Every great graphic designer has their own virtual toolbox of items that helps them create their best work. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular and useful tools, services, and other items you’ll want to have handy.
#1: Quick Online Design Tools
It’s nice to have an online photo editor like Pixlr to quickly mockup an idea you have in mind. There are also sites that have online design templates that make the process go more quickly so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time.
#2: Adobe Creative Cloud
If you stick around the graphic design world long enough you’ll likely end up needing to use an Adobe product. Whether it’s Photoshop, Dreamweaver, or Illustrator, once you get the hang of it you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.
#3: Apple Stuff
Graphic designers just love Apple products, mostly because they were created with designers in mind. If you are using Photoshop on a MacBook or iMac you are using it the way it was intended, and it just works and acts intuitively.
#4: Drawing Tablet
A drawing tablet is a must-have for graphic designers because it lets you take exactly what’s in your mind and puts it in digital format. These days you can get drawing tablets that can replicate the feel of using a pen and paper, or even a brush and paint. Depending on which medium is your favorite, you can choose a tablet that works best for you.
#5: Old School Sketchbook
Sometimes your design ideas come on fast and furiously, so you’ll need to be ready to catch them when they occur. An old-fashioned pad of paper is a necessity when inspiration strikes. Make sure you have a sketchbook large enough for your big ideas, and plenty of colored pencils nearby.
#6: Social Media Manager
It’s important to stay abreast of all the latest in graphic design trends, and the best way to do that is to follow what’s happening on social media. You can add popular artists to your feed and see what they’re up to. A social media management program will keep all of your different accounts in one spot so you can quickly get up to speed on what’s happening.
#7: Online Portfolio
Your online portfolio speaks volumes of the kind of artist you are, so you’ll need to find one that dovetails nicely with the work you create. Use an online portfolio that displays your work and shows off what you can do, or create your own website to showcase your work.
#8: Well-Designed Home Office
Your home office should be inviting and well-equipped with everything you need to get into the creative zone and do some amazing things every day. A comfy chair, a great music streaming service, and even a fuzzy pair of slippers can help summon your muse and make it a productive day.
#9: Collaborative File Storage
As you work with different companies and different designers you’ll want to be able to share the project with others quickly and securely. Services like Dropbox help to keep your files in one place, and makes them easily shareable with one person or a team.
#10: Go-To Design Resources
The more graphic design work you do, the more resources you’ll accumulate and you’ll be able to get future jobs done more easily. Keep a folder of bookmarks of all of your favorite design resources so that you can return to them again and again each time you need them.