Getting started on my own
June 18, 2008 7:12 PM Subscribe
How do I best set up space to work as a solo graphic designer (furniture, computer equipment, etc.)?
posted by Bunglegirl to computers & internet (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I am in a position where I might be able to work as a freelance graphic designer (or my own, single person company) instead of looking for a full time position at a studio. If I go this route I definitely want to upgrade my work environment (new table & chair, mouse, computer & monitor). I am mainly a print designer, mostly working in InDesign & Illustrator with the occasional retouching in Photoshop. I don't often need to work on photos with 100+ layers and am not interested much in motion work. Think Corporate Identity work, logos, books etc.
My experience includes 6 years at a tiny design studio with everything (including Herman Miller chairs) already set up. We used G4 towers, regular mouses and Apple displays. I've been freelancing on and off for a few years, making do with the equipment I have. I'll be renting a new apartment with, hopefully, an extra room to use as a work space.
I am currently on a Mac G4 tower, but am in the market for a new machine (and all the $oftware) this summer. I loved my 12" iBook and would like to have a laptop again. I was planning on getting a new MacBook or MacBook Pro, a good, large monitor and mouse. My tower is okay but I don't think it could run CS3. I feel that a laptop would be enough to run the programs and files I would need. I prefer not to buy a tower and laptop for financial reasons, although the portability is mostly for personal use. It may be handy to take my computer to a client every once in a while.
My current mouse is a small old Fellowes mouse that was free. Although my hands are really small, even for a woman, it's uncomfortable to use and my wrist and outside hand have been getting more sore/numb/clicking.
Do I really need a wireless mouse? What about tablets? They look cool but I think it would definitely take some getting used to. I might benefit from a mouse that keeps my hand in a more natural position (thumb up) might help my current wrist problems. I've never really liked those mouses with the huge ball. I recently used a new Mac mouse for the first time but it seems I've become accustomed to my trackwheel and extra buttons (without hitting a key to use them).
I have a new extended Mac (wired) keyboard so I'm not worried about that.
My current monitor is way too small for all my pallets and is slowing me down. I think it's around 17" so I imagine I need at least a 22" monitor. I usually leave color correction up to printers so I wouldn't think color would be terribly important, but I probably couldn't get the cheapest model out there. I've looked around at reviews of LaCie monitors, but I'm not sure if it's worth it or if it's better than Mac displays. I always felt that Mac displays were overpriced, but I'm not sure.
I plan on getting some sort of external hard drive. Everyone has bad luck with every brand so I'll probably just go with Western Digital or something. I was thinking 500Mb, if I need more space I could buy another 500Mb drive.
I definitely need at the very least a black and white laser printer. A color printer would be nice, but I'd like one that doesn't make me replace color cartridges to print black. One of those printer/scanner/faxes would be nice, but I remember spending so much time dealing with printer issues at my studio that anything cheap seems too good to be true. I have a fax machine I could use separately already, if I need it. I do scan things sometimes, but not often. I probably wouldn't scan anything for print myself, I can't afford something of that high quality.
Table: I'm currently using an old desk and chair which don't fit together well. The chair is too high for the desk and the table too shallow for my monitor. I have an old library table that I'd like to fix up, but it has the legs cut down. I was planning on replacing the legs so it was about waist height when I stand. I loved the tables in high school art class and would like something similar that's sturdy and has lots of space so I can work around all sides of it, spread projects out and use it for other projects (painting, sewing, bookbinding or whatever) too. I was planning on putting wheels on the table with 2-4 locking wheels. I usually see tables have only 2 locking wheels but I want to make sure it stays put when I need it to.
Chair: I like being "high up" and am excited about working in a stool with foot rest. But I also have a bad back and posture problems. I need a good stool. If I could afford a stool Aero chair I would. The used chairs I've seen are still $300+ and I'm going to be putting down a lot of cash at once.
What else? I suppose I need some file cabinets. I have book shelves. Am I missing anything?
I'm currently small but as I take on more projects my paper system of recording hours, invoices etc. is starting to seem silly. I will probably use some sort of program to do this and have looked at a few. I'm putting this in computers/internet instead of work because it's so computer heavy. Any insight would be appreciated.