Successful entrepreneurs often wear many hats: salesperson, spokesperson, marketer, innovator, leader, social media guru and motivational speaker. If you want to dress for success, then it’s time to think about adding a “designer” hat to your wardrobe. Your company’s visual identity defines the way your audience perceives your brand — don’t you think you should have a bigger say in that?
One of the best ways to dip your toe into the design pool is to learn Adobe Photoshop, which is pretty much the industry standard. It’s also much more affordable than it used to be, available for as little as $9.99 a month. Even if the designers you work with don’t use Photoshop, chances are they use something that’s comparable and compatible. Here are a few ways that learning Photoshop might just help your small business succeed.
It Lets You Preview Your Unadulterated Designs
Whenever designers have to send files to a client who doesn’t have Photoshop, the files have to be converted into a universal format like JPG or PNG. Not only does this create extra work for the designer, it also causes the image to lose some of its quality, which means you’re missing out on the full picture. When you know at least the basics of Photoshop, you’re able to view your design in its rawest, purest form.
Consider that your designer isn’t the only one using these files — your printer is, too. Print media requires print-ready file types that can be edited with design programs like Photoshop. Without Photoshop, you’ll have no way of knowing if you’re sending the right files to your printer, because you can’t open them up to take a look.
It Improves Communication Between You and Your Designer
Sometimes business owners know exactly what they want in a design, but have a hard time communicating ideas to a designer. Learning to use Photoshop gives you a better set of communication tools and allows you to show your designer what you want instead of simply telling them in vague terms.
Try creating rough design sketches using Photoshop; not only does this save time, it helps your designer get a clear vision of what you want. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be entirely handmade: You could cobble it together by pasting in different design elements you like from other designs. No matter what you come up with, it’ll ease your designer’s burden by taking out the guesswork.
It Saves Time on the Little Things
Sometimes there’s only one tiny tweak standing between a good design and a perfect design, but getting your designer to resize an image or make a little touch-up can mean a considerable wait. Most freelance designers work for multiple clients and might not be able to make the correction right away.
Meanwhile, if you knew Photoshop, chances are you could fix the mistake yourself in a few minutes. Having a broad set of entrepreneurial skills (including knowing how to make basic edits in Photoshop) saves both you and your designer valuable time.
It Helps You Appreciate What Designers Do
Just learning how Photoshop works can seem like a daunting task for some entrepreneurs, which should give you a greater understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to be a designer. Walking a mile in a designer’s shoes will improve your working relationship with those in the design field, including designers, webmasters and even printers.
Making your brand look good is hard work, so better understanding the work that others are doing for you is a great way to keep your brand looking good for years to come.
Final Thoughts and Resources
Luckily for entrepreneurs, the Internet is a vast resource when it comes to learning Adobe Photoshop, with countless tutorials, videos and online communities dedicated to the subject. Here are a few resources to help you learn the basics:
- Graphic Design for Entrepreneurs…Who Can’t Draw: Online class specifically tailored for entrepreneurs seeking to learn essential design skills. It’s a $9 course with a free preview.
- Lynda: Courses and video tutorials for every edition of Adobe Photoshop.
- Phlearn: Helpful tutorials with a friendly, enthusiastic personality.
- Lifehacker: This video promises to teach you the basics of Photoshop in less than half an hour.
- 51 Free Photoshop Tutorials for Amazingly Cool Photo Editing: A wide ranging list of tutorials I curated on my blog to help out everyone from total beginners to Photoshop veterans.
However, sometimes the best way to learn is to jump in there and start experimenting. Maybe you’ll even discover an untapped artistic side you never knew you had.
A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog here.