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Is a MacBook Pro a good computer for graphic design?

I'm a 17 year old student looking to buy a new computer to pursue fashion and graphic design, I currently use adobe photoshop and illustrator and I would want something that would hopefully last till the end of college.

#graphic-design #logo-design

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Justin,

I think MacOS is a great platform for graphics design, but I'm not sure if it's the best time to buy if you're looking for a laptop to last you through college.

The reason why I say that is that Apple is rumored to come up with a ARM based CPU to put in their Macbook Pro laptops, and they are rumored to come out in the next few months. These CPUs are their first generation laptops for their machines and are going to be improved in the future.

It's always hard to guess at which computers will last years, but if you're looking for a computer that'll last you 4-5 years... I'm not sure if it will. The reason why I say that is that I'm not sure what field you'll go into and if you get into some really intensive graphics design, you may need a desktop/server class machine by the time you're in your junior or senior year.

One good thing about buying a Mac though is that they keep their resale value, so if you need it, upgrading in a few years might not be a bad idea.

I wish you the best, Justin!
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Veen’s Answer

Hi Justin,

Great question. A lot of employers of creatives assume IOS is the standard OS for creatives, but many creatives that I've spoken to are well-versed in both. If you've never gotten familiar with apples, if your future college or work has them available, try to do a couple of projects with them to get familiar.

When I went to college I bought a 17" MacBook that was 3 years old, just before the unibody designs came out but had already been announced, so a lot of legacy MacBooks were for sale on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, etc. The laptop lasted me about 6 years, but I changed up to an older 17" unibody style and put a solid-state drive in it (many drops out of backpacks later). If I could have my pick of the litter, I would choose a Mac, however don't believe the hype of pre-college students. Macs have great capability, but unless you're willing to buy into the apple system (iTunes, iCloud, time machine, apple care, etc.) it can turn into a paywall nightmare unless you're comfortable voiding warranties (you shouldn't test it).

As someone who grew up a PC user, the durability, price point, and functions of a PC laptop are usually more than you need to complete a 4-year degree in Graphic Design, unless you start messing around with Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Generated Animation, Artificial Intelligence teaching to create your work, or creating massively complex digital work. Several of my friends in college had Acers and Asus, and I never heard of them being at a disadvantage in performance, etc. I personally have felt the performance differences between Macs and PCs, but as an Illustrator and Graphic Designer the difference is quite small unless you feel your mental flow or workflow is impacted by differences in shortcuts, milliseconds of lag, or longer rendering time.

Photoshop and Illustrator (as well as the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite) are available to use on both Mac and PC. The shortcuts are different, but operate the same and have similar interfaces. I currently still have my old unibody Mac, but only use it when I need hella processing power. Most of the time I work on my Surface Pro 4 tablet (old but still super effective for my workflows). Keep in mind, if you're going into art & design that resolution is part and parcel of good craft because low-resolution prints or uploads are a bummer, so maybe consider trying to look for a computer that is capable of connecting to an external monitor or display without lag. Many 1st generation ultrabooks and Macbook Airs I believe did away with CD/ DVD drives as well as nixed a lot of ports, opting for Bluetooth or other wireless connections with any peripherals.

Veen recommends the following next steps:

Make appointments with an Apple store near you as well as a PC or Microsoft store and see if they can get photoshop and illustrator on a machine for you to test out for a couple of hours if they're open during COVID-19. Think about a good project to work on that is typical of your work but may test the functional perameters of the machines & OS, like many layers, many paths & groups, etc.
Talk to friends or family to see if you can test machines they have and see if you like any of their setups.
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Miranda’s Answer

Short answer: Yes Macbook Pro is a great computer for graphic design! And any good computer should last an absolute minimum of 4 years so I think you'd be good as far as that goes.

I personally went to college with a solid PC that was highly rated for graphic design, and it got me through just fine if you're looking for a potentially cheaper option. However, be aware that in my experience, MOST design jobs will have you working on a Mac and going back and forth between a PC at home and a Mac at work or internships can be a bit of a pain, even just for simple things like keyboard commands in Adobe programs being slightly different from one to the other (for some horrible reason the control/command and option/alt keys are switched from PC to Mac and this becomes very annoying when you're using a lot of keyboard commands by muscle memory and keep hitting the wrong buttons -_-) . This alone led me to get a Macbook pro for myself once I got out of college, and I haven't regretted it at all! Great computers and very heavily used in the design world.
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Eric’s Answer

Yes a macbook is a great option because of it's versatility, as you can work and present anywhere. You will want to have at least one large monitor for your normal work place though as a laptop screen just doesn't have enough real estate for alot of design work.. Also depending on the type of work you will be doing you may want to invest in adding RAM to your laptop or becoming versed in setting up a scratch disk with an external drive.
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