5 Tools Every Graphic Designer Should Consider

April 5, 2015

8:00 am

As a graphic designer, you have to stay up to date on the latest trends in the industry. In most cases, this means steadily investing in the newest technology, devices, software, and design tools.

Are you sufficiently caught up, or could you be losing current and potential clients because you don’t have the best resources?

Find the Tools That Work for You

The key as a graphic designer is to discover the tools that are perfect for your needs — and avoid spending on things you don’t require or like. Since 10 percent of graphic designers make less than $27,000 per year — and the average fluctuates around $44,000 — it’s important for you to know how to maximize your budget and choose the devices, gadgets, and tools that move you forward, not hold you back.

Give These 5 Tools a Shot 

While you probably know better than anyone what you do and don’t need, it’s a good idea to evaluate the following tech tools and resources. If you already have them, find out if you need to upgrade to a newer version or model; they often give you more streamlined interfaces and advanced capabilities.

  1. Cloud Computing/Storage: You don’t want to learn about the importance of backing up files the hard way. Instead of having to worry about saving data on various devices, emailing attachments, inserting USB drives, and keeping portable hard drives within reach, an investment in a cloud storage service can save you a lot of work. Among designers who already use Apple products, iCloud is the preferred option.
  2. Reliable Web Host: A solid web host is a valuable resource for two reasons. First, you need a place to store your online portfolio so potential clients can view it easily. Second, it’s always a good idea to have a reliable hosting service to which you can refer your clients if they need a new home. According to Chris Whitling, Director of Marketing for HostGator, “An uptime guarantee is also very important, and you should aim for a bare minimum of a 95%. The closer you can get to a 100% uptime guarantee, the better.”
  3. Dual Displays: While a 27-inch Mac screen seems large to most people, it’s not often big enough for a busy graphic designer. One of the best investments you can make is to purchase a second monitor and connecting the two for an expansive dual display. This can enable you to run multiple programs and has been shown to increase productivity by 42 percent.
  4. Various Design Apps: Convenience is always a plus for busy graphic designers. Make sure you take advantage of the power of your smartphone by downloading some of the top design apps. Loupe one of the apps that can empower you to do your job no matter where you are: on the road (though not, of course, at the wheel!), at the coffee shop, or in the middle of a meeting.
  5. Five-Second Test: At FiveSecondTest.com, you can upload your work and solicit immediate feedback from your peers with regard to its effectiveness. It focuses on first impressions — hence the name — and is a good way to double-check your work before you publish. It’s free to sign up, and a paid membership plan gives you greater access and additional features.

Impress Your Clients with All the Bells and Whistles

All of your devices, gadgets, tools, and tech resources are as much about practicality as they are about making a statement. Clients want to know you have deep capabilities and are able to tackle any job. Impress them this year by investing in these technologies and making a statement.

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Drew Hendricks is a professional business and startup blogger that writes for a variety of sites including The Huffington Post, Forbes and Technorati. Drew has worked at a variety of different startups as well as large advertising agencies.

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