Graphic design is a discipline that has long evolved from the caveman times, days of the printing press then to the archaic but still traditional colouring to the current digital world that revolutionised marketing, media, branding and print sectors. It actually existed long before software and tools like Photoshop and Illustrator.
Cuneiform resembles text a little bit like what you may have seen in ancient Egyptian style movies (think The Mummy), but the earliest system of actual writing, was used in a number of languages between the 34C. B.C.E. through the 1st century C.E. These early forms of writing were essentially pictographs, symbols that had meaning through a represented object. Its distinctive wedge form was the result of pressing the blunt end of a reed stylus into the mold of raw wet clay tablets thereby producing text.
You may even go beyond this period and trace graphic design roots to caveman times. History has shown us that the first paintings were cave paintings where ancient peoples decorated walls of protected caves with paint made from charcoal mixed with spit or animal fat. For any graphic design historians among us, you may be interested to know that the pigments stuck to the wall in the caves as the fat became trapped in the porous wall binding the fat which then dried and adhered the pigment to the wall.
We no longer live in the 1440s where you could argue graphic design had really begun shortly after the invention of the printing press. With the advent of the printing press in Europe, companies were able to recreate text, art and design on a large scale, and for relatively inexpensive running costs.
What is modern graphic design?
To understand current software for graphic design it is useful to address what actually is modern graphic design? The term is referred to as print design like posters, book covers, magazine layouts, advertisements, package design, as well as logo and branding. Graphic design is generally accepted to be the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.
Graphic designers work with both text and images. They often select the type, font, size, colour, and line length of headlines, headings, and text. Graphic designers also decide how images and text will go together in print or on a webpage, including how much space each will have. When using text in layouts, graphic designers collaborate with writers, who choose the words and decide whether the words will be put into paragraphs, lists, or tables. Through the use of images, text, and colour, graphic designers may transform data into visual graphics and diagrams to make complex ideas more accessible.
To learn more about what graphic design is and why it is important read our article here.
At Blue Sky Graphics we start teaching every one of our courses by explaining to our students that graphic design communicates certain ideas or messages in a visual manner. These visuals can be as uncomplicated as a basic business logo, or as sophisticated as page layouts on a website. Graphic design can be used by companies to promote and sell products through advertising, by websites to convey complicated information in a clear way through infographics, or by businesses to develop an identity through branding, among other things. Every communication objective is unique and must be different.
In today’s age, graphic design programmes have come a long way from cave walls and modern software allows users to engage with specialist creative software such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator and immerse themselves into a challenging yet creative environment.
So what are the best graphic design programmes?
With the rise of so many online businesses and start-ups as well as other e-commerce companies all of whom are wishing to compete in the international and global market it is fundamental that graphic designers are up to speed with the latest trend for their clients.
There are various brands of software some of which are better than others, but often there is specific software for specific tasks. To make a comparison it is useful to know that certain software is better for vectors and drawing while other software is designed for niche things like touching up or editing photography.
In order to create some especially aesthetically beautiful and pleasing designs that speak to an audience or whether you are looking to study graphic design as a complete beginner or to brush up on your existing skills, it is important to at least understand the names of the different software available to graphic designers.
Adobe Illustrator is definitely one of the most important software from the standing vectors and being able to edit and draw. Instead of using bitmap images to store data, this program used algorithms to draw shapes. That is why the vector graphics created within Illustrator is able to be scaled to any size without losing quality or overall resolution.
Adobe Illustrator is the industry standards standard and allows you to create everything from logos to sophisticated artwork from your Mac computer or PC this software is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and if you subscribe to the cloud you have access to lots of other software The great things about this software is that you save a bunch of time when working with Adobe Illustrator thanks to its option for in-panel editing. It has zero resolution issues when working with Adobe Illustrator. Because the graphics are based on mathematics equations instead of stored pixels, you’re always given a sharp, nice and crisp line. Best of all your interface allows for custom viewing. There is an option to enable space-saving as well.
