Help deciding what to buy for print and web designer?

eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
965
12
Sydney
Hi guys,
It's been a year or so since I checked in and it's time to ask what graphic designers here are using as hardware. Do you use iMacs or iMac Pros? What about extra USB ports — are there models you recommend? And the biggest question of all — Apple talking about matt screen iMacs yet? My wife hates shiny screens. Or do you recommend one iMac next to one more colour correct monitor? Basically, it seems like last time I checked in there's been a whole lot of product development, and now I don't even know who's who in the zoo.
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
651
175
While waiting for some new (modular) Mac Pro, I've been working on several MacBook Pro machines. They fit my needs and can have external displays attached. As long as possible, I've been buying BTO anti-glare matte screens, but unfortunately the MBP 2012 is the last model built with that. The glossy Retina displays of the newer models are not perfect for graphical work, but I got used to them. Attaching some good display(s), external keyboard and mouse and maybe some drawing tablet makes a quite solid desktop Mac replacement. Of course a MacBook Pro fits also perfect for presentations on the go.
 
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eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
965
12
Sydney
So the new Mac Pro is coming, but am I wrong to want that for my wife the print-designer? She often has all her apps open at once and is designing huge magazine layouts. She just completed a coffee-table book that was over 530 pages of full colour. But is the Mac Pro overkill? I mean, it the tower itself starts at $8300ish. Then the Mac Pro monitor looks beautiful and low-glare with it's nano-surface and all that, but it alone is $7300ish Australian!? I mean, Great Caesar's Ghost that's some green! (Well, in Australia our money is multicoloured, but you know what I mean.) Someone, tell me I'm wrong and that an iMac or iMac Pro will meet all our print and web design needs. Please. (Even if we have to put one of those hood doovers around the edge of the imac to cut the glare and reflectivity.)
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,597
2,770
So the new Mac Pro is coming, but am I wrong to want that for my wife the print-designer? She often has all her apps open at once and is designing huge magazine layouts. She just completed a coffee-table book that was over 530 pages of full colour. But is the Mac Pro overkill? I mean, it the tower itself starts at $8300ish. Then the Mac Pro monitor looks beautiful and low-glare with it's nano-surface and all that, but it alone is $7300ish Australian!? I mean, Great Caesar's Ghost that's some green! (Well, in Australia our money is multicoloured, but you know what I mean.) Someone, tell me I'm wrong and that an iMac or iMac Pro will meet all our print and web design needs. Please. (Even if we have to put one of those hood doovers around the edge of the imac to cut the glare and reflectivity.)
A print designer has no need for a Mac Pro. An iMac with plenty of RAM and an SSD would be more than sufficient.
 

eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
965
12
Sydney
Thanks for that! Do you think an imac has a good enough screen for really high accuracy print work, or would you go with an imac Pro? Also, is an SSD really work an extra grand for the same 2 TB storage, but just a few seconds faster? Isn't a Fusion drive Mac's version of a hybrid with both some limited SSD but shuffling it to a traditional disc drive later?
 
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organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
651
175
Even though @chrfr is right and not every print designer needs a Mac Pro, I've always been using "Tower" Mac Pros at work for print graphics design. The only reason that I switched to MacBook Pro models was that there were no more serious towers available since 2012 and portable Macs became quite powerful and yes, they're practical to carry around, too.
To be honest, I don't like iMacs, except for some relatives that just do sparely know how to handle a computer. They get a system that has a single power button, plenty of ports with no need for adapters and it just works as long as it works.
Maybe the display of an iMac Pro can show true 100% of AdobeRGB colors and almost the full spectrum of the more often used CMYK output profiles. However, I bet it's still a good idea to compare even the upcoming Mac Pro Display, that surely will be a great hub with a great display that makes non color critical work far easier. Compare it to some wide gamut reference display from companies like NEC or Eizo.
If it's not the money that hurts, just buy the most powerful Mac Pro for your wife ;-) No, just kidding. Ask her, how often she gets into situations, when she has to wait for her Mac while rendering some weird Photoshop filter, saving or reading some tremendous big file or publishing some gigantic PDF. If she likes the breaks for a coffee or tea, she might not need a faster machine, but if she's got critical deadlines often like me, she might be pleased about a lightning fast Mac Pro.
Putting a Fusion Drive into an iMac or inside whatever other new Mac, I'd say, that's a waste. Indeed, there are some two drives in a Hybrid Drive, one SSD and one HDD paired together. That makes sense in an iMac of 2006 or something similar to a 1.5 Gbps Serial ATA or slower that just can't really benefit from the full speed of a pure SSD. All new macOS systems as well as most recent (heavy) software packages can actually benefit from the extra speed-gain of a SSD that doesn't need to grab data from a mechanical drive from time to time. One of the best part of it, is the silence of a SSD. Just make a comparison and stop the time for opening 5 or 10 apps straight after another (better select them all at once and press Cmd + O) on a system with SSD and on a system with Fusion Drive. Then stop the time to boot. I never want to go back to HDD, except for backup purposes or in a RAID setup, but even there no FDD, but pure HDD. Another culprit is that Fusion Drives sometimes can behave strange, giving more occasions for errors or unexpected incompatibilities. Do you a favor and spend the money for an internal SSD as large as you want to afford.
And finally: just buy this new iMac (Pro) if you really like it 👍
 
