Do You Need a Graphics tablet to Become a Graphic designer?

Is it Truly Necessary?

Do you need a graphics tablet to be a graphic designer?

When I first started graphic designing this was the question that bothered me the most.

Do I REALLY need a graphics tablet to start graphic designing?

The reason I had this question was because I simply didn't have much money to own a graphics tablet and even if I did I always thought is it really going to do me any good? Sure, it might make my life a bit easier but can't I start without it?

If you're in the same boat I was don't worry this post has all the answers you need.

If you want the short answer, yes you can start graphic designing without a tablet but it depends on which specific field of study you're going for.

See, graphic designing is a broad niche and a competitive industry with a lot of various fields of study including UI/UX design, App Design, Illustration etc.

Some fields for a graphic designer

Few examples of career options:

  • Illustrator/Illustrations - If you plan on making illustrations, it will be extremely time taking and difficult to do so without a graphics tablet. There are many limitations you might face while illustrating without a graphics tablet. You won't have a natural flow as you would when drawing with a paper and pencil meaning it would be nearly impossible illustrating free hand. Pressure doesn't play a role and you may have to restrict yourself to only using shapes and typefaces. These are just some of the MANY restrictions you might face as an illustrator so, you would definitely need a graphics tablet for your illustration work.

Illustration example

  • Layout designer - If you are pursuing layout design you can easily flourish without a graphics tablet. Designing layouts can easily be done by a mouse or a track pad as many applications such as InDesign, nowadays are advanced enough to automatically snap design elements in place for you. You can easily design book, web, app, magazine layouts with the most basic software and do not need a graphics tablet nor do I think it will make your work flow better/easier if you had one

Layout design example

  • Brand designer - If you are responsible of the branding/visual identity of a business then it may depend on the business' brand image and the vibe they are trying to go for. If it's a business that's requiring a lot of original designs and illustrations such as, Burger King's new rebrand, you would need a graphics tablet to get the job done but if it's a simple design and more to do with color theory, typography and basic design principles then you'll do just fine without one.

Branding identity example

  • UI/UX designer -  As a web designer if you are being supplied the design elements and photos from your client/boss you don't need a graphics tab. However, if you are required to create some illustrations or design icons that are to be used in the website then you may need a graphic tablet unless they are very basic.

UI/UX design example

  • Animator/Animation - If you are designing simple pivot/joints animations (where you are given pivots to drag and animate your characters) you won't need a graphics tablet, and I speak from experience. However, If you are a passionate and serious animator and want to make Disney like cartoons and animations then you will 100% need a graphics pad.

Animation example

  • Videogame designer - This also depends on the style of the video game graphics. If you are designing highly complex graphics and detailed backgrounds you need a graphics tablet. However, if it's SUPER basic you might not require one but keep in mind all of the videogame designers I've seen designing video game resources have a graphics tablet.

Video game design example

Obviously, there is much much more to graphic design than just the very few fields I've discussed such as logo design, poster design, brochure design etc.

Just remember, as long as it doesn't require complex graphics or original illustrations you most probably wouldn't need a graphics tablet.


You do not necessarily need a graphic tablet to start your graphic design career however, if you want to enter into a more complex or technical field of graphic design you would definitely need a graphics tablet to grow, not to start, to grow.

If you are ready to start your graphic design career but don't know where and how to start you can check out these 5 YouTube channels that every graphic designer should follow for learning graphic design.

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