When a designer is creating something, they want it to be the absolute best. They want to make their clients happy, with the best design and visuals they can muster. To help them with this, they need the best equipment, that is going to make the design process easier. Speaking from experience, trying to use Illustrator or Photoshop with a laptop that has minimum specs, is a nightmare. It can certainly be done – I did it in my first year of Uni – but it would have been so much easier if the technology I was using was up to scratch.
Speaking of this, I’m here today to help you make that choice, and make sure you don’t have to struggle like I did. However, before I begin suggesting machines for you to use, there are a few factors that a designer must consider when buying their laptop:
Memory – How much memory do you need in your laptop? This all depends on the software that you are using, however most designers tend to use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. Photoshop and Illustrator files can take up a fair amount of space, depending on how much you have done to them, so you might want to consider a laptop with at least 1TB and up. This will keep your mind at ease when working, ensuring that everything saves. Another option however, is to work from the cloud. A lot of laptops now come with smaller internal memory as, encouraging you to work cloud based. The choice is up to you, and depends on whether you would prefer a physical HDD or to work from the cloud
RAM – Coming back to the software that you may be using, a lot of it is going to be demanding on your machine. So you need to make sure it can keep up. There is nothing worse than spending hours trying to design one part of a logo, when you maybe have 2 or 3 drafts to complete. In that sense, it’s usually good to look for machines that have 8GB of RAM minimum. RAM ensures that your laptop can keep up, allowing it to multitask on a few things at once. A lot of the high end machines can even come with 16GB or 32GB. Again, it all depends on what you think you are going to need, as with more RAM comes more cost.
Processor – Alongside the RAM, you are going to want to choose a laptop that has a high end processor. For this, I would suggest anything from the current gen Intel i5 and up. As I have mentioned before, the work can be done on lower, but believe me, you don’t want to. If you come across a laptop that has last gen Intel processors in them, they will do the job too, however will just begin to slow down quicker.
Screen/Portability – Any designer wants to actually make out what they are designing, without having to use a magnifying glass. That’s why when picking your daily driver, it’s always a good idea to consider the screen – both resolution and size. Firstly, you want a good resolution so your visuals look at their absolute best. Whether they are graphics or some photo editing, you will want them to look as good as possible throughout the whole process, especially if you are designing for print. It’s a good idea to try and get a laptop with a high resolution – for example the new Macbook Pro has a resolution of 2560×1600 IPS, which is top of the range. Secondly, when looking at your screen, you are going to want to consider size. There is no point on buying a laptop with a great screen, if you can’t actual call it portable anymore, and it becomes more of a desktop. A good range to stay within is usually 12-14 inches. 15 inches is certainly do-able and anything above that starts to become cumbersome.
Extras – Once you have all of the main points out of the way, you can begin to think about any extras you might want, for example a touchscreen, 2-in-1 or does it come with a stylus. The extras that you choose will all depend on how you like to work, but be warned they will more than likely incur an extra cost.
Top of the range
Apple’s latest offering is certainly top of the range, ranging in price from £1,249 – £2,699, depending on the specs that you choose and also the size of the screen (13 inch and 15 inch offering). There are a whole range of internal customisation offerings such as processor type, RAM size and memory size, so again it’s all up to you. However, you can be sure that choosing this certainly won’t let you down whatever the job. The new models also come with a Touch Bar, which makes working even easier. Also great because they are light and portable, meaning you will barely know it’s even in your bag.
Microsoft’s latest offering is certainly strong competition for Apple. With two offerings available, ranging the size of the memory and RAM, you certainly can’t go wrong with these. Prices for these machines also range from £1449 – £2999. What’s great about these laptops however, is the fact that they are both 2-in-1 and support the use of Microsoft’s very own stylus. This will come in handy is you need to quickly sketch something down or prefer the added portability of a tablet over the laptop.
If the price of the previous model isn’t quite right for you, Microsoft also offer a more budget friendly option. More of a tablet than a laptop, but certainly no less powerful. Again there is a whole host of internal options available depending on what you want and what you think you’ll need. Prices for these range from £799 – £2699. Again, they are great because they provide you with portability and also the option to work with a stylus. However, it should be noted that any accessories you might want, such as the keyboard, stylus and mouse are all of extra cost to the actual laptop itself.
Moving away from the Apple and Microsoft world, Dell also have a fantastic offering that would be great for any designer. Ranging in price from £999 – £1499, and also screen size from 13.3 – 15.6, it will be great if you would prefer a bigger screen for working on. The range in price negates the differences within the laptop itself, as all models on offer have varying ranges of Intel’s i5 and i7 processor and different sizes of RAM and Memory. The top of the range machine within this range, also has the advantage of being touchscreen, providing an advantage to those who like working on tablets but would prefer the size of a laptop.
Our final offering comes from HP. Ranging in price from £1498 – £3494, this is certainly one of the most pricey offerings available. However, you are certainly spoilt for choice in choosing which one you would like, as on HP’s own website, there 13 different configurations of this particular laptop. However, be assured that whatever configuration you choose, they all have top of the range specs meaning they will all be more than adequate for whatever job you need them for.
There are certainly plenty of laptops that a designer could choose from to get the job done, however this list just includes some of our favourites. However, when choosing, just be sure to take into consideration all that I have mentioned above, as it will certainly go a long way in helping you to make the right choice.
Here at Kaizen, our designers only use the best of the best when it comes to equipment and software, so if you are in need of some design, feel free to give us a call on 028 9002 2474 or shoot us an email on our contact page