11 Best Laptop For Graphic Design In 2020 (Review & Comparison)

Best laptop for graphic design

Graphic design is an intensive process that requires high-end hardware and software. Whether you are a newcomer or amateur professional, you need a laptop that suits your needs depending upon the type of work, softwares you use and your budget. 

You need to check various factors (discussed below) before buying a laptop for graphic design.

Laptop For Graphic Design Buying Guide 

#1. Processor

Better processors (with the latest generations) handle more complex tasks like vector illustrations, photo post processing or 3D modelling with ease.

For example, an i5 10th generation processor would be a better performer than an i5 8th generation. 

#2. Memory (RAM)

Desiging apps like photoshop or illustrator requires 8 gb ram while video editing software Adobe’s premiere pro needs 16 gb minimum ram for jitter free work.

Another thing is, more memory handles more parallel tasks at a time such as multiple google chrome tabs, photoshop, and your favorite music track all at once if you have at least 8 GB ram.

So minimum RAM required is 8 GB for beginner level and professionals can start from 16 GB.

#3. Storage

SSD (Solid State Drive) is up to 20 times faster than traditional Hard drive and to run your applications faster & smoother an SSD is must for you.

You need at least 128 GB drive (higher would be better) to install your designing Softwares and to store some projects along with supporting files that you would need repeatedly in your work.

You can use external hard drive to save your not in use data and free up your SSD storage.

#4. Display

Better display results in a better output of graphics with more accuracy of color selection and also allows you to work at minute details.

For example, IPS and OLED panels are popular for their color accuracy and high-resolution displays like Full HD or 4K offer more details as compared to HD displays.

Best Laptop For Graphic Design in 2020

#1. Acer – Nitro 5 

Acer - Nitro 5

You can get top-notch performance on a budget with Acer Nitro 5. You will get a bigger 15” display providing enough workspace for your design work. 

The IPS panel used in the display offers sharp and accurate colors, crucial for graphic designing work where you work at pixel level precision or choosing the accurate colors in a web design.

Acer Nitro 5 comes with i5 8th gen. Processor with 8 gigs of RAM. You also get a 3 GB Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics that enhance the performance to multilevel. 

Graphic cards with dedicated memory don’t eat up your RAM that results into better performance while creating your designs. Graphic cards also reproduce better colors to give you an edge because playing with colors is your regular job.

If you want a flawless performance for your graphic design software, then you can opt for Acer Nitro 5. 

Acer Nitro 5 also has a decent battery life of 6-7 hours depending upon the applications you use. 

Let’s have a look at all the features of this laptop.

Features of Acer – Nitro 5

Display size15.6  inches (IPS)
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Processori5 8th gen
GraphicsNvidia GTX 1050 (3 GB)
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of  Acer – Nitro 5

  • Heavy duty performer
  • High quality IPS display
  • Enhanced battery life

Cons of  Acer – Nitro 5

  • Somer people find red light keyboard awkward

#2. Apple Macbook Air

Apple Macbook Air

Macbook air comes handy in designing with its hassle free OS, gesture support and superb hardware.

Though Macbook Air doesn’t match the performance level of Macbook Pro, still it can defeat window laptops with similar configurations. The reason is Macbook’s hardware and software resource utilization is miles ahead than Windows counterparts.

Macbooks come with two types of displays – Retina and Non-Retina.

Retina display in Macbook Air provides you rich details that are essential in your design work. Even a non-retina display gives you amazing visual output to work effortlessly.

Macbook Air let you work on photoshop, indesign or illustrator without any hassle. However, if you are into 3D animations or a video editing guy, then you should prefer Macbook Pro.

But if you are more into designing and you need light video editing, then its inbuilt video editor, iMovie would serve the purpose. Many YouTubers use iMove to edit their videos for their channel.

Macbook’s sleek, compact design and lightweight make it the best choice for designers who have to travel a lot.

You can easily buy the non-retina Macbook Air (previous model) at a competitive price from best buy.

Features of Macbook Air

Display size13 inches (IPS)
Display resolution2560 x 1600 pixels
ProcessorI5 8th gen
GraphicsIntel HD 6000
Hard Drive128 GB SSD

Pros of Macbook Air

  • Sleek design 
  • Unmatched performance in the segment
  • Easy to operate

Cons of Macbook Air

  • Not as high performer as MacBook pro

#3. HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre with top-level hardware performs any task flawlessly whether it’s creating a design in illustrator or drawing your initial design with the stylus just like you do on paper.

