What is the single most important design software program? For a digital artist, Photoshop or Illustrator might be the most important, but for a publication or print designer, InDesign would be the most important. Then there’s all the other, non-Adobe programs that designers and digital artists use like Affinity Designer, Photo, and Publisher, as well as Procreate for the iPad, or the Corel Suite.

But what if you had to choose just one for everything you do? For illustrations, logo designs, photo manipulation, and page layout; which program would you use? It’s a weird question because the whole point of having multiple design programs is to use them for the various design tasks we have. Page layout in Photoshop is difficult and photo manipulation in Illustrator extremely limited. However, I think the most important design software is Adobe Photoshop. Here’s why.

If You Could Only Have One

If you were in a situation where you had to choose one program for all your design work, what would you choose? Let’s assume that the program needed to be able to do everything, at least on some level, that you need to do in your day as a designer. What would it be? For me, it would have to be Photoshop.

The Most Important Graphic Design Software: Photoshop

Photoshop was designed primarily for photo manipulation but it has evolved to have some powerful features to assist in basic animations, website design, 3D graphics, and digital art. While logos should always be designed in vector software, it is possible to create a logo in Photoshop. Using a tablet, you can also create rough logo concepts in Photoshop (This is still easier on paper though). Technically, you can also design things that will be printed, like business cards, brochures, etc., although this is much easier in publishing software.

Photoshop was the first design program I learned, all the way back in 2002. I did 90% of my early design work in it. I used it for logo design, page layout, designing ads, and so much more. It truly is a powerful program. Even now, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what it’s capable of. If I was stuck using one program for all the design work I need to do in the future, I would have to choose Photoshop.

Lastly, with all the technology and resources that people have now to create graphics quickly and inexpensively, the need for creativity has grown. I think Photoshop allows us to explore creativity in a way that most other design programs don’t.

Other Software

I’ve only recently begun to learn the Affinity programs, but Affinity Designer may soon be a contender for my ‘#1 most important design software’ title, as it has some powerful vector and pixel editing, combining many features of both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. For isometric illustration, Affinity Designer is absolutely the best, but I haven’t spent enough time in Affinity to know if it’s superior to what the Adobe suite can do.

Adobe programs are still the industry standard (for now), so if you’re trying to get a job at a design company, you’ll want to stick with what most companies still use; which is Adobe.

The Most Important Design Software: In Conclusion

Do you agree with me that Photoshop is the most important graphic design software? Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree. If you think there’s a better program for graphic designers that I haven’t mentioned then tell me, I need to check it out!

If you really want to learn more about Photoshop check out the official Adobe Photoshop Classroom in A Book.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Photo Credits

Header photo by Kadek Niko Pebri Bandayasa from Pexels