17 Essential Tools for Graphic Designers

17 Essential Tools for Graphic Designers

Whether you are just getting into graphic design or you are an expert with years of experience, there are certain tools that you just can’t live without as a professional.

This list covers the most essential hardware, software and equipment that every graphic designer should have on hand.

The featured products below are premium items tailored towards professionals. If you’re just starting out, you can get away with just with a laptop & design software.

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We will be sharing a post for beginner & mid-level designers soon, but if you have the budget, these tools are highly recommended.

See my Influencer Shop on Amazon.

Top Essential Tools for Graphic Designers

  1. Laptop: Apple Macbook $2299+ or Desktop: iMac $1,299
  2. High-Res Monitor: BenQ PD3200U $699
  3. Monitor Calibrator: X-Rite i1 Display PRO $260
  4. Reliable Hard Drive: LaCie Porsche Design External Hard Drive (4TB) $140
  5. Graphics Tablet: Wacom Cintiq 13″ Pen Display $280
  6. Sketch Pen: Inkling $119
  7. Brainstorm Board: Dry Erase Whiteboard Paint $140
  8. Smart Notebook: Evernote Smart Notebook $15
  9. Color Swatches: Pantone Swatch Book $255
  10. Ergonomic Chair: Herman Miller Aeron $1275
  11. Studio Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV $3549
  12. Noise-Cancelling Earphones: Bose SoundSport Free $199
  13. Wide-Format Printer: Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 
  14. High-End Smart Phone: iPhone $999+
  15. Ergonomic Mouse: Logitech MX Master 2s $79
  16. Standing Desk: FlexiSpot Standing Desk $280
  17. Pens: Sakura Fine Liner Set $23
  18. Creative Software: Adobe CC from $9.99


 

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Laptop and/or Desktop Computer:

Laptop: Apple Macbook Pro

Apple Macbook Pro

If you are a creative you need to appear as such. Right? Personal brand image and operating system are the two main reasons why graphic designers choose Apple products. But the Apple MacBook Pro is also a powerful machine with its Intel i7 Quad Core processor and 16GB of RAM. However, this laptop is not for everyone. If you’re an avid Windows user, it will take some time for you to get used to the new system.

This laptop also doesn’t have any USB ports, which creatives might find uncomfortable. But for the outstanding design experience that Apple offers, and the courage to push its user base towards innovation and technology, the Apple MacBook Pro certainly deserves an ovation. Graphic designers will find AMD Radeon Pro Graphics and the high-resolution screen a pleasure to work with. The only drawback of this laptop is it’s a hefty price.

See here for a complete list of the best laptops for graphic designers and the best Macbooks.

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Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, Latest Model, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage) - Space Gray
328 Reviews
Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, Latest Model, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage) - Space Gray
  • 9th-generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 Processor
  • Brilliant Retina Display with True Tone technology
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Radeon Pro 555x Graphics with 4GB of video Memory
  • Ultrafast SSD

Desktop Computer: Apple iMac with 4K Retina display

Apple iMac

For many graphic designers, there is no other choice when it comes to the best brand for a graphic design computer than an Apple. It’s not hard to see why that is with the quality and design that the manufacturer has been putting into their products for years now, their biggest supporters have been with them since Day 1.

The Apple iMac is an all-in-one desktop computer that sports the same futuristic look that many previous iterations of the computer have already. Where it stands out from the crowd is in the improvements that Apple has brought to an already impressive setup. The CPU contained within the computer is provided by Intel and uses their 6-Core 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor. This CPU runs at 3Ghz but if you need a boost, can clock up to 3.5Ghz. 8GB of RAM provides you with enough power to take on just about any task.

The GPU, a dedicated AMD GPU is a Radeon Pro 500 comes with 2GB of dedicated video memory, making it twice as fast as the previous model. While it doesn’t come with a SSD, the fusion drive does come with 1TB of room for all of your projects. The 21.5in monitor with Retina display shines brighter than ever. Able to produce up to one billion colors and a brightness of 500 nits, images have never looked better or crisper. On the back of the monitor, you will find 2 USB-C ports, 4 USB ports, and an SDXC card slot which will make it easy to plug in any peripherals you may have.

See here for a complete list of the best computers for graphic designers.

