition in Adobe Illustrator. You’ll discover how to create your own custom vectors brushes and use various drawing tools of Adobe Illustrator to create flowers, leaves, and floral elements.

50. Create a text portrait effect in Photoshop

Best practices of combining typefaces

This tutorial demonstrates how to create cool portrait effect using a long passage of text that bends and deforms around the contours of the face. Known as a Calligram, this supercool effect is created using Photoshop’s Displace filter.


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The 10 best audio logos and why they work

These iconic audio logos show us how sonic branding is done.

Audio logos might seem like an odd concept. After all, when you think about logos, you probably think of something visual. But branding is not just about what we see, but what we hear, too. And so in recent years, the phrases ‘audio logo’, ‘sonic logo’ and ‘sonic trademark’ have sprung up to describe the aural equivalent to a graphic logo.

So what is an audio logo, exactly?

It’s essentially a soundbite, no more than a few seconds long, which either accompanies the appearance of a visual logo, strengthening brand recognition overall, or substitutes for it in audio-only media such as radio, podcast or apps like Spotify. It will usually be trademarked by the company, just like with a graphic logo design (see our logo design guide for our favourite visual logos and why they work).

Similarly to the best logos, a good audio logo is instantly recognisable, catchy and provokes an emotional reaction in the listener. Here are some of the best-known and most iconic examples.

01. Intel

Created by Austrian musician Walter Werzowa in the 1980s, Intel’s three-second audio logo has become one of the most well-known in history. A simple five-note mnemonic, it’s estimated to be played somewhere in the world every five minutes.

Werzowa was originally hired by Kyle Cooper, a friend employed at R/GA LA, and told the sound needed to convey reliability, innovation and trust. He spent 10 days composing the jingle, and finally had a breakthrough when he started singing the words ‘Intel Inside’.

It works partly because it’s a very catchy sequence of notes, but also because of the sound of those notes. The original recording used a combination of different synthesisers, xylophones and marimba. And while it may sound simple, it’s actually made up of 20 different audio layers.

Nailing the sweet spot between computerised and physical sounds, Werzowa’s composition is unique, relatable to a broader audience, and timeless. And although it’s been gently updated over the decades since, it still shows no sign of needing to be retired.

02. THX

When your business is based on providing high quality sound, a distinctive audio logo is the perfect place to showcase that quality.

Founded in 1983 by George Lucas, THX is best known for developing its high fidelity audio/visual reproduction standards for cinemas. And its in a huge auditorium, surrounded by huge speakers, that this thunderous blast of audio makes the most impact.

03. McDonald’s

Love it or loathe it, McDonald’s certainly knows branding. So it’s perhaps surprising that the corporation, first launched as a franchise operation in 1955, waited almost half a century before it launched its first global marketing campaign, in 2003.

The wait, though, was worth it. The slogan ‘I’m lovin’ it’, accompanied by a super-catchy “ba da ba ba ba” vocal hook, was universally popular and instantly recognisable. So much so, that there’s been a great deal of controversy within the pop and hip-hop communities about who actually wrote it.

The truth is confusingly complex, but essentially a succession of creatives contributed to the final jingle, including the German ad agency Heye & Partner, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Pusha T, and others. (There’s a full blow by blow account on Pitchfork plus an excellent video explanation from Hodges U.)

Composition claims aside, the secret to this audio logo is that it’s ultra-flexible, and easily adapted to local markets, languages and cultures everywhere, as well as specific campaigns and different musical styles.

Partly because of this, it still seems fresh and relevant today, 16 years on, as it did on first release. Even if the mangled grammar of ‘I’m lovin’ it’ makes professional writers like ourselves recoil in horror.

04. Apple

Audio logos don’t just appear in advertising, of course. For generations of Apple users, the sound that accompanies the switching on of their desktop computers is one that strikes an emotional chord to this day.

Just listen to the series of beeps and chimes in the video above, from the first 1984 Mac onwards, and you might just feel a shiver down your spine the moment you hear ‘your’ sound.

As you’ll notice, many different sonic approaches have been taken over the years, but the most well-known sound is the chime used first in the iMac G3, and subsequently for all Macs from 1998-2016. In case you were wondering, the chord is a F-sharp major, and was produced by pitch-shifting the 840AV’s sound.

Mac models from late 2016 and newer, though, don’t have a startup sound, with the single exception of the 13-inch, 2017 MacBook Air. And we think that’s a real shame.

