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Learn Photoshop for Graphic Design

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› Learn Photoshop for Graphic Design
  • Published on June 8, 2017

Learning Photoshop for graphic design is an essential skill. It is the standard digital tool used a wide variety of formats, from print to web to interactive design and even video. Those looking to start a career in graphic design will need to learn Photoshop, but this is simply one step in the process of becoming a graphic designer. Learning Photoshop alone is not enough to become a graphic designer.

Aspiring designers need to gain graphic design skills along with learning Photoshop. While Photoshop is an important tool for graphic design, the profession requires broad visual design skills beyond simply operating Photoshop. Just as knowledge of how to use a hammer alone does not make for a good carpenter, a designer needs more than knowledge of Photoshop for graphic design work to be visually appealing and effective.

How Photoshop for Graphic Design is different from other fields

The Photoshop skills for graphic design are more creative than analytical. Graphic designers generally conduct less retouching and use Photoshop for creative aspects. This may include using Photoshop to combine images, apply effects, add text, or edit images to convey a message or theme. This use of Photoshop for graphic design varies from photographers or retouchers who use the same tool for cleaning-up an image, adjusting color, and making refinements to generally improve image quality.

Which version of Photoshop for Graphic Design 

The primary version of Photoshop, sometimes called Photoshop CC, is the best version of Photoshop for graphic designers. It’s important to understand that multiple versions of Photoshop are available. The family of Photoshop includes Photoshop Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, and then there is simply Photoshop. The later of these is the app that is best suited version of Photoshop for graphic design. The other variations of Photoshop are intended for different users. Photoshop Lightroom is geared towards the needs of professional photographers, while Photoshop Elements is a consumer-version of Photoshop. These other apps share only the Photoshop name, and have little or no resemblance to Photoshop or each other. 

Options for learning Photoshop for Graphic Design

Graphic designers and visual designers have many options for learning Photoshop. This includes regularly scheduled public Photoshop courses in major cities, live online courses, free Photoshop tutorials, and there are also books for learning Photoshop. Regardless of the process for learnign Photoshop is used, it's important to dedicate ample time for learning Photoshop as it is a complex application.

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.