 

Apple iMac (21.5-inch, 8GB RAM, 1TB Storage) - Previous Model
514 Reviews
Apple iMac (21.5-inch, 8GB RAM, 1TB Storage) - Previous Model
  • 21.5-Inch (diagonal) 4096-by-2304 Retina 4K display
  • Stunning 5-mm-thin design
  • Eighth-generation 6-core Intel Core i5 processor
  • Radeon Pro 555x Graphics processor
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports

Monitor: BenQ PD3200U

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benq top graphic design monitor

Featuring a widescreen display, the PD3200U from BenQ makes working with images in 4K and in 3D much easier than it would be on other monitors. The 32-inch display has a PS screen equipped with a contrast ratio of 1,000:1 and has full, 100% support for sRGB color space.

See Jacob’s review of the PD3200U here.

With a resolution of 3840×2160, the PD3200U is a 4K monitor which features 100% support for Rec 709, which also includes a darkroom, dedicated animation, and CAD/CAM modes. Sporting a KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse( switch, the PD3200U allows you to plug in a second PC to the monitor and switch between the two while using one screen, keyboard, and mouse. This can be a great option and space saver, especially if you use separate computers and have a smaller workspace.

Fully adjustable, giving you the option to tilt and swivel the monitor into your preferred position, the monitor also rotates 90 degrees into portrait mode, giving you more flexibility for your projects. On the right-hand side, BenQ provides you with two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort 1.2, as well as a mini DisplayPort, SD card slot, and two USB 3.0 ports so you can connect any peripheral to the monitor that you need to.

With features that can make it a perfect option to be the only monitor you need, the cost of the PD3200U from BenQ is modestly priced when compared to other monitors on the market today.

See here for a list of the best monitors for graphic designers.

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BenQ 32 inch, 4K UHD Monitor, IPS Panel, sRGB and Rec. 709 PD3200U Gray/Gloss Gray
495 Reviews
BenQ 32 inch, 4K UHD Monitor, IPS Panel, sRGB and Rec. 709 PD3200U Gray/Gloss Gray
  • Exclusive AQCOLOR technology covers a wide variety of color spaces such as Adobe RGB, sRGB, Rec. 709, ensuring the colors on your screen are the brightest, boldest and most accurate
  • View files side-by-side with DualView. Easily compare photos and videos in specialized CAD/CAM, darkroom or animation Display modes next to each other on one screen
  • Ergonomic features allows you to customize your viewing experience with a tilt, twist or turn. Adjust the screen height or rotate to portrait mode for added comfort and workflow efficiency
  • Keyboard video mouse (KVM) switch allows users to Display files, photos or videos from two different computers on a single screen. Easily work on multiple projects at once without worrying about...
  • Eye care technology prevents eye strain, fatigue and irritation with Low Blue Light technology, Brightness Intelligence and ZeroFlicker filters out harmful blue light, automatically adjust screen...

Monitor calibrator: X-Rite i1 Display PRO

X-Rite i1Screen Pro

Don’t waste precious time perfecting images or video with a display that does not accurately represent your digital files. A calibrated and profiled display is a critical element in an efficient digital workflow.

The X-Rite i1Display Pro is the ultimate choice for discerning photographers, filmmakers, designers and imaging professionals looking for the highest level of on-screen color accuracy for displays, laptops, mobile devices and projectors. Two user modes (Basic and Advanced) provide serious Color Perfectionists with the perfect combination of unrivaled color precision, speed, options and controls to fit any workflow.

 

X-Rite i1Display Pro (EODIS3),i1Display Pro Display Calibration
1,819 Reviews
X-Rite i1Display Pro (EODIS3),i1Display Pro Display Calibration
  • PROFESSIONAL CALIBER: i1Display Pro combines ambient light measurement, monitor profiling & projector profiling into a sleek, compact and fully integrated device at 5 times faster measurements than...
  • DUAL MODE: Two user modes (Basic & Advanced) provide serious Color Perfectionists with the perfect combination of unrivaled color precision, speed, options & controls to fit any workflow. Includes...
  • ULTIMATE ACCURACY: The X-Rite i1Display Pro is the ultimate choice for discerning photographers, filmmakers, designers and imaging professionals looking for the highest level of on-screen color...
  • COLOR MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE: X-Rite is the leader in color management solutions. Our color matching products can help you get you the right color every time, accurately & consistently, whether you're...
  • A NOTE ABOUT 3RD PARTY SOFTWARE: Please check with your 3rd party software developer to verify if this device is supported. X-Rite can only guarantee compatibility with the included X-Rite i1Profiler...

