One of the great perks of being a graphic designer is the ability to work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a laptop that is powerful enough.
We have listed four options for you that we believe are the best on the market for graphic design, and will give you that freedom that you seek!
- If you are invested in the Apple platform, the new Apple MacBook Pro is the best choice for you. It has the newest and best hardware for their platform, and is perfect for your graphic design needs.
- If you want the best drawing experience on a portable system, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a great choice. Microsoft has created a great system for all the artists with their surface pen and display system.
- If you are looking for the most stylish, nicest design on a laptop, check out the ASUS ZenBook 13. It won the iF Design Award for 2019, and it really is a great looking computer.
- If you are a graphic designer who is on a bit of a budget, you should take a look at the Lenovo Flex 14. It features a nice AMD Ryzen processor, and enough power to handle things like Photoshop without breaking a sweat.
Who Should Get This?
If you are working as a graphic designer, and need a new, more powerful computer, these are great choices for you. They will allow you to work in an office or abroad, and keep up with your workflow without missing a beat.
These are also good options for hobby artists, as they are well specced for running programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Audodesk Sketchbook. So if you enjoy drawing or making digital art in your spare time, these laptops will keep you happy and drawing all the time.
Best Laptops for Graphic Design: What to Consider in 2020
One of the main components you want to prioritize is the CPU. Graphic intensive applications need a nice strong CPU to run smoothly, so getting a laptop with the newest Intel or AMD offerings is a must.
Another thing these programs tend to use a lot is memory. Making sure you have at a bare minimum of 8GB, and preferably 16GB, the more you can get the better.
Do you already have a drawing tablet? If so, you may not need a laptop with a pen input. However, if you are looking to draw right on the screen, make sure the laptop you are buying has an active display and a pen included.
Best Laptops for Graphic Design in 2020: Our Picks
Buying a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro is an expensive proposition, but many consider it worth it due to the stability of the operating system and the powerful hardware inside. A ton of creatives choose the Apple brand and if you want to join them, this is a great option.
Featuring an 8-core i9 Intel processor, this laptop is extremely strong. Adding to the power is the dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 560x GPU, giving you the graphics power to match the insane processing speed. As far as MacBooks go, this is the one that wins our hearts.
- Processor: Intel i9 8-core
- RAM: 16GB DDR4
- GPU: Radeon Pro 560x 4GB
- Storage: 512GB SSD
The second generation of Microsoft’s Surface Book line is a nice jump in performance over the first generation. The 15” screen is also absolutely stunning, so pushing all those pixels to this high-resolution screen certainly warranted a hefty hardware upgrade.
In this model you get a nice Intel i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, giving it a good strong core for your graphic design needs. Add to that the Nvidia GTX graphics, and you have a powerful workstation laptop. It can also do some gaming as well, which is a nice added bonus.
- Processor: Intel i7-8650U
- RAM: 16GB LPDDR3
- GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB
- Storage: 512GB SSD
It’s imperative for graphic design to get a good CPU, so the inclusion of the Intel i7 processor here is perfect to run your graphic design software and tools. Combine that with 16GB of RAM and you are golden. A great option if you want to combine performance with beauty.
- Processor: Intel i7-8565U
- RAM: 16GB DDR4
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
- Storage: 512GB SSD
If you are looking for a laptop that feels great to draw on but you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, the Lenovo Flex 14 fits that description. It compromises in all the right places to hit the low price point, while keeping performance high.
Lenovo has opted for a new AMD Ryzen based system, with a Ryzen 5 CPU and Radeon Vega 8 graphics. The Vega graphics are much stronger than Intel’s onboard option, so switching to AMD here is a great choice. Choosing 12GB of RAM instead of 16GB helps keep the cost down, but still gives plenty of RAM to perform your work.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5-3500U
- RAM: 12GB DDR4
- GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8
- Storage: 256GB SSD
Useful Tips and Resources
One thing that is sure to happen if you pick a laptop with a pen display is smudging. The oils off of the skin of your hand are sure to get the screen dirty, so you want to make sure you keep it as clean as possible. Picking up a cleaning cloth is a great idea to keep from scratching your screen while keeping it as clean as possible.
Another way to avoid smudging is with an artist glove. This will keep you from smudging up the screen by putting a small layer of fabric between your hand and the display. They work great and are a fantastic buy for any artist.
As a designer, you should also use a customer feedback tool like Userback which helps you collect customers’ feedback more efficiently so you solve the issues faster.
Any of the laptops we have suggested above are fantastic choices for any graphic artist in need of a new computer. They have the power and performance to keep you from needing to upgrade for years to come.
Do you use a dedicated graphics tablet, or do you prefer a pen display (drawing on the laptop screen)? Let us know in the comments below!
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.