Back to School: Graphic Design Supplies You Didn’t Know You Needed

September 24, 2016

Graphic design supplies are not to be overlooked now that school is back in session. With graphic designers more in demand than ever, it’s a great time to get yourself back to school to learn the essential skills of the craft. And if there’s one thing all aspiring graphic designers should know, it’s that having the latest software and tech isn’t enough. Any professional will tell you that to be fully prepared as a graphic designer you’ll need creativity, discipline, and attention to detail — and that those skills are just as important as the technical tools and artistic talents you’ll be using.

That being said, graphic designers also depend on certain supplies to make their ideas come alive. Whether you’re just starting your journey as a student or continuing an ongoing course of study, you can expect to use various tools while you advance your skills and knowledge.

So, what are the most essential graphic design supplies for those of you beginning a new journey in this dynamic and growing field? Below, we’ve summarized a few things every graphic design student should consider picking up as they start another year of school at NYFA — or, for that matter, as they start to pursue their own path beyond school.

Sketchpads + Writing Tools

There’s more to being a great graphic designer than knowing your way around Photoshop and other state-of-the-art editing tools. The best designers are prepared to follow inspiration when it strikes and put down a brilliant idea whenever it comes to mind — whether that be on the bus, in a classroom, or anywhere on campus. You never know what you’ll see or hear that inspires you to come up with something amazing for a school or personal project.

Instead of forgetting your idea by the time you reach your computer, use your handy sketchbook to put it down on paper. This is an essential graphic design supply, as it will enable you to keep developing your concepts and brainstorming new ideas until you’re ready to transition it to computer. Being able to share your design ideas visually while away from your desktop is a valuable habit to have when discussing ideas with other students, possible clients, and even the interviewer for your dream job.

Whatever Helps You Stay Creative And Focused

From painters and musicians to creative writers and actors, all artists depend on their skills and imagination to create. But when there are distractions or you’re not comfortable, it can be nearly impossible to come up with groundbreaking ideas. The best artists, including professional graphic designers, will tell you just how important it is to find a space and atmosphere that gets your creative juices flowing. It might be a little unorthodox to think of your workspace, belongings, or home as a part of your graphic design supplies, but why not? Once you’re designing, everything in your life can be an integral part of stimulating and protecting your creative work.

Do you like listening to music while working? If so, you should invest in good speakers or headphones that allow you to enjoy your music with superior audio quality. Or maybe you could use a new desk chair that will help reduce (or eliminate) the aches and pains you get from sitting in front of your computer for too long. Imagine your optimal working environment and think about what you’re missing or what you can upgrade to make it it even better. Feed your creativity by taking good care of yourself, your workspace, and your needs.

Access to a Great Computer

One of the biggest investments students make when returning to school is picking up a new computer. As a graphic design student who will be using a lot of demanding software, this can be an especially important decision. Unless you already have a fairly new machine, you’ll want to upgrade your desktop so you don’t waste time running programs slowly or having to take repeated trips to your school’s computer lab. If you’re a graphic design student at NYFA, take advantage of lab hours and resources in your program.

And if you’re debating on picking up a laptop or desktop for your personal use, don’t forget there may be advantages to the latter. Many laptops today come with great specs, but it’s usually desktops that offer more storage space, better RAM, faster processors, etc. This can be very useful as many graphic design tools require a lot of juice to run — especially when you have several tasks open.

Bear in mind that many resources you need may be available through your program, like ours. But also don’t forget that your own down-time and personal space are themselves valuable resources and opportunities as you learn the craft of graphic design. Organizing ahead of time and making sure you have access to the best graphic design supplies is a great way to set yourself up for success at school, and beyond.

Have a favorite supply for your own graphic design adventures? Let us know in the comments below!