The countdowns have officially begun! Soon incoming college freshman will begin packing up their hometown bedrooms, moving away from home and starting a new life taking classes in big study halls that could probably fit their entire graduating class. It will be exciting. It will be overwhelming but one thing that you do not have to worry about future-design-children-of-the-world is what supplies you will need to begin your career as a designer.
1. MACBOOK COMPUTER — Your computer will be your life. Protect it as if it’s your first born child. Put a case on it. Clean your screen whenever there are fingerprints smudges and for god sakes, keep it away from coffee cups at all times. I recommend a MacBook Pro, not just because I drank Apple’s kool-aid a long time ago, but because the screen resolution is perfection when creating your digital artwork.
As a young designer, your school might just be nice enough to provide the programs you will use. If not, you will need to purchase (at least) Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, but it will be worth every cent.
2. SKETCHBOOK — As a graphic design major, your artwork will move to the digital sphere. This does not mean you still shouldn’t abandon your sketchpads. A sketchbook is a simple creative tool to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper (a critical first step in the creative process). They are relatively cheap and you can get them anywhere — an art supply store, your university bookstore, CVS, or Staples.
3. SHARPIE PENS — I believe this is one the greatest pens out there. It doesn’t bleed like a regular sharpie and it is perfect for the creative process (in your new sketchbook of course).
4. PAPER CUTTER — If you plan on printing anything at school (which you will), you’re going to be thankful for a paper cutter that will cut perfectly straight edges. You don’t have to thank me now…. you can thank me later.
5. LYNDA.COM — If you can afford it (or if your parents can afford it after your hefty tuition bills), get a subscription lynda.com. After all, you are a beginner just getting your feet wet in the field of design. If you sign up, you’ll receive unlimited access to a vast library of high quality, current, and engaging video tutorials taught by great teachers who are also working professionals. I could watch videos on lynda forever because there is always something new to learn in the Adobe Creative Suites.
Side piece of advice — You do not need a nice, fancy camera (unless a specific class requires it). With that being said, it helps to have one or to have a photographer friend. This way your won’t have to spend hours on Google, Tumblr, and Pinterest searching for photos that probably aren’t high enough resolution for your projects and that you probably do not have the rights to use anyways. Plus, your designs will look more original.
The folks here at Hello Little One wish you the best of luck with the start of your new school year and in your career as a designer!