So, you want to be a designer? That’s great! Maybe you are currently in school, or perhaps you are looking for a change in your career. Regardless of where you are in your life, there are a number of resources that may be of help in providing an opportunity to let your creativity run wild. From design programs to DSLR cameras, here are five “must-haves” that we feel all designers in training should invest in.

A Design Program 

This is an absolute must for any designer or designer in training. While it can be expensive, students have the opportunity to purchase the programs at a discounted rate. If you are able to purchase the pack, you’ll have access to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Bridge, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, and Flash.

If you can’t afford the programs now but want something to help get your feet wet, take a look at Canva. The program provides a number of free templates where you can design social media posts, infographics, book covers and much more. While the design capabilities are not as advanced as the programs in Adobe, you will still have the opportunity to create designs to add to your portfolio.

A Collection of Influential and Inspiring Blogs

At one point or another, designers may feel “stuck” in the way that a writer hits a writer’s block. Fortunately, there are a number of blogs that you can keep up with to provide you with a wealth of information, and hopefully some inspiration. Check out Web Designer Depot and CreativeBloq for starters. You can also listen to podcasts catered to creative thinkers to get your juices flowing or browse Behance to see what others are doing.

A Mac Computer

We are proud Mac users in the office. If you are a PC user at heart, then that is OK, we’re not ones to judge. While Macs have a long history of excellent graphic design capabilities and support for creative professionals, they are certainly not required. We’re pretty sure that Microsoft offers a few good options – however, if asked, we will still try to convince you that Macs are the way to go.  

Bonus: Investing in a tablet such as the Surface Pro 4 or iPad Pro will lend you additional opportunities to take your designing on the move. 

A DSLR Camera

Whether you are a photographer or not, a decent camera is essential for any graphic designer. But not to worry – the camera isn’t for taking shots you can use for your own work. Of course, you can do that, but a DSLR camera (point and shoot will also do the trick) is great for documenting your ideas and curating a collection of textures and backgrounds that you come across daily. A Canon EOS Rebel may be a good place to start.

A Sketchbook

As designers, we may be a bit biased, but we love reverting to a nice sketchbook to jot down our ideas and concepts. What more do you need?