Mac Softwares For Designers

We see them everywhere. Studios, universities, tech companies. Being used by visual designers, illustrators, UX designers. No matter where you go and no matter what kind of design you practice, Macs are commonly heralded as the tool of choice. But why is that? What exactly has afforded the Mac this coveted title? I set out to find the answers to those questions by directly asking a bunch of designers why they think the Mac has been positioned as the superior tool. What I ended up with was a mix of hilarious, honest, and insightful commentary.

Sketch is focused on screen design, specifically creating the icons and interface elements for websites and applications. And, as the software is exclusively available for the Apple Mac, mostly. Freeway Express. This efficient yet straightforward web design software tool for Mac is based on. Fashion Toolbox. With Fashion Toolbox, you can design clothes, textiles, and accessory designs. Best Free Graphic Design Software GIMP. GIMP is a free graphic design software that works on many platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. GIMP is an open-source program that allows you to change its source code and distribute the program.

Legacy and Tradition

This was the first and most common answer that I received. It all started in the 1980’s. The race to develop a usable personal computer was under way and by 1984, Apple answered the call with the first Macintosh, which was accompanied by one of the strongest marketing campaigns in history. The Macintosh sold well, users loved it’s GUI (Graphical User Interface), and companies loved it’s desktop publishing abilities. In fact, it has been suggested that through leveraging PostScript, PageMaker, and the LaserWriter, Apple were effectively responsible for creating the desktop publishing industry as a whole.

By the early 1990’s, Apple had cornered the premium and consumer markets. With the release of System 7, they brought color to the user interface and introduced new networking capabilities. It would remain as the architectural basis for the Mac OS through 2001. As Apple continued to create a more design-centric product and OS, software companies followed suit and started producing design software exclusively for Macs. In fact, Adobe products were originally only available on the Mac. This further reinforced the necessity for designers to use Macs, especially as studios and universities continued to become “Mac only” operations. The Mac was developed for designers, the design software was developed for the Mac, and the designer was trained to design on the Mac.

Font Rendering

From a design perspective, the Mac has classically been better at rendering fonts. Whether or not that’s still an issue today is up for debate. But in the past, Microsoft and Apple took somewhat different approaches to how they chose to render fonts, and it made a pretty big impression on designers. The basic idea is that Windows renders for readability (resulting in a sharper type style), while Mac OS renders for visual appearance (resulting in style more similar to what you might see on a printed page). The Mac was also the first computer with multiple typefaces built into the OS.

In more recent times, Apple has demonstrated the desire to include classic typefaces in their OS, while Microsoft has continually commissioned “knock-off” typefaces like Arial (from Helvetica) and Segoe (from Frutiger). In this respect, the designers that I spoke with felt that Apple has always seemed to respect the design community more than Microsoft.

User Experience

Apple’s System 7 (released in May of 1991) was considered to be much more user friendly than Microsoft’s Windows 3.1 (released in April of 1992). It included a drastically improved user interface and functionalities, which were developed through UX processes that Apple was putting into place before most companies even knew what UX was. A famous occurrence of this was the “Pink and Blue” meeting that Apple managers held in March of 1988, shortly after the release of System 6. In this brainstorming session, ideas were written on index cards; features that seemed simple enough to implement in the short term (like adding color to the user interface) were written on blue cards, longer-term goals (like true multitasking) were written on pink cards, and “far out” ideas (like an object-oriented file system) were written on red cards. This began Apple’s high level task prioritization for System 7. It is no surprise that these early UX practices were present in the development of a system that was respected for it’s User Experience.

In more recent years, designers have fallen in love with smaller features that conform really well to design workflows and assist them in accomplishing their tasks with ease. An excellent example of this is the Mission Control functionality (formerly known as Exposé). It was first previewed in 2003, and more than 10 years later, it continues to be a core component of the Mac product. Apple also maintains a really nice gesture and short-key suite, which is seamless across their different products, yielding an extremely intuitive and predictable experience. One of the smallest yet most impactful features that I came across, however, was the fact that .PSD files (Photoshop Documents) can be previewed in the file thumbnails. This is not available “out of the box” with Windows, but it’s a massive timesaver for designers.

