5 Essential Devices for Graphic Design

In this article I will show you 5 essential devices for graphic design that I use on a daily basis. There’s more, there’s always more, but these are certainly the ones I couldn’t work without.

essential graphic design equipment

27” Apple iMac

What is there to say about this piece of equipment? It’s probably THE most essential device for graphic design, and it’s great. Great resolution, fast as lightning and able to handle pretty much everything I’ve thrown at it. The extra large screen allows me to play around with windows, look at tiny details in photographs and illustrations, and view multiple things at a time.

Apple products come with a hefty price tag but, in my opinion, the 27″ iMac is worth it’s weight in gold. They’re fast, efficient, and take up very little space on your desktop. iMac’s are the full package; no need for additional monitors, PC towers, or speakers! Also, it will last you years and there is ALWAYS a significant amount of resale value too. Bonus!

ipad pro with apple pencil

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

I’m a big fan of the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. No longer do I have to use my mouse to draw, or, use a tablet while looking at my screen. These two bits of tech work hand in hand to allow me to create art on the go. Using the incredibly powerful Procreate app I can sit on the sofa watching TV as I my create digital art. This gives me flexibility to turn my artwork into products, or use for client projects.

Additionally, while it’s great in its own right for drawing and sketching it also works brilliantly with my computer using Sidecar. I can link the iPad screen to my mac and use the Apple Pencil to draw directly into Illustrator or Photoshop. It’s a very handy tool!

5 essential devices for graphic design - led lightbox

A4 LED USB Lightbox

This really basic LED lightbox is possibly one of the most underrated pieces of equipment that I use. I use it regularly for tracing elements of my design work and working out layout arrangements for illustrations. It’s cheap and cheerful but does the job. What more can you ask for? It’s incredibly slim so takes up zero storage space and It’s powered by USB, so no hefty charging cables!

There are lots of options for buying these online but here’s an Amazon Search for A4 LED Light Box

5 essential devices for graphic design - epson 960 expression printer

Epson XP-960 Expression Printer

This Epson 6 colour inkjet printer uses high definition Claria inks and prints brilliantly. I’ve been using this printer for a number of years now and both the colour matching and print quality is very good. It can print up to A3 using the rear manual loading slot and can print on heavy weight paper too.

The printer can be used wirelessly but I personally prefer to print when wired. This method gives you additional settings for controlling colour output and choosing paper types.This is essential if printing art prints where you want the colour match and print quality to be its absolute best. I use the Epson 960 to print my art prints for sale. I highly recommend using 190gsm Epson Matte Archival Paper as it gives excellent results.

The latest version of this printer is the Epson XP-970, which is available to Buy on Amazon

5 essential devices for graphic design - brother mono laser printer

Brother HL-L2350DW Mono Laser Printer

The name pretty much explains what this is, but I’ve found having a mono laser printer, especially one that prints double sided, has been one of my best investments. Whether I’m updating accounts, or printing off design briefs, being able to do so without needing to worry about ink usage is great. This particular printer also has a manual feed so you can print onto heavier stocks.

From a design perspective rather than a business one, a mono printer is great for creating mixed media art. Unlike inkjet, toner does not react to water, which is great if you’re planning on adding paint or inks on top of your printed design. Additionally, a toner printer is an essential ingredient in creating your own hot foiled artworks as the foil adheres to the toner when heat is applied.

Buy on Amazon

5 Essential Devices for Graphic Design – The Conclusion

It goes without saying, but every graphic designer is different. As such, each of us will have preferences for different pieces of equipment and software and have different ways of working. My set-up primarily features Apple products, this isn’t because I don’t rate PCs but because I’m willingly tied into the Apple universe.

My first ever Apple computer was a Blue Dalmation iMac G3 – Google it! It was released in February 2001 (I can’t believe it was that long ago!) and was like nothing I had seen before. I absolutely loved it. I bought it to use while completing my degree in graphic design and it was the start of a beautiful love affair with Apple products. 

If you have any questions or thoughts about any of the items I’ve mentioned in this post, please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Signature of Maria Atton, graphic design and presentation specialist