10 essential things no graphic designer should live without

Photo by Marek Levák on Unsplash

Although we doubt any creative would turn down a strong cup of coffee, there are several other essential things no graphic designer should live without. Whether it’s tools to bring your ideas to life or ways to fuel your creativity, here are ten things that make work so much easier.

Whether you’re a budding graphic designer or an established creative, add these things to your kit, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

1. iPad Mini 3

An iPad Mini sits perfectly beside your iPhone and MacBook, letting you handle business queries and sync designs on the go. Its amazing touch technology makes it so much easier to create, network, stream music and seek the latest design inspiration wherever you are. It’s a definite lifesaver if your phone battery goes when you’re travelling, and it’s lighter to carry than a laptop.

2. 53 Pencil

Letting you think with your hands, the Pencil by FiftyThree makes it easy to create design work on your iPad. With surface pressure, erase, blend, and palm rejection features, it is a handy little tool. And its beautiful wooden design is crafted, especially for your hand, so it feels like a regular pencil.

3. Wacom tablet

A Wacom tablet gives you the best of both worlds: the same precision of drawing by hand and the high-quality results of a digital platform. Transform your creative ideas instantly into digital form by painting or sketching directly onto the tablet’s surface and connecting to your laptop. It’s a must-have sketchbook for designers, speeding up and streamlining the whole design process.

4. Moleskine notebooks

It’s good to take some time away from a screen, so a traditional sketchbook is essential. Moleskine offers a massive range of sketchbooks in all sorts of sizes. Having pen and paper handy while you’re out and about ensures you can get your ideas down as soon as inspiration strikes. Moleskine’s quality paper makes the sketchbooks perfect for home use too. Don’t forget to leave one by your bedside.

5. Rucksack

It might seem 'basic', but you’re going to need a suitable bag to carry around all of your design kit. There are so many sleeves for MacBooks and iPads, but it’s useful to keep everything in the same place. We’d recommend Herschel’s range of trendy backpacks. Their Pop Quiz backpack has a padded and lined sleeve designed to keep your tech safe when you’re on the go, as well as several other pockets for everything else.

6. Creative Review subscription

All graphic designers need to get inspiration from somewhere and Creative Review is buzzing with the latest design work from all around the globe. Sign up for a subscription or download the app to get daily updates of the best design work, including brand identity, visual installations, advertising campaigns and much more.

7. Spotify

Where would we be without music? Stream the tracks you love at home, on the go or in the office using Spotify. Finding that perfect track will help you get in the zone for creating and can spark various ideas. Set up playlists and share music between friends for quick fixes to creative blocks.

8. Bose SoundLink around-ear Bluetooth headphone

For those times, when you can’t just listen to your music through speakers, you’ll need a decent set of headphones. Block out any distractions with the noise-cancelling features of Bose headphones, and tune into your favourite songs. Especially useful if you find it hard to concentrate when you’re in an office setting, on public transport, or outdoors.

9. Cube

Ever struggled with eyeballing swatches for a digital project? Cube by SwatchMate takes the guess-work out of colour matching and lets you instantly digitise the inspirational colours of your world. Perfect for studio or on-the-go creativity, the innovative device matches to paints, records RGB, CMYK and HEX values, and makes a perfect match to Pantone and Photoshop’s other expansive colour libraries.

10. Social media

Finally, no graphic designer can live without social media – a must-have for networking, attracting new clients and raising your profile. Twitter happens to be our favourite for making connections. Instagram is perfect for designers as it's so visual, and you can share your work online, making best use of popular hashtags – reaching a wider audience. And don't forget the power of LinkedIn, which can grow your network with potential clients.