Why Mac for design?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by XT9116, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. XT9116 macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2008
    I am getting a MacBook Pro in the next week for college, I will be majoring in Graphic Communications Management. I have taken 2 years of high school classes and we exclusively used Macs and my College (UW-Stout) has a huge Mac Lab.

    My question is, why are Mac's desired for Artistic (Graphic Design, Photo, Video, etc.) Purposes? I can understand why for video, because Final Cut Pro is an exclusive and is pretty remarkable. However, I have used CS4 on my home PC and it works just fine on it, thus I am confused.
  2. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    I used Macs in the past, from last year I am using a PC for the same purpose.

    To be honest, you can do the same on both platform. It will not mark/describe you, on what type of computer/OS you are doing your work.
    The only thing it matters, are the results. Here, where I live, before 25-30 years noone used a computer for graphic design or any type of art etc. The biggest change (especially in the video "section") was, when the AMIGAs arrived.

    I mean, for me, the computer is just a tool.
  3. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Try opening 50 large images on mac vs windows and multi-task. There is a huge difference.
  4. Mike225 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2010
    SF BAY
    *Insert vague Pro-Mac comment* ^^^AHEM^^^

    Truth is, theres not much reason except habit. Adobe's suite runs better on Windows anyways
  5. Cabbit macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    It runs better on Mac OS actually, depending on your workflow.

    Windows = Single task executing faster.
    Mac OS = Multiple tasks all running about as fast.
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    These days, the main reason for using them, is to work with other designers. If a deadline is pressing, and I'm sending work to a freelancer, I want to know that their machine can handle the fonts without text reflowing and that there will be no other cross-platform issues.

    Preview is great for fast viewing of multiple files and more prosaically, I personally find the Finder far nicer to use than Explorer, especially in networked enviroments. Being able to label folders is a nice bonus too.
  7. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar

    My whole workflow runs much smoother on Mac. I used to have a $7k HP workstation at work with better hardware specs by far then the macbook pro in my signature...

    ...however, since the HP workstation couldn't keep up I brought my macbook pro to work and worked off of it.

    For people dabbling in design programs, either will do, but for serious work in my experience only a mac will do and I have had plenty of experience on both platforms.

    Also ignore anything Mike says, he's obviously never used CS on anything but windows or he would realize his statement is false, especially when it comes to batching. He knows nothing about apple, never has anything good to say about them, and has been trolling the forums since the iPhone 4 came out.

    Oh, and quicklook is a HUGE time saver when dealing with a lot of different files.
  8. CW Jones macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2009
    Better question... why not a Mac? ;)

    I upgraded for a few reasons. (I am a design student) First, the HDD in my dell went, second I wanted a faster running, smoother OS. Great processing power and being able to upgrade to 8GB of RAM like I have now was also a big factor. Nice metal unibody, and a MUCH better trackpad then I have ever used on any other laptop. Battery life is pretty impressive too.

    Overall its a BIG expense but in the end if your a design student like me, I think you'll see it "pay off" for you. Software on here is great as well, it runs very smooth and not jittery.

    Added: Apples care plan is also great and there genius bar is usually pretty helpful.

    O ya and a MAC will not be outdated in a year or less. My buddy ran a G4 for a VERY long time. Where as I couldn't even get a full year from my Dell without it dying.
  9. XT9116 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2008
    Okay well those were some great responses.

    I've gotten some good info, specifically

    opening multiple images does, from my experience using 17" core 2 duo macs, is faster and smoother (Consultant)

    Multitasking is smoother (babyjenniferLB)

    I have always had trouble taking my work from school (mac) back home (pc). Things just didn't always work very smoothly. So having other designers use the same type of computer makes a lot of sense. (Blue Velvet)

    After reading all of this, it seems to make sense that the more difficult procedures will run smoother on a Mac. I have only been in 2 years of High School Graphics, so I could imagine as I enter College Graphics, the procedures will get much more complicated and thus run better on a mac (chrono1081)

    My high school was even still running eMac's haha, no one ever perfered to use them but they got the job done.(CW Jones)

    Thanks for the replies, it helped a lot.

