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Is Procreate Good for Graphic Design?

Procreate is a powerful digital art program that many artists use exclusively for their art. Drawing, painting, illustration; it’s a breeze with Procreate. Is Procreate good for graphic design though? Is it equally good for all types of art, or is graphic design where it draws the line?

Procreate isn’t good for graphic design given that it lends itself more to drawing and illustration. For graphic design work, it’s better to choose a program like Photoshop, InDesign, or Affinity Designer. For those on a budget, Canva is a great option for graphic design work.

Even though Procreate isn’t my first choice for graphic design, there are certain circumstances where it might be helpful. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of using Procreate for your graphic design needs. 

The Pros of Using Procreate for Graphic Design

Even though I don’t think that Procreate is a great graphic design choice from start to finish, I DO think that it can be used for bits and pieces of a graphic design process in some really useful ways. If you’re ok with using multiple programs for one project, this section is for you. 

Procreate is Great for any Hand Drawn Elements

Procreate is a POWERHOUSE when it comes to digital drawing and illustration. It’s designed for drawing and it does it really really well. It’s amazing how many professional artists depend on this app for their entire careers and livelihoods.

If there are any pieces of your graphic design project that would be easier to draw by hand, you can use Procreate to create them. When you’re done, simply export them to your graphic design program. 

Just remember to export in the appropriate file type that you need with a transparent background. You can do this by simply unchecking the background layer within your design.

This is a great option for flyers, brochures, and posters that have illustrated elements, but are mainly text, photos, and effects. 

Procreate Can Export Photoshop Files

Creating hand drawn elements in Procreate and exporting them to your graphic design program is REALLY easy if you use Photoshop.

Photoshop is one of the most popular programs for graphic designers. Heck, try to find a job posting for a graphic designer that doesn’t require mastery of it. 

Of course, as we’ll talk about later, Photoshop is a great option for your graphic design work. And, to make things even better, Procreate plays well with it.

When you’re done with the hand drawn elements of your design, simply hit the share button and choose PSD. 

procreate export to PSD

This will export your design as a PSD file that you can open with Photoshop. What’s even better is that Procreate will transfer over all of your layers in working condition. Instead of Procreate merging all of your layers and delivering a static image, you can still work with each layer separately within Photoshop.

This is a huge win for graphic designers and a big plus to using both of these programs.

You’re Already Comfortable with Procreate

If you already use Procreate, it can be daunting to learn a new program. If you only do occasional graphic design work, it might be easier, cheaper, and more efficient to simply figure out how Procreate can suit your needs. 

Again, this is for occasional graphic design work. 

If you plan to do a lot of graphic design, I would invest the time and money to learn a program that is specifically built for graphic design, like Photoshop.

The Cons of Using Procreate for Graphic Design

Like I’ve said, I don’t think that Procreate is the right choice for work that is exclusively considered graphic design. Let’s talk about why.

Procreate is built for Drawing and Illustration

Procreate is REALLY good for drawing and illustration. When it comes to hand drawn, digital art, Procreate is my first choice, no questions about it. But, there are other programs that are built for graphic design, like Photoshop, InDesign, Affinity Designer, and Canva.

With so many graphic design choices out there, there’s no reason to pick a program that isn’t built for graphic design for your graphic design needs. As we talked about, Procreate can work here and there for occasional graphic design, but if you plan to do a lot of graphic design work, another program would be suitable.

Procreate Can’t Create Vectors

When you work in Procreate, you can’t export them as vectors. Depending on what you do with your digital drawing, this could be an important factor both for your graphic design and your digital drawing needs.

Vectors are commonly used in graphic design so that elements can be scaled larger or smaller without losing quality and becoming pixelated. 

If this is a deal breaker for you, you’ll want to look into a program like Illustrator or Photoshop.

Procreate Doesn’t Have a Library of Photos or Elements

Procreate does let you import photos and elements, but it doesn’t have a library of them for you to access. You need to find your own photos and elements, save them to your iPad, and individually import them into Procreate.

This works here and there, but isn’t sustainable if you do a lot of work with different photos and elements.

I’m a big fan of Canva and use it for a lot of my graphic design needs. The reason why? Well, it has a HUGE library of photos and elements. 

elements with Canva Pro
A small sampling of Canva’s elements
stock photos with Canva Pro
A small sampling of Canva’s photos

When I need to make some quick Pinterest pins, cards, or blog graphics, I turn to Canva and search through their huge library. Once I find what I’m looking for, it’s just a simple click to add it to my design and create what I’m looking for.

Procreate Doesn’t Have a Desktop Version

Procreate only comes in the form of an iPad app. It doesn’t work with any other system than iOS and doesn’t have a compatible desktop application. 

For graphic design, this can be tricky because it might mean a lot of back and forth between your computer and your iPad to make sure that you have all of the photos and design elements that you need.

The fact that Procreate is an app can be a big perk. Being able to grab your iPad and draw wherever you go is super convenient. Even though this is a perk, it’s increasingly becoming the standard for design programs. 

Canva and all of the Adobe apps have apps that you can install on your iPad and use on the go. This means that Procreate’s lack of a desktop program is a factor to consider. If you like using your computer for your graphic design work, choosing an app other than Procreate is a good idea.

Procreate is an amazing software that I use almost every single day for my digital drawing. That said, it’s not my first choice for graphic design. Photoshop, InDesign, Canva, Affinity Designer, and others are more geared directly towards graphic design and could be better choices for that purpose. 

I hope this post has given you more insight into what Procreate can do. Whichever program you choose for your graphic design, have fun and make great art.

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