Equipment Needed for Graphic Design

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

So you have some skills as a graphic designer and feel it's time to begin charging for your design services. But what equipment do you need? Graphic Design is a great profession because you really don't need that much to get started and you can always learn new things or techniques.

In this article I’m going to recommend some of the equipment I think you should have in order to get started



Computer

This is the most important gadget, obviously. Whether it’s a desktop or a laptop you'll need to make sure it has enough juice to run your design software.

If you’re going to be using the Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign then I would recommend getting a computer or laptop with…

· Minimum processor should be either an Intel Core i5 or AMD A8

· A good graphics cards if you want to get all the features of Photoshop

· Having a decent amount of RAM will also help so aim for 16GB

· Plenty of storage and a good SSD (Solid State Drive) will greatly help your computer and programs load up much faster.

Design Software

The first thing I knew I needed was some quality design software. I had been using Xara Photo & Graphic Designer to begin with, which was a decent program albeit very limited to what you could do but I knew the Adobe products were the industry standard and if I was serious about improving my skills as a designer I had to learn them.

So I started paying the €12.95 monthly subscription for Photoshop and I remember playing around with it for the first time. Boy did it feel so complicated. Basic things like changing the size of your font or resizing images were so different to the Microsoft Office suite or the Xara products that I was so familiar with.

But I stuck with it, done a little bit every day and eventually got the hang of it.

I have Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on my computer now and what I truly love about these programs is that you never stop learning, everyday you’re picking up new things.


Good Quality Smartphone

Not only are you going to need to connect with customers and the internet but also having a good camera will be invaluable for taking images of your designs and products to post on social media platforms. If you have a website then having an app on your phone will help you edit the information and write a blog post while out and about.

Portable Hard Drive

Please don’t overlook a good portable hard drive! It’s essential to back up all of your client design work. If something goes wrong with your computer or you end up deleting the wrong folder then you really don’t want to be starting from scratch. Having proper backups of your data is one of the most important things you can do as a graphic designer and could save you a lot of heartaches.

Quality Printer

You may want to order your designs from a print shop but it’s good to have a printer for the smaller jobs or just for making nice prints for your family or friends. I would suggest a good quality photo printer that can print up to A3+ size prints. These printers can hold thicker card stock and give off superior colours.

Giving someone their posters on high-quality glossy photo paper is always going to look impressive. Just don’t be looking to print hundreds of flyers with a photo printer. For jobs like this, you may be better looking online for a good print shop.



I did a lot of research into printers and made a mistake on my first one which was a mid-range office printer. Shortly after I bought it I had it sold and used the money to purchase a Canon PIXMA iP8750 A3+ Wi-Fi Photo Printer.

What made me buy this? It offered the A3+ that I wanted. Had fantastic print quality and is inexpensive to run.

Music

I know what you’re thinking. Why do I need music?

I believe the more relaxed you are, the more creative you will be.

Not only does YouTube Premium off thousands of tutorials on improving your skills as a designer but also has almost every song ever created.

Find yourself an awesome playlist and lose yourself to your creative thoughts.

Notepad and a Pencil

Think about it for a second. You get an awesome idea in your head that you think would look great on a t-shirt or poster. I'll design that later you think only to forget about what it was when the time comes. Would this have happened if you had of wrote it down?

I also find it saves time to sketch out roughly the layout of your designs.

You can easily jot down a few different layouts in five minutes. These don't have to be works of art but just a guide to what might work.

When it comes to dealing with your clients it’s always a good idea to write down a list of all the information they want or just little reminders for the following day.

So for such a small price please try to always have a notepad and a pencil beside your keyboard.

Other

Other things I would recommend adding if you have the money or later on down the line would be a good drawing tablet. I have an XP-Pen tablet now which I couldn’t live without at the minute. When I’m not using it for drawing on I’m using it as a second monitor which is so handy for multitasking. I could have a browser open on one monitor and Photoshop opened on the second one.

It really does not cost all that much getting started as a Graphic Designer. A good computer and printer for obvious reasons will be the biggest setback.

But if you have a good eye for detail and a desire to learn then this is a really good business to be in. No job is the same and you get to create lots of cool things while getting paid for it. And when you love it, then it really doesn't feel like work.

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