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Getting started with graphic design itself is not as expensive as one would think. That is thanks to the immense growth of design materials available from blogs and tutorial sites. Learning how to become a graphic designer has gotten much easier in recent years; in some cases, on-line learning can be much more fruitful than enrolling in a university course.
Apart from learning the basics and entry level concepts, to set yourself on the right path of graphic design you will need to invest in software. Also known as tools, that will aid you in executing your newly learned graphic design knowledge. While there are different categories and tiers of graphic design software available, not everyone has the budget to invest in expensive tools that can be substituted with less expensive tools, and in some cases for free altogether.
Each graphic designer has their own personal list of aha-tools. In many cases, a lot of the tools are shared between others because of their profound usefulness and reliability. This is what we will be taking a look at in this post today, the best tools for graphic designers — all of which can be universally applied to your workflow.
Photoshop is just the stepping stone for becoming a great graphic designer; what would this list be without the leading graphic designer software provider? Adobe Creative Cloud gives you our entire collection of creative tools for your desktop, like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Adobe Premiere Pro. You will also be able to take advantage of several mobile apps that will ensure that you’re able to do your work literally from anywhere you like, whenever you like.
Those who are on a budget, or are strict believers in the open-source movement, will find that Inkscape is the perfect solution for having a great platform that can do illustration work, as well as work with image formats such as SVG, which is in-built natively in the Inkscape graphics editor itself. If you are new to the process of creating vector graphics it may feel different. However, you will quickly be pleased by the flexibility, and power Inkscape offers.
Pixlr has evolved as one of the leading image editing apps online, and for many good reasons. Not only can you use the flexible image editor within your browser, you can also gain access to the fully optimized mobile and desktop apps. It will give you plenty of freedom to work with your photos from anywhere you like. Hundreds of fonts, hundreds of photo effects, and all the time in the world to experiment with.
Charts can often be a great way to understand several design patterns on a much deeper level. You may also be working with clients that require charts integration. To save yourself time and headache, we recommend going for Google Charts. This platform is built with designers and developers in mind. You will also find that creating dynamic charts gives a glimpse of a completely new world of possibilities.
While some of you might want to build it all from the ground up, many still prefer a shortcut. It is Canva that changed all and everything about creating designs that are exactly to your liking. It is a tool that fits everyone, whether you are a beginner or a professional. Canva is especially ideal for someone who is not really design-savvy, as you will become a designer in just a few clicks. For those who are using the platform for the first time, you can also undergo a quick learning process, which will help you get the gist of it even quicker.
Moreover, with Canva, you can create all and everything for social media, websites and blogs, newsletters, logos, presentations, well, the list is endless. Of course, you can create fully customized masterpieces, upload your content and so forth. The freedom to create design jewels is in your hands when working with Canva.
DeviantArt might not really be a tool for graphic designers, rather a giant platform for showcasing works and gaining inspiration. On DeviantArt, you can find everything, whether it’s paintings, graphic designs, just anything really. For your information, there are a whopping 370 million creatives that you can browse through. In short, DeviantArt rocks something for everyone. Of course, you can also create a free account and join the other 48 million members.
Some of the top categories are animation, digital art, fantasy, game art, 3D and comics, to name a few. You can also join the forum and participate in a group, the options to entertain yourself, showcase your creations, as well as gain inspiration and knowledge are loads.
You do not always need all these fancy tools when it comes to editing photos. In fact, PicsArt’s Photo Editor will do the trick in many instances, helping you create a real photo masterpiece. On top of that, the tool is also entirely free of charge, readily available for you to put it into practice immediately. The process of styling and improving your image is also a little breeze. In other words, you can end up with a final product quickly and share it with your audience already.
Some of the great features of PicsArt’s Photo Editor contain effects, filters, stickers, collage maker and meme generator, amongst many more in between. If you feel like additional knowledge would be helpful, you can go through different tutorials that are available for all PicsArt’s Photo Editor’s users. But to be honest, you can easily learn on the fly, as the tool is very beginner-friendly.
When working with a team, Filestage is the one tool that will help you review images, videos and other documents remotely. It is a solution that makes working on a project effortless, no matter how many edits and improvements it may need. Filestage covers everything, like commenting, managing the review process, tracking status and approving the work. Keep in mind, you can easily try Filestage entirely free of charge and get the first-hand experience using it with your team of designers.
Some more features of Filestage contain mobile and desktop support, real-time collaboration, custom branding, to-do list and client commenting without registration. First-class security is also part of the deal, so you can be safe and sound, keeping everything as private as possible. Get the gist of Filestage first and take design and creative productivity to new heights once and for all.
Visually is an in-direct graphic designers tool that can be used to store your own infographic/chart work for others to explore. It can then be used as a tool of self-promotion and finding new work. You can also indulge in the tens of thousands of infographics already available, many of which are built around the topic of graphic design and so gives you an opportunity to learn more about the craft without having to invest any pennies.
For graphic designers, like many other professions, time is of the essence. Working on your computer brings about a certain level of distraction possibility, something that many of us indulge in on a daily basis. Toggl gives us a number of interesting tools that can help us stay motivated, productive and on time about our projects and their deadlines. Great managing yourself and your habits, as well as for managing your clients projects and sending them professional and official time reports of the work you’ve accomplished.
Imagery is a big thing in graphic design. Although one could make his own images and illustrations at all times, sometimes it’s more convient to grab a sample work from a 3rd party source and use that instead of spending time to build something completely new. For this purpose, AllTheFreeStock works out really well. You will find photos, icons, videos and mockups all within one single webpage. You can also save a lot of time, and money, along the way.
Dribbble is not only a great community to be a part of as an contributor; it is also a haven for someone who is looking for design inspiration. Thousands of designers and graphic designers share their work on Dribbble every day. That in turn makes it one of the best places to bookmark in terms of design evolution, as well as for making new connections, and who knowns — maybe finding that perfect job position.
With all those new tools in our repertoire, we are bound to be making some work happen. Whether for ourselves or our clients, we will be working with a lot of files for each individual project. Dropbox is a tool that helps keep track of our work and the way it progresses. It’s also a great way to send files over to your clients and/or friends. Dropbox offers free cloud storage that will, hopefully, change the way you share and interact with files on the web.