Let’s admit it: Apple Macbooks were the “it” computers that revolutionized desktop publishing, particularly overtaking their stronger PC counterparts in the area of typography and color accuracy. And while the 2 operating systems (OS X and Windows) are both strong competitors when it comes to performance and file compatibility (thanks in part to Adobe Creative Cloud), Macbooks still seem to find utmost favor in the eyes of many designers which can be owed to a number of factors, including: unit design (let’s face it — Macbooks do look sleek and sexy); reliability; and brilliant Mac-exclusive apps like Sketch.
Having said all that, it’s not really much of a wonder why Macs are among the most coveted machines in the world of design. But is it really the one for you, specifically? Does its function and performance fit your needs like a glove? To answer these crucial questions, here are some tips that may come in handy:
#1 Consider the type of design work you do.
Are you more focused on illustration? Interface design? 3D? Does your work require you to stay put in the office? Or is your designation as an artist more mobile in nature? Whether or not you buy a Mac, or go with a specific type of Mac, depends highly on these factors.
#2 Design work will always be RAM and storage h_o_g_g_e_r_s.
Through decades, the nature of design has always been attached with the need for huge RAM and storage space. If you’re considering getting a Mac, this should be a major consideration as Apple computers are somewhat unexpandable in terms of memory — unless you’re getting either a 27” Mac or a Mac Pro. The trick here is to customize your item so that it tailor fits your current or foreseeable needs (i.e. order extra RAM and storage with your Mac).
#3 Display will always be a huge factor.
If the work you do will be for modern, high-res displays, your machine of choice should sport a screen that will keep up. Retina display has become rapidly and increasingly popular among mobile devices these days, and while desktops have yet to catch up with this breakthrough, it’s bound to happen — not immediately, but eventually. When buying a machine for long-term designing work, it will be good to take future display improvements into consideration.
#4 The power of desktop? Or the portability of notebooks?
Designers who have a highly mobile nature of work will love the lightness and portability of Mac notebooks, as opposed to their “more powerful” counterpart — the 27” iMac — which can be quite bulky to drag through a cross-country trip. Thankfully, Apple’s 13-inch Macbook Pro has enough technical prowess to be just a hair away in terms of performance.
#5 Into print? Go for real estate.
Designing large prints like magazines are best done on a large canvas — at least close to full size as the humble display on notebooks can be tricky to work with. With Macs, you can get as much as 27-inch screen real estate with 5120 x 2880 resolution. And if you’re turned off by the shiny iMac displays many designers have complained about in the past, this is a time to not be worried about that as the current models have taken a great leap from older versions.
The essentials have been pretty much wrapped up in the above selections, so here’s a roundup of the best Macs for every type of design work:
Print design: 27” iMac 5k
Web design: Macbook Pro with Retina Display; Second choice: Macbook Air
Interface design: 27” iMac 5k
3-dimensional design: Mac Pro
Budget-friendly Mac for design: Mac mini (plus a third party screen)