Best Graphic Design Software: CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator?

Photographers are divided in Nikon users and Canon users. Sysadmins are Tux-ies or Windows-ers. And graphic designers are either CorelDraw fans or Adobe Illustrator diehard supporters. None of these categories are worse, or less successful, or trendier than the other, but for the sake of helping the undecided, we decided to draw some comparisons between the main two graphic design software programs used by professional designers worldwide.

We looked at some critical aspects such as ease of use, resources, industry preferences and price and these are our main observations:

1. Resources

Adobe Illustrator is, hands down, the industry standard graphic design software for vector editing. There are tons of resources available online, both for beginners and for seasoned professionals who want to learn very specialized usability functions. As a part of the Adobe family of products, an Illustrator file can be easily used with Photoshop or In-Design.

CorelDraw loses the battle in this category, especially because the .cdr files are harder to open with other types of design software. If you are a freelancer and send your project to your client in this format, he may be unable to open it and get frustrated.

2. Ease of use

Now, this is where CorelDraw really shines. If you want to do all the work with a few mouse clicks, from the main work panel, and without having your screen invaded by submenu tables, then CorelDraw is for you. You can change fonts, separate blocks of text, manipulate shapes quickly and easily without navigating through the main menu and using the keyboard.

However, of you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts, rather than a mouse person (yes, we said it), then Adobe Illustrator is the natural graphic design software choice for you. Also, if you are a painstakingly triple-checker person, who wants to visualize a tool before applying it, you will enjoy the panel display.

3. Industry preferences

Adobe Illustrator is perfectly adequate for print and web design. As we specified earlier in this post, Illustrator is the standard software for vector manipulations. As a logo or advertisement designer, you will certainly want to be able to create a richly detailed file that looks great in any size – from brochure, to outdoor billboard.

CorelDraw is best adapted if your design ends up as a manufactured item. So, if you are designing furniture, packaging, shop signs or anything else that goes into production, CorelDraw is the right software for you, due to its more technical approach to design. You can add size quotas to various elements quickly and calculate angles and lengths with great precision.

4. Price

Well…there is no debate here, CorelDraw wins all the way. While the price of Corel products is a single purchase ranging around SEK4,232, Adobe charges a monthly subscription of SEK169 for Illustrator. This means that in two years, your Adobe Illustrator subscription has reached the fixed price of CorelDraw, and you keep on paying for your graphic design software.


That’s the side by side comparison. In the end, what matters most is to find the software product best adapted to your needs and that suits your work style (and budget, too).


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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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