You can design more efficiently while using the touchscreen and stylus when designing, which reduces the use of the mouse. Initially, you will find it difficult to use stylus more than using a mouse but once you get into the habit, you would enjoy the ease.

You get a sleek, compact and elegant laptop that you can convert into a tablet by revolving it’s display to 360 (That’s why its called x360).

Features of HP Spectre x360

Display size13.3  inches (Touchscreen)
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Processori7 8th gen
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of HP Spectre x360

  • 2-in-1 convertible
  • Touchscreen Full HD display
  • High performance
  • Decent battery life

Cons of HP Spectre x360

  • 2 gen old processor
  • Some people find using stylus uncomfortable

Best Laptop For Graphic Design And Video Editing

#4. Apple MacBook Pro 

Apple MacBook Pro

If you really want power and style goes along then go for Apple Macbook Pro. Apple is best suitable for you if you want to edit videos in Final cut pro, or Adobe premiere pro because these are power hungry applications which require top-end hardware for effortless work.

A Macbook Pro with 8th gen. I7 processor and 16 gb RAM would run these video editing applications buttery smooth and you can also run Photoshop, Lightroom, or After Effects without any hassle.

Another benefit is that Mac OS is a highly user-friendly operating system as compared to Microsoft Windows. That is another reason maximum content creators (whether video editors or graphic designers) prefer Mac over Windows.

You can get a previous Macbook Pro model at best buy to save some bucks.

Features of Macbook Pro

Display size15 inches
Display resolution2880 x 1800 pixels
Processori7 (2.9 GHz)
GraphicsRadeon Pro 560
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of Mackbook Pro

  • Retina display rich in detail for better video editing
  • Easily run heavy video editing and designing applications. 
  • User-friendly operating system

Cons of Macbook Pro

  • Expensive

#5. Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

If you prefer windows laptop over a Mac, then Dell XPS 15 is a complete package for graphic designers as well as video editors.

Because you get a sharp display for your complex designs and editing videos more precisely.

You get a mind-blowing i7 9th gen processor to run video editing software like Adobe’s premiere pro, or Davinci resolve like a breeze.

Dell XPS 15 is packed with an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphic card with 4 GB dedicated memory that improves, video rendering and comes handy when you work in Adobe’s After Effects or do similar complex jobs.

Features of Dell XPS 15

Display size15.6 inches
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Processori7 9th gen
GraphicsNvidia GTX 1650 (4 GB)
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of Dell XPS 15

  • Sleek design
  • Accurate display
  • Long battery life

Cons of Dell XPS 15

  • Expensive if goes for better specifications

Best Laptop For Graphic Design Beginners

#6. ASUS VivoBook 14

ASUS VivoBook 14

Being a beginner you need a budget laptop that helps you start designing without burning holes in your pocket. Your search ends with Asus Vivobook 14.

Asus Vivobook 14 is packed with an intel i5 8th gen processor with 8 GB ram that gives you enough juice to do create designs in Gravit Designer, Vectr or Inscape.

Asus Vivobook 14 doesn’t have the best display but provides you sufficient details and color accuracy to work seamlessly.

Features of ASUS VivoBook 14

Display size14 inches
Display resolution1366 x 768 pixels
Processori5 8th gen
GraphicsIntel UHD 620
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of Asus vivobook 14

  • Lightweight
  • Anti-glare display
  • Fingerprint sensor

Cons of Asus vivobook 14

  • Some find display dull
  • Battery life is not good

#7. Dell Inspiron 2020 

Dell Inspiron 2020

If you are on a budget but need a powerful machine, then Dell Inspiron 2020 helps you out. It comes with a latest 10th gen intel i5 processor that handles all your graphic designing tasks with ease.

A combo of 8 GB ram and 128 GB SSD enhances the performance to deliver you unmatched power in the price range.

You can work on different graphic design applications Inkscape, or Sketch without any lag.

It doesn’t mean you can’t use heavy applications like photoshop or InDesign in this machine. This machine can also handle Photoshop, or InDesign, in case you move to these professional softwares in the future.

Features of Dell Inspiron 2020 

Display size15.6 inches
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Processori5 10th gen
GraphicsIntel UHD 620
Hard Drive128 GB SSD

Pros of Dell Inspiron 2020 

  • Latest intel processor
  • Higher battery life
  • LIghtweight

Cons of Dell Inspiron 2020 

  • Low internal memory storage

Best Laptop For Graphic Design And Photo Editing

#8.  HP Envy 17t (2019)

HP Envy 17t (2019)

If you need a huge display for your photo editing work, go for this monster. HP Envy17t has a large 17” full hd display that gives you enough room to work effectively.

