Top 5 Tools for Freelance Designers
The best gear and software for freelance designers to work with
A flair for design
So, you’ve got the creative bug and you want to start making it your career. That’s great, something that we’re more than willing to encourage. Design is an art, and artistic talent needs to be practised, nurtured, and honed. However, whatever your skill level, you still need to make a start with the right tools.
It can be a challenge to know where to begin when you’re surrounded by so many options – so here are 5 great picks to help kick things off.
iPad Pro + Apple Pencil
Apple’s M1 powered iPad Pro delivers laptop grade performance in an even more portable form. The pick of choice for many professional designers in 2022, the iPad-Apple Pencil combo is a package that really can’t be beaten.
With purpose built Adobe Creative support, a stunning responsive display, and battery that will last all day, Apple’s latest iPads can easily replace a powerful laptop. A display, word processor, graphics tablet, and productivity powerhouse, all in one device. The perfect companion for any prospective freelancer.
(The Giveaway is now closed, you can see the winner here)
Here’s the kicker. Revolancer are giving you the chance to win an Apple iPad Pro + Apple Pencil with our free giveaway!
From high-tech to lo-fi, a trusty notebook and pen can’t be overlooked. Although this might seem like a simple tool to list, it’s one worth mentioning. When you’re designing dozens of projects a week, inspiration can sometimes falter. It’s natural to become fatigued and find fresh ideas harder to come by.
That’s why keeping a notebook and pen handy at all times can be a game changer. Not only does it take you away from being reliant on screen time and battery life for all your notekeeping, but it also allows you to capture inspiration on the go. Keep one in your bag and you’ll build up a backlog of ideas, never letting inspiration pass you by.
We’ve made our enthusiasm for this graphic design software known in the past, and we’re not shy in recommending it again. Figma is an incredibly versatile application that enables designers to produce their work using web-based solutions. Figma stands out thanks to its workspace feature, which allows you to collaborate with colleagues in real time.
Best of all, Figma is free to download and use, so you’re able to develop your skills without paying a fee. Billed as specifically focusing on UI design, truthfully you can use Figma for anything. From social media graphics to comprehensive PDFs, it’s a superb option for designers of all skill levels. Here’s a link!
With our ability to access the internet at an all-time high, working on the go is easier than ever. We’ve all typed up some work on a train, checked our emails at an airport, or sent a message in a field. The truth is, many of us can and will work anywhere. That’s why portable tech is so important in our lives.
The portable solution to extra storage is usually an external hard drive or SSD, and these are still great options – but this time we’d rather point you towards a cloud based solution. Software like Google Drive, iCloud, and OneDrive enables you to streamline all of your files into one online location. This enables you to access your work from anywhere on earth where you can access the internet. For designers working with large files such as vector images or high resolution projects, saving as much local storage space as possible is vital.
The health benefits of an adjustable (standing or sitting) desk are somewhat up for debate, however the practical applications are numerous. An electronic adjustable desk is a fairly large commitment, so you need to be certain that it’s a piece of furniture you’ll benefit from. For designers, having the option to change your angle for different projects is a priceless one.
Moving from designing small details by hand using a graphics tablet, to a more conventional mouse and keyboard demands different postures. It’s vitally important that you don’t put your body under unnecessary stress, strain, or discomfort in the process. Regularly practising poor posture has a long-term and harmful effect on our wellbeing, so taking precautions is key. Not only will you be protecting your wellbeing, but you’ll also make life easier. You’ll find that you’re able to increase your efficiency, decrease fatigue, and work better in the process.
Tools are secondary
We hope you’ve found some value in this list of tried and tested tools, but we’d like to recognise the most important ‘tool’ of all. Designing is an art, a craft that takes time, care, and effort to improve. There’s nothing wrong with making the most of what you have. When you’re only beginning your career in design, try to utilise as many free or cheap tools as you can. For students, try your school’s media department. Perhaps you’ve got friends who might lend you their gear. It’s always advisable to try before you buy.
When you feel like your equipment or software is starting to bottleneck your creativity, then is the time to make an investment. Reinvesting in your freelance career can be a great way to scale your operation, improving quality and attracting further clients. None of this can happen without a foundation of core skills, but the right tools are a nice addition to your setup. Whatever your choice in software or hardware, be sure you’re keeping 100% of your earnings with commission-feeless freelancing on Revolancer. Join today. It’s worth giving our guide on ‘How to Create a Service Listing’ a read before posting!
Before you go
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out ‘The Power of Purpose’ – our guide to defining and using your purpose to drive success.
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer