Tools of the Trade – Designing Like a Pro

One day you wake up, jump out of bed, and exclaim that you want to be a famous graphic designer.  You have dreams of designing for companies like Nike, Apple, McDonalds, or any other national brand that comes to mind.  A few seconds after the euphoria of the moment flies away, you realize you have no clue what tools you need or where to start.  Don’t worry Bucko, I’m here to point you in the right direction.  Let’s explore!

Pencils and Paper – The Basics

As magical as creating designs may be, there is no magic pencil or piece of paper to use when you are starting out.  All you need is a comfortable pencil and a piece of paper.  As you get more advanced with your skills, you can get bristol board and other paper types that can make the process even more fun!

Paper and Pencil Tools

A Good Scanner and Computer


Macbook Pro and Epson Workforce Tools

If plan on publishing any drawings you have or working them up in the computer, you’ll need both a scanner and a computer.  Why a scanner?  As much as you may think that you’re phone will take a great picture of your drawing, you won’t be able to capture the best picture (unless you’re a professional photographer with all of the tools of your own which in that case you probably aren’t reading this). For scanners, find one that has the best connectivity with whatever computer you are using.  As for the computer, I know Apple computers can be much more expensive.  However, they truly are the best for designing.  I’ve worked with multiple PCs before my most recent Macbook Pro, and I’ll never go back.

Design Program Tools

If you want to be a successful graphic designer on any level, you’ll need to invest in some good design software.  Adobe is the best in the business.  When I first started designing, Adobe had stand alone programs that you put on your computer and just took off.  They’ve since gone into the Cloud movement and have a subscription plan.  It can be expensive for someone that is just starting.  They do have a 30 day free trial that you can test out before you want to buy it.  However, if you aren’t ready to invest in the programs, I suggest checking online at older versions of Photoshop or Illustrator.  You can go to Amazon or Ebay to find Adobe CS5 or 6 if you think you may want to try the Creative Cloud down the road.  Those two versions are the last versions before Adobe started the Creative Cloud and therefore the closest to it.

Adobe Tools

Other Fun Drawing Tools to Use

Wacom and Hue HD Tools

One other thing that you may want to think about when designing is a drawing tablet for your computer.  As much as many of us would like to think that we are really savvy on computers, there isn’t anything that can fully replace that full movements of our hands when drawing.

Wacom makes amazing tablets to use with most computers.  When I started I was using a basic tablet from Wacom.  It provided nice movement, but over time, I realized that I wanted something a bit more so I moved to an Intuos.  It had a much more comfortable feel. Again, as time moved on, I discovered I really would love to be able to draw directly on the screen so I moved to the grand daddy of them all, the Cintiq.  I haven’t looked back as that I continue to be amazed by how much that sped up my time.

Another item you can add to your arsenal is a good webcam if you ever plan on creating videos of anything your doing or even if you wanted to capture something that you want to use, but can put into a scanner.  I just got this Hue HD and so far really love it.  It’s also not that expensive which is a definite plus.

The biggest tool that you actually need to use when designing isn’t anything you can buy because it’s “YOU!” The creative mind is probably the biggest asset you’ve got so all of these are supplemental. So take your tools and start designing great things!

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *