7 Essential Tools For Graphic Designers in 2021

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As a graphic designer, you need a few essentials to help you prosper as a graphic designer. We handpicked for you just the best software, hardware and all equipment’s you need as a graphic designer stepping into the world of designing. Designing is not easy, but equipped with the right tools, your success rate is bound to be high. Without wasting time, here are the essential tools for graphic designers this year including essential hardware, software and other key equipment.

01. Laptop

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MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019)

This remains to be Apple’s best laptop so far.

Processor: Intel Core i7-i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4-8GB of GDDR6 memory; Intel UHD Graphics 630 | Screen: 16-inch 3072×1920 IPS display | Storage: 512GB-8TB SSD | Memory: 16-64GB RAM | Ports: 4 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x headphone jack | Dimensions: 357.9(w) x 245.9(d) x 16.2(h)mm | Weight: 2kg


This 16-inch MacBook Pro is the perfect tool for graphic designers, whether you’re working in the office or at home.

The most obvious feature is the new, larger screen, which is ideally suited to design work. It’s also improved the keyboard; gone are the troublesome Butterfly switches that plagued earlier models, replaced with more responsive scissor switches, as found on the Magic Keyboard.

Battery life is exceptional too, which is particularly impressive considering this laptop’s powerful components. It can be configured with up to 64GB RAM (a first for a MacBook) and up to 8TB storage so you don’t need to rely on an external hard drive. 

So, if you’re looking for a laptop that’ll keep performing flawlessly for years and will never hold you back, this is an excellent investment.

02. Desktop

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Apple iMac 27-inch (2020)

The gold standard desktop machine for creatives.
CPU: 8-core (configurable to 18-core) 3.2GHz Intel Xeon W | Graphics: Radeon Pro Vega graphics | RAM: 256GB (configurable to 256GB) | Storage: 1TB SSD (configurable to 4TB)


It is the best when it comes to rendering 3D models, video editing and animation.
Despite some upgrades, Apple has maintained the iMac Pro’s signature look. It is just 5mm thick and weighs a mere 700G, keeping your desk clear and clutter-free.

03. Reliable hard drive

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Western Digital My Passport Ultra
Offers both USB-C and USB 3.0 connectivity
Capacity: 1-5TB | Interface: USB-C


The Western Digital My Passport Ultra is a neat external drive that gives you up to 5TB for your most important files. The optional WD SmartWare Pro software (available for Windows and macOS) lets you easily configure automatic backups, so you never need to worry about losing your saved work.

My Passport Ultra is fast too, with impressive read and write speeds for quick transfers (essential for large image and video files). This is made possible by its USB-C connectivity, though it comes with a USB 3.1 adaptor for older devices.

Its small and almost weightless and it’s ideal for carrying around.  It fits neatly into a backpack, satchel or pocket in its own cloth carry bag.

04. Graphics tablet and stylus

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iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (2020)

The new go-to tools for graphic designers

CPU: A12Z Bionic | RAM: 6GB | Screen: 12.9-inch | Storage: 128GB – 1TB | Ports: 1x USB-C | Size: 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.23 inches | Weight: 643g


The iPad Pro is a superb device for digital drawing, but does far more besides drawing.

Whether you opt for the 11-inch or 12.9-inch model, the 2020 iPad Pro will give you an expanse of smooth glass to work on. Apple’s Smart Keyboard transforms it into a powerful laptop, and the new Apple Pencil makes it even more versatile. With its powerful processor, designing has never been this fun!

05. Top-end smartphone

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

A powerful handset with impressive photographic credentials

Screen: 6.4-inch Super AMOLED | Processor: Octa-core chipset | Memory: 8GB (configurable to 12GB) | Storage: 128GB (configurable to 1TB) | Rear camera: 16MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP | OS: Android Pie


The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is our best pick among smartphones. The Exynos 9825 processor makes it one of the fastest Android phones around, but there’s a lot more here for designers to take note of.

The Note 10 Plus is slightly larger than the regular S10, giving you a full 6.3 inches of Super AMOLED screen to work with. Colour reproduction is excellent, and there’s impressive dynamic range.

The trio of rear-facing cameras (for normal, telephoto and wide-angle photos) are superb, too. The main camera’s dual-aperture lens captures sharp images, even in low light, and the wide-angle lens captures a 123-degree field of view. Videos benefit from image stabilisation, and this is the first Samsung phone able to record video in HDR.

The battery will last a whole day in typical conditions, and you can even use the Note 10 Plus to charge other devices wirelessly. Great investment, right?

06. Studio camera

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Nikon D5300

An affordable DSLR that checks all the boxes

Sensor: 23.5 x 15.6mm CMOS | Resolution: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon F-Mount | Screen type: 3.2-inch vari-angle | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 1080P | User level: Beginner


The Nikon D5300 is an ideal DSLR if you’re looking for something that will perform well and provide many years of reliable service. Together with a versatile lens kit, it’ll help you achieve great shots without a sweat.

This is definitely an entry-level DSLR, and can’t record video in 4K, but its still images are super crisp (partly due to the absence of an anti-aliasing filter) and the new EXPEED 4 processing engine means noise is well controlled, even in dark images.

The camera is made from a single piece of polycarbonate, meaning there are fewer joints, seams and potential weak points. It’s also unusually light, making it easier to carry when you need to leave the studio. There is no touchscreen, so you’ll have to navigate the camera’s many menus using physical buttons, but the interface is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t present much of a barrier to you achieving professional quality images.

07. High-res monitor

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LG UltraFine 4K

An incredible USB-C monitor for maximum multi-tasking

Size: 23.7 inches | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Connections: Thunderbolt 3 x2, USB-C x3 | Brightness (typical): 500 cd/m2


It is great for sending videos out from your MacBook to its 4K display, and can carry data to accessories too. The UltraFine 4K is way more than a monitor – it’s also USB-C hub. With its giant bandwidth, you can link this to a second 4K display still running off that single cable to your MacBook Pro – or plug in loads of external storage, connection hubs, cabled internet… whatever you need. It’s a 24-inch screen with a resolution of 3840×2160, so it’s highly detailed, and supports the DCI-P3 gamut. It has a brightness of 500cd/m2 meaning you can work anytime and in all seasons.

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