Sub alternative to Illustrator
If the price point is a sticking point to Illustrator’s, then consider Affinity Designer which offers a very good alternative as a decent vector editor. It is not yet deployed in the industry as much as Illustrator but it is making way and it has some nice functions like infinite redos and one million percent-plus zooms.
Affinity Designer is that it works with both AI and PSD files, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility. And if you have a modern multicore PC, Mac or iPad, it will almost surely run faster than Illustrator.
Photoshop is not just for photographers but for anyone wanting to do magical things with photo manipulation an extremely strong software for photo editing, enhancing, and manipulation software. It is also highly recommended and used for digital painting, animation, and creating other graphic designs. It essentially allows the user to mimic, alter, manipulate, enhance, improve and change photographs. Other aspects of Photoshop which are Important are compositing, preparing web files, working with 2D and 3D images and painting with a mixer brush among lots of other super cool tools.
The useful tool with Photoshop is that it enables you to create raster images in the form of layers, mask images and use alpha compositing technology. You can also edit images in batches. In short, it gives you large features to be as creative as you could get. Photoshop is offered by Adobe, an American multinational software company. Adobe Photoshop is considered the most professional software for images and is accepted as the industry standard. Find out more about Photoshop here.
Sub alternative to Photoshop
Photoshop alternatives were once viewed with dislike by industry professionals, but attitudes have changed and although alternatives might not have the same weight in prestige they are also quite good.
Affinity Photo is possibly the closest of the Photoshop alternatives and it’s very economical too. Aimed squarely at professional photographers and designers, it is fully compatible with Photoshop and other file formats.
(Windows, Mac OS) Photoscape is primarily a powerful photo editor but, if you dig deeper into the set of features, you may be surprised at how much this free software can do. Essentially, there are seven main components to this program: batch editing, animated Gif editor, editor, page (useful for page sizing and multiple image layout), merge (panoramas or collages), print and viewer. Just bear in mind that Photoscape does not allow layers or history theretofore you cannot edit a filter you’ve applied only undo what you have done.
InDesign is the ‘go to’ software for print and desktop publishing and it is perfect for when it comes to fine-tuning your file’s text and graphic. InDesign is widely used to create newspaper and magazine layouts across print industries and it is better and easier than with similar software. Even designers who are new to using this software can adapt easily because in addition to many tutorials, also tools are easy to use.
Adobe InDesign interface allows you to put images and text together creating some striking designs to accompany your social posts.
One of the advantages of the tools contained in Adobe InDesign is that it has tools of editing that can give the same effect as that of Adobe Photoshop such as bevel, glow, or even shadow.
Using Adobe InDesign it is possible to produce fantastic brochures, posters, e-zines and books. For first-time users, the user interface can look a little intimidating initially but, once you’ve found your way around, InDesign offers significant advantages and is surprisingly easy to use.
To find out more about InDesign read here.
Sketch is not good for Windows by any measure- it just won’t work. Sketch is a mediocre to good graphic design software for user interfaces and icons.
One of the best benefits of Sketch is its simplicity to use as an effective tool for general layout and vector drawing. The good thing is that sharing and exporting multiple-resolution assets is incredibly simple as it has decent integration with other applications and plugins.
If you’re solely looking at software for UI design, prototyping, and or making icons, then the best graphic design software for these purposes is Sketch. Well, as long as you have a Mac, because that’s the only device it’s available for.
CorelDraw is somewhat outdated in the industry and since the last Graphics, Suite 2017 and is seldom used in the industry apart from print and has somewhat been replaced by other software such as Illustrator, Inkscape, Affinity Designer or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
The main benefits of CorelDraw are that it has a semi broad feature set, customizations, and it has in-product learning and content to help them out. The programme is also customizable, allowing users to create their ideal workspace populated with their favorite tools with icons in just the right size, and their preferred border colour.
