It’s been a little while since I posted to this blog. As I was going through each stage of the building a blog process and digging deeper into my why, niche and target audience I realised the blog wasn’t heading in the direction I truly wanted.
A few months on, and several website and brand refreshes later and I’m so much clearer on my vision for my brand and for this blog.
This clearer vision heavily focuses on graphic design. In particular digital design.
As a result, I have invested in an iPad and spent countless hours practising my design skills using several different design tools.
I read recently that original content (as opposed to stock photography and overused templates) are 7x more likely to convert. With this in mind, I have tried to avoid using tools like Canva to create my designs and instead, I have been refreshing my knowledge on professional adobe design tools as well as getting to grips with some drawing apps on the iPad.
Here are my thoughts on the top 3 design tools I have been using.
A graphic designers essential, Adobe Illustrator is something every professional designer will be using and that many of you will have heard of.
Adobe Illustrator can be purchased on an individual subscription or as part of a package with other adobe software. I have a creative cloud subscription which gives me access to all the adobe apps for multiple devices. I pay about £30 a month for my subscription, but I know this will go up when my year is up.
For that £30, I get access to every single app and app update that’s available. It’s quite a collection of software, which is useful for graphic design, video editing, animation, photo editing and more.
Adobe Illustrator, in particular, can be used for most design tasks but isn’t designed for photo editing. With Illustrator you can create vector graphics.
Vectors are scalable designs. They are made using lines and shapes rather than pixels. Photographs are made up of pixels, you can only stretch them so far before they look blurry. With vectors you can scale them to the size of a building and more and the quality will not be compromised.
This is the software of choice for many designers particularly logo designers. I used it a lot as a web designer when I worked for the marketing agency. I created a lot of branded content for the company and loved using illustrator for my designs.
Having never had any formal training on illustrator I have loved going back to the basics and learning how to properly use some of the tools and shortcuts. I have created a few graphics for my Instagram account and my new website design using the software.
If you can afford the monthly investment and have time to spend on getting to know the different tricks and tools Adobe Illustrator is well worth the investment for designers and for people wanting to up-level their branding and social media content.
Another well-known giant in the design world. Used a lot by designers and illustrators to create beautiful digital artwork and animations.
It wasn’t the first design app I downloaded for my iPad. In fact, I started with, the next in this list, Adobe Fresco as it was included in my subscription. I was determined not to spend more money but the Procreate hype drew me in.
At only £9.99 for a lifetime of updates and some awesome features, I think it’s a steal.
With a pretty intuitive interface and so many tutorials online it’s relatively easy to pick up. Procreate offers drawing and animation tools. The range of brushes included in the initial download is enough to create some awesome designs and with a bit of Google searching, you can find a few more for free. But as a super popular app, there are many options to buy different brushes online too.
I love Procreate, I think it’s easy and fun to use. The range of options makes for endless hours of sketching, colouring and animating. For £9.99 you can’t go wrong with Procreate.
Although you can create using large canvas sizes there is not the option to create vector drawings using this software. I have seen other designers drawing in Procreate and then using Adobe Illustrator to turn their designs into vectors. This is where my next tool comes in.
One of the lesser talked about iPad apps and one of the Adobe collection, Fresco is an iPad drawing app that offers some cool features.
If you’re familiar with Adobe software then Fresco is pretty easy to pick up. If you’re used to Procreate, finding your way around might feel a little less intuitive. I currently switch between the two and it takes a bit of adjusting each time.
Fresco offers a similar experience, in general, to Procreate with drawing and colouring tools using brushes. As its part of the Adobe family, it links seamlessly with your library of saved colours which is great when working on projects between iPad and desktop tools.
Although Fresco does not have animation tools it does have the option to create vector graphics. You can save a graphic created using vector brushes as a pdf, which you can then open in Illustrator and manipulate as you would any other vector element.
I’m fortunate to have the Adobe subscription so Fresco is included however it’s the price of the app as a stand-alone product which puts most people off giving it a go. For $9.99 a month you get access to the tool and updates, which compared to the same one-off fee for Procreate is quite a lot of money.
If you already have the Adobe subscription I would definitely give it a go. Try out the watercolour brush tool, you will love it! If you don’t have the subscription I would stick with Procreate as your iPad drawing tool.
To Sum Up
So there you have it. Those are the 3 design tools I am loving right now and using the most. I say ‘right now’ because, as I finally get around to writing this article, I have just received an email to say that Adobe Illustrator for iPad is available for preorder. You can bet I will be giving this new tool a thorough test drive when it comes out. So watch this space for my first thoughts and a review of the latest Adobe Tool.
If you have liked some of the original work you have seen in this post and would like to find out more about how I can help you create graphics that stand out online, find out how you can work with me here or get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.