Stefani Wilkens
Stefani Wilkens | Graphic Designer


Tools of the Trade


A designer is only as good as his (or her) tools. That’s a blatant lie. However, having the proper equipment can certainly help make the design process easier and more enjoyable. Today I’m going to offer you my completely biased opinion on the best tools available for designers.

Let’s get the ball rolling with the foundation of any designer’s toolkit – the sketchbook. While most people (including the college version of myself) go for Moleskine journals, I’ve found an alternative that I like even better. It’s the Amazon Basics Classic Notebook. You might disagree, but I prefer the feel of the paper and at only $8, it’s a steal. Plus it comes in the same ruled, plain, and squared varieties. 

Now that we have the paper, it’s all about the pens and pencils. There are four varieties I find myself returning to again and again. The Bic Round Stick in Medium is what I most like to take notes with, as it’s the smoothest ballpoint I’ve ever found. Dr. Grip is my go-to for everyday multipurpose use, mainly because I started using them in third grade and just never stopped. Meanwhile, Pigma Micron pens are my preferred for finalizing illustrations and getting clean lines in detailed work (I own every weight.) As for pencils, I’m partial to the mechanical variety but haven’t found any I’m over the moon about. Maybe you can help me out with this one?

The most expensive piece of equipment that I have to recommend won’t be needed by all designers, but I’ve found it invaluable. It’s my Epson Photo Series R2000 printer. I purchased this for my senior year design work and immediately fell in love. It has excellent color matching capabilities and the large format printing options are essential if you’re working on posters or packaging projects that don’t fit a standard letter sheet of paper.

Lastly, I would have failed 3D art if it weren’t for my Alvin triangles. These babies ensure you’re always making the right cut and never cutting yourself thanks to their rubberized grippy base and metal edge. If you’re doing any production work, these are seriously a must have.

So, I’m sure I could go into more detail and provide you with even more recommendations, but instead, I want to hear from YOU! What are your go-to design tools? Leave a comment with your recommendations, thoughts, and other emotions ;)

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