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Top 5 Tools and Features Your Graphic Designer Must Have!

By Alex Kronenberg on February 20, 2019

To celebrate the launch of our latest feature (annotations!), we thought we'd take a look at some of the Top 5 tools and features for Graphic Designers. Find out how these can help designers save time on the boring stuff and enable more energy to be spent doing what they do best - creating!

Feature Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

1. Adobe Creative Cloud

You simply cannot create a list of tools for Graphic Designers and not include the Adobe stack. It's the industry standard kit for designers - and there's a good reason why. It's pretty much unrivaled. Of course, there are cheaper alternatives, but it's hard to argue with Adobe being number 1 when an estimated 90% of the world's creative professionals use Photoshop.

Plus, you must be doing something right when your product's name becomes a verb... need to edit an image? Just Photoshop it! 

(You can Google that to verify it 😉).

2. Plug-ins

When you're deep in design mode, working solidly in one program, the last thing you want to do is to start having to flick back and forth between tabs or screens and ruin your flow. Every time you need to leave the project you're working on, the task at hand takes longer, and it opens up the possibility for distractions. Plug-ins put an end to this problem, enhancing the software you're working with by adding a feature from some other piece of software through an API. It's a lot like when you upload an image to Instagram and you're given the option to share it to Facebook too, you don't have to leave the app to do it!

For example, FotoWare has plug-ins to Adobe InDesign and Microsoft PowerPoint, helping Graphic Designers (or anybody else for that matter!) to easily find the assets they need without even leaving what they're working on. Time saved with minimal effort, and zero distractions.

The Whys of APIs


Now I can focus on my creative process staying in the Adobe interface and just search and place pre-approved brand assets or campaign-tagged stock images available across all teams. I've almost forgotten how time-consuming layout projects used to be.

- Maria Brenno-Strandli, Design & Brand Specialist

3. Annotations

As a designer, collaborating with your colleagues can be a really pain-staking process. You finish your first draft of a design and require feedback. You send the design to your colleagues. Next thing you know, you've got a cluster of comments incoming - possibly even across multiple platforms: email, slack, skype, teams... Some of the feedback may have to include descriptions of specific parts of the design just to fully explain exactly what is meant. It can be quite a clunky and complicated process.

The ability to directly annotate your work, like in FotoWare, means you can collaborate far easier and quicker with your team and visually demonstrate your feedback, getting straight to the point. There's no room for confusion and all your feedback can be found in one place!


“Image Annotations are powerful because they let you visually describe elements on an image. This increases the accuracy of your descriptions, and reduces the verbosity in metadata."

- Andreas Gnutzmann, CTO @ FotoWare

4. CMS export

The purpose of a CMS export is to enable the user to easily make any necessary adjustments or changes to a picture or graphics file, and upload this new variation directly into the Content Management System. This is another major time-saver and productivity hack for Graphic Designers, especially those working directly with the design and building of websites.

With the CMS export in FotoWare, you can resize, add effects and otherwise customize the appearance of the exported picture. It also lets you set restrictions for the use of the asset, like a publication expiry date, meaning that if you're using a licensed stock photo for example, the image will become unavailable on the given date and instead display a block saying "Media Not Available". This is a crucial method to ensure that you don't fall foul of any license restrictions and end up incurring a costly fine! 

"Not having a Digital Asset Management system now must be like re-inventing the wheel ten times a day, every single day."

- Maria Brenno-Strandli, Design & Brand Specialist

Why Image Rights and Metadata are Becoming Mainstream

5. Metadata

It might be number 5 on this list but, in truth, metadata is the most fundamental tool of all, impacting each and every one of the others on the list. Metadata is essentially data about data - it can be a title, a tag, a description of an image, and numerous other types of information that is attached to a file and can be transported with it.

The reason this is important for Graphic Designers is that tagging image and graphic files with metadata enables the user to search and find exactly what they're looking for without having to remember complicated file structures. In a Digital Asset Management system like FotoWare, your Graphic Designer can safely store all their important images and graphic files, and access them at the click of a button. Ready to continue creating within seconds!

e-book Download: The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Your Content's Value with Metadata