Recommend me a graphic program for simple ad design

I need something for the office that will allow me to design simple ads.

It needs to:

Import and manipulate common image file types as well as allow me to enter text against them.

I must be able to save as PDF and other common types to get to my designer.

Any thoughts, O Teeming Ones?

If the office is buying it for you, my vote is for Photoshop. Creative Suites would be even better if they’re picking up the bill!

Photoshop LE (or whatever they’re calling it these days) will probably do what you need, too. Sometimes you can get it for free if you buy a scanner or something.

Saving as PDF is something you can add to any application by installing something like PrimoPDF - it pretends to be a printer, but when you print to it, instead of a sheet of paper, you get a PDF.

As a designer who’s spent most of his career designing ads, I have to ask: why do you want to design ads to send to your designer? Isn’t that his job?

My designer lays out the newspaper. Simple enough. But I have customers who throw a logo and text at us and for something simple I’d like to be able to do it myself on the fly with the customer sitting here.

And sadly I’m the company. It’s my firm and my check.

Wasson’s suggestion of Photoshop would be OK if you already were experienced in graphics and in preparing art for offset printing. But it’s really way too much program with way too much of a learning curve involved in producing quality output. It’s not too difficult to make something in PS that looks great on the screen but is woefully inadequate for your end product.

For just some quickie mock-ups, MS Publisher (or its OpenOffice analog) should do fine. There used to be cheap licenses for expired versions of Corel Draw available online ($20) at … but I haven’t checked over there in a few years.

Try inkscape. It is free but quite powerful.

I made this on inkscape in a couple of hours.

Another vote for Photoshop. It doesn’t do vector but, really, unless you doing ultra high end you don’t need it. I’ve designed 100s of ads with it.

The learning curve for the basics is very do-able.

I’ve worked professionally as a print designer for 15+ years, and this thread makes me cringe. But for a simple answer: InDesign is the most popular (by far) layout software.

You’ll get there, kid. One day. :slight_smile:

I’ll cop to having flinched a time or two. But I am often asked exactly this question and have yet to find a good answer. There are NO tools that do a credible job with relative ease in a novice’s hands at a reasonable price. MS Publisher is perhaps the only general solution, and it’s… imperfect.

At that, it’s better than… shudder… P-werp-int, for gossakes.

And the simple answer to medical problems is to go get an MD from Harvard. Most people don’t have the budget for the Adobe tools, even on the new rent-a-center plan, and coming in cold to a tool like InDesign or even Photoshop is a hell of a hurdle to throw at a newbie. Especially as their budget doesn’t usually include training beyond a third-party book.

JC, I’d look at MS Publisher and then the cheapest version of CorelDRAW you can find. There just isn’t much else that’s capable, cheap, relatively easy to use and will do everything you want it to.

He also needs to be able to send the files to his designer. If the files really are print ready when he sends them, then it doesn’t matter that much what he uses, as long as he exports to PDF. Unfortunately, people who don’t have a background in pre-press rarely make perfect files.

Yeah, I was about to say I’ve been the designer in this situation and I always have to have a grin plastered on my face about the whole deal. The ad is the wrong size, the ad was made at 72dpi, the ad has a placed JPG that was scaled up until the jaggies could cut you, the ad only has three lines of text and all of them managed to be non-centered, the ad was actually exported as some arcane file format and then renamed to .pdf before sending to me…

Experiences with non-designers creating things to “help me out” usually result in more work for me. Usually. But maybe you’re better than the rest!

I would also aim for MS Publisher. Non-designers I’ve worked with have managed their best with that. Some even manage to send their files over in the correct size so I don’t have to remake it by default! Hallelujah!

I use PhotoShop. A while back I set up a template for myself and each week I swap out the words/pictures to match whats on sale that week. With PS it’s easy since I have all the pictures set up as layers so I just turn them on and off as I need them.

Press-ready files should never be sent in anything except PDF, except for rare cases where JPEG or TIFF is demanded. Never, ever, ever in a live document file.

PDF. Which does make the creation program pretty much irrelevant. But the user still needs the tools to create elements, move them around, overlay them, etc. and there aren’t many good, simple, cheap tools for that.

Publisher is the simplest and easiest that I’ve used. It includes templates for practically anything you could want. Brochure, posters, calendars, greeting cards etc. Any newbie can figure it out and modify/customize as needed.

Experienced users can create projects from scratch if they prefer. I love Publisher.

Another vote for Photoshop. It really isn’t difficult or all that time-consuming to learn the basics, and you will learn the advanced features over time through general use.

InDesign, in my opinion, is overkill for simple jobs like flyers and quick one-page ads.

The above stated, if all you want to do is place elements and content provided to you and output to PDF, and you can’t afford Photoshop, much less CS, then Publisher is really all you need.

OpenOffice Draw is free and reasonably easy to use. I use it to design occasional ads and flyers, and any questions I’ve had about it were easily resolved by a Google search.

I can’t see or understand why people are telling OP to use Photoshop. It is like buying a Ferrari for an elderly woman to use as an electric scooter. Inside her home.
Way too complex, way too expansive.