It is packed with a 10th generation latest processor and 16 GB ram to provide you lag-free work while working in different  applications simultaneously along with Google chrome tabs where you are learning some tutorials, playing your favourite track in the background and live on facebook. 

You can run all the graphics and photo editing applications at once and still you won’t feel any jitter, thanks to the latest processor and 2GB Nvidia graphics coprocessor. 

Additional 1 TB hard drive would save your money from buying an external storage disk. 

You will still get a DVD writer which is something strange to see these days but a plus point (however not a deal breaker).

Another thing that you would love is its B&O speakers for crystal clear music.

Features of HP Envy 17t

Display size17  inches
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Processori7 10th gen
GraphicsNvidia MX 250 (2 GB)
Hard Drive256 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD

Pros of HP Envy 17t 

  • Huge display
  • B&O speakers
  • 10th gen processor

Cons of HP Envy 17t  

  • Not easy to carry because of the size
  • Average battery life

#9. Acer Aspire 5 

Acer Aspire 5

If you are a graphic designer & you also work on photo editing regularly, then you need 2 major things to get your work done – High performance and High quality display.

And you get both with Acer Aspire 5 without burning hole into your pocket.

Acer aspire 5 (2020) offers a Full HD IPS you can work accurately with minute details whether editing a photo in photoshop or post processing it in lightroom.

Its latest i5 10th gen processor (accompanied by 16 gb ram) gives you blazing fast performance while working on multiple design or photo editing softwares in parallel or moving from one application to another without any lag.

You can also keep your crucial post processed data in 256 gb SSD for future use.

Features of Acer Aspire 5  

Display size15.6 inches
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Processori5 10th gen
GraphicsIntel UHD 630
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of Acer Aspire 5  

  • Latest intel processor
  • High quality IPS Display
  • Backlit keyboard to work effortlessly in dark place

Cons of Acer Aspire 5  

  • Fingerprint sensor misses sometimes

Best Laptop For Animation And Graphic Design

#10. Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300, basically a gaming machine, provides you the power to run animations with its 8th generation (High performance H-series) processor. 

Working on such a detailed work on a 144Hz full HD display is a breeze. 

Because normal display run at 60 Hz while at 144Hz you can view smooth movement of your animation and you get better idea of what needs to be changed. You may need to add more frames or dropping some frames would work better.

However 16 GB ram would gives you sufficient juice but you can even upgrade up to 32 GB in future to work with latest upgrades of softwares flawlessly. Cost effective future proofing 😉

On top of that, Acer Predator has a solid chassis that contains a dedicated cooling system to vent the heat out and keep the internal temperature normal while doing intense animations or designing tasks.

Features of Acer Predator Helios 300

Display size15.6 inches
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels (144 Hz)
Processori7 8th gen (H-series)
GraphicsNvidia GTX 1060 (6 GB)
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of Acer Predator Helios 300  

  • Fluid 144Hz display for precise control in animations
  • Dedicated Air cooling system
  • Dedicated graphics memory 

Cons of Acer Predator Helios 300  

  • Bulky
  • High price

#11. Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

Among the most powerful laptops, Lenovo Thinkpad P1 (Gen 2) gives you an unmatched performance with its 9th generation i7 processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics coprocessor. 

Whether you are working on Blender or .. you would love the performance of Thinkpad. 

You get lifelike visuals on its beautiful Full HD screen which is upgradable to 4K if you choose a higher model by paying extra bucks. 

4K display would give you an undeniable quality that helps you work with more accuracy especially in 3D modelling or pixel based complex designs. 

Fact behind the benefit of 4K display is that an increase in the resolution increases the number of pixels on the screen that provides extra clarity to the viewer.

Secondly, if you don’t like the bulkiness of the Acer predator and want a more sleek and professional looking powerhouse, then Lenovo Thinkpad P1 is the right choice for you.

Features of ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

Display size15.6 inches
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels 
Processori7 9th gen
GraphicsNVIDIA Quadro T1000 (4 GB)
Hard Drive256 GB SSD

Pros of Acer Predator Helios 300  

  • Fluid 144Hz display for precise control in animations
  • Dedicated Air cooling system
  • Dedicated graphics memory 

Cons of Acer Predator Helios 300  

  • Bulky
  • High price


For Graphics design work you can go with HP x360 spectre that not only has better configurations, it also comes with a stylus helpful in designing work.

