Are you a creative soul in search of a fulfilling career in graphic design? Whether you’re a beginner venturing into the thrilling world of graphic design or an experienced hustler in search of some side income (trust me, we’re all feeling the pinch!), freelance graphic design is one of the most exciting and lucrative paths to career success in 2023. The gig economy is booming, and with everyone needing top-notch digital content, graphic designers are in high demand. Not to mention, with the rise of remote work, the opportunity to work from home as a kickass graphic designer is one of the most appealing aspects of this creative endeavour.
So, you’ve got a few clients lined up and deadlines are looming. Amazing! But to unleash your full potential, you’ll first need a home office decked out with the trendiest tech that’ll make your creative juices flow like a neon river. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Today, we share 10 essential home office tech for freelance graphic designers in 2023, so read on to find out more.
Reliable Printer and Ink Cartridges
As a successful freelance graphic designer, having a reliable printer and high-quality ink cartridges in your creative arsenal is absolutely essential for bringing your designs to life. From curating impressive business cards and posters, to presenting design prototypes, a top-notch printer ensures that your creations look just as impressive on paper as they do on the screen. When choosing a printer, opt for a model that can handle various paper sizes and offers high-resolution printing capabilities to ensure the designs are faithfully reproduced on paper.
But wait, what’s a good printer without its trusty ink cartridges? Investing in genuine and high-quality ink cartridges such as the HP 67 ink cartridges ensures that the colours are accurate and vibrant in printed materials. Alternatively, for a more eco-friendly option, consider looking into eco tank printers or colour laser printers. While these alternatives may cost more upfront, they offer significant long-term benefits that will make your freelance graphic design journey that much more more sustainable and budget-friendly.
High Performance Computer
At the core of every graphic designer’s creative arsenal is a powerful high performance computer that can handle anything you throw its way. This is because programmes such as Adobe Creative Cloud and other design software demand substantial computing power to run smoothly, and a capable machine will save time and frustration while ensuring efficient workflow.
If you’re looking to invest in a brand new PC or laptop, look for one that offers ample processing power, RAM, and a dedicated graphics card is crucial for handling resource-intensive design tasks. Moreover, a high-performance computer future-proofs your freelance graphic design career. As technology advances and design software becomes more demanding, your powerhouse computer will stay relevant for years to come, saving you from frequent upgrades and costly replacements.
When it comes to a career in graphic design, a high-resolution monitor is an essential must-have to accurately view and edit your masterful creations. Remember that your monitor isn’t just a display — it’s a window into the world of colours, shapes, and aesthetics. With this in mind, a widescreen, high-resolution display will ensure your designs come to life with brilliant hues and sharp details.
If budget permits, consider investing in a monitor with IPS or OLED display, wide colour gamut coverage, and at least a 4K resolution. This ensures that you are able to view your designs with precise colour fidelity, allowing you to make accurate colour choices and adjustments. Whether working on digital illustrations, branding materials, or website layouts, a monitor with accurate colour representation is crucial for delivering professional and visually stunning results.
Colour Calibration Tool
While we’re on the topic of colour, we definitely have to mention the importance of a colour calibration tool. The reason for this is that every display, no matter how dazzling, comes with its unique colour profile and slight variations. Whether it’s your smartphone, tablet or PC, every screen displays colour in its own unique way. By using a colour calibration tool such ColorMunki or Datacolor SpyderX Pro, you can calibrate your display to match industry-standard colour spaces, such as sRGB or Adobe RGB. This means what you see on your monitor will closely resemble how your designs will appear on other devices or when printed. Say goodbye to the uncertainty of colour disparities between devices, and embrace the confidence of knowing that your creative vision will be faithfully reproduced across the design ecosystem.
Another must-have essential in any freelance graphic designer’s creative arsenal is none other than a graphics tablet. Also known as a drawing tablet, this piece of tech allows you to channel your artistic prowess directly on the screen, capturing every stroke and hue with utmost precision. It’s like having a digital canvas at your fingertips, allowing you to create captivating artwork with natural strokes and fluidity. As a graphic designer, you will be able to experiment, iterate, and explore various design ideas with ease, resulting in more imaginative and visually appealing artwork.
Not to mention, graphics tablets are seamlessly integrated with popular graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and CorelDRAW, among others. This compatibility allows graphic designers to utilise familiar tools and features while benefiting from the added flexibility and accuracy of the tablet. Whether you’re sketching illustrations or honing your typography game, a digital drawing tablet is your ultimate weapon of choice!
