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6 Software to Master While Earning a Graphic Design Degree

Laptop on desk running software for graphic designers - Tulane School of Professional Advancement

In today's world, design is everywhere. From the brochures prompting you to take that next family vacation to the web pages you use to get all of your daily news, graphic design brings many different visual concepts to life. For creatives and other forward-thinkers, a graphic design degree can lead to a successful and fulfilling career that remains highly in demand. However, the field is constantly evolving, and new graphics software programs are continuously being revamped. As a result, graphic designers need to keep up with the latest software, all while mastering the fundamentals. At Tulane SoPA, our diverse, industry-driven course curriculums can help you learn software basics and advance your graphic design goals all in one program.

Best Software to Expand Your Design Toolkit

Adobe Photoshop

When navigating the design world, Adobe Photoshop is — without a doubt — a go-to software to first focus your efforts. Over 90% of creative professionals across the globe are using Adobe Photoshop, making it the leading graphics and photo editing software in today's market, according to History-Computer. From graphic artists and designers to photographers and web developers, the many different users of Photoshop can utilize this tool to create, edit, or enhance images, artwork, and illustrations using special effects. And thanks to its steady popularity, there are many online resources and how-to guides to help you become a Photoshop mogul with just a bit of practice.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator allows users to create vector-based images, which can be scaled and manipulated without losing quality. This software is often used by creators and designers alike to craft multi-faceted logos, illustrations, and infographics. Illustrator includes a wide variety of drawing, painting, and typography tools, making it a versatile tool for creative professionals. Although Illustrator can be a bit tricky to master, it should be part of every graphic designer's toolkit. With patience, practice, and expert help from tons of online resources, you can learn to effectively incorporate this software into your workflow to create attention-grabbing visual designs.

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign is an industry-standard software commonly used by professional graphic designers to create design pages and layouts for everything from books and magazines to posters and flyers. With this software, you can supplement pages of text with shapes and images to add a bit of personality to your documents. One major bonus of this program is its ability to be used in conjunction with other Adobe software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. By mastering this "trinity" of the Adobe Creative Suite, you can create professional designs that boast professional-grade results for both your digital and print creations.


CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor intended to serve many different design purposes, from simple page layouts to complex illustrations. If you want to pursue a career in website design or visual design, this software may be best to hone your efforts. CorelDRAW offers a robust feature set, and it constantly receives updates with new tools and capabilities. Using CorelDRAW, you can create high-quality designs, websites, graphics, and photos to expand your illustrative arts portfolio and stand out from the competition.


Created specifically for designers, Sketch is a vector drawing and animation software that helps in creating interface designs, illustrations, web designs, and more. It's packed with features that make it perfect for designing anything from simple wireframes to complex illustrations. And because it's vector-based, everything you create can be easily scaled up or down without losing quality. While it doesn't have as many features as Photoshop, Sketch is much simpler and easier to use, making it ideal for beginners.


GIMP, short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free, open-source program that can serve multiple purposes, from retouching photos to creating full-blown digital art. A popular alternative to Photoshop, this software offers a wide range of features and tools, making it suitable for both beginners and more experienced users. GIMP supports tools needed for high-quality image editing, such as image restoration, retouching, and composing. When you integrate this software into your skillset, you can use it to create interactive arts for UI, mockups, icons, logos, and more.

Ready for an Exciting Graphic Design Journey?

By mastering the many different types of graphic arts software, you'll not only add a professional touch to all of your creative projects; you'll also learn how to think — and design — like industry leaders. At Tulane SoPA, our coursework and expert faculty are uniquely equipped with the latest tools and knowledge from the industry so that you can experience the field from the classroom. To get started on your graphic design degree in New Orleans, request more information about our program today.

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