Second to artistic interest and talent, software may be the most important aspect of graphic design school. Classes in graphic design software are among the first classes a student must pursue in a graphic design degree program because the technology will be used throughout the course of the student’s education, as well as their career. There is no shortage of graphic design programs on the market today, but classes typically focus on a few of the industry’s mainstays in the realm of digital technology.
Many of the programs employed in graphic design classes and by graphic design professionals are published by the major graphic design company Adobe through the Adobe Creative Suite. The Adobe Creative Suite is the most prolific set of design programs in the industry and is therefore a core competency in graphic design schools.
In a typical graphic design class, students become well versed in a number of digital tools including programs that allow students to edit and compose images (Photoshop), illustrate and draw intense graphic designs (Illustrator), create dramatic page layouts for all types of uses and with varying levels of functions (InDesign), and programs that help tie all other programs together (Bridge).
A Bridge type of program is commonly taught in the first phases of this graphic design class, simply because it pulls together a student’s project work between all of the other programs in the Suite. In addition to thorough introductions to the interfaces and technologies within each program, classes teach students about all of applicable functions they will need to use within each program. These functions include working with objects, layers, and tools as well as images, typography, and tables. All functions are applied to a graphic design project used throughout the course of the graphic design class.
After completing a graphic design class in software technologies, students are typically able to create multiple page layouts and multiple layer images by being thoroughly skilled at using the Creative Suite to their best advantage. Using object placement, morphing and layering skills, and typography along with artistic critiquing allows students to make appropriate designing decisions about a specific project.
In addition to textbooks that help guide students through the class work for each of the graphic design programs, many graphic design schools require students to purchase recommended programs for their degree and discipline. Software is often sold in Suites and student discounts are often obtained through student book stores or with a partnering company to minimize the students’ expenses on software purchases.
Most graphic design software Suites are costly, but necessary components of successfully completing most of the classes in any degree program. Upgrading to newer versions, even after graduation, is less costly than purchasing new software. For this reason, creative software programs can be considered an education and career investment by students of graphic design classes.