Graphic Design - Mac or PC?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by definitive, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    So as a designer, which would you recommend going with for print graphic design?

    For web design it's obvious that Windows would be a no-brainer, since over 70% of the computers used on the web (according to W3Schools) run some kind of version of Windows, and you have a wider range of browsers to test on.

    This is where I'm a bit confused - What advantages does a Mac have over a PC when it comes to print design? Can't an Apple screen be connected to a Windows computer? What about fonts? Is there a way to load PostScript fonts on to a Windows machine? I've tried before, but they came out as 0byte files. All I was able to load were PFM, TTF and OTF on Windows XP.

    Reason I'm asking all this is because I'm shopping around for a new computer, and will be working in a professional environment soon where Mac's are dominant, but I can't justify spending money on a $1-2k system where I could spend half that on a PC which would work just as fast.
  2. mcavjame macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    phased to this universe
    If your only concern is print design, the only significant advantage of a Mac is stability of OS, and relative freedom from malware and viruses.

    If you are connected to the Internet in any fashion, be prepared to spend more time on maintenance of the machine than you would with a Mac. Not that Macs are maintenance free, just much less likely to get bogged down with gunk. Time is money.
  3. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    Mac is a no-brainer for print and web development work, and multimedia development in general.

    You also need a Windows PC for testing web apps though, since a large majority of internet users are running Windows.
    You can install Windows in your Mac (Bootcamp) for this purpose, which allows for testing Mac and PC browsers on a single machine.
    You can't test actually Mac browsers on a Windows PC.

    Windows PC is probably a better choice if you already own expensive Windows software, or your work requires Windows-only software that uses a hardware dongle.
    Designers and Artists are almost universally better served with a Mac running Adobe CS4.
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    The technical advantages of using a Mac have mostly disappeared. However, the main advantages of using a Mac for print design these days rest solely on being in an environment where compatibility issues are not a problem and this is worth the Mac cost premium.

    The biggest problems are with fonts. PC postscript fonts exist but are rare, Windows can not work with Mac postscript fonts. If you're working with a group of people "in a professional environment soon where Mac's are dominant" as you put it, then they're going to be using Mac postscript fonts, most likely, unless they've got a relatively recent library full of OpenType fonts. And even if you get a reasonable conversion, an additional cost in itself, they still tend to reflow because kerning pairs and the like tend not to translate too well.

    Sure, you connect an Apple Cinema Display to PC. But you can connect a Dell display (for instance) to a Mac.

    To cut a long story short, you're not taking the total cost of ownership into account. The Mac will pay for itself in the longer run. What you might save in money is nothing compared to the potential problems down the line. For instance, we never used to use freelancers who worked on PCs... too much hassle.


    Tell us what you're comparing like to like with, and maybe we can help. If I was entering the print design market for the first time, I'd look at a refurb or secondhand machine, or maybe even one of the new Mac Minis stuffed full of RAM if I knew I wasn't going to be working on 500Mb+ Photoshop files all day.
  5. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Both are about the same these days. If there's one or two special apps specifically exclusive to a particular platform that you're in love with then follow the OS for those.

    I don't agree. It's about the browsers not the OS. All are available on OS X. But if you feel better using Browser X on a particular platform then virtualize. Either virtual OS X on windows or virtual windows on OS X.

    1. None really. The OS is more simplified and streamlined so it's a more stable and the user spends far less time setting things up or changing things around.
    2. I think so yes. But Screens are NOT what makes Apple "good". Simplification, Unification, and Consolidation are. I think the best screens right now are probably NEC and EIZO but I haven't checked since LED backlighting tech has come out.
    3. Yes sure.
    4. Get a conversion application like Fontographer or another. That'll do it! :)

    Data exchange is a big part of successfully working in a pool. Get whatever most of them have. Prior to 2009 and contrary to popular belief Macs are NOT more expensive than a machine with the same specifications in a wintel flavor. You should be able to get the same spec on mac or PC for the same price. The difference is that Apple doesn't sell total crap (err, weak and not suitable for expansion) like some no-name systems and lower end DELL and HPs are. Up until 2009 the "you get what you pay for" rule seems to apply across the board. In 2009 the Mac Pros are over the top silly and ridiculous though. Also I think Apple dropped the ball on the lower end systems by not using Corei7 components.