 

Reliable Hard Drive: LaCie Porsche Design External Hard Drive (4TB)

Hard Drive


Back up early and backup often! An external hard drive gives you peace of mind, just in case the unthinkable happens… and it does happen!

Like the majority of things made by Porsche, the LaCie Porsche Design External Hard Drive (4TB) is superbly crafted and has incredible performance, including 5GB/s speeds. 

It offers both USB-C and USB 3.0 connectivity as well, giving it longer legs than your regular hard drive.

It includes a stylish, advanced lightweight aluminum finish that complements Mac computers.

 

LaCie Porsche Design 4TB USB-C Mobile Hard Drive, Silver + 2mo Adobe CC Photography (STFD4000400)
107 Reviews
LaCie Porsche Design 4TB USB-C Mobile Hard Drive, Silver + 2mo Adobe CC Photography (STFD4000400)
  • Delivers speeds of up to 5 GB/s
  • Features reversible USB C connectivity as well as compatibility with USB 3.0 ports
  • Massive capacity in a compact size
  • Sturdy, all aluminum enclosure while still lightweight and ultra portable
  • Includes 2 month complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan; Must redeem by January 31, 2020

Graphics Tablet: Wacom Cintiq Pro 13″ 

Wacom Tablet

The Wacom DTH1320AK0 Cintiq Pro 13″ Creative Pen Display allows creative specialists to work naturally, by using Wacom’s patented, professional Pen technology on the surface of its LCD screen. It has world-class accuracy, control, and comfort for editing digital images.

The amazingly reactive pen-on-screen performance carefully replicates the feel of traditional brushes and markers and ensures a smooth electronic workflow. The Cintiq’s scratch-resistant surface is totally flat from border to border, allowing the hands to glide easily over the complete surface.

The Cintiq Pen handles the cursor in virtually any application and pressure and tilting gives impressive results in assisting applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, Autodesk SketchBook Pro, and a huge selection of other applications. It works on both Mac and PC.

See here for a list of the best tablets for graphic designers.

 

Wacom DTH1320AK0 Cintiq Pro 13' Creative Pen Display with Link Plus, HD LCD Graphics Monitor, Dark...
163 Reviews
Wacom DTH1320AK0 Cintiq Pro 13" Creative Pen Display with Link Plus, HD LCD Graphics Monitor, Dark...
  • Remarkable clarity with a full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, 13 inches display and superior color quality (87 percentage Adobe RGB)
  • Connect to any Mac or PC with a single USB C cable (included) to a USB C port for both video and data
  • Wacom's most natural and advanced pen performance with 4x greater accuracy and pressure sensitivity and virtually lag free tracking
  • Multi touch gestures, customizable express keys (available with optional express key remote), radial menus and 1 touch shortcuts to speed your workflow
  • The authentic feel and artistic control of the Wacom Pro Pen 2 on the etched glass screen; PC: Windows 7 or later Mac: OS X 10.10 or later

Digital Sketch Pen: Inkling

Inkling

The inkling sketch pen captures a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its ballpoint tip on standard paper or sketchbooks. If you use sketching to capture your creative ideas and rough concepts, and you want to have your sketches in digital format for emailing, archiving or further refining on your computer, then Inkling is the product for you.

 

Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen (MDP123)
251 Reviews
Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen (MDP123)
  • Sketch your ideas on standard paper or sketchbooks while capturing a digital likeness of your sketch in raster for use in Photoshop or vector format for use in Illustrator
  • Store hundreds of sketches on the Inkling receiver before transferring them to your Mac or PC via USB
  • Export your layered sketches from the included Inkling Sketch Manager software into Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator (CS3+) or Autodesk SketchBook Pro (2011+)
  • Save your sketches from the Inkling Sketch Manager in the following formats; JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG or PDF
  • Layers button on the receiver allows you to add layers to the digital file while sketching on paper

 

Dry Erase Whiteboard Paint

Idea Paint

Turn any wall or surface into a whiteboard canvas with Dry Erase Whiteboard Paint!

This Dry Erase Whiteboard Paint is the highest quality, best performing, product available on the market, designed to write clearly and erase cleanly every single time, without pesky residue commonly found with chalk boards. 

