image courtesy of tezarart
Any freelance artist looking to touch up their graphic masterpieces needs a good set of software tools. Graphic designers need to brush up on their software skills if they are to have a competitive advantage.
With such a large range of graphic styles, as well as a number of different types of design, there are many factors to be taken into account when considering which software you should be using. Trying to find the ideal graphic design software for your particular needs is, nevertheless, much easier than it ever has been before, due to the fact that software packages tend to be much more comprehensive than they once were. One package will likely have an extensive package toolbox that can produce, edit and layout nigh on all the many types of media in the design world. The industry regulates itself in such a way that any software package has to meet a set standard of common protocols, offer acceptable formats and provide a range of tools in order to be in-keeping with professional guidelines.

User-Friendly

We all have to start somewhere and that includes graphic designers. If you are still learning your trade you want your software to be manageable from the get-go. With so many tools and functions, it is very easy to get lost. Time is money and when you are starting out there may simply just not be enough hours in the day to trawl through all the online help options and tutorials. Some software programmes are more accessible than others, so it is important that you pick the one that is right for your level of knowledge.

Compatibility

One issue that many graphic designers encounter is that they tend use a number of different software programmes. Unfortunately, it can quite often be the case that these programmes are not entirely compatible with each and so minor, but occasionally crucial, adjustments will be automatically made to your image when they are transferred between certain programmes. Another vital attribute for a software programme is its ability to transfer files in their unaltered original form to websites, mobiles and tablets. Cloud compatibility and ease of sharing with colleagues or clients is also becoming an increasingly important tool for any graphic design software programme.

Import and Manipulation

Receiving and being able to edit industry standard file types is a necessity for graphic designers working on collaborative projects or for anyone looking to adjust, rather than create, a website. There are a whole host of editing features available to assist designers in their file manipulation, such as retouching, colour correction, filters, artistic rendering, channel mixing, layering, batch processing and content aware scaling.

Vector and bitmap are the two main graphic types. Bitmap consists of a series of pixels in a grid and is confined in space by the pixel resolution. In contrast, Vectors are made from scratch, so to speak, utilising lines and points to avoid reduced quality. Optimum graphic design software suites can now intertwine the functional elements of both of these graphic types.

The Final Hurdle

Once you have created your image and are happy with the final results on screen, it is time to look at your print layout options. These are particularly important for print media in advertisements, newsletters, magazine and journals. Some programmes can give you a range of elegant design options to ensure that your clients are delighted with your final version. However, most designers prefer to put their own unique finishing touches to a project by using either digital imaging or vector illustration to edit and create photos, images and objects that can be used to give your final product that ultimate wow factor.
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 and Xara Designer Pro 7 are some of the market leaders at the moment. Whatever your choice, make sure you opt for a free trial before you buy.