Graphic design software and desktop publishing software are essentially the same thing. The primary difference is that the desktop publishing category includes some consumer level programs not typically used in professional graphic design. Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress are two of the main players in this field. These programs are geared toward producing documents for commercial printing and high-end Web publishing. Both freelance and in-house graphic designers and businesses use graphic design software.
- Professional Desktop Publishing Software for Mac
- Professional Desktop Publishing Software for Windows
- Mix and Match page layout, image editing, illustration, and Web design software to meet your needs.
Identity Design Software
Identity systems encompass logos, letterhead, and business cards, and spills over into other areas such as business forms, brochures, and signage as well. Although there are specialized programs available for all these documents -- most geared toward small businesses -- most of these materials can be easily created in almost any design software. For logo design, look specifically at illustration software such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
Creative Print Design Software for Mac
For Mac users, sometimes there are fewer choices in desktop publishing software but it's getting better. Most any program, including the high-end design software, can handle calendars, greeting cards, posters, newsletters and other creative printing. But with these specialized creative print design software you get more ease-of-use, lots of templates for crafty projects, and fun clip art and fonts to go along with it all.
Creative Print Design Software for Windows
Although you could create scrapbooks, calendars, iron-on transfers, and other creative printing projects with almost any desktop publishing or graphics software, specialized creative print design software makes the process easier and faster, and usually costs less. These programs typically include templates and artwork specifically tailored to each type of project.
Web Design Software
Many of today's page layout programs for print have Web publishing features as well. But are they the best tools for the job, or do you need a program specifically for Web design such as Dreamweaver, Homesite, Expression, or Frontpage? Adobe Creative Suite includes two editions geared specifically for the Web that give you Dreamweaver along with various tools for Web graphics and animation.
What programs do potential employers expect you to know how to use? Use this questionnaire to determine the best Web design software for your needs or browse this comprehensive listing of HTML text editors and WYSIWYG editors for Mac, Windows, and Unix/Linux.
There are many reasons to consider using free design software beyond just the cost-savings. Programs such as Scribus, OpenOffice, and even the free version of PagePlus are powerful programs, often comparable in features to some of the most expensive applications from Adobe or Microsoft.
Buying & Using Design Software
Whatever approach you take to choosing your design software, to really get your money's worth you need to learn how to use it. There are training avenues suitable to all learning styles.