Hello, James. Who are the audience of your maps? What are the purpose of your maps??
If you would like to make cartographically great maps, you might want to get professional graphic software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. With Adobe CS6, Adobe introduced a new licensing system, "subscription system". This option may be interesting to you in terms of the cost of the software.
Plus, Adobe Illustrator is good for editing polygons, lines as well as text labels. It is very flexible than any other GIS software.
Also, if you are using high resolution aerial photographs, Photoshop would work. (.. and it is easy for editing and adjusting colours of the images as well)
Furthermore, if you are using GIS data (georeferenced data), you might want to preserve the georeferenced information with your map. In this case, you have an option to add the add-on/plugins to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Those plug-ins are called "Geographic Imager" and "MAPublisher". (You can google them for more information)
Last, as far as I know, there is no legal issue with those software including Adobe products, MAPublisher, and Geographic Imager. I have been selling maps and I had never had legal or copyright issues with them at all.
I use Adobe Illustrator with MAPublisher and Adobe Photoshop with Geographic Imager for my map production because I make great maps with those products. I have tried other options but I couldn't make good maps with other options. Easy or difficult, this is going to be your learning curve and you will have to learn new things including software and cartography (and GIS, perhaps?) anyways. You might want to try and evaluate software before purchasing them. You will find a good combination of softwares you are looking for...
Good luck & happy mapping!