You can practise your skills till your hands cramp from too much mouse action, but if you don’t have the right tools, there is no way you can reach your full potential. There are ones that the best designers use on a daily basis because they optimize their designs. Systems change, and if you’re not careful, you may find yourself out of the loop. How often do you ask yourself, “Am I still using the most recent and powerful programs to work?” If it’s been a while, we strongly suggest you read below.

  1. Photoshop: This one is a no-brainer, but if you’re using something else, we feel we should at least mention the power of the old workhorse. Photoshop is the go-to standby for all graphic designers. We’ve never seen a firm successfuly use another app to produce quality designs, and though we’re sure there’s some out there, they’re certainly few and far between. If you’re not using Photoshop to design your posters, layouts, or other printed material items, you’re missing out. The software suite is built from the ground-up to be powerful, fully featured, and breathtakingly simple once you know the ropes. If you haven’t got it, get it now: We’re deadly serious.
  2. Illustrator: Another obvious one is Illustrator. If you’re using another, freeware vector illustrator, we strongly suggest you grab Adobe’s vector suite to compliment your workflow. The tools the software provides are infinitely more finessed than anything you’ll find on the freeware market, and provide a much more fluid drawing experience. In other words, the quality of what you’ll find with Illustrator beats the free price tag on, say, GIMP any day.
  3. Fireworks: This one may not be as obvious, but it’s just as essential. If you do any sort of web design, no matter how casual, you need Fireworks. The app makes it easy to take the software you use on a daily basis and create web content. It’s quick, easy to learn, and endlessly powerful—just as we like all of our applications.