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'definitive' list of things designers "should" (if they could) own


Senior Member
Hey hey.
I'm wanting to start a list of everything everyone here suggests us, as designers, should own (or have), if we could.

Mainly so I can have an idea of what I should look at buying, but also for anyone else who wants the info.

Please add your suggestions or amendments. :D

  • Desktop Computer - Some people preferring an I-mac over a PC, but all in all, an I-mac or a [2.3Ghz+ dual core, 4gb+, semi ok graphics card] min spec PC usually does the job. Some people prefer to have both.
  • A laptop - the useful item to take everywhere and anywhere. Again Macbook or notebook. Notebooks becoming ever cheaper, with dual core, 2gb+ ram as standard.
  • Net book - light, inexpensive, easy to transport. Not as useful to designers regarding the small screen and low spec, but still a great item.
  • Servers - not as important, but some people couldn't live without them, and if you feel in the need for one, definately worth looking at.
  • Adobe® Creative Suite® - nothing needed to be said here, if you don't know about it, you need to go else where :D
  • An "Office" package - useful for word processing, business needs, presentations, and other such things
  • Text editor - vary across OS's, many articles on this online. Notepad++ my personal favourite.
  • FTP Client - again personal preference defines this, Filezilla my personal favourite.
  • Internet Browser - Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, IE 6 / 7 / 8 - you get the idea.
  • Some others - Gimp, Inkscape, Color Cop, Firefox Addons, all are useful to have (Many more here)
  • QuarkXpress - desktop publishing software, not got any knowledge on this, am positive it is awesome though :D
  • Remote desktop software - (eg windows live mesh ) for accessing your computer from anywhere

  • Graphics Tablet - Wacom is currently valued as the leading in this market, definately worth getting.
  • Phone - Iphone, Palm pre, blackberry, smart phone, all the usuals. Personal preference, though the Iphone is definitely worth considering if you have the money (I dont have one mind you)
  • Good keyboard + mouse - Personal preference, not much else to say here.
  • Flash drives + External Harddrives - personal to how much you need and where you will use them. Advice : Dont buy chinese off ebay.
  • Second (or third) monitor - very useful for viewing things in this line of work, have inspiration open while designing or ideas or anything you want.
  • Network attatched storage - personal preference, but very useful, especially if you change the computer you use regularly.
  • Scanner + Printer - definately worth getting, personally no knowledge of these but I'm sure others do if you ask
  • 3D mouse for some people is very beneficial
  • PDA - being negated by phone software more and more, but still useful for alot of things.
  • Monitor switch if you need one for multiple computers on multiple screens
  • Ipod touch (or other similar next-gen media players, new sony one sounds brillaint)
  • Broadband dongle - for connecting anywhere (can be done through phones aswell)
  • Wireless dongle if not built in ...

Other Stuff
  • Design Books - need help with this, suggestions, or lists anyone?
  • Web Hosting - very useful to have a space online for anything you need to host.
  • Carrying cases for laptop - personal preference on this, I personally like messenger bags, though some people despise them.
  • Sketchbook (Moleskine!) - where everything begins :D
  • Pens, pencils, etc.
  • Whiteboards - for lists and such
  • Magna Doodle - as used by mrp, (very much like a kids one)
  • Broadband! - needed for so much. Very useful with WiFi
  • VOIP, skype, or similar can be very useful indeed.
  • Office furniture - very personal set-up, some advice can be found all over the net
  • Colour swatches - lots of "these" online but nothing beats physical ones.
  • Post-It notes! for everything?!

Camera - Not as much info for this but if someone wants to complete this section I will chuck it in :D

So thats all I've done so far :) suggestions, info, etc. please :D

Lots of space to fit it in
Nice list, but you are just making me want to go and spend money I dont have.

I'm using a crappy old 20 quid Sony Ericsson, as my Razr just broke. New laptop would be nice too!


Senior Member
added them :D

*looks embarassed about not adding typo's before, went shopping for some of that proper design stuff ;) yesterday


Senior Member
I learned all of my foundation editing skills in GIMP it's an awesome program!

Quark Xpress
yup def quark over indesign even tho I have indesign as part of CS4...I'm not sure why, maybe cos I prefer the desktop icon :)

Colour swatches are a useful tool; though expensive to build a good library

Out of interest, who uses a 64bit version of windows?


If I could own it, I would just have a new desktop Mac with cinema display, I already have all the programs I need .. :) one day :) when I win Lotto :D :lol:


Staff member
Lets see (note I'm a little different :))

I've got the below (collected over the years :))-

Broadband (in my case 8down, 0.8up)
Wifi Router etc to connect it all up
Voip Phone System
(Synology) NAS - this has a ftp and web server built in so I can link in from the web.
File server (needs updating) - also used for rendering
Workstation (needs updating)
2x displays
scanners - a4 ocr, a4 flatbed and 35mm negative
printers - a4, a3 and a2 sizes
3d Connexion Spacepilot - 3D mouse
Intuos 3 A5 wide graphics tablet
office furniture
PDA - sat nav mostly now
Laptop (hardly use it)
External hard drives
Software - Windows Live mesh software is especially handy (its remote desktop from anywhere for free at the moment :))
paper, pencils, marker pens etc
Drawing board
Books (mine are 3D orientated)
Nikon F80 plus lenses etc

What I want to get (and will eventually)

3x Quad i7, 12GB, Quadro fx 580 PCs (faster or more if theres other options) Renderfarm (multiple computers used in tandem to render 3D work) - not needed for you 2D people and works out about the same cost as an 8 core mac pro but is faster for my needs :p
D90 (or equivalent digicam)
Lower power server
2x bigger screens + switch to link into all pc's
An updated mobile phone when Vodafone finally deal with my issue (or I move!)
Macbook Pro so that I have mac and windows software available.
ipod touch (waiting for update)

And I wouldn't mind a proper co-lo hosted web server where I can give client access etc but that isn't urgent in any means of the word :)