Are you starting out as a graphic designer? Without creative people like you, the world would be a dull place! Graphic Design is a skill that only the most talented of people can offer. One of the advantages of graphic design is you can command rates appropriate to your skill level.
Of course, if you don't have the right tools for the job, it's unlikely you'll have the means to take on any new work. And that can mean having to do something uncreative to earn a living! Never fear, because all you need to do is know what tools to have at your disposal.
The focus of today's blog post is to give you a list of essential tools all graphic designers need. Including those that are new to the industry! Here is what you need:
1. Apple iMac
Perhaps this first tool will spark another ongoing PC vs. Mac debate. But, there is a reason graphic designers use Macs: they are perfect for design work. Sure, an Apple iMac might have the same specs as any modern PC.
The difference is the operating system and display hardware on the computer. These days, it's possible to get an iMac that boasts 4K colour resolutions. That means graphic designers can create even more stunning works of art. Is the same thing possible on a PC with a standard screen? Not really, no.
2. Adobe Creative Cloud software
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are two tools that most graphic designers use. They are industry-leading applications that work on both Mac and PC platforms. These days, stripped-down versions are also available for use on tablets.
The software is now affordable for graphic designers. That's because the apps get offered on a subscription basis, rather than a one-off fee. The advantage of that approach is graphic designers can enjoy using the latest versions. There are no upgrade fees to pay, or software discs to keep safe.
3. NAS (Network-Attached Storage)
Today's graphic designers use those network storage devices in place of conventional servers. They are cheaper to buy, use less electricity and are far more portable. Plus, many models allow remote access into the units. This is useful when you're working away from home or the office.
Of course, NAS devices take some configuring to get set up. Freelance graphic designers get Netstar Ltd and firms like them to set up those NAS devices. That way, they don't have to worry about a steep learning curve. Plus, those companies can also provide other IT support services if needed.
4. Fibre Broadband
When you work as a graphic designer, you can guarantee that you'll need to send your work to clients over the Web. The thing about graphic design files is they tend to occupy a lot of drive space. It's not unusual for vector files to take up hundreds of megabytes!
As you can imagine, sending those files over a slow 2Mb ADSL connection will take forever. It makes sense to upgrade to a faster fibre broadband connection. Nowadays they are cheaper to set up and are available from many providers.
5. Apple iPad Pro
As a graphic designer, you will need to showcase your work to potential clients. Let's say that you're about to have a meeting with one soon. For obvious reasons, you can't drag your iMac down there with you.
You could invest in a laptop, such as the Apple MacBook Pro. But, a more cost-effective and convenient option is the Apple iPad Pro. It's a 12.9-inch tablet that weighs just 713 grams. It's lighter than a laptop and better than an iPad Air or Mini. You can also use a stylus and keyboard with the iPad Pro.
6. Digital SLR Camera
Part of your graphic design work will involve taking photographs of subjects. You might get called upon to take photos of products or people. Or you may need to capture a live event, such as a marathon or football match.
If you do graphic design work for a magazine, you'll find that photography is a prominent part of your work. It makes sense to invest in the best tool for that job: a digital SLR camera.
Such cameras differ from the conventional point and shoot ones. The main reasons include higher resolutions, depth of field options and lens effects. Digital SLRs are also the tools of choice by professional photographers.
7. Graphic Design Tablet
Tablets from companies like Wacom are crucial for designers. Especially if they get involved in a lot of illustration work. They connect to computers via USB or Bluetooth and operate like mice. The only difference is you use a stylus to draw instead of a mouse button.
Graphic design tablets come in a range of shapes and sizes. Be sure to check the compatibility of the one you want with the computer you use.
8. Ergonomic Chair
Let's face it: you'll doubtless spend hours sat behind your iMac screen doing your work. It's important that you have a comfortable and ergonomic chair for your needs.
Otherwise, you could end up suffering from RSI (repetitive strain injury) and backaches. Plus, you may even end up having trouble sleeping at night because of the pain! When it comes to chair shopping, it really is a case of "try before you buy."
Each person has their individual seating needs. You may also find that getting a foot stool will help support your body further.
9. Bluetooth Speaker System
Many graphic designers love to listen to music while they work. If that sounds like you, it's important to have a system that offers the best audio quality.
I recommend opting for a Bluetooth speaker system. First of all, you'll be able to stream music from devices like smartphones. And, second, you will have fewer wires on your desk!
Some people go for small Bluetooth speakers while others may get sound bars like those used for TVs. The choice is yours. Just make sure you choose one suitable for your needs (and budget).
I hope you've enjoyed today's article. Thanks for checking it out - see you soon!