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In an effort to gain greater creative control and increased flexibility, many graphic designers are making the transition from design firm employee to freelance professional. And the trend seems to make sense in today’s on-the-go, digital world. To make your move a success, here’s a list of six essential tools that you’ll want to have on-hand:


6 Essential Tools for Today's Freelance Graphic Designers

After all, when you work as a sole proprietor, you’ll need essential tools like these various computer software and transportable office supplies to help you meet your clients’ demands — and create raving fans in the process. 

1. Sketchbook

The first stage of design is the churning of ideas, so keep track of your creative ideas with a sketchbook. Choose one that will give you not only enough ample space to draw out your ideas, but that’s also easy to carry with you. Once you have your ideas sorted out, you can begin to transition from the cognitive stage to the digital stage of your design process.

2. Software

Designing ideas on paper probably won’t cut it it for your clients, so choose industry-leading software that will allow your ideas to take shape and make your job that much easier. A software suite like Adobe’s Creative Cloud can provide you with a wide range of tools to support your creative designs, including the creation of:

  • Logos
  • Business cards
  • Digitally-modified photos
  • Typefaces

Adobe’s Creative Cloud will help you fully realize your projects through Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Lightroom, Experience Design (Beta), Adobe Premiere Pro and more. Ultimately, choose software that offers multiple mediums for design — and is commonly used by other industry professionals — so you can easily collaborate and share your work.

3. Smartphone

While software is integral for achieving high-quality design, the digital device you use has an equally important role. Choose a high-quality smartphone that will allow you to make any last-minute changes to your digital designs to meet your client’s requests. Your smartphone must be compatible with professional design apps, like the aforementioned Adobe Suite, and have hardware that can keep up with the fast processing you’ll need to render your work.

And because the compact size of today’s smartphones allows you to carry them virtually anywhere, your home office essentially will be with you everywhere you go, allowing you to show off your portfolio to any current or potential clients.

Do you need help growing your business? Click here to check out our website design and marketing packages. We can help you achieve your business goals and in the process leave your competition shaken and wondering, “Now, what do we do?”

4. Interactive Tablet

Another digital device you’ll need is a tablet, as every designer knows how difficult it is to digitally draw with a mouse. Invest in a tablet or smartpad so you can sketch out your designs with greater fluidity. Tablets essentially work like a digital piece of paper and pen, allowing you to doodle in a digital format. Plus, the stylus you use for your drawing also doubles as a mouse, so you won’t need to switch between two different accessories.

5. Backup and Security

After putting in tons of hard work, you’ll want all of your creative designs to remain safe and intact. With that in mind, investing in trustworthy computer backup and security tools will become more and more essential. Choose a cloud backup system like Mozy, which can automatically store your designs and schedule backups to save your work as you go. You can also sync Mozy with your mobile devices in order to access and save your designs whenever you’re out of your home office.

6. Home Office

Beyond the design tools you’ll employ for your projects, your at-home work conditions are also important to take into consideration. Choose a specific room or corner of a room as your work space, and equip it with a desk that suits your needs.

Due to long hours spent at their computer, many designers use standing desks, which can improve your posture and keep you alert and focused, as a means to get work done. But no matter what setup you choose, the space should be conducive for your creative process and support uninterrupted work, which is why comfortability is a paramount factor.

If you want help establishing yourself, getting new business, or for other graphic design consulting, contact Will Sherwood, CEO of The Sherwood Group. He can help you reach your goals.
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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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