Unfortunately, this software is not great for encoding videos or pictures from the real world. It does not support mixed compositions when using it if the volume of data is high, it slows down image rendering even if the files are small in size.
One disadvantage when making a design with CorelDraw is that often the smallest of errors in the drawings are visible when you enlarge images to an extent.
From the people behind Corel Draw, Gravit Designer is the best free graphic design software for vectors you’ll find today.
With a clean and intuitive interface, it can cope with most design jobs, from icon design and prototyping to vector illustration and animation.On the free version, you can export files as PDF, SVG, or bitmap, and you access your work wherever you are via the Gravit Cloud.
Needless to say, it is absolutely paramount that graphic designers are expected to know how to use at least 2 or 3 types of software to have a broad market share of work ( Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are the key ones to know). The software enables you to create the high standards of work that your clients need.
What do Graphic Designers do with software?
Graphic designers do various creative tasks using software such as the programmes mentioned above. Their tasks include but are not limited to sketching designs either by hand or using computer software packages. Graphic designers create visual concepts to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and reports.
Graphic designers typically do the following
1. Meet with clients or the art director to determine the scope of a project
2. Use digital illustration, photo editing software, and layout software to create designs
3. Create visual elements such as logos, original images, and illustrations to help deliver a message
4. Design layouts, including a selection of colours, images, and typefaces
5. Present design concepts to clients or art directors
6. Incorporate changes recommended by clients or art directors into final designs
7. Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them
8. Graphic designers, also referred to as graphic artists or communication designers, combine art and technology to communicate ideas through images and the layout of websites and printed pages.
In conclusion, the history of graphic design is a long trajectory of advancements in trends, technology dating from pre-historic times to modern creative planning.
Graphic design is a centuries-old art that dates back to Egyptian hieroglyphs and at least 17,000-year-old cave paintings. It is a concept that emerged in the paper industry in the 1920s. It continues to provide a variety of events, such as logo formation. In this context, graphic design is concerned with both visual beauty and marketing. Graphic designers use photographs, colour, and typography to entice audiences.
Graphic design is an important industry across the globe for communication purposes and graphic designers are expected to not only have super skills in using the software through knowledge and practical skills but also design theory.
In order to grasp the discipline of graphic design, it is it would help to appreciate some if the core principles and elements that make up design.
These elements include:
If you are interested in learning graphic design software or becoming a professional in web design or photography then look no further. BlueSky Graphics provide students with the mindset and technical skills for a broad range of creative career outcomes.
The BSG Schools’ courses have been designed with industry standards in mind. We adopt a personalised teaching style, where individualised needs are met in an inclusive way, to nurture creative thinkers with strong technical expertise and a rigorous command of graphic design, web design, UX-UI and typography. This is all made possible through the live delivery of our one-to-one classes and engaging briefs.
Our class strategy is to ensure an easy-to-follow step-by-step, well-presented, vigorous teaching experience with the learning style of the student always in mind. Our teaching philosophy encourages you to first build your subject knowledge and creative skills, then apply these to your design environment.
Showcasing your entrepreneurial skills necessary to survive, you will learn to succeed and thrive in the creative profession of graphic design.
We adopt a cognitive approach to education, embedding a range of teaching styles and techniques to meet students’ diverse and individualised abilities by encouraging discussion and reflecting on what has been taught.
These practical skills layer one on top of the other, in a sequential manner, until you are thinking and processing graphic design in a very natural way.
Our tutors are always on hand before and after your classes to answer any questions you may have during your homework.
As all of our classes are one-to-one, which means that our students always have the benefit and undivided full attention of their tutor.
The rise of online learning has made way for many online skill academies as well as valuable skills courses across areas in IT, Graphic Design, Web Design and Motion Graphics.
As a global society, we are increasingly more and more connected with the international community and therefore we must keep up with the demand and supply by creating an IT and graphic design literate workforce.
If you have ever been contemplating a career in the online space then you may want to consider a career in graphic design or web design have a read here.