Tools for Doing Amazing Creative Work
Over the years, I’ve had several young people starting 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. I am still using the same companies’ products since they too have evolved 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 significant 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.