If you are a graphic designer of any experience level, you know that there are some programs you just can’t live without. The wonderful thing about graphic design is the marriage of your own artistic skill, creativity and techniques and the digital tools available to you. Those digital tools should be sophisticated yet easy to use, powerful yet intuitive, feature-rich yet affordable. Let’s take a look at the 4 programs that are absolutely essential to any graphic designer.
There is almost nothing you can’t do with Photoshop when it comes to photo editing and manipulation as well as creating new art from scratch. It is the go to program for designers of all levels and has an inordinate number of tools and features, including smart sharpen, generator technology and intelligent up-sampling to multi-shape and path selection, conditional actions and 3D tools. For years Photoshop has proven itself the king of photo editing and graphic design programs. It can be fairly expensive to purchase, but with monthly payment plans and Adobe’s array of options, it is absolutely worth it for any graphic designer of any experience level and focus to invest in having Photoshop. Use it in conjunction with programs like Photoshop Elements and Adobe Lightroom to add even more complex functionalities to your arsenal.
Canva is definitely not as sophisticated or powerful as the other programs on this list. But is one of the best graphic design programs for someone who needs something designed and built quickly and without a lot of training. Graphic designers at the beginning of their careers can use Canva free online in their browser to create digital posters, social media posts, banners, invitations, book covers and so much more. It’s a great tool to test out your design knowledge and technique, all while providing easy to use templates, images, fonts, and colours all at your fingertips. It is also a great program for graphic designers to recommend to clients who want to make some of their own designs.
Illustrator is a must-have especially if your main focus is on drawing rather than photo manipulation. You can make any vector based graphics you can imagine with this program. Illustrator is an advanced vector-based software which uses mathematical constructs in order to build vector graphics, unlike Photoshop which relies on pixels. Printing and displaying at different sizes can be easily accomplished with Adobe Illustrator because vector graphics maintain their quality when they change in size.
This program is incredibly easy to use, so if even if you are just starting out as a graphic designer you should have no trouble using this program. It has all the tools you could ever want if you’re trying to create unique logos for a business or company, animations for videos, print or digital posters, t-shirt designs, comics, and more. You can find everything you need for both online and print designs at your fingertips. There is a strong focus on drawing and creating as opposed to photo editing.