Adobe Creative Suite
The rolls royce of design suites, comprehensive range of packages linked in one suite - suitable for all design work but very expensive
Adobe Macromedia FreeHand
Macromedia is now part of the Adobe empire, a very popular and versatile package
Adobe Pagemaker
The original page layout program from Adobe, now being phased out   to be replaced by InDesign
Adobe InDesign
Adobe’s competitor to once market leader - Quark. Suitable for all design work
CorelDraw Suite
An affordable high end package which contains everything necessary for all types of design.
Quark Express
The once market leader, very good package but earlier versions do have some compatibility problems with other packages. We only accept if files are converted to PDF.
Microsoft Publisher
Later versions have improved but not without problems. Support for spot colour is almost non existent.
Not suitable for Large Format artwork unless produced as high res A4 and converted to PDF
Serif Page Plus
Fairly reliable, can be picked up for very little money. PDF converter not always reliable and spot colour support is not very reliable.
Microsoft Word
This is a word processor  - one of the best. It is not a page layout package. Can be used for simple page layout for digital only. Suitable for simple single colour text offset artwork only
Microsoft Excel
This is only suitable for output to     digital machines
Microsoft Powerpoint
This is only suitable for simple output to digital machines
These elements of the Adobe CS are often used as stand alone    packages.  Photoshop can be problematic when being used as for          the production of final artwork
Adobe Illustrator
A vector design package with page layout facilities
Adobe Photoshop
The best bitmap editor but not really suitable for stand-alone page layout and artwork
If you are using any package not mentioned or have any queries about the suitability of a package for a particular project please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will try to advise you as best we can!
Selecting the correct software package(s) is vital for the production of good artwork. A good eye for balance, an artists imagination  and the attention to detail are obviously equally important.
Over the years many customers have brought us ‘masterpieces’ which have taken many hour of hard work to produce and they have been totally unsuitable. To produce a 6 panel 1/3 A4 folded leaflet with accurate margins and gutters etc in a package such as Microsoft Word or a give a way package from your latest cereal packet is virtually impossible! I hate to see people become stressed and waste valuable time by using the wrong package. Do some research and speak to others before making a decision.
Be realistic. MS Word is suitable for production of  simple books containing text and a few graphics, nothing more. MS Publisher is fine for producing an A4 poster for the local fete or perhaps a very simple parish magazine but NOT a multi page full colour brochure!
Obviously the cost of the professional packages is prohibitive if you are only intending to produce the occasional piece of artwork.
MS Publisher has improved a great deal as the new versions have come out but if budget demands that a very cheap package is used I would recommend Serif Page Plus.
If you are serious about producing artwork, whether for one project or fairly regular jobs we would recommend the CorelDraw package. The ‘suite’ includes a bitmap editor, the main vector and page layout package and loads of other add ons.  The main advantage is the price, the fact that it is a serious package and the fact that it works, whether you are producing a full colour brochure, a simple newsletter, web designs or vector images and signs 15 metres wide! Look out for copies on eBay - I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the package.
In my mind the best package if money is no object is Adobe Creative Suite 3 but it is very expensive and only worth considering if you intend to use it extremely regularly.
Packages become outdated due to the regular new operating systems that we are bombarded with. It can sometimes be worth purchasing second hand the previous version of a high end package such as Adobe Creative Suite 2.
Selecting software is obviously personal preference to a certain extent but we have listed below a traffic light system as to which package has suitable features to enable the production of each type of work as objectively as we can.