Beyond the software developed by Apple, it has also been noted that even third party apps seem to be more user friendly on the Mac. Apps that are exclusive to the Mac, like Sketch, Skala Preview, and Affinity Designer, have all been cited as excellent examples of third party software with great UX. And in some cases, like that of Sketch, the Mac exclusive software is critical to the designers workflow. Many UX teams depend on Sketch during their mockup phase, citing that they’re happy to use it because “it was created by people who put a lot of thought and care into their work.”

They’re Consistent and Pretty

Designers tend to appreciate Apple’s business model, where they build not only an operating system, but also the hardware that runs it. This allows for a truly seamless experience, where Apple controls what happens to the user from their first interaction to their last. Microsoft doesn’t have this luxury and it sometimes results in a total disconnect between the tangible product and the intangible software, where two companies with conflicting priorities, philosophies, and even target audiences, could both be working together on one product.

For me it’s not just about the specs and numbers, it’s about the object itself. It’s about the beautiful hardware and the way it works in sync with the software. Think of how much better Apple trackpads are than Windows PC trackpads. It’s because it comes from one company rather than Microsoft making the OS, Synaptic making the drivers, and whoever building the hardware.

The designers that I spoke to also weren’t afraid to tell me that Apple simply creates a sexy product and they appreciate that. Steve Jobs’ love for simplicity resulted in a kind of aesthetic that revolutionized the way we think about design. Meticulous attention to detail in every way. That can still be seen in the Apple products of today.

Honestly now I think it’s just because Apple has a higher quality for aesthetic. I’m a designer and I enjoy the design of Macs more.

Personal Preference

Perhaps the most universal point of feedback that I got, however, was that in today’s day and age, there are no longer any major differentiating factors between the Mac and the Windows PC. Apple and Microsoft patrons alike were able to agree that it all really comes down to a matter of personal preference. Granted, there are some observable trends, like the fact that designers feel more at home on Macs while developers feel more at home on PCs. Many love one or the other, but can’t really articulate why. They just do. Plenty of critics have cited status, fashionability, and price point as driving factors behind the different platforms. But from a standpoint of core capabilities, they really aren’t that different. You can design a great site on a PC just as well as you can develop a great site on a Mac. What matters now is which platform you prefer to work with.

About the author:This guest article was written by Emma Best from Laptopical - a guide to the latest laptop reviews and laptop related news. You can also follow her on Twitter.

I've been using my MacBook Pro since a while now and I must say: I really love it. The most common app(s) that designers use has to be Adobe Photoshop (Or the full suite). The app(s) are great, but there is a downside: The price tag. Photoshop CS4 costs $699, CS4 extended is $999 and the full Creative Suite starts at an stunning $1799. For many people this is just a little bit too much to 'play around with'.

Luckily, there are also many free applications out there that can do the same kind of job that Photoshop could do for you. This article rounds up the best 15 free Mac Programs for Graphic Designers. Some of these applications can even do stuff that can't be achieved using Photoshop, or are much more simple to use.

Keep your wallet in your pocket, since all these programs will cost you nothing.

GIMP

The most popular of all free photo editing software, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and is highly-supported and frequently updated. Comparative to Photoshop, users can perform basic tasks such as photo retouching, color correction, and image size, or more complicated tasks like image composition and creation. GIMP has a scripting interface for advance users, as well as plugins, extensions, and filters.

Seashore

If you want GIMP, but don't have X11, then Seashore is the appropriate software for you. Based on GIMP, it has nearly all the settings and functions of the more advanced program without the higher requirements.

Inkspace

An excellent alternative to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, Inkscape is a free vector graphics program supporting standard SVG format, as well as XML and CSS standards. This program can do everything you'll need in a vector graphics program - tracing, path operations, direct XML editing, etc. Import and export formats include all the common image types, including JPEG, PNG, and TIFF.

