Tablets and the Future of Graphic Design

Categories Articles

This is a guest post by Cameron Tyler from Technected – a site dedicated to helpful tech tips and tricks, and innovations in the industry. We always welcome new contributors, so stop by anytime and become a part of our great community!

When the iPad first hit the streets, both critics and fans were skeptical of its ability to ever become a practical computing solution. Now, years after its release, the device has changed the mobile computing landscape and generated some sophisticated applications in business and everyday use. Some uses are more natural than others, and from the outset it wasn’t much of a stretch to consider the device’s impact on the graphic design and artist community. Due to the touch-based nature of the iPad’s screen, art was clearly meant to intersect with the digital realm in the iOS environment. Graphic designers can now perform complex photo editing, and create intricate compositions on the fly with iPad new mobile-based apps like Photoshop Express and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Why the Cloud Matters to Designers

Graphic and Web designers traditionally had to spend thousands of dollars on high-powered computer systems, as well as industry-standard design software to stay ahead of the curve. As with any computer-based profession, state-of-the-art software requires lots of processing power. Processing is expensive, especially as computing trends and technology changes so quickly. Cloud-based design applications take the processing ball out of the designer’s court by providing processing resources over several shared servers in a cloud-computing environment. Basically, this means that designers can use powerful design applications seamlessly on the Web.

Adobe to the Cloud

Adobe, the premier name in industry-standard design and photo editing software saw the cloud coming and responded in kind. They recently introduced Adobe Creative Cloud. Essentially, you subscribe to this cloud service and you have access to all desktop applications without having to download them all onto one hard drive. Designers can even sync all their design files within the cloud environment and download them on any desktop, laptop or tablet PC (yes, that includes the world’s iPad population).

Cloud Computing, Web Designers and Collaboration

Web design has always been a trade of collaboration. Both major and minor Web development projects require several pairs of eyes to ensure each Web page is functioning at the highest level possible. It’s not uncommon to send big files back and forth, share them through shared network drives or through a specialized email client. Using cloud-based resources allows web designers to quickly and easily share files between devices across multiple platforms and even to open a file simultaneously to collaborate in real time as you might on a Google Doc.

Bridging the Gap: Computer Design and Art

The latest iPad processing technology mixed with the latest in iOS applications re-invents the iPad as a virtual sketchpad for artists. For instance, Nomad Brush is a living, breathing paintbrush designed specifically for the iPad, which essentially transforms the tablet PC into a mobile easel. More and more creative-minded hardware makers are taking the stylus concept a step further to make it something that artists can easily integrate with their design efforts.

Mobile is Always Better

As the world became more mobile, it was evident the designers behind that mobile technology would need like-minded tools. Now designers don’t have to separate their art from the computers they create on. Sophisticated hardware makes the artistic process more fluid than ever. Additionally, artists and designers will no longer have to keep up to date with computer systems sporting inflated hard drives and server-level processing chips. Through a combination of mobile integration and cloud-based application solutions, the Web will shoulder the workload.

Catalin is the founder of Mostash – a social marketing boutique – and he’s always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.

  • The future is bright! We love how technology and devices are continuing to surpass their predecessors. Long may it continue!

    You’re right though, it does mean that us as designers have to continue to evolve. it does keep us on our toes however is very refreshing as every day’s work is also a big learning curve. :)

    Thanks for the great post Catalin.

  • Mindy A

    Very interesting! I’ve just finished looking through all the artists’ digital artwork done with Nomad Brush… it looks realistic. I can see how this can be beneficial to graphic designers who does vector and digital artwork. I use a pen tablet and it’s a similar experience. I’m sure I can pick this up rather quickly if I own an iPAD someday! Thanks for sharing.

  • Eric H.

    I might be mistaken, but I don’t think Adobe Creative Cloud hosts the apps themselves. The Creative Cloud website’s language states, “Adobe® Creative Cloud™ is the digital hub that lets you download and install every Adobe Creative Suite® 6 application….” You can work remotely and share files, but as I read it a Cloud subscription still means downloading the apps to your machine, unless I’m missing something.

    The subscription concept is cool in any event, especially if you need occasional access to some of the more exotic apps.


  • Adobe Creative Cloud does not host the applications themselves. You still have to download them on to a computer. That said this was written partly from the perspective of an “Apple Person”. I’ve used both personally and professionally and still own both and can offer a little more insight into this bright future.

    I currently have the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service and for less than my cellphone bill every month run Master Collection, allowing me to design for and across all media, it runs smoothly and I can launch any application between 3-12 seconds on my $400 8GB dual core Asus laptop and less on my $800 Quad Core 16GB Windows Desktop/Gaming Rig.

    The Adobe Touch Apps will allow designers on the go to interface with clients effectively and take real advantage of the could, by starting basic logos, designs, and wireframes, saving them to the cloud, and then working on them in the professional Adobe Applications on their laptop and desktop.

    The era of designers going mobile is more cost effective than ever with Google Nexus 7 Android Tablets (which will support Adobe Touch Apps) starting at $200 and Asus and Acer 10inch Tablets at $320 offering equal or superior specs and performance to iPad Devices (aside from Retina which presents video great, but could cost you a web design pitch if you are showing your web sites from last year based on how they will render),

    Creative Cloud is great because it allows designers and multimedia folks to enter into the pro level software at a price they can afford with no limits. The cloud storage makes sharing, syncing, and maintaining important resources and assets accessible.