A woodworker does not have a single set of tools. A painter does not have a single set of colors. And a graphic designer does not have a single set of software.
Some people believe that a certain type of software is the best one. Others believe that a certain brand will work better.
These decisions are actually based on marketing myths.
What is a marketing myth?
Let’s borrow an example from another tech industry to make this idea clear:
A huge number of computer users believe that Microsoft offers the best operating system. If pressed about they decision, they will compare it to Apple. Yet, they are not even aware that Linux exists. When told about it, they are dismissive. After all, Microsoft is a multibillion dollar company. They must have the best operating system. But Linux uses smart authorization management that makes it difficult to get viruses. Although viruses have cost some corporations millions, they go back to using Microsoft after a security breach. They do it because they believe this is the “best” software. This is not to say that Microsoft does not offer good software; but the point is that excellent software exists outside the most recognizable names.
No “Best” Tools
The fact that there are no best tools is not always clear because like any other type of artist, graphic designers have their favorite tools. While there may be industry-standard tools, there are no “best” tools. So when it comes to following a list post of recommended programs, use healthy skepticism. In fact, think of healthy skepticism as a necessary mindset to choosing a creative suite in your business.
Use the best tools for certain job based on experience. Don’t rely on the opinion of other designers alone. For instance, is Photoshop better than Illustrator? There are champions for both applications. You can only find out for yourself through testing out recommended software.
No “Best” Brand Names
As in all industries, there are some companies that dominate the field. When it comes to content management systems, for example, names like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla dominate. In design software, the leading players are Adobe, Quark, and Corel. Again, these are not the “best,” but the most recognizable graphic design programs. The best one is what works for you based on trying things out.
Advantages of Busting the “Best” Myth
Recognizing marketing myths when choosing creative suites offers you three clear advantages:
- You are able to use substitute graphic design software if necessary. You can still run a great business without paying a high fee to set it up.
- You can also try out SaaS (software as a service), rather than buying individual suites. This might improve operating costs while improving profit margins.
- You are free to use a wide collection of software. You can use software based on tasks rather than just sticking to a few options.
This is not to say that popular software won’t work, but when choosing creative suites, you have to avoid the myth of the “best.” You should sidestep the trap of paying too much for software that under-delivers.
Beyond Graphic Design Software
You will need more than a creative suite to run your graphic design business. You should also get project management software, time tracking software, and antivirus software.
Project Management Software
As your business grows, you will have more clients. You will also have bigger projects. You will need to use automated billing, collaboration, a calendar, and make to-do lists. You can get these features from project management software. They are essential to keep your business humming.
Time Tracking Software
As your business grows, you will have to be more like a craftsman and less like an artist. This means that you can’t afford to spend endless hours perfecting your designs. Instead, you will need to pace your workflow with time tracking software. This software will also help you set your rates. And you will be able to bill your clients more accurately for your work.
Finally, last but not least, you must protect your business. As your business grows, don’t jeopardize it by neglecting viruses. Malware can bring your business down to its knees.
Examples of Malware:
- Adware forces advertising on you based on your surfing behavior.
- Spyware steals your sensitive information.
- Viruses can hijack your computer system. It is then used to spread child porn, spam, or for some other illicit business.
- Ransomware is malware to extort money.
The Dark Side of the Internet
Malware can quickly enter into your computer system and network.
Here are some common ways, it happens:
- You respond to a query from your Paypal account. Later, you discover it was a phishing attack.
- You download an email attachment from a client. Later, you discover a Trojan horse in your hard-drive.
- You snag free productivity software online. Later, you discover adware slowing down your computer.
The solution is to get Internet security software, which can protect your privacy when you visit LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It can block dangerous websites. And it can guard against identity theft.
How to Think about Software
While recognizable software and brands are good choices, these are not your only choices. You must think about what is it that you are trying to do? What choices do you have available? And will you get a good return on your investment? As a businessperson at the time of selection, you also might need to explore various options online for the software at discounted rates and thus can save more on your other business expenses.