    But never mind the hardware... There's hackintosh that's just perfect for situations like yours! See and search around for other similar systems that allow you to run OS X on anything you like basically. There. That's the best of both current worlds. :)

  6. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    Having done graphic design work on a Windows computer for a few months, I can tell you the advantage of working on a Mac is the OS.

    Lets assume you're going to be using Adobe Creative Suite Design edition. It's not uncommon to have InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, a few browser windows, email client, and even Acrobat open at the same time - as well as a few different file folders.

    On Windows, Every file you have open stays within its program window. Minimizing each of the open files in an InDesign window results in tiny little rectangles at the bottom of the application window - with no clear way to differentiate between them. If you were to minimize the entire InDesign window, and the three files you happen to have open, you'll wind up with one InDesign window minimized in the taskbar. Same with file folders you may have opened and minimized. They all will appear as little yellow folders at the bottom of the screen with only the first part of their title or path showing. It's not uncommon to have to open up each one to figure out which is which.

    On the Mac, applications do not have a root window (although in Adobe CS4, that is an option now). Minimizing file folders or application windows shrinks the window into the dock. You can get the full name of the file or app simply by hovering over the minimized window. Then there's Exposé - simply click a button or move you mouse to the corner of your screen, and every window will shrink so you can see all open files and windows. Deciphering them is as simple as hovering your mouse over one of them.

    Long story short - the biggest advantage of the Mac OS over Windows is the ease at which you can switch between open programs and files. That alone is going to significantly increase your productivity.
  7. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    In my opinion the issues you raised are no different to the os-x dock in that you get a small 'icon' representing a program etc. You do get the full details of the program if you hold your mouse over the button (on start bar) along with the picture to help - this is assuming you haven't got the stacking feature enabled. And Don't forget that windows 7 is going to change things again to a slightly more mac way of working :)

    CS4 has changed the way that adobe software is working, they now use a tabbed approach so the layout is pretty much the same on mac and pc.

    You have alt-tab/ctrl-tab on windows which for me personally is more effective that expose (I've never liked it).

    Some people may also prefer the 'windowed' approach to the os that windows has over mac os-x.

    Another thing to consider that if a user has been windows centric for most of their life working on os-x (and windows) is in places unfamiliar.

    However as the op is going into a mac dominant environment then its a bit of a no brainer to go for a mac over a windows machine, they can if they wish run bootcamp.
  8. shady825 macrumors 68000


    Oct 8, 2008
    Area 51
    Awhile back I remember some buzz about Windows commercials were made on a Mac... That should answer your question! ;)
  9. Phormic macrumors regular

    May 24, 2007
    What about ColorSync? Macs found their way into publishing and design houses during the 90's because of ColorSync and now with MacOSX, it's built into the system, instead of an optional add-on.

    Windows now also has their own color matching system and the gap has narrowed, but for a long tim there Macs handled color better and with more accuracy.
  10. remmy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    If Macs are the dominant system then it is probably best to go with this. Although they both can work together now days, I guess it would be useful getting advice or help from those you work with.

    I also find the OS X GUI more easy to navigate than XP or Vista, which is why I chose a Mac. In the end its personal choice of what you feel the most comfortable using.
  11. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    I remember several year ago you'd hear that Macs were better for graphics, but in this day and age it really doesn't matter.

    as said ^^ it depends on what application you need to use - if there's a PC app you can't live without then the decision has already been made for you - you must use Windows. The only thing I need Windows for is IE and FF for testing - which I use Fusion for anyway. Even if you need Windows, buy a Macintosh refurb online - you can run both systems on it if you need to in either Boot Camp or Fusion.

    You'll find, as did I moving from print to web design using a Mac, that the Mac system is more stable, and really easier to use once you get used to it. And about the price point: Macs are still cheaper...
  12. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Until I send you a file to work on that has two dozen or so style sheets, I want absolutely nothing to reflow, and I'd like it back in a few hours or the next day without having to then fix the style sheets again after you've adapted them to work with your converted and renamed fonts.
  13. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    Mac by far.

    i don't know anyone in the industry from all my friends (,,, etc) who have once used a PC for their design work
  14. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Yup, no problem at all! I did page layout. I managed an office pool here in Japan some years back - well everyone in the office was on a Mac ][ci

    and I had just gotten a brand new IIfx (after being there a year) if that dates it.


