The best graphic design tools

54 expert designers reveal their top 3 most effective graphic design tools

If you could use only 3 graphic design tools, what would you recommend?

Hear from 54 expert designers

Helping businesses large and small

client

Andrian Valeanu

FOUNDER & HEAD OF DESIGN MODO / DESIGNMODO.COM

Andrian Valeanu is the founder of Design Modo, a design and web development magazine. Design Modo provides design, web development, premium products, and quality freebies. Andrian is well versed in Romanian, Russian, French, Spanish and English. He is an expert in SEO and has good knowledge in all forms of online marketing. We create user interfaces and for this we use:

  • Sketch
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
client

Jessica Walsh

DESIGNER & ART DIRECTOR / SAGMEISTERWALSH.COM

Jessica Walsh is a partner at creative agency Sagmeister & Walsh. The company creates identities, commercials, websites, apps, films, books and objects for clients and audiences as well. Jessica was born in New York and began coding at the age of 11. She has won awards from the Type Director’s Club, Art Director’s Club, SPD, Print, and Graphis.
Jessica is currently packed with her client schedule, but the most used graphic design tools we use in our office are probably

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Indesign
client

Annie Landless

COMMUNITY MANAGER / CAREERFOUNDRY.COM

Annie Landless is a community manager at CareerFoundry. It is the number one online destination for career development in this new economy. Annie has good experience in online marketing, customer service, organizing events and advertising. She believes that working for a start-up company is fun and could work from anywhere in the world as long as she has Google Hangout and get in touch with her colleagues.
In my still relatively inexperienced opinion I would say,

  • Sketch
  • Omnigraffle
  • Adobe Photoshop
client

Nora Obergeschwandner

HEAD OF ART DIRECTION / MOODLEY.AT

Nora Obergeschwandner, Head of Art Direction at Moodley Brand Identity, an international award-winning strategic design agency which was established in 1999 based in Austria. They have branches in Graz, Vienna, Salzburg and Munich. Nora studied Information Design and Exhibition Design at FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences in Graz.

  • Adobe suite (most indesign photoshop)
  • Sketch
  • After effects
client

Jacob Gube

FOUNDER / SIXREVISIONS.COM

With close to 15 years of experience, Jacob Gube is the founder of Six Revisions, a web publication for web designers and web developers. Jacob started as a front-end developer and then rapidly grew to expand his own skillset. You can drop him a mail on his website.

  • Adobe Photoshop — for graphics-creation and image-editing. I use Photoshop quite frequently.
  • A good image optimization tool such as Kraken Image Optimizer — to keep the file sizes of photos and UI assets (e.g., icons and logo) as low as possible, which improves the load speed of the site.
  • InVision — for design prototypes and wireframes
client

Mikael Kivelä

HEAD OF DESIGN / 358.FI

Mikael Kivelä heads the design over at 358 creative agencybased out of Helsinki, Finland. Their website is highly dynamic and manages to perfectly showcase the amount of effort that the team puts into each of their projects. They are into branding strategies and deal with all kinds of design projects.

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Photoshop
client

Adam Gesuero

PARTNER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR / ICSCREATIVE.COM

Partner and creative director at Image Conscious Studios, Adam Gesuerohas seen them move from strength to strength. Their expertise lies in their ability to focus on a wide range of services and do it effectively. Their services include logo design, website design, branding and UX/UI design.

  • Adobe CC – though we’re getting more into Sketch for mock-ups, Photoshop & Illustrator (and sometimes InDesign) are still huge to our workflow. We’ve also used some of the Edge applications to create quick prototypes without bogging down the dev. team.
  • Whiteboards (or sketch pad) – we always start with some analog designing & brainstorming before we dive into high-fidelity mockups. Even just to create simple, lo-fi flows, IA, or wireframes, you can’t been
  • Google Docs – We use docs constantly to share WIP concepts, content or inspirational imagery around the studio or with our clients. We also chart out user stories & personas, as well as conduct content audits. That stuff’s not as sexy as what we do in Photoshop, but it’s often the backbone of our sites.
client

Todd Berger

HEAD OF DESIGN / BERGERFOHR.COM

Todd Berger is the founder of Berger &Föhr, a graphic design and art direction studio based in Boulder, Colorado. The studio practices contemporary visual communication and employs a comprehensive methodology to create lasting, considered work. Todd has been working since 2003 and has 30+ employees in his company.
If we could only 3 graphic design tools, our three tools of choice would be, in order —

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Adobe Illustrator
client

Jocelyn Mozak

CO-FOUNDER / MOZAKDESIGN.COM

Jocelyn Mozak is the founder of Mozak Design, which offers Web Design Solution. Jocelyn has a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. She is very passionate at what she does and that’s what made her an outstanding WordPress designer. In her off time, she spends time with her family.

