The competition among graphic designers is quite fierce. Some would say that the market is oversaturated, and newcomers stand no chance of launching their career even if they have great skills.
Believing such claims is more or less useless because successful graphic designers start from scratch and build their careers through hard work. It also helps if they have the necessary tools to get the most out of work.
If you are an aspiring graphic designer who wishes to get enough work and make a living off of this profession, expect to invest some money. Below, you will find a list of items that graphic designers should have at their disposal.
Let’s start with the obvious thing—a computer. As a graphic designer, you should probably go with a laptop. MacBooks, especially the ones with the M1 chip, are a solid pick because of its intuitive UI and simple operating system that makes the work seem effortless at times.
Besides, as a graphic designer, you might need to travel for your work, or wish to change the location. A new environment can be a great source of inspiration.
Having a Mac is great for this reason because the laptop is light, meaning that it will not be a burden for you to carry around.
External Hard Drive
Investing in an external HDD is also worth it. The device is used mainly to back up important work files. And since a decent hard drive costs about 50 dollars, it should not be that much of a problem to get one, right?
You may be thinking that cloud storage would do the job as well. While it is convenient to transfer files from your computer to clouds and vice-versa, if you have a lot of data to store, you will need to pay a monthly fee, meaning that the cloud option is more expensive than getting an external hard drive.
A tablet is another important tool for graphic designers. While some may use their computer and a mouse to do most of the work, a graphics tablet is still nice to have. For example, when you are working, you could draw on your tablet while using the larger computer monitor to check your progress or look at a reference you need for work.
Wacom tablets are some of the best in the market, so we recommend getting one of the available tablets from them. In case you run into performance problems with your tablet, you may need to remove the wacom driver from the computer and reinstall it again, so keep that in mind.
iPads are also worth a shout. On the surface, they might not seem like the go-to option as far as graphic tablets go, but equipped with a stylus and a proper graphic design app, you can create catchy illustrations, layous, logos, and other pieces of graphic design on an iPad.
A smartphone is great for making calls, checking your emails, and even taking pictures you may want to use as a reference for future work.
While you cannot really do much graphic design on a smartphone, having a device to stay in touch with clients and accessing important data when you are away from the computer is still valuable. Not to mention that you can surf the net and check up on work-related information.
You do not have to invest in a brand new smartphone model. Getting an older model or a second-hand device will suffice so long as you do not need a high-end smartphone for complicated stuff.
Professional designing software is another item on the list. There are plenty of great free tools that have pretty much everything a newbie graphic designer might need. However, after a while, you will notice that there are certain missing features that prevent you from taking your designs to the next level.
When that time comes, you will have to spend money on professional software. Be it Illustrator or ProCreate; such software is a significant upgrade to most if not all free graphic design tools.
Even if you use the computer mostly for work and maybe browsing harmless internet websites, getting an antivirus is still a good piece of advice.
You cannot predict when a cybersecurity threat may strike your device and cause performance problems. It is much easier to take preventive measures and block malware attacks than to deal with them after they have infected the system.
A sketchbook can be nice to have if you like to sketch designs with a pencil. Perhaps there are times when you are taking a walk and notice something you want to draw? Or maybe you get a sudden burst of inspiration and desire to sketch? If so, having a sketchbook and a pencil with you means that there is no need to go to the computer and turn it on just to spend a bit of time drawing.
As a graphic designer, you will likely do a lot of your work hunched, which is not great for your back. Do not be afraid to spend some extra money to get a proper chair. If your health becomes a problem, you will struggle to do any work efficiently and start missing deadlines.
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