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Graphic Designer Tools 2021

MacBook, iphone, note pad and glass of water on a wooden table

Graphic Designer Tools I use in 2021

Being a graphic designer is a hard but rewarding job but having the right graphic designer tools will make all the difference.

I’m eighteen years into my graphic design career. When I started learning graphic design in 2001, I got the iMac G3 and thought it was the coolest computer I had ever seen. It has a whopping 64MB of Ram and a 7g hard drive. To save my projects for school I had to have an externalIomega Zip Drive. Flash forward 20 years later and I learned a lot about the graphic design tools I use.

 I have always been a Macintosh user because 20 years ago it was the standard in graphic design and I remain loyal to the brand. One of the biggest lessons I learned early on is not to get the intro model of any computer you buy.

When you first start graphic design or you’re in school you will find yourself on budget and want to get your computer as cheap as possible. I do not recommend this. Technology changes quickly and graphic design files tend to be rather large. Going with the base model will drive you crazy, quick. You will spend more time opening the software and saving files than necessary.

Here is a list of the current products I use.


2020 MacBook Prowith Ram Upgraded to 32MB with a 24″ HP Monitor. I wanted the convenience to be able to work on the go but added a monitor for when I’m at my desk.

I also have aUSB C Hub for my monitor and Wacom tablet to connect. MacBook’s no longer have USB or HDMI ports. The hub also has SD and Micro SD card reading slots.

Instead of a mouse, I use a Wacom Intous Pro which is great for graphic design. If you have never used a graphic tablet it does take some time to get used to using it but once you do, you’ll wonder how you worked without it. 

I am looking at upgrading my tablet to an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and will update this blog post when I do. 



The software you use is just as important as the hardware. I useAdobe Creative Cloudfor most of my creative projects. For one monthly fee, you get access to all of the Adobe Creative Apps likePhotoshop, InDesign,IllustratorXD, and Premiere

I occasionally use Canva to create templates for my clients.  

For storage I prefer Dropbox. It allows me to back up my computer and I smart sync the folder I use the most to my hard drive. I can also send links to my clients so they can access their files. I currently have the 2TB plan. 


I use my iPhone 11 to take photos and touch them up on the go with Photoshop Express. 


I know this may say silly but I have about 3 different notebooks I use to take notes, jot down ideas and do quick sketches. A lot of people love the Moleskin line of journals and they are great, I prefer the Minimalism Art brand. They are still an amazing quality at a fraction of the cost. When you go through them like I do price and quality matter. 

These are all of the current products I use every day in my graphic design business. You may not need all of them but hopefully, they will help you get a kick start on the gear you need. 

If you have questions about any of the products I’ve listed, send me an email. I’m always happy to help. 

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