by Patrick Ilagan . December 11th, 2012
Last week we have listed down some awesome books and magazines where designers can acquire knowledge and inspiration. We are finally down to the last post of our gift guide series and today we are featuring gadgets, software and apps that a budding or a veteran graphic designer would love to have in their arsenal of tools.
1. Apple iPad with Retina Display (16gb) – $499
Who wouldn’t love iPad’s retina display? With such a display it’s hard to take one’s eyes off it. The iPad with retina display is a perfect addition specially for those who rely heavily into the iOS ecosystem. Other than that with such library of drawing and designing apps the iPad with Retina Display is a nice addition to a designer’s bag.
(Get it here)
2. Google Nexus 7 32gb – $299
This is Google’s first foray into the tablet scene and was lauded by many people for it’s inexpensive price tag but uncompromising computing power. This one is great for those who thrive in the Android ecosystem and for those who find 10 inch tablets a little too big for them.
3. Wacom Intuos5 Large – $469.40
This table is perfect for those who are into illustration and photography but it also works well for designers since it gives the familiarity of the pen and paper experience. Beside the fact that this is an awesome tool when working on designs or illustrations it also prevents the development of wrist pains that happens when using a mouse for long periods of time.
4. Asus PA246Q Monitor – $469.99
Investing on a good monitor is a must for artists and while there are tons of awesome and really capable monitors the Asus PA246Q is a steal for it’s price tag against it’s more expensive rivals. The PA246Q has the P-IPS technology which enables it to display 98% of the Adobe RGB coverage unlike conventional monitors add to that is the P-IPS technology also boasts sharpness, clarity and vibrancy. This is a great deal specially for those who are just starting in graphic design and would like to upgrade from the regular LCD display .
5. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 – $549.00
While the iPhone has an adequately performing camera there are still designers who travel a lot and are looking for a decent size camera that packs the punch of a full size DSLR. Olympus’ PEN Mini is a micro-four thirds camera with an interchangeable lens system. This fantastic camera sports a 16.1 megapixel sensor and a high-end TruePic image processor plus ports for an external viewfinder or EVF. Another great factor about this camera is that it has a Live Bulb mode for long exposures.
6. LaCie 1TB Rugged Thunderbolt External Hard Drive – $229.95
With more and more designers working outside the studio owning a portable hard drive has become a necessity. On the flip side most hard drives are often fragile and just a good smack in the concrete will send most designers cry like babies. Good thing LaCie made a rugged hard drive that was made to stand even the clumsiest designer ever.
7. Canon Pro 100 – $499.00
Designers are very particular when it comes to the quality of their printer that for some it has become an obsession. Canon is one trusted brand when it comes to really good quality printers that delivery exceptional quality prints. The Canon Pro 100 boasts itself by using thermal print heads that makes head clogs virtually if not least possible to occur.
8. Epson Perfection V500 Photo -$199.99
No self-respecting designer would go without a good quality scanner to have their design sketches, photographs and even film slides scanned. The V500’s Digital ICE technology helps eliminate dust and scratches when scanning. It also uses a LED light that eliminates warm-up time therefore making scanning fast and easy.
9. Urbanears Zinken – $139.00
Listening to music helps artists to focus or at least to keep them awake while slaving the long hours. The Urbanears headphone offers a great quality of sound with a very minimalist style. One thing that is really great about this headphone is that it looks expensive without the expensive price tag as compared to a Beats by Dre headphone therefore making this a perfect gift for designers whose ears are often glued to a earphone whether commuting or working.
10. Adobe Muse – $14.99 per month
Adobe’s newest product in the shelves offers a web design solution without having to bother coding. This is great for people who have no idea or at least not confident enough with their coding skills to make a great website.
11. Adonit Jot Pro – $29.99
This will be the perfect gift for designers who often work using their iPad. The Adonit Jot Pro is a stylus made specially for the iPad. Unlike conventional input devices tablets that use a rubber tip the Jot Pro uses a clear plastic-like disc to achieve a much better precision just like how a pen glides on paper.
12. Wacom Inkling – $199.95
Bridging the gap between traditional and digital sketching resulted to the birth of the Wacom Inkling. This nifty tool captures and saves your sketches on paper to a digital format that can be opened to Photoshop or Illustrator.
13. Autodesk SketchBook Pro- $1.99
Tablet users will find this nice app a great addition to their growing app system. Coupled with a good styli this app will be an indispensable sketch pad that can be used while on the road.
14. VectorScribe Studio- $69.00
Perfect for those who are on the path into becoming a virtuoso when it comes to creating vector art. This amazing plugin streamlines the process of creating vector graphics as well as adding dynamic functions making this a must have for designers who often deal with vectors.
15. Phantasm CS2 -$89.00
There are times when the capabilities of Adobe Illustrator is not enough that designers have to transfer their work to Photoshop to add eye popping color or effects. Phantasm CS2 aims to bridge the gap by providing Photoshop like capabilities to Illustrator.
16. Grid Calculator Pro – $99
Grids are extremely useful to designers since it helps to map out when doing layouts. Many of the most successful designers based their designs to a grid system that they made. Although working on what kind of grid system that should be used is time consuming. Good thing Grid Calculator Pro specifically made for Adobe inDesign takes away the pain of figuring out the computation that the only thing what’s left is the design itself.
17. Optimus Popularis Keyboard – $1086
While the $1,086 looks intimidating but the fact that this keyboard beats the standard keyboard with it’s fully customizable OLED keys.Users are can also choose from 262,144 unique colors. It even allows designers to use static images, gifs and even mov files that are up to 10fps making this keyboard one unique or rather a million unique keyboards into one.
18. Adobe Ideas – $9.99
This app is perfect for those who are often away from the comforts of a computer or a laptop. Adobe Ideas lets artist draw or sketch in vector format that they can later refine in Adobe Illustrator. Other than that it also allows artists to use 10 layers and multiple color schemes for a more dynamic design.
19. FontBook – $5.99
The bible of typographers. This awesome app contains 620,000 typefaces to help even the most particular designer when deciding a font. Other than the large repository of typefaces FontBook also allows designers to compile their favorite fonts and compare it with other fonts.
20. Ignition – $129.99
A remote access to a computer with the important files in it is a plus specially for those who are often outside of the office. This app specifically made for the iOS is a one time purchase and it will let its users access files remotely, attach files to email and remotely monitor their computer’s activity.
Personalize your gifts! Download the free postcard templates on our Print Templates page and while you guys are at it, why don’t you check out the rest of the items there and have we mentioned that it’s free.
This concludes our Graphic Designer’s gift guide series! Click this and this if you haven’t read parts 1 and 2 yet. Tell us what you guys think! Share your thoughts at the comments below.
Patrick Jude Ilagan is a graphic designer/photographer hailing from the vast jungles of urban Manila. Always on the look out for visually appealing stuff he scours the internet and the bustling city in search of inspiration. His tools for mass creation is a Canon 500D along with a wide array of lights and lenses plus a 4 year old (but still fighting) laptop. Check out his work on Tumblr.