I love what I do but without the right tools, it would be difficult to get my work done. Every day that Iâ€™m in my office, I reach for these tried and true items to keep my projects running smoothly. Iâ€™m always on the hunt for products and services that have the right mix of looks, value and functionality and these are what Iâ€™ve personally found to work best.
I hope this list saves you time on your search for the perfect mix of gear:
1. Samsung Digital Camera:
I love this camera so much. After going through a total of six others over the last 15 years, this is hands-down the best one Iâ€™ve ever owned. While I loved my Sony, this is leaps and bounds above in picture quality, durability and looks. The best part is that itâ€™s WIFI compatible so when youâ€™re on the go, you can snap a photo, send it straight to your phone, edit and upload on the spot. The quality of this puts phone cameras to shame so for the last year, Iâ€™ve been exclusively using it to shoot photos for my Instagram stream, not to mention every single photo on my blog.
I could go on forever about this camera and its awesome features but the real proof is in how many people around me have the same exact model â€” Kat, Gala, Pam and even my mom swear by it!
2. Canon Scanner:
I used to have a big, clunky scanner until I was introduced to this model at one of my agency jobs. Besides being affordable, itâ€™s super slim and the quality is fantastic. Iâ€™ve been using this for the last 5 years and itâ€™s still going strong.
3. Samsung Color Laser Printer:
Years ago, I had an ink jet but once I started doing larger scale projects, the cartridges just got to be too expensive. I knew laser printers were the way to go but had always assumed that the color versions were out of my league. After some research, I came across this Samsung model and it can print hundreds of color copies on the same set of cartridges. Plus, itâ€™s so small that it fits right next to my desk. The days of those massive copy machines in offices are over â€” the quality of this is on-par with them! While the printer comes boxed with a starter set of color cartridges to get you going, Iâ€™d recommend bundling it with the separate full set of cartridges as well so you never run out mid-project.
4. Aesop Body Balm:
When youâ€™re designing for long stretches, itâ€™s nice to have quality basics nearby. I picked up this Aesop lotion on a whim and love its non-greasy texture and super citrusy scent. Iâ€™m a minimalist at heart and itâ€™s one of just a few things I constantly keep on my desk.
5. Pantone Coated and Uncoated Swatches:
I still send projects to print all the time and as you know, what you see on your monitor is not always accurate. Itâ€™s also nice to have these on hand so you can list the PMS swatch equivalents in a clientâ€™s brand guidelines. This is the set I have and it comes boxed with both the coated and uncoated books so youâ€™ve got the basics covered.
6. Western Digital External Drive:
When I needed an external hard drive a few years back, I started my search on Amazon and kept coming across rave reviews for Western Digital drives. Theyâ€™re solid, a great value and both Mac and PC compatible. I now have multiples and recommend them to all my friends and clients. I always keep two on hand to run backups â€” one is plugged into my computer at all times to run Time Machine and the other is a complete backup of my computer I do every few months and store in a separate, safe place.
As a sidenote, when I bought my first external hard drive, I threw it in my purse and was hard on it which led to the connecting cable going bad. Now, Iâ€™m much more careful and always carry it in a case. These cases are cheap, lightweight and fit the Western Digital drives perfectly.
7. Adobe Creative Cloud:
I renew my membership once a year and updates for the Adobe Suite download straight to my desktop. I use these products for a solid 10 hours a day and couldnâ€™t do my job without them. If youâ€™re curious about all the plan options, you can check them out here.
8. Apple 27â€ iMac:
My everyday workhorse, Iâ€™ve been on the same iMac for the last four years and itâ€™s still going strong.
When I finish a clientâ€™s suite of brand files, I send them a Dropbox download link to access them. Itâ€™s nice to have their assets stored in a place that they can grab as needed at any time. I have the Pro account and itâ€™s more than paid for itself â€” I literally use it every day.
10. Fellowes Paper Shredder:
Iâ€™m super careful when it comes to printing out comps of my clientsâ€™ works in progress, dealing with junk mail and any other documents I donâ€™t want end up in the wrong hands. This shredder takes care of business, handling up to six sheets at a time. Yes, there are cheaper shredders but they jam constantly and thereâ€™s nothing more annoying than that.
11. Kikki K Weekly Planner:
Iâ€™m super basic when it comes to tracking what needs to be done. There are a million apps and digital calendars out there but nothing has worked as well for me as good old fashioned pen and paper. I love these weekly planners because you can see exactly where you have gaps of time for meetings, projects and calls at a quick glance.
When Iâ€™m busy, I donâ€™t have time to sift through a million new albums. I love the endless amount of playlists on here, especially those by Tim Schlesser, who does the Ace Hotel mixes. I turn one on and it lasts all day, allowing me to star the best of the best songs to revisit later.
13. Apple MacBook Air:
I used to have the regular MacBook but after a series of 10 flights in less than a month, I was left with an aching back and knew that the Air was a necessity. I travel with this 13â€ model everywhere and even though itâ€™s super thin and lightweight, itâ€™s solid. More importantly, the battery life lasts and lasts.
14. Wacom Tablet:
This medium size gives you room to sketch and explore and you can also pick up an optional mouse to use on the surface when youâ€™re not drawing.
15. Poppin Ballpoint Pens:
I splurged when I moved into the new Branch studio last year and bought coordinating Poppin office supplies and not only are they fun but the quality is awesome. I reach for these ballpoint pens constantly.
Okay, now itâ€™s your turn! What products and services do you swear by to keep your creative business running smoothly?