  • Adobe Photoshop for detailed design
  • Canva for quick and easy
client

Michał Ptaszyński

UI & GRAPHIC DESIGNER / ELPASSION.COM

Michał Ptaszyński is a UI/UX & Graphic Designer at El Passion, which is a web development company which delivers web and mobile apps. Michał completed his post graduate from Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology has been a Designer of web and mobile interfaces for over 8 years.

  • Sketch – for fast UI designing and wireframing on the multiple artboards with incredibly precise pixel control.
  • Adobe Photoshop – for the most powerful functions for photo editing and manipulation
  • BaseCamp – It isn’t a typical tool for graphic designers but without this app project management would be much harder
client

Piotr Kmita

UI/UX DESIGNER / ELPASSION.COM

Piotr Kmita is a UI/UX Designer at El Passion, a web development company which delivers web and mobile apps. Piotr is skilled in Flash animation, logo designing, advertising, art direction and photography. He has great communication skills and has the ability to grasp messages quickly and turn them into meaningful visual designs.

  • Adobe Photoshop for complex bitmap e diting
  • Sketch for handy UI design process
  • InVision for fast prototyping and collaboration with clients
client

Callie Roberson & Ali Palmerson

FOUNDERS / CREATIVEPARC.COM

Callie Roberson and Ali Palmerson founded Creative Parc which crafts strategic brand systems to reflect their clients’ unique stories. Callie has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the Texas A&M University. Ali got her bachelor’s from Washington University in Communication Design & Marketing.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud, with Illustrator, Indesign & Photoshop
  • FontExplorerX Pro – for font organization
  • Sketch – For wireframe and web design
client

Thomas Everingham

STUDIO DIRECTOR / VOLTDESIGN.COM.AU

Thomas Everingham is the Studio Director at VOLT, which is a graphic design studio at Launceston Tasmania, offering solutions and ideas for branding and identity development. Thomas has a BA fine arts degree from National Arts School. He’s also skilled in advertising, brand development and multimedia.

  • Pencil – for concept development nothing beats the fluidity of being able to sketch an idea
  • Adobe Illustrator – the program with the most! While there are some small restrictions around the use of type, generally Illustrator is the best program going and is my 2/3 starting point for work
  • Scalpel with #4 blade – I do quite a bit of “made” work, stenciling, cut-outs, mock-ups etc… nothing beats a good blade for slicing, with a thick spine for scoring. The point on the #4 enables super fine detail to be achieved.
client

Matt Delbridge

FOUNDER / MATTDELBRIDGE.COM

Matt Delbridge works at Google and he is a New York based designer & art director at Google Creative Lab and a teacher at the School of Visual Arts. He studied BFA graphic design at California College of Arts. He is also skilled in logo designing, information design and concept development.

  • Ink and paper
  • Exacto knife
  • Adobe CC
client

Richard Roche

FOUNDER / CASTIRONDESIGN.COM

Richard Roche is the founder of Cast Iron Design, which is an environmentally responsible design studio that is located in Boulder, Colorado. Richard is experienced in creative direction, art direction, frontend development, and copywriting. He is also a three-time Pinewood Derby champion.
We’d have to say a

  • Pocket-sized sketchbook
  • The Creative Cloud suite
  • Google Apps is a must for shared, cloud-based documents and storage
client

Preston D Lee

FOUNDER / MILLO.CO

Preston D Lee is the founder of Millo—where experts blog about the art of building a creative business.
There are quite a few design tools that I rely on to run a successful business. But most of them wouldn’t completely cripple me if I couldn’t use them anymore.
I would however, be pretty lost without

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe CC

Have you ever tried to use the free alternatives? They’re just a pain. It’s well worth the small monthly cost I pay to get Adobe CC. I use it dozens of times every single day.
I’d also be missing something without my computer, Wacom tablet, and a great Pandora station playing in the background.
But as a designer, you quickly learn: it’s not as much about the tools you use as much as how you use them. In fact, sometimes by taking away the drawing tablets and fancy software, your true inner-artist really finds a place to shine.

client

Manoj Tiwari

BUSINESS MARKETING STRATEGIST / TISINDIA.COM

Manoj Tiwari is a business marketing strategist at TISIndia, a digital marketing team that delivers website design, development & digital marketing solutions. Manoj has more than 15 years of experience in website designing and development, online branding and reputation management. He is also an active user of all the social networking sites.
It depends on our requirement, if we are looking for web/mobile work for print. I would suggest these tools:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud – The best tool for every designer, either you are looking for web or print work, Photoshop, Illustratrator & Indesign will help you to get best graphics. With cloud version its effectiveness has gone sky high.
  • Infogram – If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a good infographic could be priceless! Infogram is a “data visualization product” that allows you to turn your data into infographics, charts, and even interactive visualizations.
  • Coreldraw – For high end printing and custom graphic work, I would always recommend corel draw.
client