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eclipse

macrumors 6502a
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Nov 18, 2005
965
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Even though @chrfr is right and not every print designer needs a Mac Pro, I've always been using "Tower" Mac Pros at work for print graphics design. The only reason that I switched to MacBook Pro models was that there were no more serious towers available since 2012 and portable Macs became quite powerful and yes, they're practical to carry around, too.
To be honest, I don't like iMacs, except for some relatives that just do sparely know how to handle a computer. They get a system that has a single power button, plenty of ports with no need for adapters and it just works as long as it works.
Maybe the display of an iMac Pro can show true 100% of AdobeRGB colors and almost the full spectrum of the more often used CMYK output profiles. However, I bet it's still a good idea to compare even the upcoming Mac Pro Display, that surely will be a great hub with a great display that makes non color critical work far easier. Compare it to some wide gamut reference display from companies like NEC or Eizo.
If it's not the money that hurts, just buy the most powerful Mac Pro for your wife ;-) No, just kidding. Ask her, how often she gets into situations, when she has to wait for her Mac while rendering some weird Photoshop filter, saving or reading some tremendous big file or publishing some gigantic PDF. If she likes the breaks for a coffee or tea, she might not need a faster machine, but if she's got critical deadlines often like me, she might be pleased about a lightning fast Mac Pro.
Putting a Fusion Drive into an iMac or inside whatever other new Mac, I'd say, that's a waste. Indeed, there are some two drives in a Hybrid Drive, one SSD and one HDD paired together. That makes sense in an iMac of 2006 or something similar to a 1.5 Gbps Serial ATA or slower that just can't really benefit from the full speed of a pure SSD. All new macOS systems as well as most recent (heavy) software packages can actually benefit from the extra speed-gain of a SSD that doesn't need to grab data from a mechanical drive from time to time. One of the best part of it, is the silence of a SSD. Just make a comparison and stop the time for opening 5 or 10 apps straight after another (better select them all at once and press Cmd + O) on a system with SSD and on a system with Fusion Drive. Then stop the time to boot. I never want to go back to HDD, except for backup purposes or in a RAID setup, but even there no FDD, but pure HDD. Another culprit is that Fusion Drives sometimes can behave strange, giving more occasions for errors or unexpected incompatibilities. Do you a favor and spend the money for an internal SSD as large as you want to afford.
And finally: just buy this new iMac (Pro) if you really like it 👍
Thanks so much, great input, especially on the SSD. You thinking of going Mac Pro Tower next time? If so, Wow! Just wow!
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
651
175
The Mac Pro looks promising. My personal problem with it might be that it probably won't run 32-bit apps anymore. I'm not planning to go into an Adobe subscription in the close future. That's why I just bought a full spec 15" MBP 2019 to run Adobe CS6 on the last 32-bit macOS Mojave. Not sure, if it will be my last Mac or if I can't resist the new Mac Pro or any upcoming model. It particularly depends, if I'll get used to my new workflow with Serif's Affinity apps and QuarkXPress or VivaDesigner. I'm still testing, but it's not easy to give up an over 20 years old proven workflow...
 

eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
965
12
Sydney
My wife is so totally locked into everything Apple and Mac, and would rather pay double the price for the computer than have to get into Systems Admin and everything with PC or even Linux apps. But if you're thinking of getting out of Adobe, I'm fascinated by the whole open source thing. I haven't made the jump to Linux myself yet, and am slowly, ever so slowly studying towards moving into IT myself. But have you looked at these guys? Once you learn them, they're free forever.
 
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organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
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I'm a huge fan of Open Source Software and I believe that only that kind of licensing model can ensure availability of a certain software in the long run.
Up to now, getting a precise CMYK workflow with those apps on a LINUX, Windows nor Mac platform is impossible. That's why most print designers are still tied to some proprietary software like those from Adobe or Serif. However, I always keep an eye on the current possibilities and heavily use FOSS outside of the print design domain.
I entirely understand your wife's opinion and agree with it on native macOS apps and their look and feel. As most open source solutions are cross platform, they tend to use some user interface glue that works on every operating system and thus often feel a little uncomfortable on a Mac. On a platform for getting serious work done, every small distraction hurts and if it's just the lost time while thinking about a special interface's look.
That takes me back to the point, where I claim that the fastest available machine is the best option, even though a regular iMac is a valid option for print design like any other Mac with a dedicated GPU is.
 
