5 Essential Tools for Graphic Designers

Insane in the Design Brain series presents 5 Essential Tools for Graphic Designers.

brittany ranson
3 min readNov 28, 2020


Image credit: Adobe Stock | Rawpixel.com

Every year, new products come out that can help you succeed as a graphic designer. From new laptops, graphic tablets, programs… it makes you think, what do I really need to have to be successful as a graphic designer?

Despite all of these new products that come out each year, you don’t necessarily need to buy them. Especially, if they are outside of your budget. Look no further! Here is a list of 5 essential tools that you will need as a graphic designer.

1. A good quality desktop or laptop

Depending on your needs, you will definitely need a good quality laptop or desktop (some people get both). The computer need to be able to handle the workload you will be doing. If you are working more with animation and video editing, having a laptop or desktop that has a lot of memory/ram is beneficial. You also have to look at the requirements that the programs you will be using needs. Don’t forget hard disk space to store your working and final files. Let’s face it, design files and their assets can consume a lot of storage.

When choosing a desktop or laptop, looking at your storage space, memory, graphics card, and the type of processor it has is beneficial.

NOTE: Macs are used as industry standard.

2. Design software

This one is given, you need design programs to do design. There are plenty of design softwares that are paid and opensource. You have to pick which area of design you are going into and which programs you will be using. The Adobe CC programs are widely used and is considered industry standard. But, there are other programs that is being used along with it.

3. A handy-dandy sketchbook

you may be tempted to just jump right into designing on the computer, but a sketchbook comes in very handy. Sometimes you may get a project where you want to brainstorm ideas quickly. Having a sketchbook will let you do this without spending a lot of time drafting on the computer.

4. Portable hard drive

A reliable portable hard drive is a good tool to have to backup your work or computer, design assets (fonts, stock photos, illustrations, etc.), and any other files. You can transfer old files to a portable hard drive to save up space on your computer. By backing up files to a portable hard drive, you will always have a copy just in case your computer crash or get damaged.

5. Ergonomic desk chair

Save your back! Graphic designers spend most of their time sitting down. Having a chair that supports your back is a life saver. Makes working hours on the computer bearable and not miserable.

These are just a few basic essentials that you will need. As your career grows, you will find that you might need more or want additional tools to streamline your work.



brittany ranson

I create visual + brand identities for entrepreneurs/businesses through amazing visuals + story telling. I help people understand the design world.