Carmia Cronjé

FOUNDER / CLEMENTINECREATIVE.CO.ZA

Carmia Cronjé is the owner of Clementine Creative, which is an online printable stationery shop. Carmia is also the designer and blogger of her company. In her blog, she shares all the items and believes that those items will make life prettier. She started blogging at 2011 and was able to connect to many.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud – All of my designs are created using either Photoshop or Illustrator and I wouldn’t be able to live without it!
  • A sketchbook – I keep a sketchbook to sketch out ideas before exploring them on the computer.
  • Adobe Color CC – I like exploring these colour schemes and synching them to my Adobe programs.
client

Sean Berg

FOUNDER / CANHA.NET

Sean Berg is the founder of Canha which does UX, web and logo designing. Sean has over 10 years of experience and has taken up projects from Google and Apple as well. He also worked as a freelancer and has and now has a successful company and an online design school.

  • Pen and paper – I love using these because it gives you the freedom no software does. Sketching on paper makes it easier to try out new ideas. I prefer having blank sheets of paper instead of lines or dotted just because there are no constraints. I also like using a pen instead of a pencil as it gives me the opportunity to make mistakes and see them. Sometimes mistakes can reveal something you didn’t expect and the fact that you can’t erase it makes them easier to find.
  • Bohemian Sketch – A preferred by UI designers everywhere. Mine is full of plugins and I have gigabytes of assets – some downloaded, some created myself. Bringing a project to life there is so much easier than in Photoshop. I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the crowd here.
  • Adobe Comet – Although a closed alpha, I’ve been testing it for a while. They are really on the way to create a serious contender for Sketch. They have some great features and I’m eager to see a final public version in the coming months.
client

James Sanderson

FOUNDER / EVERYDAYSOMETHING.NET

James Sanderson is the founder of Everydaysomething, which is a design studio that offers branding, art direction, illustration, print and digital design. James has a BA (Hons) Graphic Media Communication from Bradford College. He is also skilled in visual communication, typography and brand development.
My day to day tools are,

  • Brain
  • Pencil + notebook
  • Adobe Illustrator (90% of the time)
client

Lauren Pittenger

FOUNDER / LAURENPITTENGER.COM

Lauren Pittenger is the founder of laurenpittenger. She is a passionate web designer and developer, skilled in HTML, CSS, WordPress, and the Adobe Suite. She also volunteers at Girl Develop It and also an instructor at Women’s Coding Collective where she teaches WordPress Basics and JavaScript with jQuery.
If I could only use 3 graphic design tools they would be,

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Paper
  • Pencil
client

Zach Zurn

FOUNDER / ZACHZURN.COM

Zach Zurn is the founder of Zurn which offers custom designed/coded WordPress websites. Graphic design, branding, logos, brand books, html5 ads, animation, 3D rendering. Zach Zurn started to work on getting a steady income flow and all his small sites are created using WordPress, which is easy to set up and manage.
I would say

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • PHP Storm
client

Sean Si

FOUNDER / SEO-HACKER.COM

Sean Si is the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker, which is all about providing the latest information in the SEO industry. Sean Si is an SEO specialist, Growth Hacker, internet marketer, Copywriter and blogger. He is also fluent in Japanese, Chinese, English and Filipino.
If I could only use 3 graphic design tools they would be

  • Definitely Adobe Photoshop. It’s really what we all need. I assume that most people in this interview will also state this.You also have to understand that my background is a digital marketer and not a graphic designer. I write for the SEO Hacker blog and so most of my time is spent on writing than designing. The designs I need are for my articles so the two other tools I use often will be:
  • https://infogr.am/
  • https://buffer.com/pablo

they just make my life so much easier

client

Niels Bosma

FOUNDER / SEOTOOLSFOREXCEL.COM

Sean Si is the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker, which is all about providing the latest information in the SEO industry. Sean Si is an SEO specialist, Growth Hacker, internet marketer, Copywriter and blogger. He is also fluent in Japanese, Chinese, English and Filipino.
If I could only use 3 graphic design tools they would be

