You’ve decided you want to start your own graphics design business, and now you are faced with different paths to take to reach your goals. Deciding on a software package to use for your designs doesn’t have to be a big hurdle for you. There are some great options out there no matter what your budget is that will help you bring your design visions to life.
What will your designs primarily encompass? Will you be doing print work for your clients, such as business brochures, business cards, etc.? Will your focus be primarily on online design for company logos, web design, etc.? The kind of designing you are planning to do could have a bearing on which software program you choose, but in reality most of them will be great for all of the above. Specializing in one area will help you get a solid reputation in one area of design, but branching out to different areas will maximize your potential for profit. Let’s take a brief look at a few of the programs available and their approximate cost.
1. Photoshop – Most everyone has heard of this program, but many people think it’s just for manipulating and editing photos. Well it is much more than that. Did you know you can upload video to Photoshop and edit it? Most people don’t realize the power of this program. You can design anything from t-shirts to logos using Photoshop’s full featured array of tools. The one thing Photoshop does the best, however, is still photos. Photoshop uses pixel based images, and if you needed to enlarge a pixel based image you will see a blur effect. If you are planning to do a lot of images that you need in different sizes Photoshop may not be the program to go with. It is currently priced at $699, but if you do some shopping you can save a little. Also, Adobe has a student discount available you could take advantage of to save a bunch. It doesn’t matter if you are a student or if you have a child who is in college, high school, middle school, or elementary, as long as you can prove it you qualify for the education discount.
2. Illustrator – Adobe Illustrator uses vector images which can be re-sized with no loss of definition. It is much better to use Illustrator if a client needs a logo or image in varying sizes. It has a similar layout to Photoshop but they are much different programs. Illustrator, like Photoshop, can be a little intimidating to the new user, and very few people use every feature in either program. Illustrator is great for t-shirt design, web graphics, and does fantastic with print graphics thanks to the ability to use the CMYK color spectrum. Adobe Illustrator is similarly priced to Photoshop currently at $599, and the education discount could be applied to this program as well.
3. Adobe Web Premium – The Adobe Web Premium suite offers Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver (website design program) and many other powerful programs grouped together in a massive package. This runs around $1500 – $1700 but you can again apply the education discount and get this product for around $699!
4. CorelDRAW – CorelDRAW is a less expensive alternative to Photoshop and Illustrator. It is a full featured design program just like Adobe’s products, but priced less at around $369.
5. GIMP – GIMP is quickly gaining in popularity not only for its powerful editing features but because it is an Open Source Program. What that means to you is it’s totally FREE!
I would recommend downloading trial versions of Adobe’s products and trying them out to see what the most expensive and powerful options offer. If you were to then try CorelDRAW or GIMP you could see which features are absent and if you even need those to complete your designs. All of these programs have numerous tutorials online available for training, so whichever one you choose you will have plenty of support to learn the program. There are plenty of great, low-cost options available for you in graphic design programs.
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