A graphic designer is a modern-day artist, and as technology develops it’s clear to see that there is very little that a graphic designer can’t create or animate. If you are finding yourself drawn to this creative career and not sure how to enter the industry, you will need to be getting yourself pretty familiar with the tech that will be the vehicle of your creations. Fear not, we have put together 10 tech tips for the aspiring graphic designers.
1. Don’t skimp on your printing technology
All those bold creations that made you fall in love with graphic design could be largely attributed to the printing technology that brought them to life. Do your research on the best printer for your work, find premium toner cartridges that honour your colours, and use some quality photo or premium gsm paper so that you can have depth in your design.
2. Adobe suite
You are going to get very familiar with Adobe, but don’t be fooled into thinking you need to pay for the entire Adobe suite. You might only need Photoshop and InDesign for the type of work you are creating, whereas others will be drawn to Illustrator. Trial each of these relevant programs and circle back to the ones that are going to actually be used. The price will vary depending on how many Adobe products you choose, whether you are a student or professional, and whether you or a workplace are paying for the program.
3. Reliable hard drives
As a creative, your files are about as big as your ideas. And there will be lots of both. A reliable hard drive will keep your creations safe and on hand, and you can even aggregate them to different clients, projects or even the year they were created. There are Mac-only and Windows-only hard drives, so have a long think about which you will need and what operating systems you will conceivably work on throughout your career. A universal option might be best.
4. A DSLR camera
Many graphic designers will know their way around a DSLR camera, as you never know when you will encounter a shape, concept or colour that you will want to recreate in the studio. You don’t need a bulky or expensive option, just something you can plug into your computer and access readily. If you choose a little one, you can even put it in your pocket and have it ready if inspiration strikes on your morning commute.
5. Laptop or computer
This might be a no-brainer, but many graphic designers will rely on the laptops and computers issued by their employer, but you are going to need a better operating system than the average worker. Seek something with a high storage volume, and agile enough to be taken onsite, to the studio or home to get some more work done. Apple has been revered as the best operating system for creatives, and they have certainly angled their brand to that idea. Although do your research and have a play on all systems if you can before choosing your device of choice.
6. Drawing tablet and pen
There is an unfair assumption that all graphic designers are great at drawing, but this is more often than not true, and even if it isn’t they will still want to conceptualise an idea before starting work. Many tech brands have produced their own version of the tablet and drawing pen, but the Apple Pen is particularly popular so you may want to start there when you are looking around.
7. Workflow platforms
Now, this isn’t so much a technology, but a platform that is going to make your life a whole lot easier. Slack, Microsoft Teams and platforms like this will allow you to manage your projects and delivery dates, while also communicating with your clients and peers on any other critical elements. The instant chat function is particularly useful, as you may not have the time to make a call or draft and email, but shooting off a quick question is more ideal.
8. Video and animation tools
As we are seeing video and animation become more prominent in our daily lives, it might be a consideration to get ahead of this and start to dabble in this arena. Adobe has a couple of products in this space like Premier Pro, but there are also many others that are worth looking at. If you are a graphic designer who has experience in this space, you will be quite an attractive candidate indeed.
9. Noise-cancelling headphones
If you are to work in the video and animation area, you will need to ensure that you have quality headphones that will allow you to perfect the project at hand. It will also keep you from playing the same clip over and over and your peers having to suffer that annoyance, or their chatter impeding on you finalising your audio in that video. If you are not working on video or animation, noise-cancelling headphones are simply a great investment anyway for allowing you to immerse in music and get into the creative zone quicker.
10. Budget apps and programs
Under-quoting is a misstep made by pretty much all creatives, but there are programs and apps that can help you here. Clockify is one that comes to mind, as it is a free program that allows you to track the minutes and hours spent on a project so that you can provide accurate invoices and quotes going forward. It might also illuminate what you are spending most of your time on, and you might be able to learn from this exercise.
As an aspiring graphic designer, you will learn what is critical and what is nice to have and make a decision of what you want to have in your arsenal. If you look up to a graphic designer, why not reach out to them and get to know their processes and the technology that supports their creativity?
Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com