  • Definitely Adobe Photoshop. It’s really what we all need. I assume that most people in this interview will also state this.You also have to understand that my background is a digital marketer and not a graphic designer. I write for the SEO Hacker blog and so most of my time is spent on writing than designing. The designs I need are for my articles so the two other tools I use often will be:
  • https://infogr.am/
  • https://buffer.com/pablo

client

Rasso Hilber

CO-FOUNDER / BASICS09.DE/EN

Rasso Hilber is the co-founder of BASICS09 and it is a studio for graphic design in Berlin which was founded in 2005. The studio has also worked for many international clients. He also has experience in visual communication, concept and web development, art direction and typography.
Not surprisingly that would be:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Pen and Paper
  • Our eyes
  • Our ears

client

Dave Schneider

CO-FOUNDER / NINJAOUTREACH.COM

Dave Schneider is the cofounder of NinjaOutreach, which is an all-purpose influencer marketing tool. He has a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University. Dave is quick, responsive, and understands what you’re looking for. He is skilled in social media marketing, advertising, data analysis and risk management.

  • The ones I like are Snappa.io for making blog featured images
  • Paint for just basic editing (I know it’s not fancy but I find it simple to use and quick)
  • UXpin for designing features in our application

client

Jamie Clocherty

FOUNDER / CLOCKWORK-DESIGN.COM

Jamie Clocherty, the founder of Clockwork creative communication Clockwork is the fresh creative design studio in Brackley, Northamptonshire. Their team is made up of carefully handpicked experts that have more than a decade of experience. Jamie is skilled in graphic and web design, creative and art direction, copywriting and photography.
Below are 3 tools we use on a daily basis and couldn’t work without,

  • Color.adobe.com – An awesome online tool to help you choose colours that compliment each other etc.
  • Alamy.com – Good stock photography in essential and Alamy have the best for the budget we have.
  • Dropbox.com – Online storage you can share with files/folders clients and colleagues.

client

Tony Moriello

CREATIVE DIRECTOR / DESIGNGRAFICO.CA

Tony Moriello is the creative director of Designgrafico which is an award winning design agency and has 16 years’ of experience working across a wide variety of industries. He specializes in high-end custom conceptual graphic design, Web, branding and social marketing.
Well everyone is different but can’t live without these:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Dropbox

For some odd reason those seem to satisfy me. Hope that helps

client

Oykun Yilmaz

FOUNDER / OYKUN.COM

Oykun Yilmaz is the founder of Oykun and is the designer for their digital products line. After working as a developer for many years, he wanted to pursue his passion for designing and now has 10 years of experience with digital products.

  • Sketch app – Designing interfaces for any type of digital product.
  • 53 Paper app – Drawing ideas from branding and wireframes on iPhone and iPad
  • Affinity Photo – Photo editing and print design

client

Esteban Oliva

FOUNDER / ESTEBANOLIVA.COM

Esteban Oliva, a Senior Level graphic designer has over 14 years of experience in creating captivating imagery for the World Wide Web. He has his own website which showcases most of his work. It has all sorts of vivid imagery from posters, to print media, and brochures and you should check it out.
If I could use only 3 graphic design tools? Would be in this order,

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Sketch

client

Jessica Karle

FOUNDER / JESSICAKARLE.COM

A designer and author, Jessica Karle is from Brooklyn, New York. She works as the Lead Product Designer for Paperless Post where she is responsible for online product experience and on mobile devices. She currently leads the events team of the company and works on the scope, design and build features across products.
Here you go,

  • Definitely a mouse. I don’t even need a Wacom, a simple Apple mouse will do. I need the mouse to control finer vector interactions, the quickly execute the always necessary double-click to find layers within layers, and to manage my millions of open tabs.
  • inDesign for print, Sketch for web. There is no better program for detailed typography and editorial design than inDesign. I recently adopted Sketch into my workflow. I was hesitant to leave Photoshop behind but as soon as I made the switch I think my process was instantly 3x faster and my computer certainly loves me more—no more scratch disk warnings!
  • My pencil of choice is the Paper Mate Sharpwriter mechanical pencil for sketching and definitely any hand lettering or illustration sketches. For pens I like the Micron set, specifically the .5 or the .8 thickness.

client

M. Danish

CEO/CO-FOUNDER / GRAPHICDESIGNO.COM

Danish is the CEO/Founder of Graphic Designo, an online graphic design company that has a lot of services on offer besides graphic designing like 2D and 3Danimation, print media, clothes printing, poster designing, logo designing, and quality web designing services to name a few. They have an impressive looking website as well.
If we wanna use only three graphic design tools then we will prefer,

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign

Why Photoshop – Generally Photoshop is a photo editing tool not a graphic designing tool, but its have those functions which you can’t find in any other software. A surprising fact is that we know a very good graphic designer which work with only Photoshop, and when remaining graphic designing tools was not famous designer was use Photoshop for every work.

