Gear and Equipment
A lot of my work is obviously done on a laptop. But I also use other tools to create visual content, and simply to work more efficiently. Here is an exhaustive list of everything I use.
The list is updated when I find the need to do so.
These are the items that follow me everywhere, whether I’m staying home, traveling, or just in a café. They all fit in my backpack, and if I miss one item, it’s going to be hard to get things done.
Notice the absence of my phone. I simply don’t use it for work.
- Macbook Pro 13-inch, 2017 edition
- LaCie Rugged Mini 1TB — The best hard drive on the market for creatives and freelancers. Super easy to carry, shock resistant, and tremendous transfer speed.
- Asus UX300 Mouse — I really dislike the feel of the Magic Mouse from Apple. And when I tried to replace it with a much handier generic wireless mouse, it would only work one time out of three. So I had to switch to a cable mouse.
- Macbook Pro USB-C Charger
- Izipizi Anti-Blue Light Glasses (#E Black model) — I used to get tired eyes and headaches all the time from staring at a screen most of the day. These glasses were a game changer for me. I never really know if it’s due to a placebo effect or if they actually work, but my headaches are gone.
- A5 Notepad (any brand) — I use it to write down ideas I have throughout the day, things I have to remember, or simply to draw and relax. At the end of the day, I transfer the most important things to my Notion.so account (I talk about Notion further down in the Software category)
- Bic Ballpoint Pen
- Patagonia Cap (black) — When I’m working in a café, I sometimes need to be in my full-focus zone. That’s when I put on my Patagonia Cap. Why Patagonia? Because I love the company and its story.
- Kingsons Business Travel Backpack — Waterproof, anti-theft, compact and organised, this backpack is my go-to commuter pack. I’ve had it for years and it never let me down.
- Kobo Glo E-reader (discontinued) — I bought my e-reader refurbished in an electronics store years ago, because at the time I just wanted to try it out, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I ended up sticking to it, and have read dozens of books on it ever since. I’m not sure what the current equivalent for this model is, because they all seem to be really expensive, while I got mine for $80.
When I’m at my desk, I use my essentials, plus a couple other items.
- Apple Magic keyboard
- Laptop stand (any brand) — I don’t have a stationary computer. Everything is done on my laptop. So when I’m home, I just elevate it on a stand, and work with a wireless keyboard and my great cable mouse.
- Glass of water — It’s important to hydrate a lot, and it’s easy to forget when you spend a lot of time on the computer.
- Ikea Markus Office Chair
- A4 Sketchbook (any brand)
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Headphones — I live in an apartment where the surroundings can get a bit too noisy to focus. When it happens, I just pull out my studio headphones and listen to white noise.
- Ikea Jansjö Usb Desk Light — I barely ever use a desk light, so I didn’t invest in a good one. I don’t recommend this light if you want to use it often. It flickers once in a while and only provides a low-quality yellowish light.
Most of the images featured in my article are made by me. I also like to draw in my spare time. In order to draw and digitise my creations, I use many more tools.
- Basic Pencil (any brand)
- A4 paper (any brand)
- A3 sketchbook (any brand)
- Posca Markers — A bit on the pricey side, but really fun to work with. Worth the money.
- Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens
- Canon Pixma TS5050 — One of the last relatively low-priced printers that uses separate ink cartridges. Nowadays, most printers use one cartridge for all 4 colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) and stop working once one colour runs out. This forces you to purchase a new (expensive) cartridge with all 4 colours in it, when you only need to refill one. It is a waste of both ink and money. The Pixma TS5050 will keep printing in black and white even if it is out of all the other colours, and that’s all I’m asking for. For this reason alone, I highly recommend this printer.
- Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch (discontinued) — This device is a drawing tablet which I use mostly for Photoshop, when I need to be more precise than I can be with the mouse. I’ve had it for ages and it never let me down, so I haven’t upgraded to a more recent model yet.
Here is my essential software I use on a daily basis.
- Adobe Creative Cloud — The reference for computer graphic creation. The tools I used the most are Photoshop and Illustrator. For other side projects, I also use InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition.
- Hemingway Editor — Great tool all around for proofreading. I also know about Grammarly, but in my opinion it pushes the editing too far, resulting in your writing style being almost gone from your own text. That’s why I prefer Hemingway. Plus, it’s free.
- Notion.so — Amazing note taking and productivity tool. It helps me organise everything website-related, and I also use it to organise and keep track of everything in my everyday life. I have tried a lot of productivity tools over the years, always to end up giving up on them. Not Notion.
- Mozilla Thunderbird — Simple and efficient mail client, I use it to get all my emails from my different accounts in one solution.
- Sublime Text — A text editor designed for coding, I use it daily for coding simple scripts when I need them, or to play around with some .csv files (I love coding random things in my spare time)
- TextEdit — I use TextEdit to take notes when I want to make sure they stay private, with nobody able to access them unless I decide to. Notion (mentioned above) is still lacking end-to-end encryption, meaning the people working for the company can see my content. I really hope they will work on that improvement.
- OpenOffice — I only use OpenOffice for their free equivalent of Microsoft Excel. I use offline spreadsheets with colour codes to keep track of the content statuses on my blog.
- WordPress — All my website runs on WordPress, the number one free and open-source content management system in the world.
- Calendar — I don’t want my work calendar to mix with my private calendar, and with Google automatically syncing everything across my different Gmail accounts, it’s a bit tricky. Therefore, I use Google Calendar for work on my laptop, and SPlanner (Samsung) for private on my phone. It makes great sense, because I barely use my phone for work anyway.