There are options for people that want to build graphics and different programs offer features for various needs of graphic designers. At Starfish, we use Adobe programs for most of our creative. Adobe offers several programs in its Creative Suite; InDesign, Photoshop & Illustrator.
When building ads, I tend to use both Photoshop and InDesign. I choose the images that will be used and edit them for contrast, colorspace and sizing, then I save them for use in InDesign.
InDesign is the program I use to lay out large amounts of text or to create multiple pages of copy. While most ads I build for Starfish are more graphics-heavy, I use InDesign for most of the ads that I create. I previously worked for various newspapers and that is the program that we used the most. The text is easiest to manipulate in this program and it has guidelines that make it easier to keep items aligned. Drawbacks to the software include lack of adjustments for graphics, which means that they need to be ready for layout prior to being imported to the file, and the files can be quite large when exporting them.
Photoshop is my second favorite software for creating art. I love the multitude of options for editing, and its interface is pretty straightforward and simple to understand. The reason I don’t really use it for ad building is that I find the text tool difficult to use. But my favorite options are the filters, which I use to make photos look like paintings or stone. I also cut-out objects from the backgrounds of various images on a daily basis and photoshop makes that easy to do.
Illustrator is the most powerful of the three programs. It is used for creating larger, vector type files which can be scaled for large display signage and other uses. I typically do not use the software but it is great for people who want to create characters and logos.
I enjoy using these programs and they go hand in hand together with the design. There are other programs available for designers and people who just want to do simple photo editing. There are free options out there as well. I am so grateful that I have the ability to use the Creative Cloud.