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9 best graphic design tools for September 2017

As we click back into action after the summer holidays, we’ve been focused on buying guides this month on Creative Bloq. Whether you’re looking for a new graphics tablet, or the best laptop for photo editing or graphic design, we’ve got you covered.

But what about new tools for graphic design out this month? Happily, there have been plenty of new releases that aim to speed up your workflow or increase your industry knowledge.

From brilliant new books to brushes, actions, hardware and software, you’ll find nine of the best new graphic design tools right here...

01. The Elements of Logo Design: Design Thinking, Branding, Making Marks

  • Buy The Elements of Logo Design, UK: £24.99 (opens in new tab)
  • Buy The Elements of Logo Design, US: $25.21 (opens in new tab)

Designer Alex W White has put together this new, comprehensive guide to learning the art of logo design. With over 400 examples taken from across advertising, editorial and web, the book seeks to give readers a clear understanding of universally shared graphic design principles, before applying these principles to logo design.

Chapters cover everything from logic in design to hierarchy and structure; how to build a logo using type, image and space; semiotics; and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the art of branding, The Elements of Logo Design: Design Thinking, Branding, Making Marks will make for a fantastic resource.

Also read: 25 logo design tips from the experts

02. iPad Pro (2017) with iOS 11

With the final release of iOS 11 this month, Apple's top-end iPad and the wonderful Apple Pencil have received some significant updates, turning the pair into an unbeatable portable companion for your desktop.

The new dock has support for drag and drop, and is supported by Split View functionality, which powers up multitasking capabilities to provide desktop-like functionality. And thanks to Apple's A10 X processor, this is a seriously powerful tablet.

Meanwhile, iOS 11 updates to apps such as Serif’s Affinity Photo and Savage’s Procreate help make the iPad Pro a fantastic tool for photo editing, designing and illustrating on the move.

Also read: iPad Pro (2017) with iOS 11 review

03. The Design of Dissent, Expanded Edition: Greed, Nationalism, Alternative Facts, and the Resistance

  • Buy The Design of Dissent, UK: £16.99 (opens in new tab)
  • Buy The Design of Dissent, US: $16.37 (opens in new tab)

A new, expanded edition of Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic’s 2005 tome has been released this month – this time with celebrated designer and writer Steven Heller’s input, too. Within the 296-page book you’ll find a global collection of socially and politically driven graphics that voice dissent, challenge status quo and speak truth to power.

From the Arab Spring to the Obama presidency, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the election of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin’s continuing influence, the Women’s March, the ongoing refugee crises, immigration, environment and humanitarian issues, and much more, this title totals over 550 images. 

It not only stands as a testament to the power of imagery, but also acts as an urgent call to action.

04. Really Big Bundle of Illustrator Brushes

  • Buy the brushes: $29 (opens in new tab)

Guerillacraft has bundled up 367 Illustrator brushes for a bargain $29. Inside the bundle you’ll find a 1950s artist brush pack, pencil craft brushes, mid century-inspired brushes, ornamental style and a lot more. (They’re suitable for Adobe CS3 and above.)

05. Notes: Colorful Geometric Pattern Notebook

  • Buy the notebook UK: £6.09 (opens in new tab)
  • Buy the notebook US: $7.98 (opens in new tab)

As the weather changes we’re still in back-to-school mode, which makes this colourful new geometric-patterned notebook from Nifty Notebooks especially timely. It’s wide-ruled, with 175 white pages. And at 6 x 9 inches it will fit in your bag as well. If you’re looking to offset the approaching winter with a splash of colour as you jot down ideas and notes, this one’s for you.

06. 18 Procreate Smudge Brushes

  • Buy the Procreate brushes: $8 (opens in new tab)

Seeing as the redesigned Smudge tool has been greatly improved in Procreate 4, Swiss-based Creative Market user MiksKS has created a set of brushes specifically for smudging and blending.

So what do you get? The 18 brushes include a range of textures and colour blending effects, such as charcoal and pencil, paint and watercolour and more. However, they’re best used in Procreate 4, so you will need to update to that version before using these brushes.

Also read: 30 of the best Procreate brushes

07. Fog Effect Photoshop Action

  • Buy the fog effect Photoshop action: $4 (opens in new tab)

Speaking again of changing seasons, this handy fog effect Photoshop action will speed up your autumn designs no end. It’s just $4, adjustable, compatible with CS3 and above, and comes with a useful Help file as well. 

Also read: 60 free Photoshop actions

08. Lightning and Electricity Brushes

  • Buy the lightning and electricity brushes: $6 (opens in new tab)

You get 102 high-res lightning and electricity Photoshop brushes in this $6 pack. If you’re looking to add drama to a thunderstorm or some extra shock into your latest design, this bundle is worth a look.

09. Pioneers of German Graphic Design

  • Get Pioneers of German Design, UK: £70 (opens in new tab)
  • Get Pioneers of German Design, US: $77.90 (opens in new tab)

Author Jens Müller explores the relationship between the groundbreaking early inventions of Germany's graphic design pioneers and the nation's explosive politics in this fascinating 384-page title.

Telling the story of German graphic design from the late monarchy to the Wirtschaftswunder after World War II, the book looks at how Lucian Bernhard prompted a revolution in poster design, and how Wilhelm Deffke and Karl Schulpig invented the modern logo.

It also includes a section on Herbert Bayer, who expanded the language of form at the Bauhaus, as well as celebrated typographer Jan Tschichold. This is a highly recommended read for anyone with a deeper interest in graphic design.

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Julia Sagar
Julia Sagar

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.