Looking to make a splash in the world of design? Before you go diving in head first, let’s make sure you’re actually ready to get wet. Check out this list of five must-haves for up-and-coming designers.

  • A modern, high-tech computer

What is an artist without a canvas, a musician without an instrument, or a Keurig without a K Cup? In each instance, we see an amazing talent unable to craft something beautiful because they lack the means. Similarly, a designer without a capable computer is unable to function amiably in today’s industry, which is why it’s the most important must-have for any creatively-inclined person.

Design is hard work, even for a computer, which is why the technical specs of your hardware are important to consider. It’s simply not enough to pick up the clearance rack special as your go-to workstation. While top notch computers are typically accompanied by eye-popping prices, it’s best to see this exchange as an investment that should support your career for years to come. For those feeling especially daring with their investments, doubling up with a desktop and laptop will provide the luxury of having a powerful, reliable machine at home as well as the capability to take your work on the go.

AS prefered for Mac & Windows

  • Creative software

So you’ve set up your computer, and now you’re wondering where to begin. Lucky for you, we’ve been there and have an answer! To be the most proficient, especially on digital platforms, you’ve got to consider which software best fits the type of work you plan to do. Whether you are illustrating from scratch, doing a little photo editing, or setting up several magazine spreads, a specific program will be needed for each. With so many choices at your fingertips, it’s important to decide according to how your programs integrate with one another and how comfortable you feel working with each.

As far as bare necessities are concerned, you’re done. Once you’ve setup your software you’re able to begin working! However there is still much more to acquire in order to help you produce at your highest level, so continue scrolling.

AS prefered Creative Software

  • Art supplies

Pens, pencils, and markers oh my! Indeed, a designer’s arsenal expands far beyond hardware and software. Numerous mediums can be and often are incorporated into effective designs. Sketches, outlines, and other visualizations go a long way toward perfecting and sharing a vision, and isn’t that what design is all about in the first place?

AS prefered Supplies & Notebooks

  • A fitting throne!

Story time: In 2012 Proctor & Gamble produced one of the most eyebrow-raising marketing campaigns in recent years. Their campaign for Charmin toilet paper included the rhetorical catchphrase, “We all go. Why not enjoy the go?” While this was certainly an odd approach, the message is clear enough to understand. To bring the discussion back on track, consider this simple and newly inspired phrase: “All designers sit at work. Why not enjoy the seat?” A comfortable chair contributes to a relaxed and at ease workstation, something every designer deserves to have.

– AS prefered Office Chair

  • Backpack, bag, or Indiana Jones satchel

It’s no secret: your newly acquired equipment is precious and if anything bad was to happen to them we understand immediately jumping to Defcon 1. You can avoid taking such drastic measures by purchasing a reliable carrying case and hauling around your necessities in complete safety.         P.S. Kevlar and bubble-wrap are not necessary.

– AS prefered Backpack

Having the foresight to be fully-equipped at the start of your career will save you from having numerous headaches down the road. Following the advice in this list will allow you to swan dive into your work and not have to worry about any sharp rocks at the bottom.

Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!


Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.


Writing: Alex Reich
Content: Torrey Lubiens
Photo Credit: Jeff Sheldon


Torrey Lubiens

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