 

IDEAPAINT Home White Dry Erase Paint Kit, 40 SQ FT | Turn Any Surface Into a Premium Whiteboard...
40 Reviews
IDEAPAINT Home White Dry Erase Paint Kit, 40 SQ FT | Turn Any Surface Into a Premium Whiteboard...
  • Whiteboard Dry Erase Paint from IdeaPaint – Perfect for home use! | Helps Transform Surfaces Into Creative Spaces
  • EASY TO APPLY: Mix THIS with THAT. Easy single coat roller application*. Each Gloss White kit covers 40 square feet. (Actual Net Contents: 19.18-fl oz). *Primer recommended if changing surface color...
  • ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE: Virtually odorless application. Environmentally friendly with low VOC. GreenGuard certified
  • ERASES CLEAN: Up to 3X more dry erase coatingwriting surface, compared to a standard 3’ x 4’ whiteboard. Use a damp cloth or IdeaPaint Cleaner spray to remove a stubborn ink residue. | For optimum...
  • INCLUDES: IdeaPaint, 9” Roller & Instruction Booklet. Great Dry Erase Coating for: Home Offices, Playrooms, Bedrooms, Kitchens, Cabinets, Message Boards, Mud Rooms, Bathrooms, Basements, Garages,...

 

Smart Notebook: Evernote Moleskine

Smart Evernote NoteBook

This Evernote Smart Notebook is the perfect notebook for writing, sketching or note taking during classes or conferences as it helps you sync your analogue and digital work. It features ruled pages designed to digitally capture your written work and has “Smart Sticker icons” that are searchable, keeping your ideas organized.

It is beloved by travelers, designers and journalists because of  its sleek design and durable cover which ensures its suitability for daily journaling, writing, and sketching.

 

Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook Large Ruled Black Hard
16 Reviews
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook Large Ruled Black Hard
  • Moleskine's Evernote Smart Notebook, which helps sync your analogue and digital work.
  • Features unique Evernote ruled page layouts with ruled pages designed to digitally capture your written work.
  • Includes Smart Sticker icons that are searchable, digital tags that make it easy to keep ideas organized.
  • Moleskine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

 

Pantone Swatch Book

Pantone Swatch Book

If you work in print, you’re going to need to your own Pantone swatch book, for accurate color consistency.

A Pantone color book is the most functional color tool for graphic designers, as it gives you a side-by-side aesthetic evaluation of Pantone spot colors versus their closest CMYK process color, producing a match on uncoated and coated paper. It also gives RBG and HEX values ensuring the colors are reproduced on screen in their best light. 

 

Pantone Guide, Color Bridge Set Coated & Uncoated - GP6102N
180 Reviews
Pantone Guide, Color Bridge Set Coated & Uncoated - GP6102N
  • Two-guide set, coated & uncoated, demonstrates the effects of printing on coated and uncoated stocks for each color
  • 1, 845 solid colors and cmyk, html/Hex and srgb values
  • Best manage your on-press or digital color reproduction expectations
  • Cross-reference PANTONE matching system (pms) colors to srgb, cmyk and Hex color for web/html
  • Includes 112 new PANTONE colors

 

Ergonomic Chair: Aeron by Herman Miller

Aeron Chair

Seat height: 14.75-20.5in | Seat width: 25.75-28.25in | Max load: 350lbs | Lumbar support: yes | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: yes (Height and width dimensions determined by model purchased)

We must admit that we have a bit of a soft spot for this chair. The Aeron by Herman Miller is the chair that Jacob uses every day (and has done for 10+ years) and it’s not hard to see why. Available in three different sizes to accommodate just about every person imaginable, the Aeron is by far, one of the best ergonomically-designed chairs ever made and will look fantastic in a home office or a board room.

See here for a list of the best office chairs.

 

Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair - Size B, Graphite
511 Reviews
Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair - Size B, Graphite
  • Your purchase includes One Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair – Size B, graphite color
  • Chair dimensions: 41" H x 27" W x 16.75" D. Seat heights: 16”-20.5”.
  • Tilt Limiter lets you set the recline range at one of three postures. Tension control lets you adjust the amount of effort needed to recline comfortably. Seat Angle Adjustment changes seat angle from...
  • Try the Adjustable PostureFit Sacral/Lumbar support. Two individual pads flex independently and can be adjust to fit the curve of your spine
  • Fully Adjustable Arms adjust from a height of 6.8” above the seat to 10.8 inches above the seat, slide backward and forward over a range of 2.5 inches, pivot 15 degrees outward and 17.5 degrees...

