Here's Part Two of the Marketer's Toolbox series, for part one on HTML and CSS, click here.
Possessing graphic design skills is not a mandatory hard skill to have when working in marketing but it can be extremely helpful and even enjoyable. I personally find learning more about and experimenting with the Adobe Creative Suite an enriching experience.
Adobe CS, Huh?
Here's a quick breakdown of the suite (see the picture to the right for all respective logos):
Photoshop - Editing, correcting and manipulating graphics and photographs
Illustrator - Creation of vector graphics
InDesign - Page creation and layouts; a publisher's software solution
Flash - Development of animations, movies and interactive multimedia
Premiere - Post-production video editing
After Effects - Video compositing
Dreamweaver - HTML, CSS, PHP etc. editor
Bridge - Media manager for organizing Adobe documents
Fireworks - Quick and simplified website layout development
Soundbooth - Audio editor for creating and customizing
Lightroom - Photo management
Acrobat - PDF creation and manipulation
Why are Graphics Important?
Now, keep in mind, I'm not asking you to be a full-fledged graphic designer. What I'm asking of you is to possess -- at the least -- basic understanding and beginner skills with the Adobe Creative Suite. Adobe is by far the industry-leader and if it's name is a mystery to you, visit Adobe's website for more information.
But back to the question at hand, why are graphics important? They hold incredible value in any marketing department because they cultivate an image, carve out a visual identity and brand for the organization, and also build out that brand to achieve recognition and loyalty. So, if you can comprehend the inner-workings of graphic design then you can perhaps better market your brand.
To Get Started
The main graphics software within the suite are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, the other solutions all cater to different areas as noted above. I would suggest beginning with either Photoshop or Illustrator, if you're interested. These two foundational solutions will provide you with an unprecedented understanding of the world of graphics. Have an open mind, keep your creative marketing juices flowing and think of how the best-of-the-best do it.