For video editing, Dell XPS 15 is the best choice as it has top-notch hardware for heavy video editing and rendering.

Beginners can go with Dell Inspiron because of its latest flagship processor and better display that you get in a budget.

Acer Aspire 5 is best for photo editing tasks as it comes with a superb IPS display that is crucial in correcting the colors in a photograph.

For Animation, you should go with Lenovo Thinkpad P1 Gen 2 for its high end specs in a very sleek design, along with a life-like display ideal for Animations and 3D rendering.

How To Become A Graphic Designer: Easy Steps To Follow

How to become a graphic designer

If you want to become a graphic designer, you must learn to solve a visual problem through your design. You can learn graphic design without going to a University or Design school.

What you need is a disciplined approach and consistent practice of what you are learning.

This guide will help you understand how you can become a graphic designer even if you don’t have any prior experience.

Let’s start. 

How to Become A Graphic Designer

#1. Learn The Basic Fundamental Of Graphic Design

You should have a solid understanding of graphic design principles like graphic design theory and how to implement the theory practically. 

Let’s take a look at the principles of graphic design that you need to understand.

  • Shapes and Spacing – You can learn how to draw different shapes and understanding the importance of spacing between different objects.

    Your design will get better once you learn how to communicate emotions through different shapes, their placement, and spacing only.
  • Color Theory – Understanding of colors and their influence is important for designing because with the right color combinations and texture you can enhance the feel of a design. A color wheel would be your companion to understand the relationships between different colours.
Color Wheel
  • Understanding Typography – An important part of graphic design is understanding typography, typefaces, and how to effectively use them in your design.

    Playing with Typography and experimenting new typefaces is  a never-ending learning process.

#2. Acquire The Right Setup

Graphics designing is an expensive profession that means you need to buy costly hardware and software. But if you are on a shoestring budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn graphics design.

You just need a PC or laptop, an internet connection to learn from youtube videos or blogs and some free graphics design softwares to practice your learnings.

You can even get a pre-owned or a refurbished laptop/PC from ebay to start your process. 

For advanced users

Once you have some experience in graphics design or when you get some work, you can spend money on advanced tools like adobe creative suite, high end pc or lappy, a color calibrator, an external monitor and a tablet (an iPad or Wacom tablet) for drawing.

#3. Learn Using Tools And Softwares Required For Graphic Designing 

You needn’t pay heavy subscriptions to start your design journey. You can start with free softwares given below.

InkScape – InkScape is a free and potential alternative to Adobe’s Illustrator. You can learn InkScape to create vector graphics, marketing materials, web graphics and logos.

GIMP – You can use GIMP to edit photos and to create web designs, just like photoshop. Infact, GIMP is more user friendly than photoshop and also gives you freedom to edit photoshop’s ‘PSD’ files.

Daz Studio – If you are in 3D designing, then Daz Studio will allow you to create custom 3D avatars, design virtual environments, and  produce graphic design elements.

There are other softwares like Canva, Adobe spark that offer you multiple templates to create awesome designs free of cost but I would recommend you to focus on learning using professional softwares (free or paid) rather than working on templates based applications.

For advanced users

Once you are ready to step up to next level, you will have to be an expert in designing softwares like Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

You can go through the important graphic design tools/applications given below.

  • Adobe’s Photoshop – Photoshop is the world’s most popular image editing software. You can learn photoshop to edit images, create design layouts, typography based designs and 3D designs.
  • Adobe’s Illustrator – You can use Illustrator to create artwork, page layouts, and brand logos. Illustrator is tightly integrated with adobe products that give you huge flexibility of work.
  • Adobe’s InDesign – InDesign is easy to learn as compared to other Adobe’s products. You can quickly learn how to use images, designs, and text to get the desired output.
    You can use InDesign to create info guides, stunning magazines or brochures for printing as well digital copies (pdf format).
  • Sketch – Sketch is a highly recommended, low-cost vector graphic design software. You can use Sketch for UI/UX design work.

#4. Invest In Right Graphic Design Books And Courses 

Your all money invested will be a waste if you don’t invest in yourself. If you are serious to become a graphic designer, you have to read high-quality books to get deeper into the trade.

If you want to learn at a faster pace, you would go for a professional course to get knowledge in a structured way for faster learning.

Let’s start with 5 essential books of graphic design and then we would talk about the important courses.

Essential graphic design books

#1. How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

This book by Adrian Shaughnessy teaches you design as a business. You must read this book if you want to do something meaningful rather than working on soulless projects.

