10 best graphic design tools for May

Whether you’re looking to speed up your creative process or take your career as a graphic designer up a level, we’ve collected the month’s best graphic design tools to help you do exactly that.

So what have we got? All sorts. From a new version of design bible Designers Insights: How to Succeed as a Graphic Designer, to a dramatically reduced design bundle – you’ll save over $4,500 – to Illustrator bushes, patterns, actions, textures and more, read on for our collection of the 10 best graphic design tools for May.

01. Designers Insights: How to succeed as a graphic designer 2

This popular book shares valuable tips for fledgling designers

Aimed at graduating and junior designers, Designers Insights: How to Succeed as a Graphic Designer 2 is double the length of the popular first version. Nine new chapters share step-by-step methods, strategic new approaches and on-the-job professional knowledge for boosting your career that can be acted on immediately. Topics covered include how to get better paying jobs or better clients; how to get recognition from an employer, client or peers; establishing a winning designer/client relationship; and more.

02. The all-purpose Modern Design Bundle

This mega-bundle includes everything from mockup templates, to backgrounds, textures and pitch packs

You can get your hands on $4,988-worth of design goods for just $29 over at DesignCuts this month. The deal lasts until Monday 22 May, and consists of “the very best time-saving tools and career-expanding resources”. 

This includes: mockup templates, infographics, logo templates, business card templates, social media templates, backgrounds, textures, resume templates, Powerpoint/Keynote templates, pitch packs, clean vectors, icons, UI kits, flowcharts, wireframe kits, Lightroom presets and stock photos - everything, it seems, a modern design might need.

03. QuarkXpress 2017

The new version of QuarkXpress sports improved typographic features and new non-destructive image-editing tools

For anyone interested in non-Adobe design and page layout software, QuarkXpress 2017 is due 24 May. It brings improved typographic features – including the ability to add strokes and shading, proportional leading and smart text linking – and new non-destructive image-editing tools, including Transparency blend modes, new shape tools and more. It’s priced at $849 (or $179 to upgrade from Quark 2016 or 2015); no subscription necessary.

04. The One-Hour Photo Filter Collection

These filters include film noise, matte effects, film dust and more

This pack of over 100 one-click Photoshop filter actions includes vintage fades, film noise, matte effects, fades, film dust and more, plus 21 film brushes to add authentic touches (like you’d get from dusty negatives or lens scratches). 

The filters – which are non-destructive, have been handpicked by photo-filter master Mike Maloney from FilterGrade – and are being offered with a large discount. You can get them for $29, instead of $82.

05. How to Draw Type and Influence People

Get hands-on with type in this new book

The latest book from graphic designer and author Sarah Hyndman is an easy-to-follow guide for learning more about the psychology of type. Featuring a number of different creative exercises, the activity book goes behind the scenes on a selection of fonts, showing you how to draw each one, encouraging you to explore the associations evoked by each style and to create your own versions.

06. Geometric Seamless Patterns Bundle Vol.1

Customise these patterns by changing the colours

Volume 1 of this set of geometric patterns comes with 40 seamless vector patterns in four categories: chevron, dots, triangles and hexagons. You can edit the colour, making them ideal as backgrounds for T-Shirts, packaging, business cards, wedding invitations, greeting cards, fashion projects and more. They’re compatible with Illustrator CS6 and higher.

07. Liquid Style Brushes

This bumper pack includes over 80 brushes

Love the liquid-style illustrations that have been popping up everywhere recently? The latest Illustrator brushes from Jeremy Child, aka The Artifex Forge, let you recreate the style in your own work quickly and easily. In the pack you get over 80 brushes covering a range of shapes and sizes (with pressure sensitivity for tablet users), plus a quick reference guide and instructions. It’s compatible with Illustrator CS5 upwards.

08. Lightwell

New software from New York-based company Hullabalu lets designers, artists and animators transform their work into mobile apps - without writing a line of code. Lightwell turns your static art into interactive, animated experiences for iPad and iPhone using a suite of easy-to-use features in a Photoshop-esque interface. Simply drag-and-drop your characters and environments into app and away you go. It’s Mac-only at the moment.

09. Golden Paint Transparent Textures

These vibrant textures are the work of Jim LePage

Looking for some rich, vibrant paint textures but don’t have time to paint, scan and mask your own? This collection of high-res textures from Jim LePage ($5) could be just the ticket. You get 12 gold and 12 full-colour textures – and you also get a set of Photoshop brushes too, so you can create your own paint textures with custom colours, gradients and so on.

10. 20 Dynamic Seamless Patterns

Brighten up your designs with just the click of a button

Everyone loves patterns. This collections of 20 seamless patterns comes with both raster and vector files, letting you brighten up any design with the click of a button.

Related articles: