Which design tool should you use? Do you already have a favorite? Are you worried it might not be the best tool for your project?
I’m going to share with you my process for deciding which tool, program, or app I use to create my graphics and make some suggestions for what will work best.
I hope it can help you pick the best tool for you, too!
Picking a Design Tool Quick Links
Before You Start Picking a Design Tool
As with all things, you’ll do best to start at the very beginning, but. Before you decide what tool to use for your designs, you need to think about how you want to use them, your experience (or lack of experience) as a designer, and what will be the easiest tool for YOU to use.
If I’m honest, whenever I take on a project, I go through this process but I don’t even realize it. Eventually, you get so used to it that you don’t even notice you’re doing it. Over time, you’ll get there too!
Define Your Purpose
The first thing you want to consider is what you plan to do with your graphics.
Are you just making templates for your own blog or social media accounts? You’ll only need something for personal use.
Or do you want to create images for clients? Are your images going to be used in your shop? Your tool should allow you to use it for commercial uses.
Access Your Experience
Are you totally new to art and design? Find a tool that’s easy for beginners or something with a lot of tutorials.
Do you have a little bit of experience? Has it been awhile since you’ve done any design work and you’re a bit overwhelmed with what’s out there now? Maybe try moving up to a professional tool for more flexibility in both your designs and your commercial or personal uses.
Go Through Your Options
Once you know what you’re going to make and how you want to use it, it’s time to take a look at what tools are available to you. Each tool has its strengths, weaknesses, and a particular skill set it caters to.
Online Design Apps
Sites like Canva, Desygner, and Stencil provide you with layout editing tools to create your own graphics. You can come up with your own designs or edit templates.
Create social media images, flyers, invitations, anything you can think of!
These apps aren’t meant for professional work, and some may have licensing that doesn’t allow you to create images for clients or mass printing. Canva has the option to pay for extended licenses to use their photos, elements, and templates for commercial projects.
However, if creating graphics or templates for clients is your goal, you’ll want to invest the time into learning an actual design program. That way you’re free to create and use assets without having to worry about license restrictions.
Industry Standard Tools
These professional tools aren’t just for pros, especially since Adobe switched to a subscription model a few years ago.
Access to all Adobe creative products is available through a monthly fee rather than spending thousands of dollars every year or so for programs and their upgrades. You can even grab Photoshop and Lightroom for just $10 a month.
Here are 3 graphic programs that are the most useful for bloggers.
Photoshop is probably the most recognizable photo editing and design tool. It’s a great place to start if you have no previous experience with graphic design.
Illustrator is a vector based graphic and illustration program. Vector basically means you can resize it to any size without any pixelation. Photoshop and Illustrator are a great combination for bloggers; design templates in Illustrator and photo editing in Photoshop.
InDesign is the tool for page layout and design. You can create print-ready books, magazines, or worksheets. You can also easily import assets from Illustrator or Photoshop.
While Adobe products tend to dominate the market, there are other programs that perform just as well or even better at certain tasks (especially for artists).
Sketch is a design program for Mac that’s gained a lot of popularity with UX designers. If you need to design an app, Sketch might be a good choice.
GIMP is sort of like a free, open source Photoshop. It doesn’t have all the same features, but it can be useful if you can’t get access to Photoshop.
Pick a Tool
It’s time to pick what you think is right for you. Is it a web based tool? Or a professional graphics program?
Do you already have a favorite program that you love to use? Let us know in the comments!