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Graphic Design Materials for Aspiring Student Artists

Graphic design is a field that requires a combination of creativity, technical skills, and knowledge of design principles. Aspiring student artists who are interested in pursuing a career in graphic design need to have access to the right materials to develop their skills and create impressive designs. In this article, we will explore the essential graphic design materials that every aspiring student artist should have in their toolkit. From software and hardware to physical tools and resources, we will cover everything you need to know to get started on your graphic design journey.

1. Software

One of the most important graphic design materials for aspiring student artists is software. Graphic design software allows artists to create, edit, and manipulate visual elements to produce stunning designs. There are several software options available, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Here are some of the most popular graphic design software programs:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of software programs that includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more. These programs are widely used in the graphic design industry and offer a wide range of tools and features for creating professional designs.
  • Sketch: Sketch is a popular vector graphics editor for macOS. It is known for its intuitive interface and powerful design tools, making it a favorite among many graphic designers.
  • CorelDRAW: CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor that is widely used for creating illustrations, logos, and other graphic design projects. It offers a range of tools and features for both beginners and advanced users.
  • GIMP: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source raster graphics editor. It is a great option for students who are just starting out in graphic design and want to learn the basics without investing in expensive software.

When choosing graphic design software, it is important to consider your specific needs and budget. Some software programs offer free trials or student discounts, which can be beneficial for aspiring student artists.

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2. Hardware

In addition to software, aspiring student artists also need the right hardware to support their graphic design work. Here are some essential hardware components for graphic design:

  • Computer: A reliable computer is essential for graphic design work. Look for a computer with a fast processor, plenty of RAM, and a high-resolution display. Mac and Windows computers are both popular choices among graphic designers.
  • Monitor: A high-quality monitor is important for accurately viewing and editing your designs. Look for a monitor with good color accuracy and a high resolution.
  • Graphics Tablet: A graphics tablet, also known as a drawing tablet, allows you to draw directly on the screen using a stylus. This can be especially useful for creating digital illustrations and hand-drawn designs.
  • Printer: While not essential, having a printer can be useful for printing out your designs and creating physical portfolios.

Investing in high-quality hardware can greatly enhance your graphic design workflow and help you create professional-looking designs.

3. Physical Tools

While digital tools are essential for graphic design, physical tools also play an important role in the creative process. Here are some physical tools that aspiring student artists should consider:

  • Pencils and Sketchbooks: Pencils and sketchbooks are essential for sketching out ideas and rough drafts before moving on to digital design. They allow you to quickly explore different concepts and experiment with different layouts.
  • Markers and Pens: Markers and pens can be used for adding color and detail to your sketches. They can also be used for hand-lettering and creating unique typography.
  • Rulers and T-Squares: Rulers and T-squares are useful for creating precise lines and measurements in your designs. They can help you achieve clean and professional-looking layouts.
  • Cutting Tools: Cutting tools such as scissors and X-Acto knives are useful for cutting out physical elements and creating collages. They can add a tactile and hands-on element to your designs.
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Having a combination of digital and physical tools allows you to explore different techniques and approaches in your graphic design work.

4. Online Resources

In addition to software, hardware, and physical tools, aspiring student artists can also benefit from accessing online resources. The internet is a treasure trove of information and inspiration for graphic designers. Here are some online resources that can help you improve your skills and stay up-to-date with the latest design trends:

  • Tutorials and Courses: There are countless tutorials and online courses available that can teach you new techniques and help you improve your design skills. Websites like Udemy, Skillshare, and Lynda offer a wide range of graphic design courses taught by industry professionals.
  • Design Blogs and Websites: Following design blogs and websites can provide you with inspiration and keep you informed about the latest design trends. Some popular design blogs include Creative Bloq, Smashing Magazine, and Designmodo.
  • Online Communities: Joining online communities and forums can connect you with other aspiring student artists and experienced designers. These communities provide a platform for sharing ideas, getting feedback on your work, and learning from others.
  • Stock Image Libraries: Stock image libraries like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock offer a vast collection of high-quality images that you can use in your designs. These images can save you time and add visual interest to your projects.

By taking advantage of online resources, you can continue to learn and grow as a graphic designer.

5. Inspiration and Research

Lastly, aspiring student artists should always seek inspiration and conduct research to stay informed about current design trends and techniques. Here are some tips for finding inspiration and conducting effective research:

  • Follow Designers and Artists: Follow your favorite designers and artists on social media platforms like Instagram and Behance. Seeing their work in your feed can provide you with daily inspiration and help you stay connected to the design community.
  • Visit Galleries and Exhibitions: Visiting galleries and exhibitions can expose you to a wide range of artistic styles and techniques. It can also help you understand how design principles are applied in different contexts.
  • Read Design Books and Magazines: Reading design books and magazines can provide you with in-depth knowledge about design theory, history, and best practices. Some popular design books include “The Elements of Typographic Style” by Robert Bringhurst and “Thinking with Type” by Ellen Lupton.
  • Attend Design Conferences and Workshops: Design conferences and workshops offer opportunities to learn from industry experts, network with other designers, and gain valuable insights into the design industry.
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By actively seeking inspiration and conducting research, you can develop a strong design aesthetic and stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving field of graphic design.


Aspiring student artists who are interested in graphic design need to have access to the right materials to develop their skills and create impressive designs. From software and hardware to physical tools and online resources, there are several essential graphic design materials that every aspiring student artist should have in their toolkit. By investing in the right materials and continuously seeking inspiration and knowledge, you can set yourself up for success in the field of graphic design.

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