TOOLS ESSENTIAL TO A GRAPHIC DESIGNER
There are many tools that over time a graphic designer will learn are essential to their design process and there are tools a design might realize they need to be successful. I want to discuss the Top Ten Tools I Think are Essential to your Success as a graphic design and then I will go into some tools that can be helpful to the design process.
FOOD FOR THE BRAIN
Your mind is your most powerful tool when it comes to designing logos or graphic design in general, it is where all the problems solving and creativity happens. It is important to keep the brain healthy and sharp. In order to do this there are foods such as Whole grains, fish,blueberries,tomatoes, vitamin B found in chicken or eggs, nuts that are refereed to as brain food and don’t forget to exercise as well.
Not sure about other graphic designers but listening to soothing music such as classical or blues can set the mood for the thinking process and get the creative juices flowing. For me playing some Mozart or BB King always sets a calming and quite mood that gets me mentally ready for the thinking process after the entail brief.
A COMFORTABLE WORK ENVIRONMENT
When it comes to any type of creative work it is extremely important to be comfortable in your work space and be in a zen like mindset. There has been times where I had a bad case of writers block, wasn’t feeling anything I was putting down on paper,became frustrated and just couldn’t design because the environment around me was noisy or just plain uncomfortable. You want to make your work space your own, decorate it to match your personality, get a comfortable chair, make sure their are windows and plenty of natural light if possible.
You might find yourself saying, well silly of course I need a computer for graphic design how else am I going to design print material! I wouldn’t be telling you all the tools that are essential to a graphic designer if I didn’t mention a computer but I think this section can become more specific such as which is better Mac or Pc for graphic design? This has been a question that has been around for ages and after some time I have realized that it comes down to preference.
Personally I have always been a fan of Macs but I have use both and see no limitation when using adobe products on either. I just think Macintosh have a reputation, especially since adobe photoshop was created on a Mac which made it a standard in the graphic design field and Adobe is a giant when it comes to the digital art world. It has been used in the industry for so long that it has become a matter of you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It also comes down to whether you have a preference in software that is only compatible on one or the other operation system… In my opinion I like Macs for there overall constructions and find there operating system to be more enjoyable to use but PCs are just as capable of of getting the job done.
Over the last couple of years I have found having a smart phone to be a valuable asset to the design process and helps to keep in constant communication with clients or the rest of the inspiring world. I personally have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which if you are looking to upgrade to a used or new phone I highly recommend choosing a note 4 or note 5 if you can look passed there being no microSD slot in the 5. My note 4 has been great for taking inspiration pictures on in the wild, design research on the go and digital sketching. The note 4 or 5 has a great 16 mega pixel camera that takes high quality pictures and has a stylus for sketching ideas on the fly.
HIGH QUALITY DIGITAL CAMERA
Now you might be saying if I have a smart phone with a decent camera isn’t buying a stand alone camera a little bit overkill, especially if I am just using it to snap photos of things that inspire or indues creative juice flowing and you would be right to a certain extent if that is all your doing. However if you are collecting images to build your arsenal for future projects or have decided to sell your phone in addition to other graphic design services you offer you might want to think about purchasing a good DSLR. When it comes to print material or web quality matters and a good DSLR is a way to produce High quality images.
When it comes to digital cameras, DSLR camera are always going to outshine a point and shoot camera such as Nikon CoolPix L340 but these camera will be sufficient enough. However if your looking for a camera with superior image quality and looking to design large print material you will want to look at a DSLR such as the entry level Nikon D3300. The D3300 has 24 megapixel resolution and a guide button to walk beginners through the settings. When deciding whether to add a DSLR or point to shoot camera to your graphic design arsenal it all comes down to quality and convenience. Personally I believe my smart phone is a sufficient point and shoot camera so I feel as though having a standalone one would be overkill!
A sketchbook is essential to a graphic designers toolbox and should be carried at all times. You never know when you might be waiting for awhile, sudden brainstorming or inspiration while out and you will need your sketch book to make a little doodle to reference later. We all know sketch books are part of the thinking process but It can also be very therapeutic to the mind and I find myself in a state of tranquility.
A WACOM TABLET
For those who have never heard of a Wacom tablet, they are input devices that can be used in place of a mouse or work along side it. These devices are more commonly used in the graphic design world and considered a huge asset. The wacom tablet you’ll find will replace a pen and paper as well as make working with the pen tool less of a hassle. There are many models to choose from but in my opinion the best Wacom Tablet for graphic design,photography,web design,illustration and video would be Intuos Pro Medium.
TIME TRACKING SOFTWARE
Freshbook is cloud accounting for sending invoices, tracking time,capturing expenses in minutes and report keeping. Freshbook was featured in Forbes magazine for be “incredibly user friendly” and if your interested in keeping track of your own accounting it is very simple to use. Freshbook saves time and helps organize what would normally be a complete mess.
I’ve saved the most important for last, this tool is vital to any graphic designer or artist success. A well rounded portfolio can seal the deal when it comes to landing your dream job or proving to a client your are worthy of their important design project. You might ask yourself what’s in a graphic designers portfolio or how to create a graphic design portfolio? As I far as how to create a graphic design portfolio I will go into that in a later post but for what to put in a graphic design portfolio all I can say is it all depends your content, web, print and/or motion graphics if creating a digital portfolio.
There are many other important tools that a graphic designer should keep in mind such as books, education, peers or community feedback, inspiration (art galleries, museums, design websites, online design communities, failed projects, etc.) and remember please give THE HUMAN MIND a break!