It is possible to design a refresh icon using Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Both applications are capable vector art editors that are heavily used in the industry. Both Adobe and Corel offer free trials of their applications. As such, graphic designers can try and compare both products first-hand.
A successful refresh icon design is one that suits the graphic interface it is a part of. The icon must have a distinct design so that users can distinguish it from the other icons but also work together with the rest of the interface. Thinking of the refresh icon as a part of the whole icon set is a good method to ensure that it meets both criteria. Likewise, design the refresh icon from the same perspective as the rest of the icon set.
Also consider how big the refresh icon looks on the interface. Even though vector art is scalable, different designs look good at different resolutions. A refresh icon that looks good at 512 by 512 pixels resolution may become unrecognizable at 64 by 64 pixels. Moreover, small decoration details that are apparent at high resolutions can get lost when you scale the icon down.
If you decide to use a light source for the refresh icon, make sure the lighting matches the rest of the interface. For example, UI designers at Microsoft cast light from the upper left for all icons in Windows Vista. This also affects how the shadows are drawn.