As portable and chic as the new Apple Watch is, it’s not the best bet for a graphic designer on the go. Barring the expensive (but worth it!) Cintiq tablets, the smallest device a designer can scribble on when inspiration strikes is the iPad. So for those who have iPads, here are some essential accessories.
For those who think technology takes us away from the good ole pencil-and-paper days, here’s the stylus that nods to the past while also being unabashedly modern. Pencil is a stylish stylus with the handling of a flat pencil, a smooth wooden body, and is easy to use. Simply use the tip or flat sides to write or draw, and flip Pencil to erase. You can use your finger to blend, and it automatically rejects the pressure of the hand, only responding to the tip on the screen. It syncs to devices with Bluetooth, and disassembles to charge with a USB port. It pairs with 53’s app Paper, or any other drawing app for iPad.
For more control over brush strokes, look to the Sensu Artist Brush & Stylus, an actual synthetic fiber brush for tablet use. It registers light brush strokes, allowing for different levels of transparency and pressure on a tablet screen. This means instead of plunking away at line art, artists can get a little closer to actual paint using nothing more than a stylus.
The Jot Script 2 is a precise stylus for note-taking. The 1.9mm pressure-sensitive tip allows for unique characteristics of handwriting to come through on a screen, and works for 20 hours between charges. While it works with any app, users get 6 months of Evernote Premium free with the purchase of the Jot Script 2.
Analogous to an easel, a stand for a tablet will go a long way in getting your setup picture-perfect. For minimalists, the Magnus by Ten One Design is a must. Sleek and aluminum, the magnet-based stand makes the iPad look unsupported, as though it’s standing on its own. It’s perfect for hands-free design.
BookArc is a steel easel that offers a little lift to iPads. Working in both portrait and landscape modes, the BookArc allows for easy access to charging ports. It’s not a very portable model, but BookArc would be a good addition to any desk or workspace.
For the designers who have a weakness for gold Apple products, Encore is the perfect luxe stand. It has a circular base and an adjustable rubber arm, giving the stand a minimal but solid look.
Keyboards are essential to most professionals — at the very least, it’s easier to send off emails on an actual keyboard rather than a touch-screen one. This iPad keyboard is thin, light and spill-resistant. Great for carrying around, the Keys-To-Go keyboard is available for both the iPad and the iPad mini.
This is the keyboard that will turn the iPad into a laptop-like device. The ClamCase Pro is a case-meets-laptop, with a shell that snaps to the iPad. The chiclet-style keyboard makes for easy typing, and the case has a 360-degree hinge, so it acts as a stand too. It’s pricey, but if you’re looking to turn your iPad into a full-service latptop, this is the way to go.
The Touchfire Keyboard sits right on top of the iPad screen, giving the flat surface a little edge. This keyboard is for those who miss a tactile keyboard, but don’t want the hassle of finding a flat surface on which to prop their iPad. It’s transparent, has 3D keys and uses magnets to stay in place.
The Step Folio by iLuv is a couple different things in one. It’s a briefcase-like case with its detachable strap, making it easy to take on the go. It’s also a flexible stand that props itself up, making it easy to see in both portrait and landscape mode. It’s made of a soft, durable material that will keep an iPad safe from daily bumps and bruises.
There’s nothing quite like leather, and this sleeve takes the case. It’s a simple design, with an embossed logo straight in the middle. Available in black, brown and dark brown, this case is also lined with velour to keep iPad screens clean.
For those that wish the wood-coated technology of Her was a reality, get one step closer with this cool maple iPad sleeve by Grovemade. The triangular pattern allows for flexibility, and the inside of the sleeve is made up of soft wool. A leather strap makes it easy to slide the iPad out without having to bend the case.