How to Choose The Best Computer for Your Design Needs
There are so many decisions that come with being a graphic designer. You have to choose your genre, client type, income sources and even what type of projects you’ll work on. The freedom of choice is one of the best things and the worse things about working in a creative industry. Among the creative choices you make regularly, there are also more logistical choices that require your attention. If you’re planning on being a self-employed designer, or you work for a company that allows you to customize your design hardware, you’ll need to pick a computer that suits your design needs. There are tons of choices out there, but don’t let all the options overwhelm you! Here are some tips and suggestions for choosing the best computer for your graphic design needs.
The term graphic designer has various meanings. A graphic designer could be someone that makes posters, it could also be a hand lettering artist. Similarly, computers have various definitions. A computer could be a traditional desktop with a monitor and CPU. A computer could also be a tablet with a drawing pen. How you define a computer depends on your background and your needs. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define a graphic designer as anyone who creates artwork and a computer as any device used to create or enhance that artwork.
The Desktop Computer
Let’s start with the desktop computer. A desktop computer typically has a monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers that are separate from one another.
Advantages Of A Desktop
– Desktop computers are typically less expensive when compared spec for spec to other types of computers.
– Because desktop computers are larger, there is more room to include more powerful components.
– Desktop computers offer more customization. You have more control over the parts used to build and configure the computer.
Disadvantages Of A Desktop
– Desktop computers are not very portable. You can move them from place to place, but their large size and individual mice, keyboards and other accessories make frequent moves a challenge.
– A desktop computer will not work without being connected to a power source. This isn’t a problem most of the time, but if you’re in an area that regularly loses power this can be an issue.
– It can be difficult to get technical support for a custom desktop computer. If you built a custom desktop computer, you’ll typically have to reach out the individual parts manufacture for any technical assistance that you might need.
Who Should Buy A Desktop?
Desktop computers are great for a designer that wants the most power for the best price. You want to consider how often you’ll need to do design work outside of your home or office, and how you’ll accomplish your design work if you don’t have power or you’re away from home.
The Laptop Computer
Laptops are portable computers that have an internal display, mouse, keyboard and speakers.
Advantages Of A Laptop
– Laptop computers are extremely portable and can be anything from a super thin, ultraportable model to a robust gaming style computer.
– There some laptops that can be configured to have desktop quality specifications making them perfect for someone who needs a lot of power in a more compact and portable form factor.
– Because laptop computers have internal batteries, they can be used in situations where electricity is limited or completely unavailable.
Disadvantages Of A Laptop
– While laptop computers can be configured to be as powerful as many desktops, this power comes at a great premium. Laptops are significantly more expensive compared to an equally configured desktop computer.
– Laptops have limits to how powerful you can make them. While laptops have become more powerful over the years, they still don’t compare to the most powerful desktop computers.
Who Should Buy A Laptop?
If you’re a designer with a need for maximum portability, and you’re willing to compromise on speed and power than a laptop is for you.
The Tablet Computer
Tablets are devices that contain a touch responsive screen with a virtual keyboard.
Advantages Of A Tablet
– Tablets are new to the world of computers and offer a unique take on what it means to be a “computer”. They offer an experience that lends itself well to graphic design because they are touch sensitive devices.
– Tablets offer maximum portability. They can be as small as 7 inches and as large as 13 inches while still being extremely portable. The extreme portability also makes tablets very versatile. You can include keyboards and other accessories to configure the perfect computing device.
– Tablets offer unique apps that are well designed and made specifically for that device. Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store have apps that designers use daily to create imaginative and stunning designs.
Disadvantages Of A Tablet
– The options for customizing a tablet are pretty much non-existent. The only configuration options you’ll have when purchasing most tablets is the number of gigabits of internal storage and the color of the tablet.
– Tablets still aren’t considered equal to tractional computers, and therefor are extremely limited in their capabilities. It’s true that there are some amazing apps out there, but that’s about all you can look forward to on a tablet. For most tablets, just performing basic tasks like connecting a flash drive is impossible without jumping through tons of hoops.
Who Should Buy A Tablet?
Tablets are great for designers who would traditionally use something like a Wacom tablet for their daily design work. If you’re working with a small budget, primarily do a lot of drawing, or if you’re looking for a secondary computer to complement the computer you already own; a tablet is a great choice.