Hi Figment fam! It’s Abby here with another blog post. Today we are talking all about what Adobe programs/apps you need to get started as a brand designer.
Before going to college for graphic design, I thought I knew wayyyy more than I actually did! Looking back, I only knew a fraction of Photoshop and I was committing graphic design crimes on the daily! Jokes aside, I hope this short guide can help you differentiate the main Adobe apps, learn what they are used for, and what ones you would need the most for your desired projects!
In this post, I’ll be touching upon the 4 Adobe Creative Cloud applications that I use the most: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe XD. There are many more apps in the Adobe family (such as Premiere for video editing, Dimension for 3D modelling, After Effects for motion graphics, and more) but today, I’ll be focusing in on these four as they are the ones I use daily as both a brand and website designer!
Adobe Illustrator is such an amazing software, and its crazy to think that I had never touched it before going to school for graphic design! As a brand designer, this app is beyond important. Illustrator creates vector graphics. This means that they can be infinitely scaled up without losing resolution. The graphics are based off of curves and lines. The latter, raster graphics, are made with pixels. We’ll touch on that a bit later.
Designers use Adobe Illustrator to design things like logos, brand identities, packaging dielines, SVG files, and more for many reasons. One, there is so much customization available when it comes to the pen and pencil tools. Two, you never know where a logo will be displayed! If you use a different raster-based program to design it, it may look super blurry when blown up on a sign or billboard. Three, it is an industry standard. Whether you are looking to start your own business, or get a job within the graphic design field, Adobe Illustrator is a must-have skillset.
The Figment Cheat Sheet: Adobe Illustrator is for brand design, packaging, signage, and any vector graphics!
Adobe Photoshop is probably one of the most talked-about softwares out there. It’s recently gained more popularity due to their artificial intelligence integrations- which are pretty neat! Photoshop is a raster based program, meaning that it is made of pixels! This means that it is important to design for size. If you’re planning to make and print a large poster, put in the correct dimensions and resolution from the start!
Photoshop is used mainly for image editing and adjustments. It is also a popular tool for creating mockups. Mockups are great ways to show off your work in a real-world setting. Most are free to download online. Open these files up in Photoshop, and replace layers to see your design come to life! Photoshop is also a great tool for image resizing. When creating a website, it is important to optimize your image size so your site runs quickly. Photoshop is a great tool for that! While it isn’t an absolute must, Photoshop is a great tool for brand and web designers!
The Figment Cheat Sheet: Adobe Photoshop is for resizing images for web, editing images, and creating/editing mockups!
Adobe InDesign is one of my favourite programs! While you don’t necessarily use it for designing brands, it is amazing for designing presentations, booklets, and multi-page documents! I use Adobe InDesign to put together all my brand booklets and brand presentations! It is also great for putting together printers spreads if you are ever sending anything to be bound at a print shop! While you can make multiple pages (or artboards) in Illustrator, InDesign does a better job at keeping the file size down, and has more features to make your life easier!
One of InDesign’s best tools (in my opinion) is master pages. Master pages contain content that appears on every page- think page numbers, headings, etc. The best part is is that you can style them however you like, and you can pretty much set anything to a master page! This helps a ton with layouts that are repetitive in nature!
The Figment Cheat Sheet: Adobe InDesign is for creating brand presentations, brand booklets, and multi-page documents!
Adobe XD is one of my favourite tools for website wireframing. If you are new to web design, a wireframe is a term used to give a rough outline of a website’s organization and sections. Sometimes, these are turned into fully designed outlines before being brought into development. Adobe XD is also a prototyping software as well, meaning you can program different hover states for buttons, different navigation styles, and actually make the website “work” as a prototype within the app. It’s a pretty cool tool to introduce to you to web design! Another similar tool is Figma, which has a free plan!
XD helps me to conceptualize website ideas before designing on platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, or Shopify. It helps SO much to know what the design is going to look like before diving right into development. Also, you can send over these wireframes to clients for their approval before spending a ton of time developing it!
The Figment Cheat Sheet: Adobe XD is for wireframe design and prototyping!
Those are all the apps to talk about today! I hope this gave you a better idea of what each different program is used for, and maybe which one you’d like to learn the most! If you are a new designer and have questions, feel free to contact me! If you’re a business owner looking for a new look, reach out!
Have an awesome week and we will catch you next time!
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