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Camera

When it comes to the newest technology in cameras, Canon isn’t particularly known for being the first one out of the gate to show it off. However, they are really good at putting out quality products and the EOS Mark IV continues the trend of being the number-one seller of cameras with interchangeable lenses. With high-quality 30.4 megapixel stills and Dual Pixel autofocus when recording video, your images will always look amazing. A high ISO capability, 7 frames per second for continuous shooting, and a 61-point autofocus system will leave you thinking that the Mark IV has no flaws at all. The only gripes holding this back is that there is no tilt screen, and the HDMI-out is limited to 1080p. All in all, the EOS 5D Mark IV is an amazing piece of hardware.

See here for a list of the best cameras for graphic designers.

 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens Kit
649 Reviews
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens Kit
  • 30.4 MP full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting
  • Up to 7.0 frames per second continuous shooting speed
  • 61 point AF system with 41 cross points for expanded vertical coverage
  • Turn your Canon Camera into a high-quality webcam
  • Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your Canon Camera into a high-quality webcam, or do the same using a clean HDMI output

Earphones: Bose SoundSport Free

Bose in Ear

These are for getting into the zone and for those who prefer the convenience that can come with wireless earphones. Even the best earphones can have connectivity issues, causing people to get frustrated easily and either struggle through the frustration or spend more money on another new pair. With the SoundSport Free from Bose, the innovative design and high-quality tech provide an amazingly reliable connection. With a minimalistic, in-ear design, the SoundSport Free earphones are built for everyday use from hanging around the house to a high-intensity workout. While the SoundSport earphones offer you a great level of sound quality, the minimal design can provide a loose fit when in your ears causing you to adjust them frequently.

For some, this is a minor complaint and won’t keep them from purchasing the earphones, even though some other wireless earphones may offer better quality at a much cheaper price. These days, privacy and noise reduction while wearing earphones is a major feature that many consumers look for and those who consider the SoundSport Free should consider other options. The design of the earphones allows outside noise in keeping you from enjoying the tremendous sound quality that only a manufacturer such as Bose can provide. If you can look past their shortcomings, the Bose SoundSport Free could be the perfect earphones for you. You could also consider their wired, noise-cancelling version: Bose QuietComfort 20 Headphones ($299).

See for more of the best earphones for music lovers.

 

Sale
Bose SoundSport Free, True Wireless Earbuds, (Sweatproof Bluetooth Headphones for Workouts and...
35,554 Reviews
Bose SoundSport Free, True Wireless Earbuds, (Sweatproof Bluetooth Headphones for Workouts and...
  • Truly wireless sport headphones for total freedom of movement, packed full of technology that makes music sound clear and powerful. Charging time 2 hours
  • Earbuds are sweat and weather resistant (with an IPX4 rating) and come with 3 different pairs of StayHear and Sport tips (in sizes S/M/L) that provide a comfortable and secure fit
  • Up to 5 hours of play time with each charge and an additional 10 hours with the included charging case
  • Track lost earbuds with the Bose Connect App's “Find My Buds” feature
  • Firmware update to improve audio video synchronization for customers using iPhones, iPads and other Bluetooth devices that support AVDTP version 1.3 or later, available via Connect app or btu.bose.com

Printer: Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wireless Color Wide-format

Epson 1500

This Epson printer is a high quality photography and design workhorse designed for consistent results. It features six individual dye ink tanks for ultra-realistic image print results. The XP-15000 can print paper as large as 13” x 19” and it can handle most every standard paper weight and finish. This Epson model is compatible with high-yield ink cartridges that can print upwards of 800 pages per color.

See here for a list of the best printers for graphic designers.

 

Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wireless Color Wide-Format Printer, Amazon Dash Replenishment...
980 Reviews
Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wireless Color Wide-Format Printer, Amazon Dash Replenishment...
  • This printer is designed for use with Epson cartridges only, not third party cartridges or ink; Cartridges described as Compatible, Re manufactured, refilled or refillable may not work properly or at...
  • Professional ultra HD photo quality get brilliant border less prints upto 13 inches X 19 inches
  • Individual 6 color Claria photo HD ink includes red and gray inks for an ultra wide color gamut and enhanced black and white prints. Sound pressure level: Pressure: 49 dB(A)
  • Professional projects: Made easy features a 50 sheet rear tray for specialty media, including cardstock (1); Accommodates a variety of paper finishes and border less sizes from 4 inches X 6 inches To...
  • Ultra compact wide format A3+ printer 30 percent smaller than its predecessor (2); Easily fits on your desktop

High-End Smart Phone: Google Pixel 3 or Apple iPhone

Google Pixel 3

Google’s Pixel 3 or Apple’s iPhone are arguably the best smart phones on the market at present, especially for creatives who need professional looking photos on-the-go, as well as the plethora of apps that will make your life as a creative, that much easier.