    We did all the owners manuals for Toyota (small cars and trucks), Epson printers and scanners, Brother laser printers, Yamaha electronic instruments, and ummm... ________, as our staple. Toyota was indeed just like you said here; demanding and ultra picky!

    So, as long as the data is being read into the same application (like Quark) on the PC and the Mac then it's no problem. Let's say the PC based layout guy used a font not available on the Mac, 1st slap him, then load fontofrapher, read in the PC outline font, tell it to save as a Mac readable TT font. Install the font on the mac, load the document, if you're asked to choose while loading then do that - if not select by style and assign the font. Check the document. It should be perfect.
  15. whitemacbook macrumors member


    Mar 1, 2009
    there's a reason for that
    get a better job?
  16. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    It would be slower (and get even more with time), would freeze/crash more often and you'd have to deal with malware and system maintenance. Normally people who want to do work don't want to bother with those stupid things.
  17. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK

    Oh not this junk again.
    This is my exact approach with my windows machines. Install os, install antivirus, do updates and then install programs - thats it. Vista has a pre set defrag schedule (although I have used alternatives in the past) and built in spyware blocker. The AV auto updates on boot and os_x has updates just like windows. The status of those machines - no virus or malware infections, no freezeing or crashing and its just as fast as when it was first installed.

    The reason a windows machine freezes and stalls is down to all the demo/trial/freeware and warez that a home user would install.
  18. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    You ask your question in a "Mac" forum with what anticipation?

    MMM=Macs Make Money
    Every Mac I've purchased has paid for itself in job assignments within a year -- sometimes within a week!

    $1-2K is a lot of money for your livelihood? My first Mac system was over $10K and my second was over $20K. Even the Mac Pros are now a relative bargain. Don't be deceived because something else is cheaper.

    If you want to impress a date by taking her to a nice restaurant for lobster, are you put off by the fact that Filet-O-Fish is cheaper across the street?

    (I keep forgetting most of the posters on these forums are still "kids" to whom that analogy won't make sense.) :eek:
  19. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    This is hardly the thread to start this debate, but that's inaccurate...


    The bottom line is if you need to run Windows more than a Macintosh, get a PC. If you've got a few apps that need Windows and mostly you can use Mac, get a Mac. The debate over which OS is better is neverending and you get fanboys from both sides of the story. In my experience, from years of using Windows (several versions at that) I got sick of having the OS (which I maintained religiously and treated very well) crash in the midst of an unsaved Photoshop design. That has not happened once on my Macintosh - but then again, I don't have any software that requires so it's worked out alright.

    You'll get endless recommendations, but the bottom line is you have to figure out what you need to do on a day-to-day basis, see whether it can work on which system, which features you can go without/duplicate elsewhere/run in BootCamp or Fusion, and then make an informed decision based on your own work requirements.
  20. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Agree that this hardly the place for a debate but my post is coming from my own experiences (and I work on both os's) so how can it be inaccurate. My windows machines are used for work (Windows only CAD) so have none of the junk mentioned installed. My friends who use their pc for home use and download all the junk have the slowdowns mentioned. I have not seen a demo/trial program that cleanly removes itself from windows hence my post.

    It's not like os-x is perfect either - the issues with adobe software during the upgrade to leopard for example, but as you will see earlier I suggested os-x here due to the rest of the work environment.
  21. shady825 macrumors 68000


    Oct 8, 2008
    Area 51
    Very well put!
  22. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    From the experience standpoint I can argue it solidly from the other perspective. I agree that any computer will hold up much better if you mind your Ps and Qs with it and take care of it.
  23. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    How would you like to drive to New York from California? Would you rather drive a Ford Taurus or Cadillac? Both will get you there, but one will get you there in style, much more comfortably, and smoother.
  24. opeter macrumors 68000


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Neither. I would drive a french car ... :p
  25. pit29 macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2006
    The Golden State
    In OS X, you have one icon for the application and one each if you minimize an open document of that application. The icon will show what the document looked like and not have only it's name.

    You can change that back on a Mac to get it to work as in above...

    Ever tried command-tab / command-shift-tab on a Mac?

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