Top 5 Designer Tools in Adobe Creative Cloud (CC)

It’s a great time to be a creative type. With Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) the possibilities are endless, and with so many tools at our fingertips, we can get the work done quickly and with precision. I work with Adobe CC daily to produce art for our web sites and as printed marketing materials. I love that all the CC titles work together seamlessly making my work life a bit less hectic.

Plus, Adobe updates the titles often that I know I always have the latest version with the newest tools available. With more than 20 apps listed, if I want to try my hand at something new, I only have to download the software and give it a go. No stress about buying something I may only use one time. Although I use more than what’s listed below, here’s the software I use most often with some of the tools I depend on.


InDesign is a page layout program that I use to design everything from multi-page brochures and web art to signage and ads. It also supports export to EPUB and SWF formats to create e-books and digital publications.

My favorite things: I have two favorite tools here. The first tool I want to talk about is the Eyedropper Tool. I use this tool like crazy. I’m a designer that loves typography and am often more concerned about the style and placement of text than anything else. When I’m designing, I use this tool to quickly copy a style from one area to another. Character and Paragraph Styles are great and I do use them, but sometimes I’m moving quickly and it’s easier to just copy a style and apply it in a click.

The second cool thing is that InDesign will do the math for you. Every measurement field in panels and in dialog windows is a calculator. You can add, subtract, multiple and even divide. For example, select an object, go to the width field at the top of your doc and type in the plus mark (+) and the additional width you’d like to add to the current width. Hit return and you’ll see those two numbers added together with your object reflecting the new width. You can also combine different types of measurements. Let’s say I have a box that is 1” wide and I want to add 5 picas to it. Here’s how it would look “1 in + p5” My new width is 1.0694 in. Easier than 5th grade math!


The industry standard for creating vector based logos, icons, drawings, typography, and complex illustrations for any medium. (A word to the wise, always design your logos in Illustrator. Because Illustrator uses bézier curves, your logo can be sized large or small without losing the integrity of the line. Although bézier curves are a bit tricky to master, once you do, you’ll be glad you took the time to learn them.)

My favorite thing: The Layers Panel lets me work from the ground up. If you’ve ever designed an intricate logo in Illustrator, you know how easy it is to lose track of where every shape starts and stops. Working on a single layer can be confusing and time consuming. By using the Layers panel, you can divide and conquer. I like to place each shape or group of shapes on their own layer. With different elements on different layers, I can turn on/off a layer (or many layers) so I can focus on the task at hand. Layers can also be moved to a different order, locked, renamed and recolored. I love this last feature, it’s one more way for me to stay organized.

Read these related articles to help you get better acquatined with Adobe Creative Cloud:


Image editing software that allows users to manipulate, crop, resize, and correct color on digital photos.

My favorite thing: There are many tools to love in Photoshop, but my favorite just might have to be the Clone Stamp Tool. It’s been around forever, but I find I use it daily. I know there is the Content Aware Tool, and even though that works quite nicely, it’s not always as precise as I’d like. With stock photography, I find I often need to add or remove a little something here, extend a background there, or even blend an area. There are many options that make this tool useful, even if you only use the opacity and flow, you will get great results.


Adobe Bridge lets you organize the assets you use to create content for print, web, and video. Adobe Bridge keeps native Adobe files (such as PSD and PDF) and non‑Adobe files available for easy access. You can drag assets into your layouts, projects, and compositions as needed, preview files, and even add metadata (file information), making the files easier to locate.

My favorite thing: I think this is one program that is often overlooked. I love the fact that you can view an eps image and not just the .eps icon. It’s also great to be able to double click on an item and have it launch its native software.


Dreamweaver lets you design, code and manage websites as well as mobile content. It is a versatile web design and development tool that enables visualization of web content while coding.

My favorite thing: Quick Edit is a great way to quickly revise a style in CSS. I can go into the code and right click the p-tag that I want to change. This will open a drop-down that displays the style of this line of code. I can then edit my style right there on the fly, no need to go into styles to look through tons of code.

There are so many great tools within Adobe CC. These are a list of my favorites, but any creative type may have a different opinion. Comment below to tell us about your favorite tools to use or, if you're new to Adobe CC, which you're looking forward to learning. You'll never know until you try!

novara.pngDebra Novara's love affair with design and the outdoors was truly realized when just two weeks after graduation she landed in Denver with nothing more than a backpack, her portfolio and a pair of skis. After 20+ years of designing for the Denver market (and skiing every resort) she returned to Michigan where she continues to work in the design industry as a member of the NHLS Marketing team. In addition to receiving awards for her design work, Debra has taught design at universities, served on multiple design panels and is recognized as one of the founding members of the AIGA-Denver Chapter.

Rate this article:

Debra Novara, Branding ManagerDebra Novara

Other posts by Debra Novara, Branding Manager

Contact author
Please login or register to post comments.

Theme picker

Contact author


Blog Search