Working from home has become a trend since the Covid-19 outbreak. Actually, for graphic designers, it’s super doable when you have the right software tools.
Well, first of all, I hope that you have a good computer to support your workflow. That’s the NUMBER ONE most important thing you need for working from home as a graphic designer.
Now, you can have as many fancy tools as high-quality soundproof headphones, Wacom tablets, a couple of big monitors, the most essential part is the creative software.
So in this article, I’ll share with you seven essential software tools that I find super helpful as a freelance graphic designer.
Whether you are working from home or in your vacation stay, these tools can help you get your work done perfectly!
Which ones are you using?
Essential Tools for Graphic Designers
I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard of some of the awesome tools below, but it’s always a good idea to explore your options and see which ones work best. Among these essential tools, the most important is no doubt, creative software.
1. Creative Software
Using the best graphic design software is essential for converting your ideas into real world practical use. Depending on your workflow and type of project you do, choose the software that has the best features for your field.
Can’t talk about creative software without mentioning Adobe Creative Cloud. What I like the most about Adobe programs is that all apps are integratable.
You probably already heard of the most famous Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Photoshop is a powerful image editing tool, Illustrator is great for making vector graphics, and InDesign is probably the best option for publication designs. These programs run perfectly on Mac and Windows. If you can save quite a bit if you decide to get the suite of Creative Cloud.
Oh, forgot to mention CorelDraw, which is also an awesome tool for graphic designers. Some designers like CorelDraw better for perspective designs.
If you’re looking for a quick design, there are some easy to use and free online design tools like Canva, which has nice templates and images that you can use for your design. If you own an iPad, doing illustrations using Procreate is probably the best option.
2. Portfolio Maker
Ok, maybe you don’t need a portfolio right now if you’re working as an in-house graphic designer for a company. But an outstanding portfolio is essential for graphic designers who work as freelancers, the real “work from home” group, not only because of the Covid situation.
Your portfolio shows your style and personality, and that’s what businesses look for when they search for freelance designers. Basically, it determines if you could get work (equals MONEY) or not.
3. Color Scheme Generator
Color! Being one of the common elements of a good design, usually takes a while to get along with. I mean, you can’t always find the perfect color combination, so it takes time to explore and be sensitive to colors.
Even though I’ve been doing graphic design for almost ten years, I still need to use color guides or color generators from time to time. Not that I’m not being creative, it’s just, if there’s a convenient tool that gives you nice ideas and suggestions, why not? Ideas are always welcome as references.
4. Cloud Storage & File Sharing
When you work remotely you are expecting a lot of file sharings and you know, design files are LARGE! Yes, in the office you probably all have external hard drives, but it’s impossible to pass the drive to your colleague or clients from home.
That’s why having sufficient cloud storage and a data backup tool that supports large file transfer is super important. Sending by email? Forget it.
If you’re using Adobe software, you can save your work directly on Adobe Creative Cloud. Otherwise, Google Drive and DropBox are pretty good options too, and you can share the large design file with others.
5. Presentation Tools
Presenting your creative work to your clients or working on the same design project with your team, you’d probably want a tool that allows them to comment and edit.
Prezi really? Yes, you probably have already used it for your presentations in college, but actually it works pretty well for showing your graphic design work as well.
You can have a video presentation using Prezi Video, which allows you to interact with your client or your team.
If you’re using Google Drive for work already then Google Slides is not a bad option. It works pretty well for presentations and it’s easy to share your work with others, make comments and edits. It’s an awesome tool for remote team collaboration.
6. Productivity & Time Management
I would say the biggest challenge of working from home is productivity and time management. If you’re new to this (the work from home culture), you might struggle a bit in the beginning.
When you have multiple tasks to do, it’s important to make a to-do list, set priority, and keep track of how much time you need for each task. Your brain can’t always remember every single detail, that’s why productivity tools are important.
7. Getting Ideas
If you’re getting stuck or looking for creative ideas and inspiration, it’s a good idea to take a break and explore what other designers are doing on the same topic. There are many platforms where you can find inspiration like Pinterest and Behance.
Again, ideas are always welcome! You can take inspiration from others and create your own unique design. That’s how we all started learning.
Whether you’re working from home because of the pandemic or trying to be a freelance designer, you need the right tools! The seven essential software tools should make your graphic design work easier and more efficient.
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