To become a graphic designer, you will need some tools. Some are taken for granted, such as computers and monitors, while others are less well known. Here we’ve rounded up the best hardware, software, and graphic design tools to help creatives of all skill levels work more effectively.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to upgrade a specific piece of equipment, our recommendations will help you choose the best option. Reliable equipment can be cheap. There are excellent, functional products at honest prices.
A Computer For Graphic Work
You can use both a notebook and a desktop to start doing computer graphics. The second solution is the most suitable. In creating a reasonably powerful computer, the desktop is unbeatable: lower prices and much more flexibility in configuration.
3D graphics need more power than 2D graphics. We can also start with a design that includes an AMD RYZEN 7 or an Intel i7 combined with 16 Gb and an NVIDIA video card.
A large, high-end monitor can feel more like a luxury than a necessity. However, the quality of the monitor you use can make all the difference in your work. When it comes to monitors, most people need help figuring out what to look for. It’s easy to get lost in the lingo, we know.
Whether or not you buy a 4K monitor, you’ll need to pay attention to the resolution. Most graphic designers will choose UHD (3840X2160 pixels) or QHD resolution. In this case, size matters, so most designers will tell you that between 27 and 32 inches are ideal. Many graphic designers also use multiple monitors side by side to increase workspace.
A properly calibrated monitor is essential to ensure your screen displays colors as accurately as possible. Windows and macOS both include their calibration tools, but for the best results, you can’t beat a hardware calibrator like the superb Datacolor Spyder5ELITE.
This calibrator is perfect if you need to calibrate multiple displays to a single target configuration, be they laptops, desktop monitors, or a mix. It features both wizard and advanced settings for different levels of experience.
Just a couple of years ago, the Wacom name was synonymous with graphics tablets for professionals. Still, the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil have stolen the scepter, particularly for designers struggling to justify a tool tethered to their desk. The iPad Pro is an excellent digital drawing device but it does much more.
Whether you choose the 11-inch or 12.9-inch model, the 2020 iPad Pro borrows the nearly bezel-less design of recent iPhones, giving you a smooth expansion of glass to work with. Apple’s Smart Keyboard turns it into a powerful laptop, and the new Apple Pencil makes it even more versatile.
Apple has ditched the Lightning connector in favor of a magnetic function. Hence, the Pencil now intelligently snaps onto a new iPad Pro for pairing, charging, and storage. In addition, gesture support has also been added, allowing you to switch between app tools with a quick double-tap, for example. Naturally, some designers and artists will prefer the precise pressure sensitivity and control you can only get with a dedicated graphics tablet. If you are among them, the Wacom Cintiq 22, one of the best graphics tablets, provides an outstanding balance between screen, size, ergonomics, and value. If your budget will stretch a little further, the Wacom Intuos Pro is an even more powerful option and comes in various sizes.
Adobe CC is the industry standard for design professionals – the range and depth of its suite of tools are unrivaled by any other company. But it comes at a cost, and while you can get it at a great Adobe Creative Cloud discount, an All Apps subscription is a significant investment.
However, you will have Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, and many more in one suite. Buy this if you’re looking to be genuinely multidisciplinary and share a workflow with other designers regularly. But if your work solely revolves around vector design and photo editing/manipulation, there are other choices.