Digital Sketch Pen
Next up on the list is a digital sketch pen or stylus pen. An item that goes hand in hand with your graphics tablet, a digital sketch pen is designed to mimic the feel of a real pen or pencil, bringing tangible essence back into your digital canvas. With its pressure sensitivity and varying levels of tilt recognition, this versatile tool allows you to control the thickness and opacity of your strokes, just like you would with traditional drawing instruments. Collaborating with clients or fellow designers becomes an immersive experience as you brainstorm ideas and sketch on the tablet together, just like passing around a sketchbook in the physical world. So, whether you’re a seasoned digital artist or a budding illustrator, a sketch pen becomes the ultimate artistic ally, enhancing your graphic design journey with the grace of traditional art and the limitless possibilities of digital technology.
Explore the best digital sketch pens in 2023 here.
As a freelance graphic designer, you will rely heavily on design software to bring your amazing ideas to life. These software applications serve as the digital canvas, enabling designers to turn their creative ideas into tangible, visually captivating artworks across various mediums. If you are just starting out, we recommend investing in the following software:
Adobe Creative Cloud: This industry standard for graphic design, illustration, and digital media creation is by far one of the best software for budding graphic designers. The suite includes flagship applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more, each serving a unique purpose in the design process.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite: An equally powerful alternative to Adobe, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite has garnered a loyal following among designers over the last few years. Renowned for its powerful vector illustration capabilities, this suite also includes Corel PHOTO-PAINT for image editing and Corel Font Manager for managing typography assets.
Procreate: If you’re in search of software that is specifically made for tablets, look no further than Procreate. Exclusively designed for the iPad, this popular software offers a diverse set of brushes, naturalistic drawing tools, and layer-based functionality.
Regardless of which option you choose, design software provides freelance graphic designers with a creative playground to channel ideas, skills, and artistic vision into stunning visual creations.
External Storage Tools
The last thing you want is to put your blood, sweat, and tears into a project, only to have it lost or corrupted due to inadequate storage solutions. This is where external storage solutions act as a safety net, preserving your hard work and ensuring that your designs remain secure and accessible whenever you need them. A well-thought-out backup strategy using external hard drives or cloud-based storage provides multiple layers of protection for your valuable design assets:
Cloud Storage: As a freelance designer on the move, you need access to your files from anywhere, and cloud solutions have got your back. Moreover, some cloud-based storage platforms offer versioning and file history features, allowing you to retrieve previous versions of your designs in case you need to backtrack or revert to an earlier iteration.
External Hard Drives: In addition to backup, external storage solutions can help optimise your workflow. By offloading older or completed projects to external hard drives, you free up valuable space on your main computer, ensuring it runs smoothly and efficiently during ongoing projects.
Ultimately, investing in reliable external storage solutions is a vital step in safeguarding the fruits of your labour as a freelance graphic designer. It grants you peace of mind, knowing that your creative efforts are backed up and protected from unforeseen mishaps.
While not considered a tech gadget per se, ergonomic furniture plays a fundamental role in your journey as a successful freelance graphic designer. We all know that working long hours at the computer can take a toll on your health and productivity, especially when you are slaving away on your creative projects. To ensure that you are prioritising your wellbeing, consider investing in ergonomic furniture like an adjustable chair, sit-stand desk, and wrist-supporting keyboard to ensure comfort and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Aside from boosting productivity in real-time, ergonomic additions to your home office also help to ensure that you can pursue your passion for graphic design for years to come, free from the negative effects of poor ergonomics. So, get shopping because you definitely deserve it!
Backup Power Supply / UPS
Lastly, I’m sure we can agree that nothing could be worse than losing all your hard work due to a dreaded power outage. Indeed, power outages can be disastrous for freelance graphic designers, especially if you are working on tight deadlines. Fortunately, the solution to this mishap is relatively simple and all you will need is a backup power supply or uninterruptible power supply (UPS). These priceless tools help to ensure that you are able to prevent data loss and that you have enough time to save your work and safely shut down your devices during unexpected power interruptions.
Not to mention, a backup power supply also offers protection to other essential tech devices such as printers, external hard drives, and routers. By minimising the risk of damage from power fluctuations, you’ll be able to expand the lifespan of your equipment and save your precious dollars on repair or replacement costs. Talk about a win-win situation!
And there you have it — 10 essential home office tech for creative freelance graphic designers who are making a name for themselves in the design world. Armed with these must-have tools, you’ll be equipped to conquer the design universe with unrivalled flair and finesse. We wish you the best in your endeavours, and may your artistic journey be filled with endless inspiration and boundless creativity.