To be an exceptionally good graphic designer, you need to have access to a couple of graphic design equipment or tools so that you can convert ideas and visions into reality.
Such tools are extremely important for your creative work and can be segregated into categories such as hardware and software.
Graphic Design Equipment & Tools
Let’s have a look at what tools you need in order to make some graphics…
Before you begin casting magic with graphic software, it is important to have a look at some of the most vital pieces of hardware that are required in your set of tools and these could include the following:
Pen and Paper
First and foremost, it is the good old pen and paper!
The cheapest and the fastest way of transferring imaginative ideas from your head to the real world is pen and paper. It also reminds you of the past of graphic designing when people or rather graphic designers did not have any access to modern tools or even a computer. In other words, it could serve as a link between the past and the tech-savvy present of graphic designing.
But, why is it important to put your ideas on paper when you have access to some amazing graphic tools today?
Well, let me explain…
It is important to put down your ideas on paper since it happens to be the best and quick way to find out problems as well as jotting down their solutions. This is where your ideas begin taking shape through modifications and remodifications, which are so very important to have a great final output.
Secondly, it is a researched fact that taking down notes, doodling, and even writing with your hand is one of the best ways to enhance your creativity as well as focus, which is what you need to be a successful graphic designer.
Next on this list of the most important graphic design equipment is a computer. It happens to be the ultimate tool for creative people like you and the best ones that you can choose from including the iMac Pro and the Surface Studio.
iMac is hugely popular with graphic designers and has a large clientele that simply loves this machine for its 27-inch 5K Retina Display along with other features such as 32 GB memory, 16 GB graphics card, and of course, an 18-core processor (high-end variant).
Another great alternative is the Microsoft Surface Studio. Now, this is a stylish, sleek, and powerful monster that can be used as a desktop as well as a big, touch-screen tablet to serve as a huge digital drawing board for quick and intuitive designing. Moreover, it comes with a responsive Surface Pen that proves to be highly useful while you begin designing.
Having said that, both these machines come with a high price tag and if you do not have enough money to spend on either of them, you can still do with any other computer that can handle graphics software.
Furthermore, it is also important to choose the right mouse along with your computer. There are some great mice that have been developed just for graphic design. They not only ensure great accuracy and precision but also comes with other features like onboard memory and advanced ergonomics so that you work with them for hours without a trace of strain in your wrist or hand. Some of the best mice for graphic design come with advanced sensors and even trackballs to make your job easier.
Stylus and Graphics Tablet
Moving on to those who are extremely creative and prefer using digital stuff rather than the good old pencil and paper, hybrid tools such as Wacom tablet/ Pro Pen and iPad Pro with Apple Pencil are some great options since they come with enhanced functionalities and can help them even with sketching as well as doodling to improve upon their imaginative ideas.
These tools not only help the creative geniuses get the original feel of using pen and paper but empower them with certain functionalities such as instant color, filters, eraser, storage, exceptional editing, etc., which are simply not possible with a pen and paper.
I know you love your smartphone, everybody does but as a graphic designer, it can be a really useful piece of graphic design equipment for you.
First of all, it gives you easy and on-the-go connectivity with your friends, family, peers, and of course, the world wide web.
Secondly, it is one small piece of equipment that hosts your favorite as well as important apps that might include drawing as well as image-editing tools.
Thirdly, it comes with a camera that you can use anytime, even at unexpected moments when you want to catch an image so that you can add it to your design later on. It’s worth keeping in mind that you cannot always carry your Nikon camera everywhere but you can certainly carry your phone with you, wherever you go.
Finally, it happens to be the best way to find out how a page designed by you looks on a smartphone or rather a small screen. Now, there are a couple of brands that you can choose from. There’s no one specific model that can be considered the best but you need to check out the specifications as per your needs before you buy one.
Now, a camera is an essential piece of equipment that you might need for the simple reasons of capturing, editing, and managing photos as well as videos. The best option, of course, is to opt for a DSLR or Digital Single Lens Reflex camera and the top brands include Canon EOS and Nikon D-Series. However, both of these could be expensive and if you are working on a string budget, you can choose a more affordable one that can capture pixel-perfect shots.
Color Space Reference
When it comes to graphic design, the right color is of extreme importance. If you or your client wants a particular shade of yellow then it should exactly be that shade, neither lighter nor darker. Color accuracy is extremely important and this is why you need a color space reference. Even though the Pantone Matching System is the most commonly used one among graphic designers, you could also invest in the Formula Guide which comes with close to 2000 spot colors.
