Graphic designers need certain tools to be able to do their jobs. Of course, if they were a traditional artist they could use a pen and paper, or a brush and a canvas (which still, by the way, are tools you have to get). However a graphic designer has an added, modern day challenge: He or she needs a good computer (some are not ideal for design work) as well as the software program(s) to create infographics, wireframes, and more.
Unfortunately, these tools of this trade are generally not cheap. Adobe Creative Cloud will run you about 20 dollars per month for just one application, or over 50 dollars if you want the whole suite of applications. This is certainly the most ubiquitous design software and one of the most-respected, but it’s certainly not the only option – especially if you have a budget limitation.
Luckily, there are design software options that are free. They may not have all of the features that a program like Adobe Photoshop would, but for the price of $0 it’s worth it. This is especially great for someone who is starting out in the design field. Most design jobs require you to submit a portfolio to show your quality of work, your range, your style, etc. For this reason, it’s important you have a variety of samples you can present when looking for a job. Of course this can seem like a catch-22 – you need income to purchase good software to design such samples, but you don’t have the job yet. Thus, all the more reason to become familiar with one or more of the free design software options on the market.
Here are a few of them:
Additionally, it’s helpful to get inspiration when you’re putting together a portfolio without a specifically assigned task. Where to start? What to design? Here are a few places to get inspiration:
Note: It is not OK to copy someone else’s design — simply look at these to start brainstorming ideas of your own.
This has everything under the sun on it, so you can find inspiration from anything. Look at interior design, art pieces, and whatever else inspires you.
This site has a variety of images to get you started, from logos to infographics to plenty more. Browse around or search keywords to get some ideas.
- Blogs You Follow
Many blogs will share infographics of their own, so it’s a great source of inspiration. Look at web blogs that talk about topics you enjoy, such as real estate or food. A good example of such designs are these tv/movie t-shirt drawings. Of course there are many other blogs to look at – ultimately it’s whatever you enjoy reading most. If you need to create a portfolio of charts and graphs, look for blogs with those, such as this ranking of farmers markets in the U.S.
What’s your favorite graphic design software? Is the tool you use free or paid? Do you feel like you get your money’s worth?
Where do you find inspiration for new designs?
Tell us in the comments!