Graphic design is a grueling job. Trust us, we know. It's hard to get a decent paying position, and the work hours are unbearably long. It's a cutthroat industry, so you need to be doing everything you can to get ahead. This is why your graphic designer workstation setup is so important. That extra boost in productivity can be the difference in securing higher-paying work at a more regular rate.
While it's tough, graphics design is also incredibly fun. You get to really flex your creative muscles and bring a splash of individuality into everything you do. This extends to how you set up your workstation. You get to customize it as you see fit, not just in how you decorate it, but in how it's organized and what equipment you use.
In this article, we're going to go through how you should be building your perfectly optimized graphics designer workstation. We're going to be maximizing your efficiency for working, so keep that in mind as we move forward.
Step 1 – The Desk
The first thing you should be looking at when you're building a workstation is your work desk. It's the focal point for everything else and is usually the single biggest piece of equipment.
How big your desk is, what shape it is, and what features it has all determine what accessories you have access to later on down the line.
When it comes to desk types, we have to recommend hybrid desks for maximum productivity.
For those not in the know, a hybrid desk is a desk that can switch between sitting and standing modes.
Why would you want to do that? Well, it's been proven that constantly switching up your posture is the key to keeping yourself focused while you're working.
On top of that, standing instead of sitting comes with a myriad of benefits that can help you maximize your work productivity.
There are plenty of standing desks out there, but we recommend you take a look at the SmartDesk range.
These desks are a cut above the rest of the marketplace for one key reason: each of the desks is automated. In other words, all you have to do is press a button to adjust the height.
The majority of hybrid desks out there require manual adjustment, which is a pain when you're doing it several times throughout the day. The SmartDesk line all have motors installed in the frame. These motors are hooked up to a control panel on the desktop. All it takes is the press of a button and you can switch between sitting and standing with ease.
Whether you opt for this kind of desk or not, our ultimate graphics designer workstation starts with the SmartDesk Home.
Step 2 – The Chair for Designer Workstation
Having a standing desk is all well and good, but you can't forgo a chair altogether. Even if you plan on standing 99% percent of the time, a good ergonomic chair is a must.
There are going to be days when you don't feel like standing, or better yet, can't stand. If you've ever worked after going out all weekend, then you know what we're saying.
With their workplace chairs, most people head to IKEA, drop $50 dollars, and call it a day. If you're a graphics designer, this is not good enough.
You're going to be spending hours in your office, so you need to get a good chair. In terms of productivity and posture, there are no better chairs than ergonomic chairs.
While our favorite is the ErgoChair 2, you're free to make up your own mind.
All that matters is that the chair you choose has lumbar support. This is going to help prop up your back, preventing pains, aches, and correcting your posture.
Step 3 – Best Graphic Designer Workstation Place
Choosing the location of your best designer workstation is arguably what you should be doing first. However, it's safe to assume that most of you already have an office picked out, which is why this comes in at number three, not one.
If you're lucky enough to have a separate room to set up your graphic designer workstation in, then great. If not, then there are a few things you should try to do.
It's fairly safe to say that without an office, your workstation is going to be set up in your bedroom. This creates a problem.
You see, your brain associates your bedroom with rest. When you then introduce work into that mix, things get messy. Whether you realize it or not, your brain is in rest mode when in your bedroom. It's just how our pathology is wired.
This is going to destroy your motivation and productivity, which is the opposite of what we want. To combat this, we need to try and separate the two.
If you can, put a physical barrier between you and your bed. A cubicle wall can do the trick, or you could even hang a curtain down from the ceiling if you had to. What's important is that your work area and your rest area feel like two different areas.
Try to decorate the two differently, too. Paint the walls with different colors and have different lighting. Do whatever you can to make each area feel unique and distinct.
Step 4 – Equipment for Workstation
With our foundations out of the way, it's time to start getting technical. The equipment you use in your office is directly related to how fast you can work and how good that work turns out.
While skill and talent account for a lot of it, it's an unfortunate truth that your tools play a part in the quality of your work.
As a graphics designer, you have three specific tools to be aware of: Your PC, your monitor, and your drawing tablet.
Your PC should be the first stop. Ideally, you're going to have a MacBook, not a PC. If that's not an option, though, then you're going to need to spend some good cash on a computer.
You need your machine to be able to run graphics design programs. So a decent CPU and GPU are both a must.
A MacBook can run you upwards of $1,500 dollars. Although it also comes with an Adobe license. A PC that is going to do the trick for you should cost around $1000 dollars, but keep in mind that you then have to pay the subscription fee for the software that you need.
Our pick for the ultimate graphic designer workstation is a MacBook Pro, but as long as it can run the software, you can go with whatever you want.
The monitor is the next piece of hardware that you need. Most people think of monitors like TV screens, but the reality is that the two are very different.
Monitors are specialized pieces of hardware. Each one is designed differently and optimized for different tasks.
There are gaming monitors that have 0.01 MS input delay times, and there are monitors with enhanced graphic displays, which is what we need.
We're picking the Dell UltraSharp for our setup. This monitor is a beast when it comes to image quality and is arguably the best on the market right now. It also costs a fortune, so if it's out of your budget, don't worry about it. There are plenty of affordable graphic designer monitors out there.
Lastly, you need to worry about your drawing tablet. Depending on your specific area of graphic design, you might not actually need one of these. Either way, it's a good graphic design workplace idea to get one, just in case.
There are countless different drawing tablets on the market today, all of them ranging drastically in price.
The good news here is that you don't need to break the bank to get a solid piece of hardware. There are plenty of great tablets that are going to cost you a couple of hundred dollars.
The bad news is that the very top of the market is dominated by Wacom, meaning you have to pay a premium price for the best of the best.
Obviously, our setup is going to be making use of a Wacom tablet, but you don't have to. There are plenty of great tablets out there for a fraction of the price, so shop around.
Step 5 – Accessories
Now we're on the fun stuff. You can decorate your graphic design workstation however you like, but we have a few recommendations.
If you want to be as productive as possible, make sure you don't overdo the decoration. A cluttered workspace leaves your mind cluttered, too. Keep your office accessories to a minimum, and you're going to find that working is much easier.
Decorate the walls with one of two inspirational pictures. Maybe hang up and qualifications you've gotten. Try to stick to sentimental items, instead of things that look cool.
You can also look at accessories that are less about appearance and more about practicality. Speakers, a monitor arm, keyboards, mice, organizers, and more all play a part in how well set up your workstation is.
Obviously, your speakers as a graphics designer don't matter too much. You can even rely on your monitor's internal speakers if you want.
A monitor arm, on the other hand, can come in really handy. This is especially true if you have a small desk. Whether you want one or not is personal discretion, though.
Your keyboard and mouse do both matters somewhat, but again, you don't need to break the bank to get something to suit your purposes. You're not a professional gamer, so don't go out and buy a Razor Blackadder.
Pros and Cons of Having a Productive Workstation
- You get more work done.
- The work you do is better.
- It maximizes your earning potential.
- It costs money to set up.
Hopefully, you've found our guide helpful. While our ideal workstation is using the best of the best in terms of equipment, you don't have to. You can create a perfectly serviceable setup using budget items if you want.
We have plenty more content like this on our blog, so if you like what you read, head on over there for some more tips and tricks.
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