If you’re a graphic designer, you need software to edit photos, lay out pages for both online and print media, and create vector images that add a professional edge to your publications. Xara has a solution for you: Designer Pro. This graphic design software offers advanced features and tools while still providing standard design elements. However, it’s one of the most expensive programs we tested.
Xara Designer Pro comes with hundreds of templates for you to edit and use, which is partially why this software costs so much more than Xara Photo & Graphic Designer. At $299, it isn’t the most expensive software we tested. However, we don’t think the features warrant the high price when more affordable options are available.
Ease of Use
Xara Designer Pro’s user interface is similar to Xara Photo & Graphic Designer’s, but the former has more tools. However, Designer Pro isn't as intuitive as other top design software suites. We viewed several video tutorials and read the in-application help before attempting to create anything with the design software. Once we got into the space and started experimenting, we felt a bit more limited than we did with other programs, since some of the features were clunkier. However, we were still able to create decent projects.
If you’re a minimalist, Xara Designer Pro may be the perfect graphic design software for you. But Designer Pro isn’t a suite; it's one application. Typically, to get design software that includes tools for digital imaging, print layout and vector illustration, you must purchase a software suite – a bundle of applications – like Adobe Creative Suite. Designer Pro requires only one installation and one application, so you don’t have to switch back and forth among programs to get the tools you need.
When we explored the Design Gallery, we found templates for photo albums, collages, photo calendars, greeting cards, invitations, brochures, flyers, newspapers, business cards, presentations and more. If this is your first time using graphic design software, or using any application of this magnitude, we definitely recommend that you use the templates. You can still customize them, and they will help you understand the tools and features.
If you are a landscape or scenery photographer, we think you will especially love the Panorama tool. You can line two to six photos side by side and select all of the photos you want to include in your panorama, and in less than 10 seconds, the graphic design software will combine the images into one seamless panorama.
Whether you’re photographing a stunning landscape or your kids at the park, no image is perfect. The Photo Magic Erase Tool eliminates unwanted objects with a single click of the “magic” erase button. If a storm cloud is ruining your perfectly blue sky, you can draw a circle around the cloud, and – voilà! – the software will erase it.
The Photo Clipart feature provides graphics for projects such as brochures, flyers, newsletters and advertisements. “Clip art” may make you think of cheesy images and objects. But don't let the name fool you; this clip-art gallery contains quality, professional-looking graphics.
Photo & Image Editing
Designer Pro provides the tools you need to create page layouts with ease. This graphic design software has a long list of features that can help you make well-designed newsletters, brochures, multipage booklets, community bulletins, PTA handouts and much more. You can add dynamic text effects, 3D objects and vector illustrations to spice up your designs.
Xara has several drawing tools that enable you to draw simple shapes, like squares, polygons, stars, circles and ellipses. To get more detail, you can use the Shape Editor tool, which allows you to mold these shapes into detailed, vector-based forms. To create truly dynamic shapes, you can use the 3D tool. Simply select the 3D option in the left-hand toolbar. To really bring your objects to life, you can apply 3D lighting effects.
Designer Pro may not be the easiest graphic design software to use, but Xara definitely provides a great selection of support options that will help you become familiar with the various features and tools. Within the application, there is a detailed user manual that you can consult anytime. Online, you’ll find video tutorials and a user forum.
If you would rather contact technical support by phone or live chat, however, you are out of luck. We were very disappointed that these options were not available.
We like that Xara Designer Pro has the features of a full software suite all within one application. And although this software is not as easy to use as some of the other programs we tested, it can help you create professional-looking work.