If one were to weight designer creativity and designer tools side by side, I would imagine that they’d balance each other out since both are equally significant virtues that should be a part of every graphic designer’s arsenal. A lot has been said and written about creativity. In today’s post we will turn the focus towards graphic design tools and highlight a few notable ones that are mandatory for everyone associated with the graphic design industry.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop and Illustrator are the bread and butter for a graphic designer. If you are not using these, you are doing something very wrong. There is no denying the enormous capabilities of Photoshop. You can design websites, modify images, and amend photographs or sketches, etc!

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already

Adobe Illustrator

While Photoshop is for web designers, logo and graphics designers are basing on its little brother, Illustrator which is best for logo designing, posters, business cards, etc.

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


If you are working on a 3D design projects, this tool will be of great help to you. It is a free animation program designed to create interactive 3D applications. In a nutshell, Blender has it all from stimulation tools and textures to key frame animation tools. Powered by a solid UI, it is makes our list of top 10 graphics design tools.

Blender 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


This is not a designer tool per say but it is a very handy one nonetheless. It is a data storage device for storing files. For graphic designers, this means they have the ability to share files with clients, associates and other designers at all times.

Dropbox 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


Designers working with multiple fonts should definitely take this up. This software can repair damaged font files and locate missing postscript of fonts. It also has the ability to convert fonts to other formats and generate reports.

FontDoctor 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


This tool is very handy for freelance designers and also for clients interested in a more streamlined project management. With it they can supervise multiple projects as well as add, remove or update design specifications as they see fit. From the designer’s prospective, they stay informed on the every project’s status and do their work accordingly.

Basecamp 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


This is a must have plug-in for web developers using Firefox. It allows you to debug CSS, HTML and Javascript code. It is an absolute must for designing websites and best of all, it’s completely free.

Firebug 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


Another popular tool for website designers is Kuler from Adobe. It allows you to pick from a plethora of color schemes for your website. Designers also have the flexibility to create new ones. Color combination and layout is absolutely vital of any design project. This tool makes sure you get started in the right direction from the very beginning.

kuler 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


A very catchy name for a great design tool that is also free to use. If you ever come across a font you like, you can use this tool to determine what it is called.

whatthefont 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already

Google Docs

Almost everyone is familiar with this and almost everyone uses it too. Google Docs allows you to manage your documents. Designers can keep use this platform to keep their design specification sheets, their research, their graphic design ideas and notes about a different projects. Plus Google Docs is easily accessible from the web which makes moving and sharing data extremely easy and hassle-free.

GoogleDocs 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already


To wrap up our top ten, I recommend Browser Shots, a free open source web application. It enables designers to take snapshots of your project website in different browsers thereby enabling them to analyze website resolution, color scheme and overall visual appearance. This knowledge helps designers create websites that look great in all major browsers.

Browsershots 10 Designer Tools You Should Be Using Already

To conclude, graphic designers need to know their tools by heart. The ones mentioned above are just a handful of useful tools that they can start using right away (in case they haven’t already). Keep a sharp eye out for the latest and upcoming graphic design tools. Test them out. Determine whether you can use them for current or future projects. Any tool that can essentially enable designers to do their job faster and better is a must-have.

Written by Alex Finlay

Alex Finlay is a creative and a design consultant. He has years of marketing experience, mostly with start-up companies. Alex helps start-ups create a brand image and grow their online presence. He has worked on many online marketing and design projects for small businesses, helping them create their marketing campaigns as well as innovative web presence. Alex likes to stay ahead of the trends, educating graphic designers and business owners on how to communicate and utilize limited resources for making a big impact.

  • Varvara

    Cool article! I’ve knew about few unknown but useful services, thank you, Alex.

  • Sacramento Graphic Design

    Basecamp is one of the best tools we use!