If you're just getting started in the world of computer art as an illustrator or graphic designer, then you need to make sure that you're prepared for the jobs ahead. Arming yourself with the most reliable and effective tools on the market could mean that you transform yourself from another member of the pack, into a true professional in your space. While you'll obviously need to think about investing in the basics, like a powerful broadband connection, plenty of space to work, and so on, you'll also need to think about the extra resources that can make your job easier.
There are plenty of critical tools out there that can deliver better results for the modern graphic designer. While you might already own some of the different illustration options available, it's a good idea to check out these five top suggestions made by expert graphic designers over the world, to make sure that you're not missing anything from your creative toolbox.
1. A Mac Book Pro
While it's not necessarily our job to endorse any particular brand on this blog, it's worth noting that most graphic designers, creative freelancers, and illustrators all suggest that Macs are the best when you want to get the job done well. There are plenty of reasons why people in the design industry might prefer to use Mac technology. For instance, the very first edition of Photoshop was built on, and for a Macintosh, and the simple user interface of the computer makes them a practical preference of many designers.
While numerous new technologies emerge every year, and there's already a good chance that you can get a PC that does many of the same things that you might want from a Mac, it's still worth considering these computers if you want to get the best out of your design experience. Remember to choose something with a large and crisp display that makes it easier for you to assess your work. At the same time, remember that most programs use a lot of RAM, so you shouldn't cut corners on this element when making your purchase.
2. A Great Sketchbook
While a sketchbook isn't exactly a technology masterpiece for the modern graphic designer, that doesn't necessarily make it any less important. It's easy to overlook the value of being able to sit down and sketch out a few ideas in pencil before you take to your computer, but you should never neglect the artist's original tool. Even if most of your work experience exists entirely on your computer, investing in a few high-quality pens and sketchbook can help you to take imagination breaks throughout the day to revitalise your senses and get you back on track when you're feeling blocked.
There's no such thing as a one size fits all perfect sketchbook for illustrators and designers. That means that you're going to need to try out a couple of different brands before you find your perfect option. Try different sizes and page styles to see what you feel the most comfortable with, and remember to experiment with pens and pencils too.
3. The Pantone Reference Library
If you're working in the print medium, then colour is going to be an important consideration. Without the right reference to make sure that you're keeping all your colours properly calibrated, then you could end up with a less than effective creative process. The good news is that there's a great tool available that should help you to think about how your colours will look when they're printing. A Pantone Reference Library will be a crucial aspect in any designer's toolbox. The various folders and books will contain chips that show you how you should see each colour in your various programs.
All professionals need a key available that helps to take the guesswork out of their colour equation. While reference libraries are a great option for this problem, they can also be somewhat expensive. With that in mind, you should probably make sure that you save up a bit of cash before jumping into the freelance world. However, remember that the price is well worth the cost if you regularly print your creations, or your clients do.
4. Adobe Creative Cloud
As a creative designer, it's up to you to make sure that the things you produce are deliverable to your clients and customers. That means that you need the Adobe Creative Cloud. You'll need this trusted combination of InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator to ensure that you have all the tools available to produce fantastic content. Once you've signed up for a membership, you can connect to any of the Adobe products you like, and keep all your designed organised in libraries on the convenient cloud system.
Although the cost of Adobe can be somewhat expensive, it's one of the primary assets that any graphic designer needs to stay in business. As long as you're working in the creative industry, you can't afford to miss out on a subscription to these software tools. However, if you do vector work only, then there may be other kinds of software available.
5. A Good Smartphone
Finally, while you might not need a top of the range smartphone for your typical design work, it's important to make sure that you're always available to deal with clients, view images, and reply to emails wherever you can. A smartphone that offers a large and beautiful screen, as well as the power to do everything you need to do on the go can be invaluable.
At this time, the iPhone is the long-standing option of choice for designers, thanks to its integration with the Mac OS, which makes soft edits on the go a little easier to manage. However, there are plenty of other great options available to choose from if you're willing to do a little research and read a few reviews online. Remember, it may be a good idea to get a phone with a good camera so you can take snaps of images that inspire you when you're on the move.