In the words of Jim Reekes, who created countless Mac sound effects during his time at Apple: “Now that there’s no startup sound, it’s like sitting down at a restaurant and there’s no one there to greet you.”

05. Windows 95 by Brian Eno

While historically Apple has been the hipper choice for creatives, Windows scored quite a coup with its Windows 95 release, by getting art pop icon Brian Eno to compose its startup sound.


While Eno played in Roxy Music and has worked with everyone from Bowie and David Byrne to Coldplay and Damon Albarn, his Windows chime is almost certainly the most widely listened-to piece of music in his entire career. And a quick re-listen now instantly reminds you what a powerful, otherworldly piece of audio it is.

It was Microsoft designers Mark Malamud and Erik Gavriluk who originally got Eno involved. As the musician recalled in an interview in the San Francisco Chronicle, they wanted “a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional, this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said: ‘and it must be 3 1⁄4 seconds long.’ I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel.”

The resulting composition – which he ironically wrote on a Mac – was certainly that. Although at six seconds, it was almost twice the requested length. Proof that a successful audio logo doesn’t have to be super-short. Well, as long as you’re a musical genius, that is.

06. Netflix

Audio logos become most effective through repetition. And Netflix’s distinctive intro, which plays before you start watching any show on its platform, is certainly getting a huge amount of that right now.

The audio logo for the streaming service, which is now available in over 190 countries, is comprised of “two 16th note timpani strikes on D2 and D3, simultaneously which with are played three dotted half notes on D2, D4, and D5”, according to its official trademark document. Or, in layman’s terms: it kind of goes ‘Ta-dum’.

It’s super-short, because anything longer would make time-pressed viewers tetchy. It’s distinctive, making it easy to imitate yourself. It evokes a simple but powerful emotional connection: every time you hear it, your brain thinks: ‘Yay! Binge-watching!’

And finally the sound itself is deeply rooted in the DNA of Netflix. As @TelTalksGames kindly pointed out to us. it comes from the sound of Frank Underwood knocking in House of Cards – the platform’s first original series – as shown in this video.

07. XBox

The growing importance of audio logos can be seen in the rise of specialist  ‘sonic branding’ agencies, and the New York-based Audiobrain is a great example. It’s best known for developing the audio logo for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which is used on the console’s startup, as well as in advertising. And it’s a real aural beauty.

In the company’s words: “The sonic signature is a reflection of the Xbox 360 – you can hear the human energy, duality, cultural diversity and excitement.”

That might sound like marketing speak overreach. But listen carefully and you have to agree there’s a beautiful diversity and complexity to the sound; one that nicely matches the epic and far-reaching visions behind the best Xbox games.

08. T-Mobile

When you’re choosing a mobile carrier, you’re looking for someone you trust, and a good audio logo can be an important part of conveying that brand message.

It certainly has in the case of T Mobile, whose audio logo was composed by Lance Massey. This super-catchy series of notes could almost serves as the dictionary definition of an ‘earworm’. It’s upbeat. It’s bright. It’s simple. It’s catchy. in short, what more could a brand want from an audio logo?

09. MGM Lion

Audio logos aren’t, of course, a totally new phenomenon. The classic MGM film intro, featuring a lion’s roar, has spent more than a century getting audiences in the mood for epic flicks like Gone with the Wind, Ben-Hur, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The intro was originally created in 1916, as a piece of silent film, by ad executive Howard Dietz . The lion gave its first audible roar on July 31, 1928 for the debut of the movie White Shadows in the South Seas.

There have been seven different lions in total, with the current lion, Leo, in place since 1957, while those of a certain age will fondly remember the Tom and Jerry variant.

The MGM logo is also a reminder that an audio logo doesn’t necessarily need to be a piece of music. More modern examples of non-musical audio logos include J J Abrams’ Bad Robot and Mutant Enemy Production’s Grr Arg.

10. Gary Vee

Finally, we wouldn’t want to leave you with the impression that audio logos are only used by huge companies. They’re actually a great tool that everyone wishing to self-promote can use. And as streaming audio and podcasting becomes more important going into the 2020s, it’s a great time to jump on board.

Case in point, which Greg Bunbury pointed out: web entrepreneur, author and speaker Gary Vee, aka Gary Vaynerchuk, is usually ahead of the curve with the latest marketing trends. And so it’s notable that he’s got fully on board with sonic branding recently. He’s now adding a short audio tag (a mouth-popping sound) to every one of his videos.