If you’re a graphic designer, you probably have your favorite go-to software and laptop to whip up campaigns and logos in a snap. However, your “other” tools matter just as much, yet many graphic designers don’t give them the attention they deserve. The better (and better suited to you) your hardware and software are, the more money you can make and the happier your clients will be. Whether you’re a freelancer or have a team of graphic designers at your mega company, make sure you at least have these five must-haves to keep those creative juices flowing.
- A great web host: The quality of your web hosting is tied directly to the quality of your graphic design. You’re going to need a place to keep online portfolios, old ads, campaigns in the making and the like. You’ll also need a lot of uptime so that you can access those portfolios any time and any place. If your web host has a lot of down time, a slow website/portfolio loading time and basically doesn’t give graphic designers what they need, they’ll be less productive. Time is money, pixel by pixel.
- Great cloud computing and storage: Losing all your data is the hard way to learn to back things up. What if the graphic designer’s computer crashes when they’re almost done, and they haven’t saved their work? It’s ideal to save data and files on a number of devices. Prime cloud storage services can prevent mishaps from happening and ensure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Plus, since many graphic designers are telecommuters, this also allows them to access files from wherever.
- Customized design apps: There’s an app out there for everything, including making every aspect of a graphic designer’s life easier. These are ultimately for convenience, but they will take some research, trial and error. Start by checking out something like Loupe, which makes working on the go a breeze. You can also find apps for template ideas, easier custom font design and more.
- Dual displays: Who needs two or more computer screens? Graphic designers, of course. It’s a great investment and (for the freelancer) a tax write-off. You can run more programs and up your productivity by quite a bit. Plus, should one of your monitors go on the fritz, you always have a backup available. Just remember you’ll still need a great host to run such complex setups.
- A five-second test: This website lets you instantly upload your work and receive feedback from fellow graphic designers. As the name suggests, it’s all about first impressions—which is the bread and butter of graphic designers. Just like some of those great apps you’ll discover, it’s also free. You need the input of your peers to really shine.
There are a slew of tools, services and more out there to help you do your best work, but you need to take action and secure them. If you’re depending on subpar hosting, outdated software or a laptop that’s not made for a graphic designer, you’re hurting yourself and your client/employer. Stay updated and informed to produce better work faster.