This book is a career manual for young designers with suggestions to run a successful design business.

#2.  The Elements of Typographic Style 

You would learn the art of typography from Robert Bringhurst. Robert will tell you teh theory, history, and practical usage of typography. 

A must-have for graphic artists, or any designer in the printing industry.

#3. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

You must go through this book by Alina Wheeler if you want to learn how to create, grow and maintain a brand.

You would learn about the five-phase process to create and implement brand identity.

Alina will help you understand the concepts with case-studies of world famous brands.

#4. Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Graphic Problem Solving

Judith Wilde and Richard Wilde has written this practical book containing 19 challenging assignments.  

Each assignment shows a visual problem and includes an analysis of the problem’s underlying intent, addressing principles like negative-positive relationships, cropping techniques, and other major issues. 

#5. Grid Systems in Graphic Design

Last but not least, this book will teach you at the conceptual level of design. You will learn the important part of graphic design that is Grid System. 

Written by famous Swiss graphic designer Josef Mülller-Brockmann, is a must-read for new designers or learners of design.

Recommended graphic design courses

I have found 2 courses that cover everything for a beginner. You would learn principles of design from these courses that would enhance your skills.

#1. Become a Graphic Designer (LinkedIn Learning – Lynda)

Duration – 22 hours content

Become a graphic designer is a complete package that covers every aspect of design. This course covers the following topics –

  • What is Graphic Design
  • Graphic Design Careers: First Steps
  • Graphic Design Foundations
  • Color for Design and Art
  • Learn Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign
  • A Logo Design Challenge

#2. Graphic Design Specialization by CALARTS

Duration – 6 months (4 hours per week)

CALARTS (California Institute of Arts) has launched this course to teach beginners the fundamentals of graphic design.

This package further contains five courses-

  • Fundamentals of graphic design course
  • A typography course
  • An image making course
  • Graphic design history course
  • Capstone course project

#5. Start Creating Graphic Design Work

Initially you would find it difficult to create your own designs because you may find scarcity of thoughts. Don’t worry, it’s natural.

You can start with copying others. Pick their work and try to replicate that. Eventually, you would start getting your own creative ideas. 

Your only motto is to practice design as much as possible, so that you can absorb that into your subconscious mind.

#6. Get Inspiration From Established Designers

You should start following your industry’s established graphic designers. Observe what they’re sharing on social media and read their blogs on a regular basis. 

Get inspiration from their work and try to understand what problem they are solving with their art.

You can also attend events or workshops in your areas to learn more from those experts. 

Once you start observing their work, their style and how they put life to work, your design will start improving automatically.

#7. Learn The Trending Color Combinations

Since you are following established people, you would come to know what is in trend. Try to learn trending color combinations, patterns and textures. 

This will give your design a refreshing feel. 

Colors directly affect our emotions. So when you use trending color combinations in your design, there are high chances that your design would create influence on the viewer.

According to Canva, the deep blues and soft blushes would be in the trend in 2020.

#8. Get Feedback On Your Design Work 

Feedback is crucial for your growth. You must define a process so that you would work on each feedback you get. 

You can share your work on your social media and ask for genuine feedback. 

But the best way is to join different design communities like facebook groups or forums and seek genuine feedback there.

You would get better replies on your designs in these communities.

#9. Finding Your Expertise

You can find your interest area and become specialized in that. If logos attracts you, go and become a logo designer. 

If you love to create web pages, be proficient in that. But it is always better to have a speciality in your domain. 

There’s no use being a jack of all trades. 

Once you define your expertise and dive deeper into that, you become the master of your field.

Remember, people love to pay an expert, not an average person.

#10. Get Your First Client 

First of all you need a portfolio to showcase your work. You can find numerous platforms online like Behance  to create a portfolio for your design work. 

Behance Portfolio

You must be active on LinkedIn, as LinkedIn has emerged as a big source of new job opportunities.

Apart from LinkedIn, you can  also regularly browse online jobs boards such as Design Jobs Board or Guardian Jobs.

Prepare well for the job interview and reach early to avoid any last moment anxiety. You can get more job interview tips here.

You can also register as a freelancer on online freelance platforms. One such platform is Upwork. You can create a profile on upwork to start as a freelancer. Don’t forget to add a link of your portfolio. 

UpWork Profile

Start with low price rates and increase as you get experience.

Final Thoughts 

You must learn some additional skills like marketing, communication skills to become successful. Because you have to market yourself well to get better opportunities. 

However, with determination and consistent efforts you can get the experience you need to become a successful graphic designer.