Why Illustrator – Illustrator is a very common software to create vector graphics, and in our company we prefer those designers who knows illustrator very well, further you can find more software but according to us illustrator is best to create vector graphics (We provide vector output to our clients, so Adobe illustrator is a heart of our tools).

Why InDesign – Our main service is Printable Graphic Designing (stationary, brochure, catalog, etc.) and InDesign is the best software to create graphics for printing. If we create graphic designs with Photoshop and illustrator, then we need InDesign to make a best output usable file.

client

Bráulio Amado

FOUNDER / BRAULIOAMADO.NET

An Art Director, Designer/Illustrator at Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, Braulio Amado has worked with notable big names like Pentagram NY, held office as a director of the Portuguese newspaper PEDAL and was the creative director of Arquitectura21, also from Portugal. His website has several examples of his out-of-the-box thinking.
So my tools would be,

  • A pencil (and paper)
  • A scanner
  • Adobe Photoshop

client

Jane Kathryn Teo

FOUNDER / JANEKATHRYNTEO.COM

Jane Kathryn Teo has multiple talents that are not immediately apparent when you look at the simple website. Jane can either act as just a designer, throwing around various fascinating ideas at your website or can get under the hood and work on your page’s engine. The choice is yours.
It would be,

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Pen and Paper

I had some experiences where the design I have in my brain doesn’t translate well when I do it in photoshop/illustrator, so drawing it on paper helps me visualize what my end result would be.

Also, I think drawing it on paper helps me appreciate my design more.

Photoshop, I believe you can do everything in it, from logo design to UI/UX to animation, it’s like the designer’s best friend.

The other best friend would be Illustrator, I think it’s best suited for designs that require precision and detail.

client

Paresh Khatri

FOUNDER / THEKPDESIGNS.COM

With an insatiable passion for making new things that grab attention, Paresh Khatri,a web/UI/UX designer, heads KPDesigns which he showcases all of his impressive designs in various avenues including clean and impressive looking UX prototypes. From social media campaign posters to entire websites, he has done it all.
So those 3 tools will be,

  • Notepad (for paper prototyping)
  • Sketch
  • Invisionapp
client

Charlie Isslander

FOUNDER / CHARLIEISSLANDER.COM

Charlie Isslander takes inspiration from his Austrian, German and Croatian descent and produces striking work. Possessing over 6 years of experience in the field. Custom work is his niche and he excels at branding, web design, UI/UX design, print design and any type offline design. He has worked together with all types of clients.
If I should use only 3 graphic design tools at all, it will be

  • Adobe Photoshop for it’s ability to enhance photos and create more than just pixel perfect graphics
  • Sketch, for it’s pure UI/UX focus, that helps users to be focused with no tools that will distract them, just a bare bone Sketch
  • Adobe Illustrator, the best vector based graphic design tool you can get and need.
client

Giang Nguyen

FOUNDER / GIANGNGUYENDESIGN.COM

Giang Nguyen hails from Saigon, Vietnam. He is a design lecturer and considers himself a multidisciplinary designer not averse to working in different domains or methodologies. He’s also the creative director at The Lab. He works on creating brand identities, print graphics, UX/UI and typefaces.

  • A Sketchbook (& a nice pen) – I always start with sketching first, albeit my sketches aren’t that nice.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – Mostly Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign.
  • Font Lab – For typeface design & localization.
client

Andrew Herndon

GRAPHIC DESIGNER & DIGITAL ARTIST / HELLOANDREW.CO

Andrew Herndon aims to go completely against traditional design cues and comes up with a design ethos that is uniquely his. His “anti-corporation” approach means that he works without boundaries or limits and his website reflects the same quirky style that he is known for. His specialties include logo designs, typeface designs and cover art.

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • My cell phone for unique apps
client

Joel Grant

CREATIVE DIRECTOR & FOUNDER / ONEOUTCREATIVE.COM.AU

Creative director/ Founder of OneOutCreative, Joel Grant has created a graphic design powerhouse. They specialize in all things graphic design, marketing and webpages. Based in Brisbane, Australia, OneOut have helped build brands for a lot of local businesses and international as well.

