I figured it might be helpful if I created a tool box of all the stuff I use day to day as a graphic designer. As I learn more and find more cool things I’ll add it to this list so make sure to check back to it now and again. A few of these links do earn me a small commission, but they’re all products that I do actually use and highly recommend. You don’t need to buy everything I have listed here to be a designer – this is meant as a guide that’ll help you fill a few gaps in your arsenal. Only ever buy something you need or will help you get the job done!
My pencil case is vast and runs deep, with many treasures and secrets. Here is some the very best gear I use to create my illustrations. Check out this article for a more in depth run down.
From the start I liked using the Uni Ball Kuru Toga mechanical pencil, which sold me on the way it rotated the lead as you used it in order to always keep it sharp.
Recently I’ve switched away from the Kuru Toga, to the Staedtler Mars Leadholder as it’s been reccomended to me by a lot of artists that I admire, and I’m really loving it.
Well you need some lead to put in your pencil don’t you. This is pretty good stuff though and thick too so it won’t just snap like in a lot of mechanical pencils.
The lead holder does come with a sharpener in the top, but that means removing the lead to be able to sharpen it and all your lead dust goes everywhere, this is much simpler.
Basically an eraser that you hold like a pen. Simple but really handy when you need to correct a really precise mistake.
Instead of having a nib it has a bristles like a brush, meaning that you can still get the difference in line weight, but without the messy ink pots.
I have these pens in three different sizes and they are my bread and butter pens. They do maybe 90% of my inking. Great flow and solid nibs.
On the expensive side, but for the level of detail these pens provide it’s worth it. They go down to 0.03! That’s crazy. Most “fine pens” are 0.1.
Like having watercolour paint in a pen. I colour mostly on the computer, but for getting some natural gradients into an image the grey set of these markers are indispensable.
When I do occasionally have to slap colour onto actual paper these are the pens I go to. Similar to the Copics they can be layered to create gradients of colour.
Having decent tech and gizmos can make a tonne of difference to your career in design. My standards are pretty high, but here are a few items that have really stood out to me.
Seriously if you’re even thinking about purchasing a graphic tablet, just make sure it’s a Wacom, because I’ve used a few brands now and let me tell you – they are worlds apart.
This cute little baby churns out decent prints and awesome scans (which is what I primarily use it for). It’s wireless which is nice and best of all – cheap!
Awesome hosting service. Almost all my websites are hosted on Bluehost. Crazy easy to get started with (1 click WordPress install is always nice) and outstanding customer service.
Still my favourite online storage platform. Works with everything and is super easy to use. This is the main way I transfer work to clients now.
This is something I’ve just started using, and it’s really blown me away. I can’t imagine creating an eCommerce website any other way now.
This little den of awesome has pretty much any graphic you can think of at affordable prices. A nice short cut if you need to keep a project within deadline.
Outstanding book on apparel design. Covers as much technical information as it does about running the business side of things – worthy read for any designer.
If you listen to one design podcast make it this one. Not only is it informative, not only is it funny – but it makes you a part of the circle of trust, and you can’t put a price on that.
Ace show from UK web designer Andy Clarke. Very very helpful (often vital) information regarding the business side of design, and random off topic jaunts always keep it interesting.
This is for the super professionals that dream big. Occasionally a bit dull, but often insightful, one thing is certain – Debbie Millman’s voice is gorgeous like silky nectar.
A podcast from graphic design agency Go Media – some decent information here for freelancers, but absolutely loads if you’re looking to grow into a design agency.