Looking for graphic design software
When looking at graphic design software, considerations will and should vary according to your specific needs and skill level. For example, a beginner on a tight budget will have different priorities than an experienced graphic design expert who wants special features. Some things to consider when looking for new software include
Ease of use: While advanced graphic design products represent many creative possibilities, they can also be very intimidating for inexperienced creators. Graphic designer Jess Morgan recommends new digital artists “get their feet wet” with free tools like Canva. “If you want to be a professional graphic designer,” notes Morgan, “you know Adobe [Creative Cloud]especially Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, is essential.”
While Morgan notes that anyone can eventually master Adobe, she also admits that it will take time. “Following tutorials and creating regularly will lead to continuous improvement.” Many of the best products come with easily accessible instructions to help artists who are still finding their way in the medium. It can feel frustrating, or even limiting, to start managing around more complex software and tools. However, it’s probably best to start simple to avoid being overwhelmed.
Although ease of use is often associated with beginners, many professionals enjoy intuitive software where popular design tools and features are easy to find, keeping the design process as efficient as possible.
Cost and affordability: If you are a beginner without the necessary funds for elite software, affordability will likely be one of the most important considerations. Fortunately, there are various free or low-cost graphic design products on the market. While you may be able to get positive results with free tools like Canva or GIMP, it’s pretty standard to find these elements lacking specialized features that can only be found with premium software.
Morgan believes Adobe Creative Cloud is 100% worth the investment, but notes that it may not be a good fit for designers who don’t have the time or patience to learn from tutorials or make the effort to use the product constantly. Overall, when considering cost, the amount of use you expect to get out of the software should be an important consideration; it can be considered a waste of money to take out a monthly subscription only to find out that you will hardly ever use the design software.
Compatibility: Compatibility may not be a widespread consideration, but it is one of the most important qualities when investing in a new graphic design product. For example, you may be able to download Adobe Photoshop to your laptop, but if your device is older with lower RAM, you may find that the software takes a very long time to load and the editing process takes a very long time. Even more frustrating, you may experience constant software crashes, and not being able to save your image before this happens can mean you lose a lot of progress on a project.
Make sure that you are using software that is compatible with your operating system, that you have a decent amount of memory, and that your device can load and run the app or program with ease. If you’re using a web-based app, make sure you’re accessing it through a browser that’s recently updated and is among the latest versions that work with that product.
Software Features: When weighing software features, Morgan recommends prioritizing your choice based on specific design goals. Morgan says: “If you’re aiming to create illustrations, I’d recommend Adobe Illustrator and Procreate; for photo editing and retouching I’d say Photoshop and Lightroom Classic; for web and app design I’d say Figma and so on.”
Knowing what type of graphic design goals you consistently need makes it easier to focus on the precise features and products that best meet your needs. For example, you might be able to do some decent image editing using Adobe Photoshop. However, Lightroom is more geared towards editing photographs and will have a greater variety of exactly what a photo editor needs to get the best results.
Reputation and reviews: Preferences will vary, especially according to need and level of experience. That said, you should consider the product’s reputation and the opinions expressed in reviews. For example, if the customer is a graphic designer with more than ten years of experience and can get the most out of a brand’s software, that feedback is worth remembering.
Meanwhile, a newbie might complain that the same product was too confusing and frustrating to use.
Regardless of the skill level of users, great products will often have good quality features that draw customers back to the design software again and again with each new version or update.