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opeter

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2007
1,643
534
Slovenia, EU
I am using a combination of a 2014 Mac mini* and a Windows desktop for my work.

*today it is only used as a computer for scanning with and older scanner, not for any serious work
- - Post merged: - -

Oh and CMYK output works very well with Scribus.

I did some printed projects (catalogs, two books) and didn't have any problems.
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
651
175
Oh and CMYK output works very well with Scribus.
Yes, Scribus can handle CMYK output quite good and absolutely can be used to produce high quality books or catalogs in conjunction with Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo or Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

For me the files that are placed into Scribus are the problematic ones. As I can't output files in CMYK color properly from Krita, Gimp or Inkscape, I must accept a RGB to CMYK conversion on the output. No matter what I do, that is accompanied by a small shift of the initially defined CMYK color values, so far.

Did you really find a FOSS only color workflow that offers precise CMYK values and works just within the CMYK color space? If yes, I'm going to open a new thread where we could discuss it further.
 
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opeter

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2007
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Slovenia, EU
FOSS only? Sadly, no... Yet.

But a combination of commercial and FOSS programs.

And I am also trying some new tools like Viva Designer. Because fo language specific things, I (for now) cannot use Affinity Publisher, because it doesn't support hypenation of my native language.

Yeah and still using Indesign CS6 for some projects.
 
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||\||

macrumors regular
Nov 21, 2019
171
454
Up to now, getting a precise CMYK workflow with those apps on a LINUX, Windows nor Mac platform is impossible. That's why most print designers are still tied to some proprietary software like those from Adobe or Serif.
Typically in print there will be an intermediary prepress department at the print shop that will handle color correction and those sorts of file issues. On small pieces if the designer can output a PDF in CMYK and fonts embedded we can usually handle the rest.
 

eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
965
12
Sydney
We got an imac pro with 2 TB SSD, middle i-pro processor and 64 GIGS RAM. It flies compared to the now 10 year old mac pro. Also, because Quark was 32 bit and it had been about 15 years since we've done it, she did a vanilla install of all her software. Clean new computer with a clean new install.
 
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organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
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It flies compared to the now 10 year old mac pro.
Congratulations, I wish you and your wife many years of joy and confidence with that obvious great Mac.
That iMac Pro seems like overkill to me but it should last you forever!
Maybe not forever, but hopefully for a very long time until it gets a little scantly quipped :)
Typically in print there will be an intermediary prepress department at the print shop that will handle color correction and those sorts of file issues. On small pieces if the designer can output a PDF in CMYK and fonts embedded we can usually handle the rest.
Hi @||\||. While it's always good to know that a chosen print shop won't let you down and output obvious data failure, I always try my best to avoid such failures. Selecting software that makes it possible to output precise and professional data that usually don't need any correction should be obligatory for everyone earning money with (print) design. To go even further, in most cases I don't like anyone 'correcting' my files. Instead I'm glad about feedback. If a problem should occur, I will be able adjusting the files by myself. That helps much more to get an even better quality and workflow done during future jobs.
I know that print shops often get terrible data and that they must be able to correct that stuff. However, those print shops are more focused on consumers, creating their designs with whatever software, like Microsoft Word that just outputs RGB colors and cumbersome PDF files. In that case I absolutely agree and you should correct the files as good as possible. My deepest respect for all that need to refine the worst data trash into some great result every day in a prepress department at a print store.
But if someone serves data that almost fits, none should ever try to correct it, even if there is a typical color shift of less than 1% during RGB to CMYK transition with recent available open source solutions like Gimp or Inkscape combined with Scribus. I claim that the printed results, generated with such FOSS, can have a color shift to be disregarded in comparison to the output of commercial software with correct values. Nonetheless, clients absolutely like 'their' Cyan to be 97% and not some similar 96.466% in the data. Such files often need to be kept for ten years and require always being accessible and ready for passing them over to other designers or service providers. In practice, the chances are low for calling a print store first, let's say just five years after a job is done to get some corrected data for handing out to a client ;-)
 

||\||

macrumors regular
Nov 21, 2019
171
454
I know that print shops often get terrible data and that they must be able to correct that stuff. However, those print shops are more focused on consumers, creating their designs with whatever software, like Microsoft Word that just outputs RGB colors and cumbersome PDF files.
The dirty little secret/not a secret is that every printer, large or small, is applying some form of color correction to your files. 😎
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
651
175
The dirty little secret/not a secret is that every printer, large or small, is applying some form of color correction to your files.
Can you share your insights? Maybe in a new Design and Graphics thread?