Not Everything is a Nail: A Client’s Guide to Creative Tools

Psychologist Abraham Maslow once wrote, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

Wrong creative tool for the jobApplying that concept to your marketing materials, you may find yourself tempted to use the software you have at hand to create a brochure, sell sheet, flyer, etc. Can you use Word to create a sell sheet? Or PowerPoint to create a brochure? Sure…but you’ll get much better results if you use the right creative tool for the job.

Below are the three most commonly-used tools in our creative toolbox, along with a description of what we use them for.

Creative Tools

  • Photoshop: As the name implies, we use Photoshop to edit and retouch photos. The software includes tools that allow you to layer different images, add a text overlay, change colors, add effects, and otherwise manipulate a photo. We sometimes use it to design web layouts too, before turning the file over to the developers.
  • Illustrator: We use Illustrator to create graphics that aren’t image-based. It’s great for making visuals like logos, icons and other brand elements…and, of course, illustrations! We also use it to create charts and diagrams.
  • InDesign: InDesign is a desktop publishing program used to design layouts. Whether we’re creating a poster or an e-book, this is where we bring it all together. We use it to combine blocks of text with elements we’ve created in Illustrator and photos we’ve edited in Photoshop. Then we can adjust leading, kerning and tracking to get the type just right. And we can add effects like drop shadows or glows to graphics and text to create visual interest. And finally, we can package it all up for a printer or create a PDF that can be emailed or uploaded to the web.

The next time you need to create a piece of marketing material, ask yourself which creative tool is the best for the job—and if you don’t have it, consider calling someone who does! That way, you can be sure the end product will be a polished, professional representation of your company and your brand.

Jason Janoski

Jason Janoski


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