Macintosh and graphic designing go side by side since the machine was first invented. This companionship has come along so strongly that Mac is often called â€œthe designer computerâ€, which seems quite justified when we look at it from a designerâ€™s perspective. In almost every advertising agency, business owners prefer their designers to use Mac computers.
The chief benefit of this system is that it improves content quality and enables the graphic designers to decrease expenses, increase productivity and save money that is mostly lost in production problems, vendor integration issues and equipment and network troubleshooting.
Macs are Good for Designers because…
- Greater customer expectations require more advanced graphics tools
- Almost all production vendors prefer Macintosh files because it results in higher quality output
- Macs dominate the graphics industry because it is the best graphics platform
- Macs offers the best performance in high-end graphics applications
- Macs provide improved productivity and lesser down-time
- Mac-users enjoy more productive working hours
When graphic designers usually switch from Windows to Mac systems, the first question that pops in their mind is â€œwhich Mac should I buy?â€ or â€œWhich Mac will suit my design needs the best?â€ You might have also seen people asking such questions on the web at different forums. Selecting a Macintosh or any computer machine is super easy for an average user, who needs it for general Internet browsing and other simpler works. For such a person, the choice is not based on the machine or its particular specs but on the money he has to spend.
However, in this post, we are not talking about the particular needs of a graphic designer with regards to a Mac. There are peculiar types of graphic designers, depending on their skills and the business they are in. Some graphic designers are much into printing, designing or illustration as compared to other fields and Mac manufacturers have a particular machine for each one of these fields. So I base my suggestions on the type of work you do as a graphic designer and which Mac machine will suit your needs the most.
iMac is a magnificent machine by Macintosh computers. This is a stunning, heavy-duty machine that has been built according to the needs of the most demanding users. Appleâ€™s iMac is a middle-of-the-road desktop is a hardcore designerâ€™s machine that works right according to the industry standards. Although, the choice of machine does not end here and there is a variation in the size and specs of the machine within iMac family.
Which iMac to get depends on how much money you have allocated for the buying. It is highly suggest that you add a little to your budget and go for the 24â€ screen iMac. Having a larger screen in the first place is important because you might not have the option of upgrading to a larger monitor later; it is better so get the largest. iMac (preferably 24â€) has some other great features too that include best optical drive, video card, hard drive and a large RAM. From an all-in-one Mac point-of-view, iMac gives you the most future-proofing.
The iMac is perfect for Web Developers and Graphic Designers, reason being, its larger screen for color palette-involving applications like Photoshop, Fireworks, Flash and Dreamweaver. The machine is equally good for Print Designers too especially the ones who are a little less demanding than typical MacPro users.
Similarly, iMac is an easy choice of Sound Designers too, as it offers much future expandability with USB and Firewire ports to add extra drives when needed. If you are into video creating business and your needs are limited to iDVDs and iMovies, then again, this computer is a good choice.
The iMac makes for a great Mac in a design studio or in the home office, particularly owing to its huge 24â€ built-in monitor, and a powerful processor. Because I donâ€™t make a full-time living at home with my iMac can handle almost everything, no matter what you demand of it and all this is offered for a lot less money than the MacPro.
MacPro is another great technical and mechanical feat by Apple. Highest processing speed, fastest hard drives, quickest I/O and most flexible when it comes to modification and upgrading as compared to any Macintosh machine, are some of its most common attributes.
The later mentioned feature of MacPro is the most interesting. The machine has the technical elasticity to greater expandability at minimal cost. This expandability can range from adding extra hard drives, upgrading the video card, setting up a RAID, adding multiple monitors, and much more.
MacPro is the perfect machine for you if either you are a high-end print designer, a professional photographer, work with video, or are a total geek at computers. It is also a great computer for high-end productive Print Designers who work on 350MB or heavier Photoshop files 100+ page InDesign or Quark documents or have a thousand fonts to deal with. The coolest MacPro features of video cards, massive RAM and I/O make it one-of-a-kind specie among all the Macs.
MacBook, as the name says, is an awesome laptop by Macintosh. It is basically an entry-level laptop machine from Apple, which however, is no less than perfect.Â It is a beautifully designed machine that is being used by people all over the world from all walks of life. Especially among the youngsters, carrying a MacBook is a sign of class and awesomeness.
MacBook is no doubt the coolest laptop for an average user, however, for a professional graphic designer; MacBook should not be the first choice. It can hardly be used for print designing and graphics and the main reason for that is its not having a dedicated video card, limited hard drive and the size of the screen is just not appropriate. Also, its processorâ€™s speed is too slow for high-end designing jobs.
On the other hand, MacBook is heavenly for Writers and Web Developers who require the machine only for writing or coding purposes. As mentioned earlier, due to its VGA and smaller screen size, it will not be a good choice for developing Flash websites and web designing. You can extend its specs, like all other Mac computers, and most common add-ons are an additional mouse and an external monitor.
Doing graphic designing work on a laptop is not a suitable choice. Laptops have smaller screens, slower hard drives less RAM and much smaller screens. However, there are still some people who have the eye and the mind that can work on a laptop, provide, it works well for their designs. MacBook Pro is an amazing small machine that helps you get connected with your tasks on the go.
MacBook Pro Usage
As mentioned earlier, using a laptop as your main work platform is probably not the optimal setup. Similar is the case with MacBook Pro. MacBook Pro is a really good computer and is a highly efficient portable device, but for graphic designing, you need a bit more than just beauty and portability.
MacBook Pro is not suitable for print designer, reason being the video card, processor speed and RAM limitations mentioned earlier. On the other hand, Web Developers, who do not need massive storage and processing power, can go about having MacBook Pro. Also, web designing software like Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks will run at more than acceptable speed on the MacBook Pro.Â For the size of the screen, I think 15â€ is good enough.
Although there is a 17â€ size of MacBook Pro available too, but it will become too big to be portable enough and the basic concept of a laptop to be handy and portable will diminish in such a large size. If you need extensions for this machine you can go for an external hard drive, the power cord, firewire cables and probably a Bluetooth Mouse.
Apart from all the draw backs this machine has, MacBook Pro is a cool machine with wonderful features. Photoshop runs great for creating the images needed for web use, Pages handles the writing tasks perfectly and virtually every other piece of software needed for quick design editing on the road.
MacMini and MacBook Air
Mac Mini and MAcBook Air are not at all for the graphic designers. There are two fancy machines, very thin and small in size and weight and are absolutely not suitable for any kind of designing.
Macintosh computers are the best machines for graphic designing related tasks nowadays. The choice of buying one kind of Mac out of so many choices depends on a lot of factors, especially your budget. When deciding which Mac you want to buy try to get more than you can afford even if youâ€™ll have to push the bounds of your budget a bit, because sooner or later youâ€™ll need to have greater specs and being already prepared for that will help you much.