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Sometimes I get drawn into this discussion with fellow designers, they say something like: “With all these sitebuilders and easy and free design-tools my work as a designer is becoming obsolete”.

I don’t agree.

You see, your ability as a designer is not defined by the mastery of a tool like Photoshop. Of course; having access to and mastering professional design tools used to be a big help in differentiating your work from the work of someone making flyers in paint. But that is a thing of the past.

And I’m glad it is.

Nowadays end-users can create usable and beautifully designed products and websites without having to pay top dollar for a designer. The web becomes more beautiful and more usable than ever because so many people have access to these tools. And with tools like Canva even the local church does not have to put out flyers made in Word with Comic Sans anymore.

But this does not mean in any way that my work as a designer has become obsolete.

Because it is not my job to create just one flyer or one website.

It is my job to detect problems in other peoples lives or workflows and to think of solutions that will help them get to their goal with more ease (and style).

It is my job to create these solutions using any tool and skill available to me and learning about tools and skills not yet available to me but needed to get the job done.

This includes tools and skills the client already has, or tools and skills I can hire other people to do for me.

My job is to connect the dots. From problem to solution.

My job is to know what works and what doesn’t without having to learn by trial and error. To research, to learn and to listen.

I have worked in various design teams in various roles using a very broad range of design tools. And I’m glad the days of designing a perfect picture in Photoshop and selling that to a client are over. To me it means I can focus even more on the core needs and wants of my clients businesses. And to create and offer solutions to fill these needs.

This is an ongoing process in which I use a stack of very different tools nowadays than when I started out as a junior designer.

So please don’t be discouraged by these innovations and new tools. It makes your work as a designer easier and can give you more focus to the real challenges of your job! So solve some problems for your clients and use any tool you might need to get the job done!

Master the tools you like and then master some more tools along the way! If you don’t know which ones to master, just try a couple of them and pick the one that makes the most sense for you. After all, the days of the expensive Adobe Monopoly are finally over!!!


Tools I use of have used in some gradation:

  • Pencil and a paper (always my first love!)
  • Adobe CC (Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks (sad to see that one go!!), XD, Indesign, Premiere, Flash (now Animate) and their mobile tools like Fresco)
  • SketchApp
  • Figma
  • Invision Studio
  • Invision Craft Plugin
  • Zeplin
  • WordPress Divi
  • Canva
  • Haiku
  • Protopie
  • Axure
  • Bootstrap
  • Bulma
  • Less
  • Sass
  • and many, many more…