Back To School Guide for Designers | Hardware


Back To School Guide for Designers | Hardware

School is just around the corner so we wanted to put together a quick guide on hardware you may want to consider for your next school year. Of course take everything with a pinch of salt because it'd be impossible to make a guide that catered perfectly to each person. This is just an overall guide of gadgets that we've used ourselves and recommend to you.

The Computer

The first thing you'll definitely need is a computer. A machine that not only is powerful enough to work on, but also light and portable enough to carry with you everywhere.

Macbook Air

The MacBook Air is easily the best choice here. After the recent update to the Intel Haswell processors you just can't beat the 12 hour battery life out of the 13-inch model. The SSD makes it ridiculously quick, enabling you to boot up from cold within seconds and open programs in a flash. It's more than powerful enough for most designers.

But if you do need extra power the Pro model or Retina model are more than capable. Of course you do end up gaining thickness and weight but they're still very portable machines.

The Tablet

The tablet may not be a device you actually need but it's very useful for when you need to browse the internet quickly, pull up some textbooks and general consumption. It's also a great pass time for when you want to watch a film or two and play some games.


There are a lot to choose from when it comes to tablets but our two go to choices would be the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini. Both are very versatile little tablets and are perfect for reading and media consumption.

The Nexus 7 is the newer device of the two and has a stunning high resolution screen but then the iPad Mini does have higher quality apps. It's hard choosing the perfect one between the two so it's worth doing your research into both and working out what works best for you.

The Phone

When it comes to the phone it's impossible saying there is a 'perfect' phone - that's why we have variety. There's so many to choose from in this department so it's really up to you as the final user what you purchase.

Nokia Lumia 925 Review

However the HTC One, Nokia Lumia 925 and iPhone 5 may be the best pick from each major mobile OS.

All three devices have absolutely stunning hardware design, they all look amazing. But the OS is the deciding factor here as each one offers something different. The HTC One runs Android which is undeniably the most versatile OS. The Nokia Lumia 925 runs Windows Phone OS which I personally found the most beautiful and smoothest OS, the experience throughout is brilliant. The iPhone 5 runs iOS which I've found to have higher quality apps compared to both Android and Windows Phone.

Graphics Tablet

All designers work pretty differently depending on what type of designer they are but graphics tablets are awesome for those who love the traditional feel of pen and paper.

Wacom Bamboo

Wacom with their Bamboo line of products are pretty much the leaders in this market as they have some of the best looking and most functional graphics tablets.

The Camera

Pretty much every designer likes taking pictures of some sort. It's a great hobby and is very good for when you need some inspiration. It's also good to get out and not be stuck in a room looking at cat GIFs.

If you like taking pictures just for fun you definitely don't want to be putting down over a grand on one. For around £500 you can easily get yourself a decent DSLR or Micro Four Thirds camera.

Back To School Guide for Designers | Hardware

I myself have the GF6 which is very affordable at only £400. It offers very good picture quality and is very small, especially if you have a pancake lens attached.

Backup Your Data

If you don't backup your data, you're stupid. Why jeopardize months or years worth of work by not backing up your stuff? You really never know when your computer might crash completely, requiring a complete reset. I've seen it happen to many people and they have no one to blame but themselves.


Any external hard drive usually does the job but I use the Seagate Backup Plus Portable hard drive. If you use a Mac it'll even connect via Thunderbolt giving you super fast speeds.

The Bag To Carry Your Gear

You're going to need something to carry all that gear of yours, so why not get something perfectly made to protect those gadgets of yours.

This is another one where it's impossible choosing the perfect bag because everyone has different tastes and needs.

Incase Compact Backpack Review

I myself have the Incase Compact Backpack. It's the perfect bag for carrying gadgets as it has dedicated slots for laptops, tablets and phones. The pockets are lined with gorgeous faux-fur and it has enough room to carry a wealth of gear.

Do you have any gear you recommend for the designer going back to school? Just leave it down in the comments below.