In the world of marketing and communication, we find ourselves in a market saturated with stimuli and information. There are millions of brands creating similar designs.
To meet your objectives as a brand you need smart strategies and know-how to differentiate yourself from competitors. A basic principle is that most of the information we receive enters through the eyes, attracts attention and leads to sales. Therefore, creating and caring for your visual identity is a fundamental part of your strategy.
Although talent and creative thinking are the foundations of a successful designer, there are many tools to develop your career and enhance your skills to move from being a good designer to an excellent one.
Here, we’ll explore the basic tools for graphic designers to take your creative career to the next level!
Photoshop is a popular photo retouching and graphic design program. It’s a graphic editor with infinite possibilities for creators and it is easy to use, even for beginners.
If you want to manipulate and transform photos in an advanced way, then Photoshop is the best option. Photoshop is an ideal software for photo retouching. Due to its advanced options, it works for all kinds of image manipulation because retouching is adjusting brightness, saturation, white balance, etc. Photoshop goes further, allowing advanced manipulations such as changing textures, adding or removing elements from photos.
It is also great to make photographic composition because it adapts several graphic materials in the same image, so you can integrate several photos in one, in a smooth and harmonious way.
Due to its versatility, it is undoubtedly the most famous graphics software in the world. It’s useful for simple activities such as color alterations, but also for making sophisticated designs like mockups, 3D illustrations, and it has several plugins to make almost any effect.
Photoshop is a fundamental tool for photo editing and one of the best options to start your career in graphic design. Photoshop earned its own right to become the star of digital retouching software for any image due to its countless possibilities.
Adobe Illustrator is a software dedicated to vector drawing and graphic elements for almost any type of device. It is useful for logo design, iconography, lettering, editorial design, professional drawing, web and mobile layout and interfaces, or cinematographic designs. As a result, Illustrator is one of the best graphic software on the market.
It is part of the Adobe Systems, which is why it is compatible with other softwares in the Adobe suite such as Photoshop, After Effects, etc. Additionally, it is compatible with both Windows and Mac.
With it you can manipulate points of vector images and fill them quickly and easily to create drawings, icons, brochures, logos, etc. Illustrator is a critical tool for graphic design and marketing.
Adobe Indesign is the world's number one application for editorial design. With this software, which is almost the industry standard, you can carry out simple projects like adding images; to more complex creations such as magazines, electronic books, newspapers, books, among others.
For example, with InDesign you can layout a magazine intended for printing or create a flat or interactive PDF document rich in multimedia resources, an EPUB and even publications to display on your digital devices such as tablets or smartphones.
Adobe Indesign will make your life easier thanks to its large number of functionalities with which you can tackle any type of editorial project.
If you need to edit your videos with professional resources for cutting, transitions, color correction and many other elements, this is the program you are looking for. Adobe Premiere Pro is a video editing and post-production software developed by Adobe for professional video editing. It has an interface that allows personalization and workspaces that help with the editing stages: assembly, color, effects, audio and titles.
It allows working with multiple sequences (timelines), and it supports elements like adjustment layers, titles, After Effects archives, essential graphics, etc. It also incorporates an effects library, which you can expand by installing plugins.
Premiere Pro will make your videos more professional and it makes the difference because homemade videos won’t help your brand. Customers expect more professionalism from brands. It is one of the best video production tools for any content creator.
Adobe After Effects is a software for video post-production, animating, altering, and composing creations in 2D and 3D spaces with various native tools and third-party plugins. It uses a non-linear editing system and the traditional Adobe layering system. It contains a large number of filters and effects that combined with each other, give you endless creative possibilities for your videos and motion graphics.
By mastering it, you’ll create all kinds of animated graphics, headers, texts, lower thirds, call-outs, etc; as well as visual effects such as chroma key or erasing backgrounds from a video.
In short, with After Effects you can create many graphic resources to embellish your videos and make them look professional. In fact, it is such a powerful tool that you can edit entire movies with it… and it works well with Premiere Pro, but take into account that it requires more experience to take advantage of it.
Before Adobe's hegemony, it was the market leader. But it is still a versatile tool, and an alternative to Adobe Illustrator, as it is an excellent software for editing vector images. Some argue CorelDRAW is more user-friendly and usable for beginners, which allows them to grow and learn much faster than Illustrator. So if you’re an aspiring graphic designer and you’re on a budget, it is a safe bet to get CorelDraw.
Free graphic design tools
On the web, you can find several design programs for free that allow you to create attractive images in a fast and dynamic way.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is free software, included within the GNU project and available for free. Specifically, Gimp is the free open source alternative for anyone who wants a graphical tool similar to Photoshop, and many creative professionals who mastered this software say that it is more powerful and versatile than Photoshop.
In fact, GIMP is ideal for retouching, composing and editing images like Photoshop, and many small businesses use it to create logos or graphics for free. This free software supports most graphic files, such as jpg, gif, png, tiff, etc. In addition, it has its own storage format, xcf. And it is capable of importing pdf files or svg vector images.
You can download it on its official site.
Inkscape is a free vector graphics editor with professional and cross-platform features (available for GNU / Linux, Windows and Mac OS).In other words, this is the free version of Illustrator and Corel Draw.
It has easy-to-understand functionalities, a simple interface and multi-language support. In addition, users can customize Inkscape's functionalities with its multiple extensions. The main format used by the program is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), but you can export and import various file formats, including SVG, AI, EPS, PDF / PDF, PS and PNG.
Inkscape has the typical tools of a drawing program, as well as the ability to work with layers and create illustrations, icons, logos, diagrams, maps. and web designs. In consequence, Inkscape is one of the most widely used free vector editing tools.
Canva is a website for graphic design and image composition, which offers online tools to create your own designs, whether they are for leisure or professional use. It offers a freemium service, which you can use for free, but with the alternative of paying for advanced options.
It is suitable for both amateur and experienced designers, including its own image bank and tools. If you are an experienced designer you can get good results quickly and easily, and if you are an amateur you won't need the knowledge to get decent results. Indeed, its main advantage is that you don't need graphic design expertise to use it since it has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, with hundreds of templates and multimedia elements that you can add.
You can use many types of templates, and with them, you’ll have a very visual predefined composition. You will be able to change this composition completely since you can double click on the texts to change them, click on graphic elements to select them and edit as you want, or directly delete them. And then, all you have to do is choose elements in the left column and drag them to your composition with its drag and drop system.
Freepik is a search engine for free royalty-free images. Users can download and use high-quality photos, PSD files, vectors, icons, and illustrations.
This tool collects graphic resources, also royalty-free, hosted throughout the Internet using specialized algorithms, and manages them in a way that makes it easy for users to find the materials by categories. If you are a graphic designer who uses a lot of visual resources, you will love this page.
Every picture tells a story!
The quality of the visual elements of your brand is critical, and they are becoming increasingly important in digital marketing. Visual elements have great appeal and are the fastest way to reach and impact your target audience. Social networks such as Pinterest or Instagram exploit this type of content, and photographs are beginning to become a prominent element within the marketing strategies of companies.
And there’s no doubt that graphic design is one of those careers that force you to be at the forefront and acquire new skills every day to face the market and its trends. With so many options, there are no excuses to start a career in graphic design. Research image and design trends in the market and merge this with your skills. Always keep the same design in line to generate coherence and cleanliness… and have fun in the process too!
Need creative help? No problem, Give us a shout and start creating impressive designs!