CorelDRAW is a popular graphic design application that's used by artists, advertisers, and digital content creators. It has had a strong presence on Windows, with a version available for Windows for thirty years, and has recently also made its way to macOS and the web through coreldraw.app. But now, users on Windows 10 devices can download CorelDRAW directly through the Microsoft Store rather than the company's website. This aligns with the release of CorelDRAW 2019 which has a number of new features that help content creators.
The application is aimed at both graphic designers who use a mouse and keyboard and artists who use a Wacom stylus and touch input. It also can work with the Surface Dial to enhance your creative setup.
You can download CorelDRAW for free from the Microsoft Store, but after a week you'll have to purchase a subscription to continue to use it, which costs $16.50 per month. This is unfortunate because the version you get through the company's website has a variety of purchase options, including a single purchase of a suite of apps. The suite has a high price tag of $499 but comes with multiple apps including CorelDRAW, CorelPHOTO-PAINT, Corel Font Manager, and more. Ideally, I'd want an option to buy just CorelDRAW outright on its own, which isn't an option here.
Covering the basics and beyond
CorelDRAW is graphic design software that allows you to create vector artwork. It can be used for logo design, graphic arts, sketching, and a variety of other types of content creation.
The app covers all the basics you need for graphic design as well as a long list of complex features that you can read on the company's website. Generally speaking, I've found that curve creation, node editing, shape manipulation, and sketching all work well. I have a number of friends that use CorelDRAW exclusively and are very happy with it, and that's not surprising given its feature list and performance.
Separating from the pack
There's no shortage of options when it comes to graphic design software. Adobe's Illustrator remains an industry standard and even the Microsoft Store is already home to a powerful graphic design application in Affinity Designer, but CorelDRAW has features that make it stand out. The full feature list is long, but a couple of my favorites are the app's built-in symmetry tools, and the AI-powered LiveSketch feature, both of which are new to this version.
I do graphic design as a hobby, including making designs and logos for some American-football teams that I coach. I don't know if I would call my work art, but I spend a lot of time making sure that it looks exactly how I'd like it to. I often use advanced grids and pixel alignment to make my designs, and many of them are perfectly symmetrical. CorelDRAW has a built-in feature that allows you to pick a reflection line and then have the design be mirrored over it. As you make edits on either side of the design, it's mirrored on the other. You can use multiple reflection lines to make more advanced reflections. This is an excellent tool for a variety of designs and beats the often cumbersome steps needed to do the same process in Affinity Designer. Adobe Illustrator can do some mirroring, but I find CorelDRAW's setup to be more intuitive and powerful.
LiveSketch is more impressive to me, though my artistic abilities can't fully take advantage of it. It uses AI to take sketch lines and turn them into smooth vector curves. When drawing with a stylus, it's normal to draw multiple lines over each other to get the general shape you want. CorelDRAW can take those and intelligently make them into the shape you want. The video above is from CorelDRAW's YouTube page and shows the feature in action.
An impressive addition to the Microsoft Store
Windows users have had the option to use CorelDRAW for a long time, but it's great to see another powerful app that's used by professionals make its way to the Microsoft Store. The new version of CorelDRAW also has some significant upgrades and new features compared to its 2018 version.
However, while the features of CorelDRAW are impressive, it looks kind of old in my opinion, but that's pretty normal for graphic design applications. Most developers focus on function over looks, as they should. But I'd like to see a modern design refresh in the future.
LiveSketch, pixel-perfect alignment, and a powerful symmetry mode stand out to me and there are some other features worth checking out. A knock on CorelDRAW from some in the past has been that the app falls behind the competition when it comes to new features. I'm happy to see this change and that CorelDRAW is both catching up and innovating when compared to the competition. How it fits into your workflow compared to other vector software is a deciding factor if you should purchase it. I'd recommend taking advantage of the free trial before committing any cash.
- Unique vector features
- Works well with Windows 10 touch and Surface Dial
- Pro grade app available in the Microsoft Store
- Requires subscription if purchased through Microsoft
- Has a learning curve
- Older looking design
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