Infographic Of The Day: The Best Design Tools On The Market

Designers, in many ways, are quintessential first adopters and ideal test customers: They’re technically savvy and demanding, with an extreme attention to detail and polish. Please them, and it’s pretty certain that you’ve got a great product on your hands.

All of which makes this infographic commissioned by Best Vendor particularly interesting: Drawn from a survey of 180 design pros, it shows the favored apps in their toolkits. At the very least, these charts will show you a few apps that you might consider:

Maybe the most striking thing here is how little Microsoft you see—Word, for example, is barely an afterthought. The areas ripe for some real disruption though are generally those where one single app is dominating the scene—surely there’s something better out there than Dropbox, a web app for sharing files on the cloud, great as it is? Evernote, a program for writing reminders and clipping important notes, is likewise something that people love, but I wonder how you could improve something like that.

Along those lines, the survey also pointed out some fascinating little apps that might be worth picking up, and that might evolve into big things or even industry standards:

Add New Comment


  • Chris

    I like this article... but where are the share functions??? Those little numbers at the top don't tell me much or encourage me to share :(

  • Acevedoalejo

    What about 3D design?? CAD software and such? isn't it kind of a very much used design tool? this is basically graphic design tools...

  • Mirek Burkon

    That app for sharing and organizing artworks is, a young startup aiming for simple and effective brand management on side of the clients, and easy sharing, organization and creation of rich and specific content on the side of designers.Give it a try, it has exactly what universal file-sharing solutions and shared filesystems lack when it comes to work with designs. Filesystem is dead! ;)

  • Swapnil Kocheta

    Wow, Superb and surprisingly pleasing results !
    Loved the new services that I never knew . . .
    but all of My favorites are already in Top Ranks :)

  • MarkA

    @ Usul - yeah, they’re all visual, in the same way that a hammer and a saw are both woodworking tools. But you wouldn’t do a survey comparing their ability to cut wood.

  • Usul67

    Mabye I'm missing something in Mark + Mdmurray2007 + David comments but as designers (big bucket) do you not consider Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Fireworks, etc. to be Visual Design tools? Forget their output, typicity of use or provenance - they're tools used to create + communicate VISUAL DESING solutions to xyz problems; the proverbial hair-splitting notwithstanding. 

  • Paolo_udi

    "Maybe the most striking thing here is how little Microsoft you see--Word, for example, is barely an afterthought"

    Well,  photo retouching with Word is a rather difficult task; yet not unattainable, I guess.

  • gn

    Isn't 'Storage" also too general a category? Time Machine does backups, dropbox is great for backing up stuff too, but usually not the entire file system, just important project files. They are not really trying to accomplish the same task.

  • David

    I think if you are going rank design tools you should be a designer.  has it right, most of those Programs can't really be compared as performing the same functions. Also how could Adobe Acrobat only be  2% of "documents" (less than numbers?) obviously no print designers were interviewed since PDF's are still standard for production. 

  • Mdmurray2007

    Totally agree with MarkA- listing Photoshop in the same category as Illustrator and InDesign doesn't really work, as they do entirely different jobs. Still, must be difficult to get designers to answer any survey, as they usually have deadlines to meet!

    Great idea for a survey, but the sampling should also be a little more diverse. Were the respondents graphic designers, product designers, illustrators or what? Hard to tell how this information helps me, being somewhat incomplete.

  • Steven Leighton

    Google and Gmail-- Giants.

    Congrats on the tidy use of MSpowerpoint SmartArt graphics in standard colours.

  • MarkA

    Ummm... what kind of 'design pros.' did they survey? Web ones I'm guessing, by the fact that Photoshop is the top 'visual design' tool and Apple Mail isn't the top mail app. Also, lumping Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign together makes no sense - they're for completely different jobs. Best page layout tool, best illustration tool, best web design tool etc might have been better and made the info on the graphic actually mean something. Same with Dropbox and Time Machine - they do completely different jobs, why would you compare them?

  • Anthony Liptak

    Great Gotham! A wonderful application of a crafted typeface and a sophisticated  display of information.