Which Graphic Design Program is the Best Option for You

Andrei Belousov

March 31, 2020

A common question we get all the time is, “What program do you use to make all of your designs?” We get this question a lot from aspiring graphic designers and from those who want to start creating simple graphics for their business or ministry social media account. If you want to start creating graphics of any kind, but you’re not sure where to start, this discussion today will be an overview of the different options that you have available, and which is the best option for you.

INDESIGN

Indesign is my go to program that I use for most of my designs working as a graphic designer for a church. The reason that I use InDesign the most is because of two simple words: layout design. The Adobe description for InDesign is: Design professional layouts for print and digital publishing. When you’re handed a project that has a lot of text in it, InDesign is the most user-friendly program out there. If you have to design a brochure, a booklet, a worship guide/bulletin, or a program, InDesign is golden. You can easily adjust document sizes, margins, columns, and create a document that has multiple pages. I’ve designed two 70+ page new members booklets for two different churches in this program. I’ve also designed a 160 page book that we published through Amazon’s Create Space in InDesign. You can easily navigate pages, insert page numbers, and automate spacing and heading styles. InDesign is also very versatile and can be used to make simple social media graphics or message series graphics. Beginners can quickly learn this graphic design software because it has a low learning curve. Think of Microsoft Word, but having more flexibility, freedom, and user-friendliness to drag and drop text and photos wherever you want on a page.

ILLUSTRATOR

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based editing program that is used to create logos, graphics, fonts, and more. A vector is a line that’s composed of two dots connected by a computer algorithm, instead of just a line of pixels. We recommend using Illustrator to create logos because a vector graphic will never lose its quality if it’s scaled up or down. Illustrator will also give you a better print output since it’s not resolution-dependent. Vectors can be fairly complex to design from scratch, so if you want to start slowly getting used to Illustrator, search for vectors at stock.adobe.com. From there, you can download an AI/EPS file and view the different layers and settings of a vector to familiarize yourself with the program. It is also a huge time saver if you can find a graphic already designed such as an icon like the images below from stock.adobe.com that I’ve purchased to create message series graphics:

PHOTOSHOP

Photoshop is really great for, you guessed it, photos! The Adobe description for Photoshop is: Design images and comps with world-class tools. Adobe Photoshop is a great program for modifying already created images or graphics and is Adobe’s most popular program. We only use Lightroom when it comes to editing RAW photos from our DSLR cameras, but Photoshop has a lot of complex tools and editing features to do special effects on photos for graphics that Lightroom cannot do. Creating message series graphics in Photoshop is really great because of the layers panel and because of all of the special effects and features that you can edit and create to enhance your graphics. A lot of people use Photoshop to create trendy, more complex social media graphics, like the one pictured below of Andrei and me with our silhouettes cut out. Photoshop is very versatile and there are many online beginner tutorials on how to get started on YouTube.

ADOBE SOFTWARE OVERVIEW

In general, Adobe programs overlap in a lot of the tools that they have accessible to use, but each program has its individual strengths that it can be best used for. If you are working for a non-profit and you’d like to purchase the Creative Cloud or one Adobe program that would make the most sense for the type of design work that you’re asked to do, we recommend purchasing your licenses through Genesis Technologies because they provide significant discounts for nonprofits.

If you have a low budget, but you want to start designing now, we recommend Adobe’s Photoshop + Lightroom bundle for $9.99 per month. This works out great if you’re a photographer and an aspiring graphic designer.

CANVA

If you’re looking for a free option, we recommend using Canva. Canva is a web-based graphic design tool offering a drag-and-drop interface that provides access to hundreds of design layouts for creating presentations, social media graphics, posters, flyers, invitations and more. The tool can be used by both non-designers and professionals to create custom web and print media.

The Practicals

In this series on church graphic design, we want to give you practical hands-on tips that you can start using each week to enhance and grow your church graphic design. To start off, we’ve provided a complete list of resources on our website for you. This includes the equipment and software we use, along with all of the favorite places that we get our fonts, stock photography, templates, printing, and merch. To stay tuned to our series on Church Graphic Design, click below to subscribe to our weekly Free Training Articles.

CHURCH GRAPHIC DESIGN SERIES:
(links will be updated when released)
A Beginners Guide to Church Graphic Design
Which Graphic Design Program is the Best Option for You
Creating Compelling Church Graphic Design
Church Graphic Design That Communicates LIFE
Starting Creating Graphics Today
Ready to Create Graphic Design Templates

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