  • 27 inch iMac with all the bells and whistles – It may seem like an obvious pick, but as graphic designers, it’s imperative to have a fast, powerful computer with a large screen to work on. Without a computer, we have no job! The iMac, makes life easy with its simplistic user experience and good looks.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – By far the most important to create the design tasks we do on a day-to-day basis. Our favourite apps in the suite are Adobe Illustrator (for logos, illustrations and small flyer / brochure designs), InDesign for brochures and large format jobs and Photoshop to make all the images look amazing! Adobe Kuler is a nifty tool too which makes choosing colour palettes easy.
  • Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet – The ordinary Mac mouse doesn’t cut it. It’s a killer for RSI and arthritis in the wrists. The Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet is a fantastic mouse replacement which not only saves your wrists from cramping and getting sore, but it is a great tool for sketching and for quick drag, drop and click movements. It’s odd to use at the start, but once you start, you’ll never use a mouse again!

The above may be the most basic tools known to designers, but it’s the best for us to deliver the outstanding results our clients’ deserve.

client

Ivy Mukherjee

FREELANCER / BEHANCE.NET/JELLYIVY

Ivy Mukherjee hails from Gurgaon, India. Her designs are off-beat and quirky, they come with typical spice associate with the sub-continent. She currently works as a visual, UI and product designer at GROFERS. Her work has been featured on a number of newspapers and magazines. Ivy’s poster and illustrations have the unmistakable character of the land.
those design tools would be,

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Sketch
  • Medium app (not a graphic tool obviously, but you will learn from any and every aspect to become a better person each day)
client

Kyle Courtright

FOUNDER/DESIGNER / COURTRIGHTDESIGN.COM

Kyle Courtright founded and currently heads Courtright Design. His determination, talent and drive towards excellence are quite evident and it permeates within the website as well. Their roster of satisfied customers is huge and has clients from all niches and scopes. His designs are characterized by strong lines and bold colors.

  • Logo Inspiration Generator Tool – This (free) tool packs quite the punch. Simply set your parameters (IE: Creative, blue, minimalist, etc) and the tool will do the rest. It will auto-generate links to some of the very best logos based off the specific criteria you set. I created this tool to be an easy-to-use resource in helping you find specific, highly targeted logo design inspiration. But please don’t take my word for it on how cool it is…ask the 4,000 designers and entrepreneurs who’ve shared it out on social media in just over a year. I can’t live without this one–definitely worth a look. http://www.courtrightdesign.com/logo-design-inspiration-generator-tool/
  • Coolors – If you’re needing help finding that perfect color scheme for your design project, Coolers is your last stop. Its minimalist, user-friendly interface allows you to quickly test and tweak different color palettes. You can even browse through thousands of other user’s saved color schemes to give you a bit more inspiration. Once you have your color scheme, just export out a pdf, png, svg, and you’re good to go–100% free to use! https://coolors.co/app/
  • WhatTheFont! – Ever come across a font and wish you knew the name of it? With WhatTheFont, all you need to do is take a picture or screen shot of a word of text. This tool will actually recognize each character, then you can confirm each character is correct. Then, submit everything and several possible font names will generate as a result. This free resource has helped me out so many times I can’t even count. https://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/
client

John Calabro

DIRECTOR / THEVIEWFROMHERE.COM.AU

John Calabro is the director of the quirkily named design studio, The View From Here. Based out of Traralgon, Australia, they service clients across the length and breadth of the continent. Their clean, simplistic website design hides emotive and complex imagery which they are known for. They specialize in all things design from branding to website design.

that’s a no brainer.

  • Pen
  • Notepad
  • Wikipedia

Anytime I’ve ever done anything of quality or value, it’s come from taking the time to think the problem over, sketch out ideas and thoughts, and develop them out of the software. Thinking the problem through and developing the concept always seems to flow better after good research, and I couldn’t count how many times I’ve found myself lost in a world of Wikipedia windows learning about my subject matter to get a holistic perspective.

client

Chris O’Neil

FOUNDER / SASSENDESIGN.COM.AU

Chris O’Neil, an experienced graphic designer founded Sassen Design. They are a boutique graphic design studio based in Melbourne, Australia. They’ve worked with small and medium businesses, government, hotels all classes of clients in a variety of niches. You can get more info from their well-designed website.

  • Adobe InDesign
  • iMac
  • Sketchpad

client

Ivor Noyek

FOUNDER / IVORNOYEK.COM

Ivor Noyek’s website hosts a mind-boggling variety of designs and imagery.His designs are characterized by contrasting colors and bold design. Currently Senior Art Director at ROAR – A PublicisGroupe Solution, Ivor is a New York City based multidisciplinary creative from Co.Cork, Ireland specializing in Art Direction & Graphic Design for both digital & print.

  • The WorldWideWeb for finding inspiration
  • Sketchbook & pencil. It’s faster to get ideas down on paper in the flow before you go anywhere near a computer (that’s two I know but one goes hand-in-hand with the other).
  • Adobe Creative Cloud

client

Alexandra Lash

FOUNDER / LASH.DESIGN

Alexandra Lash a graduate of Tyler School of Art’s Graphic and Interactive Design program. She currently works as a graphic designer at Nuixhaving previously worked as a designer and front-end developer at Dyad Communications. Her website has a lot of understated colors and muted hues used to good effect.

