Back to School: What's in a Graphic Designer's Backpack?


It's that time of year again, everyone's going back to school. I graduated from college almost 2 years ago now but still remember the anticipation of a new semester like it was yesterday. For the sake of nostalgia, here's a look at a few things a graphic design student could never be without.


A Little Black Sketchbook and Micron Pens

graphic design sketch book

No matter what art school you enter, almost all of them start out with the basics, making you put your ideas on paper. An old typography professor got me into the habit of sketching with micron pens, and I haven't used a pencil since. Something about using different colored ink made those 50 thumbnail assignments a lot more interesting. Even now, when the majority of my work is done using Adobe programs and a Mac, sometimes I just want my sketchbook.


A Type Gauge

type gauge

The study of typography is a huge part of any graphic design curriculum. Knowing how to set type properly is one of the most important skills for a designer to have. A type gauge like this one helps you get all your points and picas sorted out. Working in print, a type gauge comes in especially handy when we need to recreate a printed piece that we don't have an original file for. Measuring with a type gauge ensures the work you recreate will be as accurate as possible.

A Portable USB Drive/A Dropbox Account

usb file backup

Once you make the move from micron pens to a monitor, file maintenance becomes a big part of your everyday design work. When shuffling from a computer lab to home to another computer lab, it's important to have all your files at the ready as well as backed up in case anything goes wrong. There's nothing worse than spending all night laying out a final project only to have InDesign crash 5 minutes before you're done. One of the most important skills for a designer to have is good file maintenance.


An Adobe Suite Loaded MacBook

macbook with adobe cs graphic design

Apple products and Adobe programs are necessities for any designer. Towards the end of a graphic design degree, you spend more time attached to a computer than anything else. Normal sleep and eating patterns take a backseat to late night Illustrator logo design sessions and you get carpal tunnel from the constant use of keyboard shortcuts. Your laptop becomes a tool you hate to love, but it's the most important one in your backpack.


I hope you enjoyed my look inside a graphic designer's backpack. What's in your backpack this year? 


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About The Author

Graphic Designer, Amateur Homebrewer, Iced Coffee Connoisseur, Avocado Addict