Whether you are doing it for business or for fun, graphic design can be one of the most fun and rewarding tasks. Flowing creativity and ideas mixed with great software and tools means you can create some absolutely wonderful designs. Getting good at graphic design can lead to big paychecks as well while working from home or in a creative office. If you are just starting out with graphic design, or simply want to improve and hone your skills more, read our guide below for 6 tools we recommend for graphic designers, as well as graphic design examples and jobs.
Types Of Graphic Design
Graphic Designers can work on a wide variety of projects throughout their careers. As the experts over at DXFforCNC.com say “with design like this, every day is a new and exciting challenge!” which could not be more true. You could hone your craft in designing logos for companies or musicians and develop from there. You could be spending your days developing designs for products or hardware. Graphic designers can even assist with architectural or interior design types of work. Starting small and finding what interests you is the way to go.
A Day In The Life Of A Designer
In the mornings you will either be traveling into a design firm, creative office, or simply setting up your gear at home if you work from home. Many jobs are remote these days, so if you end up working from home you’ll need to make sure you have a nice creative space to use as an office. Once you’re in (or at your home-desk) you will first have to check on any admin. Believe it or not, graphic designers have to reply to plenty of emails from project leads, creative directors, or other designers on a project with them.
After this, you may have meetings catching up with the same people listed above. You may have a project manager meeting to catch up on progress or timeframes. A more senior designer might have direct meetings with clients. There is a lot of prep and planning involved in a graphic design project before and during the artistic work.
So then we get on to the creative side of it, and the bulk of your day. You will spend a great deal of time looking closely at your computer screen at minute details within design ideas. Tweaking previous drafts of ideas and creating new projects from scratch. There is quite a lot of sitting involved in any kind of graphical design, so consider walking breaks or a stand-up desk.
Our Six Top Tools
A powerful laptop or desktop computer is an absolutely essential tool for a beginner or an experienced designer. You simply cannot run the most in-depth design programs on a low-powered laptop. Some free or simple software will work, but if you’re really looking to develop your skills then you should invest in a powerful machine. Most importantly you need a high processing speed, plenty of RAM, and a strong graphics card.
There are two types of tools that can be named a graphics tablet, and we like both! One is a simple USB device that connects to your laptop or PC. It has a sensitive touchpad and comes with a pen or stylus. This means you can draw freely as if you were drawing with pen and paper, giving you much more flexibility when designing. The other is a professional tablet with a screen. Again, this comes with a multifunction pen giving you the ability to draw, paint, or scribble down ideas. These can then be transferred to a more powerful device for tweaking and final edits.
Free And Paid Software
When starting out it may be tempting to grab all the free software you can, and that is totally fine. There are some great free-to-use software programs available to you, and they are a strong place to get started. However, once your design ability develops and job types become more complicated, you may wish to upgrade to more powerful, paid tools. Upgrading to a full design suite software gives you far more power and ability.
A lot of design uses real images blended with designed elements. You can get a lot of free photos online which are unlicensed and available to use in your own projects, but sometimes you need to take some great photos yourself. This means you need a professional camera. A good DSLR or pocket camera with a great lens and high megapixel memory is essential.
Graphic designs can be layered, complex, and extremely large. Though your laptop or PC may come with large memory, you should expand your hard drive space with an external hard drive. This also leaves more memory on your main machine which will help your software run much quicker. You should purchase a high-memory solid-state hard drive (SSD). SSDs are much more robust and safe than older-style hard drives, meaning your data can be protected, encrypted, portable, and unlikely to be corrupted.
Quality Notepad and Pen
We have talked a lot about hardware and software here, but let’s quickly take it back to the basics. Many designers will start ideas with simple sketches and notes. When in meetings with clients you can keep notes, write down quick ideas, and show doodles or sketches of what you hope your final product will look like.
You can also draft multiple ideas on paper before you get too committed to a design on your software. This saves you time and helps you develop multiple ideas at once. So grab a quality notebook and some art pens to get your designs started.
Those, then, are our top 6 tools for beginner designers, or a more experienced designer wanting to expand their toolset and skills. If you are interested in taking up graphic design as a career or hobby, start with these tools and begin your journey in design today! Remember to think outside the box, be creative, and show off your new skills!