I use,

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Sketch
  • Sketchbooks

client

Daniel Edwards

FOUNDER & LEAD DESIGNER / MINDCONTROLINDUSTRIES.COM

Daniel Edwards is the founder and design lead of this very stylistic and aptly named Mind Control Industries. They’re a full service media design studio offering one-of-a-kind print, web, mobile and identity creations. Basically, they have their fingers in anything that has to do with design and photography.

Any wanting to learn design needs only 3 things, in my opinion.

  • A pencil. I like the automatic kind with the big spongy grips. Feels nice. Ergonomic. Squishy.
  • A drawing pad. The cheaper the better.
  • And lastly, some device with which you can explore the internet. Here’s the thing: all the tools in the world don’t matter. The best software, Wacom tablets, Apple Pens, all the gadgets in the world don’t matter. Katsushika Hokusai was perfecting compositional balance using wood and ink 130 years before the first computer was invented.

You have the vast wealth of human knowledge on your cell phone, the entirety of everything we know as a species, and you use it to look at pictures of cats.

Read. Explore. Saturate your optic nerves in so much design that you can stand it any more. And then do it again the next day. And the day after that. Draw, trace, copy fonts, copy compositional structures, take notes, write down quotes. Read about the history of lithography. Tattoo art. Graffiti. Oil painting. Everything.

Become an observer first, and all things will follow.

client

Natu Chirva

FOUNDER / CHIRVA.COM

Natu Chirva is a Niagara based multimedia designer who has built an impressive portfolio which is showcased here. It has everything from flash-based banners, flyer designs, posters, game design work and everything else.

I’d recommend these 3 tools,

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Wacom
  • DSLR Camera

client

Paul Alderson

FOUNDER / WONDERSTUFF.CO

Wonderstuff is a one-stop shop for your graphical, branding and consulting services which was founded by Paul Alderson. They’ve been working with start-ups and SME’s across the UK for close to a decade on design projects of all scopes. Their website hints at their professional approach and attitude to getting things done.

  • Pencil and Paper – still the quickest way to explore and communicate ideas.
  • Adobe Illustrator – from simple to complex, illustrations, page layouts, and interface design. Illustrator covers a lot of bases.
  • Pinterest – a fast way to be inspired, build moodp board and share approaches and research

client

Gemma Mahoney

FOUNDER / GEMMAMAHONEY.COM

Gemma Mahoney is a Melbourne based artist and graphic designer who is available for freelance or collaborative work. She is currently the Creative Director, Graphic Designer and Co-Runner of Accidental Discharge Magazine. Her website also has a shop from where you can buy various art pieces.

  • Layer Mask – I would have to say photoshops layer mask tool is my ultimate favourite.
  • Paragraph Styles – This makes type setting and layout design simple and easy.
  • Snap to grid – I love the ease of being about to simply align things.

client

Enzo Li Volti

CO-FOUNDER, CREATIVE DIRECTOR & UI/UX DESIGNER / YEBOCREATIVE.COM

Enzo Li Volti is the co-founder, creative director and UI/UX designerof Yebo Creative. Their website displays their various website designs and PSD templates.

As a UI/UX designer, the world of tools around me is constantly changing, but right now the 3 i can’t live without are for sure

  • Sketch
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Principle

Sketch is the non-plus-ultra to design apps, while to me Photoshop is still the king tool to design a masterpiece website (mostly if is a showcase-like website). Combining Principle to this two tools makes you design like-a-boss, because design is how it works and a good UI/UX designer must be interaction-oriented.

client

Harley Jackman

FOUNDER / HARLEYJACKMAN.COM

Harley Jackman is an experienced graphic designer based out of Melbourne, Australia. He specializes in branding and other creative projects. He is available to hire if you need high quality freelance work done. You can find his email on the website.

  • Adobe Illustrator, InDesign & Photoshop. Whilst software doesn’t make a good designer, it certainly allows everyone the opportunity to make good work.
  • Behance. Whilst a fantastic platform for showcasing my own work, I also use it as a great inspiration tool. Many of my creative ideas have been sparked just by looking around on Behance.
  • A good pencil and sketch pad. Getting down ideas as quick as possible, no better way than with a pencil and paper.

client

Philip Johnson

FOUNDER / PHILIPJOHNSON.COM

Philip Johnson is a Mid-Western-bred freelance graphic designer relocated to NYC. He has worked with the likes of the Google Creative Lab, Sagmeister& Walsh, Pepsi, Viacom, STORY, Red Antler, Goldman Sachs, Armani Exchange to name a few. His website is characterized by unique and bold designs which are innovative at the same time.

