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The Best Tools for Graphic Designers in 2017

Be it updates and newer versions of the most renowned software, unique apps from startups or better, faster computing power in newer machines, tools for graphic designers are always getting improved. So much so that it often gets difficult to keep a track of all of them. This year too there have been some remarkable additions to the graphic designer’s armor. Getting all of them may not be that easy due to the costs involved but it’s definitely worth investing in the best kit that one can afford.

  1. Surface Studio/Book or iMac/MacBook

For the longest time the iMac or the MacBook have been the top choice for graphic designers all over the world, however, the landscape seems to be shifting with the soon to be released Microsoft Surface which looks like a true artist’s device. The surface Studio can be used as a traditional desktop or can be tilted and used directly as a drawing tablet. However, the new MacBook Pro with LG’s 4K screen is nonetheless impressive too.

  1. The best software in your budget

Due to the depth and the range of its suite tools which are unmatched in any other company’s software, Adobe’s Creative Suite is the industry standard when it comes to graphic designing. However, it comes at a cost. For an individual designer or an artist the price starts from around $50 if paid for annually, or $80 per month. This is a high price but it equips one with Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere Pro and more. It makes it a great choice for multi-talented creators. However, for designers solely focused on vector designs for logos and illustrations and photo manipulation, Affinity Designer, and Affinity photo are incredible tools from Serif, even toppling Illustrator and Photoshop in some functions. Their updates are free and they only cost $50 each. They are also compatible with files from the Adobe suite making it easy for designers who work on them to share and collaborate.

  1. Wacom Tablet and pen

A Wacom tablet is very important for illustrations and other design work as the mouse is not natural at all when it comes to drawing and painting. Their Intuos Tablet or the Cintiq interactive display are absolute necessities. Drawing through the pen will not just enable pressure sensitivity but it will also allow for more natural, creative and intuitive movement. It’s also ergonomically healthy and will prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI), unlike the mouse.

  1. Pantone’s Library

The Pantone color library is essential for designers who use print as it’s the only way to make sure how exactly your fifth color will print. The Pantone Reference Library is a series of color swatches made in books which depict a printed representation of the colors present. This makes it a great investment as it will not only show you how the colors you selected in Photoshop or Illustrator will print but it also allows you to tear the switch out and pin it on your desk for everyone to see. It also provides the option of matching a fifth color to a CMYK value, perfect in a situation when your client’s budget does not allow for a fifth hue. The 14 book library, however, comes at the price of $1400 with a storage and a display stand. However individual books can also be bought in the case when a certain guide, like a metallic color guide, is only required.

  1. Calibrated Monitor

Whether one has Pantone or not, it’s important that a designer’s color workflow is very precise so that the resultant work doesn’t look different than it did in the design process. Datacolor Spyder 5 Pro is a specialist tool that can be used to calibrate your monitor. The tool hangs on your monitor and creates a color profile according to your printer or an entirely unique one through adjusting the monitor’s brightness according to the room’s lighting. Calibrating the color is the only way to ensure screen to print accuracy hence it an important tool to invest in.

With these, some other important gadgets that streamline graphic design work should also be included like a variable desk, a good camera to capture interesting references and inspirations, and an interactive sketchpad like the Wacom slate to instantaneously transfer handmade doodles or notes. Depending on the budget and requirement, new and veteran designers can both equally benefit from these amazing innovations.

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