See here for the best smart phones.

 

Sale
Google Pixel 3 Verizon 64GB Black
162 Reviews
Google Pixel 3 Verizon 64GB Black
  • Google
  • Home charger
  • Cable

Ergonomic Mouse: Logitech MX Master 2s

Best mouse for graphic designer - Logitech MX Master 2s

I personally use the Logitech MX Master 2s and have used prior models for over 10+ years now. This mouse is extremely comfortable and has all the precision I need for design tasks. Highly recommended!

Computer peripherals and Logitech are pretty much synonymous in today’s market. They tend to produce some of the best products in terms of quality and responsiveness. This can be a great thing when you need a mouse that can handle the precision required of the type of work you do. A cordless mouse, the MX Master 2s is designed to fit comfortably in your hand without causing strain over long periods of use.

With a 4,000 dpi Darkfield sensor, the 2s works on all surfaces, including clear glass. When you come back to your desk to work, the mouse wakes up instantly, providing you with an indicator of the battery’s charge with the three green LEDs on the left side of the mouse. The battery life of the mouse can last up to 70 days from a full charge though in a pinch, you can use the micro-USB on the front of the mouse to charge it while you’re working.

There are buttons located on the side of the mouse that let you change between windows without using your keyboard and is also easily programmable. A scroll wheel on the side of the mouse lets you scroll through web pages or documents quickly and easy, depending on how fast you flick the wheel.

Although it comes with a hefty price tag, the Logitech MX Master 2s is a high-end mouse that has the features and the ergonomic design that makes it a perfect option for a graphic designer.

 

Sale
Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse – Use on Any Surface, Hyper-Fast Scrolling, Ergonomic Shape,...
7,296 Reviews
Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse – Use on Any Surface, Hyper-Fast Scrolling, Ergonomic Shape,...
  • Cross computer control: Game changing capacity to navigate seamlessly on 3 computers, and copy paste text, images, and files from 1 to the other using Logitech flow
  • Dual connectivity: Use with upto 3 Windows or Mac computers via included Unifying receiver or Bluetooth Smart wireless technology
  • Advanced ergonomic design: Perfectly sculpted, hand crafted shape supports your hand and wrist in a comfortable, natural position
  • Auto shift scrolling: Speed adaptive scroll wheel auto shifts on the fly from click to click to hyper fast scrolling; Wireless operating distance: 10 m
  • Battery: rechargeable Li-Po (500 mAh) battery. Rechargable battery: Upto 70 days of power on a single charge; Number of buttons: 7

Ergonomic Desk: FlexiSpot Standing Desk 

Flexi Desk

FlexiSpot’s desktop workstation provides an easy way to transition between sitting and standing throughout the workday. This particular standing desk offers a deep work surface, a wide keyboard and instant tablet integration. These quality workstations offer smooth up/down motion, twelve height adjustment settings and ergonomic monitor mount compatibility.

 

FlexiSpot M2B Standing Desk Converter - 35 Inch wide platform Height Adjustable Stand up Desk Riser...
1,309 Reviews
FlexiSpot M2B Standing Desk Converter - 35 Inch wide platform Height Adjustable Stand up Desk Riser...
  • Straight Up & Down Movement - Our space-saving workstation rises and folds vertically, within its own footprint. There's no need to make the spatial accommodations that may be required with comparable...
  • Smooth & Easy Adjustments - Our single-handle design makes it super easy to safely adjust the height of the desk. You never need to use two hands or extra force like with some other brands.
  • Spacious Work Surface - With our groove-free, extra-deep desktop, you will have plenty of space to accommodate a laptop, computer monitor, paperwork and more.
  • Quick-Release Keyboard Tray - Our full-sized keyboard tray features a deeper work surface to fit a larger keyboard, mouse, and mousepad as well as a unique quick-release design so you can quickly and...
  • Ergonomic Benefits for Every Height - Whether you're 5'1" or 6'1", you can comfortably shift from sitting to standing with 12 different height levels.

