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Designers, what is the one tool you can't live without?

16 May 2006

Almost everyone has their own style, taste and preferences when it comes to the tools that they're comfortable using. This, it seems, is especially true when it comes to designers.

Most of us are creatures of habit — myself especially — trusting only what we've experienced, whether it's our process, inspiration, workflow or even how we use the tools we choose. It's hard to tell what ties me to using the methods and tools I do use more, familiarity or outside influence.

For the most part it is familiarity. My toolbox is filled to the brim with software, pencils, pens and other equipment that I was taught how to use when I was learning the industry. It's hard to get designers like myself to switch from what we know to something else, even if it works better than what is already there.

The key to keeping up with what's going on is to challenge yourself to change. In an effort to try something different I'm asking for your thoughts. If you could suggest one tool/accessory that no designer should be without what would it be?

That is a pretty broad question, let me clarify a little bit. This doesn't — and maybe shouldn't — be suggestions like Photoshop/Illustrator or Freehand/Flash/Dreamweaver, etc. I'm looking for things like that cool little notebook you carry around everywhere, the pen or pencil you can't live without for sketching in your book on the bus, the tote-bag that contains your life or even the tiny, obscure lamp or desk accessory you found at a flea market somewhere 10 years ago.

So with that, I ask again, what is the one tool or accessory that you think every designer should have?

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