Why Do Graphic Designers Choose Computers Over Tablets?

When it comes to graphic design, most professionals prefer to use a computer over a tablet. While both pieces of equipment have their advantages, there are several influential reasons why a computer is deemed the optimal choice for graphic design work.

Graphic designers use computers over tablets because they have more processing power. Their software and components allow them to support graphically demanding tasks and programs with ease where a tablet would struggle or fail. Granted, the type of computer you have can play a significant role here as well.

In this article, we will discuss why it is important for any individual who is serious about graphic design to have a computer. As you read, you will also learn how different types of computers, such as laptops versus desktops, can affect your graphic design capabilities. We’ll conclude by briefly detailing how tablets can still be useful graphic design tools worth having.

Why You Need a Computer for Graphic Design

Your equipment can have a substantial impact on your life as a graphic designer, especially if this is a professional path you are pursuing. Having the right tools and programs can make all the difference in determining what projects you can create as well as overall speed and efficiency.

While tablets might be a tempting choice for the budget-friendly prices and convenience, most graphic designers will recommend you invest in a computer for graphic design work instead.

Computers are essential for graphic designing because this type of work is extremely demanding of technological resources and, therefore, require a lot of processing power to support multitasking and quick rendering.

The most important factor to consider when trying to determine whether you need a computer or not is the type of software you will be using. If you are planning on using common programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, or InDesign, then you will need a computer with specs similar to those listed below.

  • Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHs or faster processor
  • 8 to 16 GB RAM
  • GPU with DirectX 12 support
  • Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1809 or later
  • 4 GB of available hard-disk space

Not only is it relatively unheard of for tablets to feature one or more of these specs, but few are capable of installing the aforementioned programs. Instead, you’ll have to rely on downloading apps that will severely limit your graphic designing capabilities.  

Desktop Vs. Laptop for Graphic Design

We recognize that not everyone will think of the same thing when reading the word “computer;” some will picture the desktop tower with monitors while others will picture a laptop. Luckily, both are superior to a tablet when it comes to graphic design, but which is best overall?

The answer to that question is largely depending on you regarding your budget, workstyle, preferred programs, and more.

Arguably the most important factor to consider is the type of work you will be doing. If you are planning on doing any sort of extensive graphic art or video/animation work, or you tend to work for long periods at a time, then you will want a computer.

The predominant reason for this is that desktop towers have more housing space and fan power to keep them cool. Because these are arguably the most resource demanding tasks in all of graphic design, overheating your equipment is a very real risk. Unfortunately, laptop housing is so small that the fan and associated components have to work extremely hard to not only prevent overheating but to also keep up with your graphic design program. However some of the newer Apple MacBook laptops are delivering the power of a desktop computer in the size of a laptop.

Desktop computers are also great for anyone who prioritizes screen size since you can pair them with ultra-wide or even double monitors. While laptops can be connected to external monitors, they’re typically limited to their comparatively small screens.

Where the laptop does shine is convenience, since this is an easily portable piece of equipment that allows you to do graphic design work nearly anywhere. Additionally, they tend to be a bit more budget-friendly than a desktop but on a grand scale, we’d say that desktop are more cost-effective.

Advantages of Using a Tablet for Graphic Design

Tablets are rarely the go-to tool of a graphic designer, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never see a professional in this career wielding a stylus. In fact, many graphic designers praise tablets and their numerous advantages.

Tablets are an exceptional tool for graphic designers who tend to lean more towards graphic art and, therefore, value the freedom that tablets provide when it comes to free-hand drawing. They are also a great budget-friendly, introductory tool for individuals interested in graphic design but can’t afford a sufficient laptop or desktop.

It’s important to note that there are actually different types of tablets you can purchase for graphic design work, and deciding which is best will depend on your tasks and preferences.

Touchscreen Tablet

The standard touchscreen tablet that most people are familiar with are those sold by Apple and Samsung. These are essentially mini laptops that are typically used for basic tasks, such as internet browsing, sending emails, and entertainment.

When it comes to graphic design, these tablets are great for downloading graphic design applications and getting familiar with how common tools and features work. They also give you a portable tool you can use on-the-go, much like a laptop.

Graphics/Drawing Tablet

Arguably the more common type of tablet you’ll see in a graphic design room is a graphics/drawing tablet. These provide complete creative freedom and ease by allowing the user to draw directly on the tablet using a stylus.

Typically, these tablets need to be connected to a computer or laptop, but some feature screens and can operate independently.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right equipment for your graphic design work is an involved process that requires you to consider what will match your workload, graphic design work, and programs best. Generally, desktop computers are the optimal choice for nearly any graphic design work but having multiple tools can be convenient and useful, however the newer Apple laptops are a good choice too due to their increased power and convenience.

Laptops and touchscreen tablets are excellent portable alternatives while graphic designers who are more artistically inclined might benefit from a graphics/drawing tablet.