The Fundamentals: Learning Adobe Creative Suite

One of the hardest challenges I encountered on my design journey was the process of learning and, eventually, mastering the Adobe Creative Suite. While I am fortunate to have received help in mastering the software from my school I have observed that many art schools don’t focus on teaching students the necessary software as much as they should.

So I’ve compiled a list of resources which I found very valuable below. I hope this helps other art and design students help master the Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop as they have helped me.

Note: I do not receive any financial compensation for making these recommendations – it’s only free advice.

  1. Deke McClelland’s tutorials

You may have come across a tutorial online called “Deke’s Techniques” which outlines various time-saving tricks for the Adobe Creative Suite. The man who made these tutorials is Deke McClelland – a well-known, widely recognized Adobe software specialist.

I came across his tutorials on LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com), beginning my Adobe Illustrator journey with his Fundamentals course. I recommend Deke because he focuses on the essentials in depth unlike the other tutorials I’ve seen.

The only downside to these tutorials is that they are very time-consuming. The pay-off is immense but you have to be patient.

2. Gareth David Studio tutorials

Gareth is a London-based graphic designer who I came across when I was dipping my toes in the Adobe Photoshop pond. I found his series on Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign a little overwhelming at first, but benefited from going through the entire series eventually.

Having recently watched his “Introduction to Adobe After Effects” series I can vouch for his channel as a reliable, safe resource for graphic designers with no or some knowledge of graphic design principles and Adobe software. However, these tutorials are also time-consuming and may seem frustrating at first.

Check out his Youtube channel here.

3. The Futur Academy

The Futur Academy is a online Youtube channel created by the Chris Do, a U.S based designer and educator. He runs a design agency called Blind and a Branding & Identity resource/ company/ Youtube channel called The Futur.

The Futur Academy is the sister Youtube channel of The Futur. It focuses on educating aspiring designers about the skills needed in their field. I enjoy their five minute videos which focus on specific features of design software, like the Pen tool, the Gradient tool and the Width tool.

This channel is perfect for designers looking for quick introductions to Adobe software, which are sometimes taught by independent designers/ instructors. Unlike the Deke McLelland and Gareth David tutorials, the Futur Academy provides short, commuter friendly videos.

4. Yes, I am a Designer

Yes, I am a Designer is an online resource created and run by Martin Perhiniak – an Adobe Certified Instructor. The website has a number of free resources for aspiring creatives and both the blog and YouTube channels are worth checking out.

I liked that this channel had a ton of resources for all three programmes which neatly organized in separate categories. I find that many other channels have great instructional material but lack proper organization. There is an option for those who don’t like video tutorials – the Adobe content on their blog.

Yes, I am a Designer provides detailed written content which is perfect if you are the kind of creative who likes to print-and-review the material he/ she is learning. Its also a great way to reduce one’s screen time and is definitely something I occasionally do.

5. Dansky Youtube tutorials

Dansky is a Youtube channel run by Daniel White, a designer based in the United Kingdom. I think of him as an excellent resource for creatives who want to expand their skill set beyond Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. I’ve browsed through his Premiere Pro and Adobe XD tutorials and they contain well-planned, useful instructions.

White’s Youtube channel also carries a series on logo design which is particularly useful for graphic designers interested in branding & identity design, such as myself. Some of this content is released as live-streams, which can be time consuming.

His other videos are, on average, short and therefore ideal for learners who like bite-sized tutorials.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash