The 12 Best Creative Mac Design Apps

If you have a Mac, you have everything you need to run some of the most powerful design tools available. Yet if you’re getting started with Mac design, it can be difficult to know what the best programs are.

Which design software for Mac is worth the cost? Which software will let you complete the tasks you need to?

Keep reading for a list of 12 of the best design programs for Mac.

1. iMovie

Although it’s free and comes pre-installed on Apple computers, don’t let that fool you. iMovie is a powerful tool capable of creating quality videos.

Although it features a simple user interface meant for beginners, it comes packed with a variety of tools. You can find great audio tracks and sound effects, filters, and the ability to easily speed up or slow down clips.

If you’re looking at creating movies, start with iMovie, then move to a more advanced program once you get comfortable.

2. Final Cut Pro

Once you become an iMovie pro, you can advance a level up to Final Cut Pro. Coming in at $299.99, Final Cut Pro is far from cheap. But it will give you all the design options you need to create masterful films.

Final Cut Pro doesn’t allow you to move around windows like its competitors. Instead, it comes with a magnetic timeline that makes adding and organizing clips more convenient than ever. It also comes with a number of great effects, transitions, and other features.

3. GarageBand

Are you an aspiring music producer? If you are, you can make a name for yourself on Apple’s GarageBand. Like iMovie, Garageband comes pre-installed on Apple computers.

GarageBand comes packed with a variety of virtual instruments, from modern EDM synths to classical pianos. You then piece together these instruments to create songs. If you have the proper equipment, you can also record your voice, or plug in your actual guitar or keyboard.

4. Adobe Photoshop

If you’re a graphic designer, odds are you’ve dabbled around with Adobe’s pride and joy before. Photoshop is the most comprehensive photo editor on the market, packed with everything you need to fine-tune any photo. Adobe also updates Photoshop on a regular basis, meaning you always have access to new features.

All of that power comes with a hefty price tag, however. An Adobe Photoshop subscription will set you back $239.88 a year.

5. Adobe Illustrator

Another popular Adobe product, Adobe launched Illustrator in 1987 on Apple computers. Today, it’s considered top of the line for graphic designers.

Illustrator comes with a fantastic user interface that won’t have you wasting time reading through complicated and lengthy menus. It also comes with great scalability and availability on different platforms. Like Photoshop, it’ll cost you $239.88 each year.


If you’re an aspiring graphic designer, the price tag that goes along with the Adobe programs can seem a bit steep. That’s where GIMP can be your saving grace.

If you’re getting started with photo editing or graphics, GIMP will serve as a great jump start into the field. It features an easy to understand user interface, as well as tutorials to help you get started. Best of all, it’s completely free.

7. Daz 3D

Looking to make 3D works of art? Check out Daz 3D. The program lets you animate, pose, and render 3D models. You can choose from people, animals, vehicles, and props.

Daz 3D is great for beginners, but it also comes with enough features to be of use to skilled users. The price varies depending on how powerful you need the software to be.

8. Inkscape

If you were a fan of Microsoft Paint back in the day, you might want to check out the free, open-source program, Inkscape. The program lets you draw and create different things, and also allows you to create vectors with little to no difficulty.

Inkscape is one of the many programs that let you be creative with a brush. To learn about some others, check out this guide on different paint for Mac programs.

9. Canva

Canva is a user-friendly program that allows you to create beautiful art projects in minutes. You can choose among thousands of different templates to create different works of art, such as fliers, book covers, advertisements, and business cards.

Canva offers a free-to-use version, as well as a premium version with more options.

10. Sumopaint

Sumopaint is another paint program that lets you create digital works of art. It also doubles as an image editor.

Sumopaint is free-to-use and comes with a light user interface with enough features to get you started. If you don’t like downloading programs, you can choose to run it in your browser.

11. djay Pro

Another music creation app, djay Pro is a powerful tool that lets you virtually play as a DJ. Control the crossfader, see a waveform of the track scrub, and do so much more. You can also sync your own music with the program.

Mac users will appreciate the touch bar support that djay Pro offers its users.

12. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is another alternative to Illustrator. Although it’s not free, the price tag of $49.99 is more doable for most users.

Despite the cheaper price, Affinity Designer comes loaded with a number of impressive features. The app is stylish and functional and can be a great way to learn about design. Yet the features present mean that advanced users can enjoy it as well.

Try These Mac Design Apps

Macs can host some of the most powerful design tools on the market. By following this guide and choosing one of the Mac design tools mentioned, you’ll have the resources you need to take your design skills to the next level.

Do you have any other suggestions for the best design software for Mac? Let us know in a comment below!

For more tech-related guides and tips, don’t forget to check out some of our other blog posts.

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