Designer Tools of the Trade

With this being my last semester at UT, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grip on knowing what I need for design classes and being a design major.  So I thought I would share this great knowledge with you lovely readers and give you one interior design student’s list of “Tools of the Trade.”

This may not look like much, but it is definitely the most used.  Especially the Easy Mac, that’s key!
A quick breakdown:
1.  Macbook Pro:  Okay I’ll admit, I don’t yet have this lovely specimen.  It’s going to be my gift to myself when I graduate.  Macs are definitely the winner as to what kind of laptop you should get if you’re going into design.  I bought an HP when I first got to college because only 3 short years ago many design programs had to be run in Boot Camp on Macs.  Nowadays there are enough Mac betas out there that you should be able to run almost all design programs on a Mac without Boot Camp or Parallels.
2.  Wireless Mouse:  Please please PLEASE don’t try to do heavy-duty design with your track pad.  If nothing else it’s not comfortable but also consider that many design programs like AutoCAD and Revit have special commands linked to the center scrolling button on your mouse and it is incredibly annoying to try to execute them with a track pad.
3.  Adobe Creative Suite:  This lovely little set of software will save your designs time and time again.  Sure, I use a variety of other programs like AutoCAD, Revit Architecture, Rhino 3D modeling, etc.  But this guy makes everything I create in those programs look 1000x better.
4.  External Storage:  The amount of work you create and have to move back and forth between computers is astounding!  Get a flash drive for quick document transfers and an external hard drive to back up your designs so they don’t get accidentally deleted or slow down your processing speeds as much.
5.  Moleskine Sketchbooks:  My all-time favorite things to take notes, make sketches, or just generally keep ideas in.  There is something to be said for great design in small packages, and these little beauties are so gorgeous in their simplicity that you can’t help but feel good drawing in them…even if your sketches leave something to be desired 😉
6.  Micron Pens:  Similar to the Moleskines, Micron pens just look and feel great to write with.  You can definitely find some cheaper options that will serve your purpose, but for something I use every day without fail, I’m willing to spend a little extra for beautiful design and function.  (Also, I linked the colored ones, but I mostly use plain ol’ black.)
7.  Good Quality Camera:  There is nothing more frustrating than making some beautiful model or plaster cast and not being able to get a decent picture of it!  Enter my newest love, the Canon T3i.  Any of Canon’s Rebel line are favorites among me and my classmates, although any DSLR is a great investment as it will make your portfolio look a cut above the rest.  I didn’t get my Canon until this last year, so you can definitely survive with a point-and-shoot camera, but if you are really serious about design I’d go ahead and invest in a DSLR.
8.  Sustenance :  Coffee and microwavable stuff are the main food groups of any design student.  Late nights in studio cannot be avoided, best to just accept it and be prepared.  This Keurig single-cup brewer is on my wish list.  If you have a design student in your life rest assured, this is the best present you could get them EVER.
This list is really just my quick hits of what I need/love for design.  We use a huge variety of materials, software, and machinery, but that long list can be saved for another day.  For now you can feel prepared knowing you have the basic survival kit to any design major.
-Rachel


Design & Decor
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About Rachel Meyer

Free spirited and eclectic, my design style is always evolving. I recently graduated from The University of Texas's Interior Design program and am figuring things out as I go. I have a passion for personality and love a deep discussion of life, the universe, and everything. Philip K. Dick novels and YouTube comedians are my trivia specialties, so if you're ever in need of a teammate at Flying Saucer, I'm your girl.

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