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7 Essential Graphic Design Tools and Programs
Need help determining which tools you will need as a graphic designer? Knowing which tools to invest your resources and time will help you produce stunning graphic work for your projects and clients.
clashgraphics.com gathered information on seven essential graphic design tools to help you become a better graphic designer while producing high-quality, eye-catching graphic designs.
Basic Design Tools
Traditionally, pencils, compasses, rulers, and drawing triangles have been considered standard design tools and have been used to characterize design and designers. While these tools are still relevant in manual design work, technological advances have radically altered how today’s designers develop projects from concept to finished work. To be successful, graphic designers in today’s competitive digital market should be familiar with the following tools:
1. Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is an image creation, graphic design, and photo editing software developed by Adobe. This dynamic software provides multiple built-in image editing features for pixel-based images, raster graphics, and vector graphics. Adobe Photoshop first came to market in 1988.
Photoshop can be challenging to learn and use, and (as for design software) it is not always the most intuitive or user-friendly. Additionally, Photoshop is proprietary software, which means it is not available for free but can be used during a 7-day free trial.
For more information on downloading this program and prices, visit adobe.com/products/photoshop.html
2. Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is among the industry-leading graphic design tools that let you design practically anything imaginable (logos, icons, graphics, and illustrations) and customize your work with professional-level precision.
Adobe Illustrator is an excellent tool to use. It is user-friendly, has a great selection of features, and is available on multiple platforms. You can start using this tool during a 7-day free trial, but like Photoshop, Illustrator is also proprietary software.
For more information on downloading this program and prices, visit adobe.com/products/illustrator.html
3. Adobe InDesign
Used by graphic designers, publishers, marketing professionals, and artists, InDesign is desktop publishing software for designing flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, books, and more. Finalized projects created with this software can be shared in digital and printed formats.
InDesign is an excellent, user-friendly software that is relatively easy to master. You can download and start using this design tool during a 7-day free trial, but like other Adobe products, it is proprietary software.
For more information on downloading this program and prices, visit adobe.com/products/indesign.html
4. Adobe After Effects
After Effects is acclaimed for its motion graphics tools, which designers and animators use to create 2D and 3D animations.
Adobe After Effects is a powerful and feature-rich animation and effects application widely used by professionals in the film and television industry. This professional-grade program is challenging to learn without help but is worth the effort. You can start using this dynamic tool during a 7-day free trial, but like other Adobe products, it is also proprietary software.
For more information on downloading this program and prices, visit adobe.com/products/aftereffects.html
Canva is a user-friendly, easily accessible design tool for your phone or tablet, which makes creating custom graphics a breeze. It provides readymade templates, as well as a free platform, and offers additional features with paid subscriptions such as Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise.
Not only can you enhance your social media content, but you can also use Canva to design flyers, presentations, invitations, posters, brochures, and business cards. Plus, you can purchase physical products and have them printed and shipped.
For download and pricing information, visit canva.com
This software is designed to help businesses design icons and vector graphics, seamlessly collaborate with team members, and modify a design’s topography or fonts through a unified platform. The application allows employees to automate workflows, give and receive feedback on designs, and share prototype links with stakeholders.
Sketch is intuitive and easy to use, and the software’s plugins make work effortless and seamless. It has multiple learning resources online, shortening the learning process. If your work is collaborative, the only drawback is that team members must use IOS to interact.
You can download Sketch for free as a student or educator. With access to the design platform, you get a set of powerful tools, including a Mac app, web app, and iPhone app (for design, collaboration, and prototyping). You also have the option to switch to a subscription.
For download and pricing information, visit sketch.com
Figma is a powerful online design tool that helps you create anything (websites, applications, logos, and more). Learning to utilize Figma allows you to work with and develop User Interface Design and User Experience Design.
This software design tool is easy for anyone to use (on any platform) and allows teams to share their design work and libraries seamlessly. Figma is an excellent free tool for designers but it is not free forever. There is a free trial period; after it expires, you will need to pay for a subscription.
For more information on downloading this versatile program and its prices, visit figma.com/graphic-design-tool/
BONUS: Skills All Graphic Designers Need
Graphic designers unify art and technology, so they need knowledge of design principles and software proficiency. Because they often work directly with customers and colleagues on multiple projects, they also need essential “soft skills” like communication and quick problem-solving. Consider the following skills to be crucial for a successful graphic designer:
Creativity - Graphic designers are frequently tasked with developing new and unique ideas.
Communication - You must understand that graphic design is visual communication, so communication skills are fundamental to a graphic designer’s work.
Strategy - Graphic designers must be strategic thinkers. They must consider how design elements work together and how to best convey meaning while sticking to design parameters.
Problem-Solving - Think of a design brief as a problem - A client needs to communicate a message, and the proper graphic design work will solve their problem.
Time Management - Graphic designers often work on multiple projects simultaneously and may be confronted with different deadlines from several clients.
Note: Drawing skills are not necessarily required for graphic design jobs. Most often, graphic designers use design software, so efficiency in the software is more crucial than improving one’s drawing skills.
Graphic Design Tools
In this article, you discovered information about several powerful graphic design tools to help you excel as a graphic designer, producing stunning, high-quality work.
Your proficiency in graphic design software tools will help you create better designs, communicate seamlessly with coworkers, and exchange immediate design feedback with your team.
Failing to become proficient with graphic design software and other programs will prohibit growth opportunities in your career as a graphic designer.
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