The Essential Software for Creative Positions
Over the years, I’ve had a number of young people starting out in creative positions like web design, graphic design, marketing, advertising, user interface design, and so forth ask me what software I use in my position. While my title and exact duties have evolved over the years, the basic software toolkit that I use has remained the same. In fact, I am still using the same most of the same products by the same companies since they too have evolved over time just as my needs have.
Here is a breakdown of my creative toolkit:
- CorelDraw Suite– Design graphics for print and web, multi-page layout for print collateral, PDFs, photo editing, font management, screen capture, font library, clipart, photos, objects
- Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium (This has evolved from Macromedia Studio, Macromedia Flash, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Acrobat) – Design and maintain websites, graphics for print and web, PDFs, photo editing, Flash movies, sound editing
- Corel Video Studio (replaced Windows Movie Maker and a variety of others) – DVD creation, slideshows
- Microsoft Office Professional Edition – Word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations, mail
- All of the major current web browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari)– Testing website designs
- Antivirus (Symantec)
- Free Zip program – 7-Zip, ZipGenius
- WS_FTP – Transferring files to web servers
- Yahoo Messenger – Quick communications with colleagues and clients
- Media Players – QuickTime, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player – testing movies
This combination of programs lets me design everything from web images, technical illustrations, presentations, slide shows, labels, web videos, print-ready advertisements, marketing collateral, complete websites, proposals, and anything else that I am called upon to create. Obviously, there are a variety of alternatives, paid and free, to the tools I use. I’ve used the majority of these for many years, as well as a variety of others, and this list contains my favorites overall. The overall price tag for my toolkit is relatively high at approximately $2830 for the initial purchase of full versions. You can find a variety of alternatives to these programs that work similarly for free in my article on Open-Source Software for Your New Computer.