  • Pen & Paper – This is actually less specific to pen and paper and more to whatever medium you find that supports free, uninhibited thought. For me, the initial concept-development phase of projects has become the one I most look forward to. Make a little space for yourself (I’ve discovered that early mornings produce the best results for me), sit with your materials of choice and play around. There aren’t too many occasions where you can be completely uncensored, nonsensical and spontaneous. Enjoy it.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – It would be impossible to overlook this one. For better or worse, I practically live in these programs. I work primarily in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, depending on the type of project I’m working on. Sketch is a fantastic UI and UX design program, as well, though my projects don’t call for it as often. It’s always important to remember that, as powerful as these programs are, they can often be restrictive to the freeform ideation that can produce the most novel concepts.

client

Christopher Rogers

FOUNDER / CHRISTOPHERJROGERS.COM

Christopher Rogersis a Designer and Art Director in New York City. Working previously as a Senior Designer at Mother Design, he currently leads the creative team at The Shop at Mother, New York. His website is characterized by contrasts and understated backgrounds which make his work really pop out.

I love using the computer as a tool for efficiency and precision, but I also like to work a little human quality into designs, so I would say

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Photocopier / Printer
  • Camera Phone

client

Olivia Lucas

FOUNDER / OLIVIANLUCAS.COM

An expert UX/UI designer currently working at GOBE, Olivia Lucas considers herself a techie. After completion of her 12 week live course on UX, she’s been hooked on it ever since and has gotten really good at it. Her website design is characterized by subtle designs and colors.

  • Sketch – for all my UX/UI work
  • Adobe Illustrator – for iconography
  • Camera Phone

Takeways from the expert roundup

First off, a round of applause for the experts who took the effort to share their valuable insights with us! Graphic design being the vast ocean it is today, it certainly helps to have a few pointers by ways of tips and tools used by design mavens to create stunning imagery that captivates and converts. Let’s take a look at the most common responses by the experts.

Software

  • Adobe Creative Suite

    Well, this was hardly surprising to be honest. An overwhelming number of people of people use Adobe’s suite of creative tools and for good reason. Adobe has always been innovating through their various iterations over the years and have a wide range of different applications that cater to every facet of creative thought. Couple this to rock-solid performance across the most common platforms and it’s easy to see why a lot of people prefer it.

    The most used Adobe tools in no particular order are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign form the crux. Adobe Creative Cloud also is pretty important for people who work as a part of a huge team. It automatically syncs and stores iterations and updates so you can keep track of them easier.

  • Sketch for Mac

    Coming a close second, Sketch for Mac has been a revelation for most graphic designers and comes highly recommended by the experts. Designers like it for its slick and clean user interface coupled with perfect control of pixels. Some experts preferred Sketch to InDesign for publishing content on the web. This might be because of the tight integration between Mac hardware and software.

    Most designers in the roundup feel that Sketch’s simple UI belies its powerful features.

Hardware

  • Paper & Pencil

    Most expert graphic designers here still like to get the first drafts out via the good ol’ doodling method. Actually, when it comes to hardware, a lot of people prefer this to other advanced paraphernalia. For most, this is the most fluid method to get an idea out of their head.Your sketchbook eventually ends up as a huge repository for design ideas.

    I’m inclined to agree them on this! Who doesn’t like the feeling of graphite on a fresh sheet of paper?

  • Mouse

    I think this is self-explanatory.

  • Mobile Phone

    Give you mobility and power to get things on to some sort of medium almost immediately. Coupled with mobile apps, it becomes a really powerful ally for ad hoc publishing needs.

Honorable Mentions

  • Corel Draw

    Still available and still competitive. People aren’t ready to give up on it just yet because of its feature-set.

  • Coolors

    If you are stuck at creating an attractive color scheme, this app can help you out. It has hundreds of themes and color combos plus it gives you the freedom to tweak already available ones.

  • What The Font

    If you need to find that good looking font you saw on an e-card which you’d like to use on a website design for your client.

  • Mobile Image Editing Apps

    Some people prefer the ultra-portability of their mobile phone which lets them work on a draft even if they’re on the subway ride home.

Honorable Mentions

  • Scalpel / Knife

    For when you need to cut and slice paper or other materials on your way to different ideas.

  • Graphic Tablets

    Some designers prefer the feel of a pen on a computer and swear by it. Graphic tablets have gotten extremely sophisticated and simulate every aspect of drawing freehand.

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