Front End Digital Media Workshop

Don't waste time manually resizing individual photos for your various projects. Front End Digital Media is a batch conversion app for images (as well as video and audio), and allows you to mass resize, resample, split, join, and up/down sample JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, PSD, and PICT image files.

Image Tricks

The biggest appeal for the Image Tricks app is the ability to apply dozens of different filters to over 20 different image formats. The finished photos can then be exported as either TIFF, JPEG, or PNG.

Comipro Plus

If you create cartoons of any type, Comipro Plus is an excellent app. Designed in Japanese but usable to English speakers, this program helps create modern-looking comics, including editing and adding word bubbles.

Google SketchUp

Different from a normal vector graphics program, Google's SketchUp allows you to not only create a design, but view it in 3D. It is easier to use than more complicated 3D software, such as AutoCAD, and is free.

Colorate

Colorate is used to change and manipulate the colors in a photo. The Library generates a color swatch based on the photo, then allow you to add a new color pallete, either blending the current one, creating a custom one, or randomizing a completely new pallete.

Goldberg

This program is best used for those times when you're viewing your photos, and notice that a color is slightly off, or a side needs cropped a bit more. Instead of firing up a full photo editing application, you can simply make minor adjustments, including color correction, blurs, noise, and embossing.

NIH Image

Mac Softwares For Designers Windows

Software

Mac Software For Designing Flyers

If you need to animate one of your photos or designs, this program is for you. It's compatible with a wide array of programs, and in addition to animating images, it can also perform minor tweaks to contrast, sharpening, smoothing, filters, and more. It also analyzes particles, angles, and paths.

Scratch

This program is so simple, it can be used also immediately with no prior instruction. It is used for creating small games, interactive art, and animated stories, and is primarily marketed to children. Despite it's juvenile market, it is an excellent tool for putting together quick interactive banners and images without the learning curve.

DAZ Studio

If you're in need of realistic 3D models, DAZ Studio is an easy-to-learn 3D program for creating 3D objects, including people, animals, and objects (buildings, cars, etc). DAZ Studio is easier to use than other 3D animation tools, and is perfect for creating surrealistic and 3D art.

Bryce

Built to run with the aforementioned DAZ Studio software, Bryce is used to create real-looking landscapes using photos of real landscapes. Take a picture of your yard, a forest, some mountains, or other landscapes, import it into Bryce, and then add all the elements needed to turn it into a new world.

Mac Softwares For Designers Students

Mac Softwares For Designers

ArchiCAD

If you need a 3D design tool with more power and features than Google SketchUp, ArchiCAD is the right program to you. Similar to AutoCAD in both function and name, this program allows users to design their sketches and ideas into a realistic 3D render.

JAlbum

Every graphic designer requires an efficient way to keep all their photos and images organized. JAlbum is the ultimate photo organizer, as it not only allows you to organize your photos and folders using simple drag-and-drop functionality, but it also creates thumbnails and HTML pages of your photos for easy online publishing. The HTML pages to publish can be made to either export a gallery or a slide show. In addition, there's support for IPTC and EXIF data, lossless editing, image filters, style sheets, and an integrated FTP client.

Bonus: Pixelmator

I've added Pixelmator myself to this list, as Emma didn't include this app to her top 15 list. I really love to use Pixelmator myself and I don't think it should be missing from this amazing list.

Pixelmator, the beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor for Mac OS X has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images.

Windows

Bonus: Blender

Just like Pixelmator, I've added Blender myself to this list, as Emma didn't include this app to her top 15 list. Blender is a great open source app for 3d content.

Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

Are there more Mac Apps that you, as a graphic designer, love to use that is missing from the list above? Please share!

This guest article was provided to you by Emma Best from Laptopical.

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Tags: guest articlemacappsgraphic designtoolsfree

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