Adobe Creative Suite

Adobe Creative Suite

If you are going to make money in this business you are going to need to master some of the adobe creative suite. Each software kind of fills a niche so find which one is best for you.

The way the adobe software works now that there is the creative cloud – You do not pay for a physical copy of the software, you pay for a month to month license. This can be expensive. If you work freelance, try to add this to your business costs and include it in your rates to make sure you come out on top. You don’t really just pay for one, you pay for access to all of them. Like it or not this is how it works. An individual license is upwards of $50 a month or more so keep that in mind. If you have several designers or you work for a non profit you may be able to get a group license. If you have a university email address creative cloud is cheaper. Also your employer will likely pay for this software so be sure to get a position where you can get this covered.

  • Illustrator
    • This is primarily for print and logo design. It is a vector based software. Sometimes the controls can be tricky especially if you are coming from photoshop. Don’t hesitate to check out lynda.com to get better at this.
  • Photoshop
    • Photoshop is the foundation of photo editing and also web based graphic design. You will need to have an advanced knowledge of this software to create interesting user experiences. There are many patterns, gradients, brushes and ui libraries that you can download, but you will still need to learn how to master the advanced techniques for yourself.
  • In Design
    • This is a print graphic design software. It is ideal for doing page layouts for multi page documents
  • Dreamweaver
    • This is a WYSIWYG software which means What You See Is What You Get. It allows you to design web pages, but is not as easy to use as adobe muse for example. It also has code editing capabilities. Many people look down on dreamweaver because it is not a hardcore coding software but it is my preferred text editor to this day. Dreamweaver has menus where you can select all of the css elements, which is incredibly useful because you can learn what is out there and how to use it. It can help you learn coding syntax.
  • Fireworks
    • This is another graphic design software that is both vector and pixel based. It is not as popular for employers but I started on this software and it has a lot of advantages working with vectors and slicing out web pages.
  • Flash
    • A web animation software, Flash actually has its own programming language called action script that you can learn if you want to be an expert. Flash can give you the freedom to do some amazing animation and interactive websites, but keep in mind that apple mobile does not support flash. Because of this so much of the internet is moving away from flash. There is still a niche for it, but it is often replaced with HTML 5 animation of some sort.

Set Up and Equipment

If you are going to work in Graphic Design or Web Design you are going to need a good computer. Now it is in no way a requirement to get a Mac computer and I’m not here to start the debate. It has been my experience, over 10 years making money in this business, that a mac computer is ideal for working with the adobe software. The font rendering is more crisp and real to what you will be seeing in print for example, also the font management software built into the operating system has its advantage. Just as Microsoft Word might hiccup when you are using it on a mac, I find that the Adobe Creative suite can be sluggish on a PC. Figure out what is best for your needs. I recommend a mac.

Now that said I’m also a very cheap person so I always buy refurbished. Go to the apple store and look in the footer of the page for the refurbished mac computers they will be cheaper. Even the bottom of the line is fast enough as long as ¬†you are not doing any video rendering. If you are doing animation or video rendering get a beefier computer.

A mac mini or macbook air will be sufficient. I have a 27 inch imac. I find this setup to be ideal. Find your work set up.