Even though cloud storage is one of the options to save your work, most designers having their work saved and backed up on a physical device that they can access anytime they want. It’s important to keep in mind that as a designer you would require space for a whole lot of images and videos that can eat up the storage space on your computer very quickly.
Thus, it’s always a better idea to have a high-capacity, portable storage device and some of the best choices could include My PassPort from Western Digital and MiniStation Extreme NFC from Buffalo.
The rule of the thumb is to opt for a device that has least a capacity of a terabyte of storage. Those that can afford to spend can opt for solid state drives or SSDs.
Now, that are we are done with the physical tools and equipment, let’s have a look at the software that you need to possess as a graphic designer…
Graphic Design Applications
When it comes to graphic designing, these software applications happen to be the most important tool that you would need in order to use and edit photos, images, videos, brochures, presentations, etc. These applications can either be used through a cloud-based service or they could even be installed locally on your computer.
The most important software application that you would need is the Adobe Creative Cloud that consists of:
- Photoshop (for raster images and graphics)
- Illustrator (for creating high-quality vector images)
- Premiere Pro (for videos)
- After Effects (for creating videos)
Adobe Illustrator has many uses for graphic designers.
Some of the other alternatives (paid) to the above could include:
- Serif’s Affinity Designer (for vector graphics)
- Affinity Photo (for raster images)
- CorelDRAW (for vector graphics) and
- macOS-exclusive Sketch (for vector graphics)
Some of the free tools that you could use include GIMP (for editing raster images) and Inkscape (for creating as well as editing vector graphics). Not just this, you can also create interesting stuff like curved text with Adobe Illustrator, etc.
Online Graphic Design Platforms
There are a couple of companies that provide web-based graphic design services backed by cloud computing technology. These are some great options for those non-professionals and as well as those who need to do designing occasionally.
Canva is one such amazing online drag-and-drop tool that you or anyone can use to create and edit images, infographics, blog illustrations, social media posts, banners, etc. Even expert graphic designers can also this platform for creating quick images etc.
Some of the other similar online tools and platforms include Snappa and Design Wizard.
Venngage is one of the best options for creating business presentations including white papers, reports, etc. Pixlr, on the other hand, can be used for editing photographs online.
Shutterstock and Behance are some of the best and huge online image libraries that you can use for getting new and refreshing ideas. Some other options include Pixabay, Pixelify, Unsplash, etc., and you could even download free images from such sites to later use in your own graphics.
Apart from having enough RAM, you must also have good storage to ensure smooth working.
Even though you might have a hard drive or portable storage, you still need cloud storage for storing and managing your projects, design assets, and output. Cloud storage also makes it easy for your to share and collaborate your projects with other people.
More importantly, it is easily accessible anytime and anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. It saves you the trouble of carrying your portable physical drive whenever you are on the go.
Some of the best options could include Google Drive, OneDrive, Adobe Document Cloud. etc.
Other Graphic Design Equipment and Tools
Now, that we have seen various hardware and software requirements, let’s check out some of the other essentials that you need in order to be a successful graphic designer…
If you want to be a successful graphic designer, you need to be able to share your artwork with prospective clients and the rest of the world. In such a case, you can use the services of certain portfolio websites, prominent among which are Wix, Squarespace, and Behance. They provide you with a perfect platform to consolidate and share your work with prospective clients and employers.
Training – Up Your Game
Graphic designing is a field that is marked with a constant update and flux of new technology. Not just this, aesthetic standards also keep changing regularly.
What it means is that as a graphic designer you need to up your game and be in sync with the latest developments going on in this field. In such a case, learning portals like GoSkills can prove to be highly useful to keep you in tune with the latest trends in graphic design.
Your Own Workstation
Now, this is your own creative space and you need to have designed according to your liking. Some people prefer their working space to be done in a minimalist fashion while others love to fill their workspace with various things such as nostalgic memorabilia, artworks, photographs, etc.
In this case, what you want and how you are comfortable is what matters the most. You may consider lighting, color schemes, etc., according to your choice.
So go ahead, and try to build a working space that can help you be at your creative best!
Being a graphic designer is not something easy. Moreover, you need to constantly update yourself with the ongoing trends in the field. The above-listed graphic design equipment and tools should be of massive help in making you establish your own personal brand as a graphic expert!
Talha Abid, co-founder of RoadMice is the creative genius behind the designing of this site. He is responsible for giving it a highly refreshing look. His top priority is to run this site without any glitches. He is a well-established digital marketer who loves traveling to exotic locations in his free time.