Pen Set: Sakura Fine Liner Pen Set

Sakura Pen Set

Artists, writers, and illustrators need a quality pen set to convey their personality, style, or ability, and to safeguard their work. These Pigma Micron pens are acid-free and archival, making them ideal for design, papercrafts, journals, illustration, crafts, or any application requiring precision and permanence.

Unlike dye-based ink found in most pens and markers, this “Pigma ink” will not feather or bleed, even through the thinnest paper. Pigma ink is derived from a single pigment to ensure color consistency, and is fadeproof against sunlight or UV light. Pigma inks will not clog or dry out like most mechanical pens

This pack comes with sizes: 0.2mm (005), 0.25mm (01), 0.3mm (02), 0.35mm (03), 0.4mm(04), 0.45mm (05), 0.5mm (08), 1.0mm (1), 2.0mm(2), 3.0mm(3), 0.8-2.5mm (BR).

See here for the best pens for artists.

 

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Creative Software: Adobe CC

Adobe CC

As a designer you’re most likely going to need software to produce your designs. Adobe are the industry leader when it comes to creative software. The Adobe Creative Cloud has all the tools you may need, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, XD or more. If you’re a student, you can get 60% off a Creative Cloud subscription here.

You could also consider Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo or Corel Painter.

 

Graphic Designer Essential Tools Summary

  1. Laptop: Apple Macbook $2299+ or Desktop: iMac $1,299
  2. High-Res Monitor: BenQ PD3200U $699
  3. Monitor Calibrator: X-Rite i1 Display PRO $260
  4. Reliable Hard Drive: LaCie Porsche Design External Hard Drive (4TB) $140
  5. Graphics Tablet: Wacom Cintiq 13″ Pen Display $280
  6. Sketch Pen: Inkling $119
  7. Brainstorm Board: Dry Erase Whiteboard Paint $140
  8. Smart Notebook: Evernote Smart Notebook $15
  9. Color Swatches: Pantone Swatch Book $255
  10. Ergonomic Chair: Herman Miller Aeron $1275
  11. Studio Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV $3549
  12. Noise-Cancelling Earphones: Bose SoundSport Free $199
  13. Wide-Format Printer: Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 
  14. High-End Smart Phone: iPhone $999+
  15. Ergonomic Mouse: Logitech MX Master 2s $79
  16. Standing Desk: FlexiSpot Standing Desk $280
  17. Pens: Sakura Fine Liner Set $23
  18. Creative Software: Adobe CC from $9.99


What graphic design tools can you not live without?

15 thoughts on “17 Essential Tools for Graphic Designers”

  1. Scanner £120
    Pen £20
    SKINEBOOK £25
    PC £1300
    NEC monitor £2500 max 27″
    Any phone
    Chair fully ergonomic
    This is real deal designer

  2. I would say the Macbook Pro is one of the most essential tools for both designers and developers. Very good list though.

    • Totally Ben, we’re actually in the process of doing a similar post but tailored to different budgets and experience levels. Stay tuned!

  3. Great post! But it’s also possible to start with almost nothing. What if I tell you that it’s possible to work as a professional Graphic Designer without so many expensive equipments. Rather, you’d need the relevant knowledge and a pc with Adobe tools installed in it. Once you start earning from your small projects, try investing on your workstation and target the big shot clients. Don’t waste time in getting yourself equipped. Start from zero. I’ve done this myself and seen it working. I didn’t have the money to buy a graphic tablet. But now I have an expensive mac. I still don’t have an expensive monitor. But I’ve been paid for my artworks which means I could create value for people. I just shared my honest opinion so people who want to get started don’t get discouraged. But it was an interesting article. Thanks for the great content.

    • True, Taeef! As mentioned to Ben, we’re actually in the process of doing a similar post but tailored to different budgets and experience levels. Stay tuned! Thanks for your input.

    • No where does it say you have to have a mac. The post says you must have a laptop or desktop computer and the Mac as a suggestion, just like all the other items that have suggested items.

  4. Windows lover here. I have a big HP laptop that allows me to work from everywhere (since I’m always traveling, it’s a must). It cost me 700 bucks and has the same specs as a more expensive one. I am selling my graphic tablet, I like to work with my mouse more (weird, I know). I got some cheap notebooks from Amazon (dotted, for sketching) and that’s my arsenal. I’m always looking into keeping my expenses in check, to save more money and travel.

    Anyway … while I won’t agree with this list, gotta tell you I LOVE your website / blog and am actually an avid reader. You’re doing a tremendous work for the design world 🙂

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