    What I am curious about is the history of this topic. I was told, that a major reason why design is so deep into mac is because in the late 80's and early 90's, the adobe programs were a mac exclusive. If someone could elaborate on the history of this topic I would greatly appreciate that :)
  10. CW Jones macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2009
    Hmm I wonder if that could be true or not. I am just a fan of Mac in general. Not a fanboy at all though, I could live without Mac... I don't want to but I could haha.

    At my college all the design lab computers are MacPros and iMacs... so if I had a PC I would have to know my PC AND the Mac's. It sounds stupid because most people just think a computer is a computer. Not the case, sooo many little tricks to learn on a Mac to make it smooth and efficient.
  11. manueld macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2009
    It's not as prevalent as before but WAY back in the day, using a Mac was just the standard for creating anything for print designs. It's not anymore hence the disparity.

    Most tools are available in either platform. Use what's works best for you and your workflow. If you're used to a Mac stick with it although it does help just to be familiar with PCs in general as when you're out of college and into the real world, companies don't care if you use mac or pc, you just need to be able to accomplish what they want regardless of OS.
  12. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    The reason is historical. In 1985 Apple's graphical interface + MacPublisher (and Pagemaker) + the Apple laserwriter postscript laser printer allowed the desktop publishing revolution to begin.

    It took quite a while (10 years, maybe more?) for the PC world to get interested in this market and catch up. In the meantime, the mac became embedded as the computer that is used for visual communications.

    As other posters have mentioned, PCs are these days mostly equivalent to the mac (font handling was, for me, the last real trouble spot) and designers can choose which platform they wish to work on.

    So, tradition. I started on a mac (a IIfx) and have used them ever since. I have used SGIs and PCs as well, but have always had at least one mac in the studio. Today my studio is primarily PC based... I am the only mac user. Moving files back and forth is trivial, however.

    Many design programs at college are mac based because, in the past decade, Apple has invested heavily in education and would donate both hardware and software to schools (Adobe does the same).

    Sadly, as we watch Apple shift from being a computer company to a consumer electronics company, their interest in the creative community has waned. Support for their own software has been drying up, and the entire concept of their "walled garden" of content delivery has effectively squeezed out the type of small creatives that gave them their start.
  13. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    Adding to above post... The first music editor was designed for Mac too. Most people that I come across that use Macs for music/graphics/video like them because it works well in their work flow.

    I started working with a Mac because of that same reason. Back in the 80s I hated both PC and Macs in college cause I was always loosing my papers. lol Now its become a part of my life. I don't mind spending $$ for MobileMe because I use it a lot. Especially for sending clients huge files.

    For a budget its the best way to go. I've actually made money using iMovie & iDvd by editing video footage. I'm actually glad I kept my Powerbook G4. I forgot that I needed a smaller firewire cables for my MBP. I didn't have time to locate one so I uploaded all the footage on my PB G4 which I've had for 7yrs. It still works. I just need to get a new battery and replace some of the keys.

    Definitely invest in what you want. If you take care of your gear, then get a MBP. What I like now about it is how easy it is to configure a wi-fi printer.
  14. The Beatles macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    I use a mac because i dont want to learn how to maintain a computer. I really dont like computers very much at all. I find them tedious. If I were to get a PC, i'd have to learn how to keep that PC running, viruses, hardware compatability, software issues, trouble shooting...forget it.

    I'd say a PC if you like computers and want to build your own and dont get annoyed if you have to do any trouble shooting.

    I'd say a mac if you just want to forget about the computer as much as possible and get to work.

    P.S. get as much ram as you can afford. I realized that most people will get by with the littlest amount of ram as possible. Then in three years they think they need to spend another $2000 for a faster computer when they never even got passed 1st gear with their old computer. I did that a couple times. Now, im running 12 gigs of ram and will upgrade to 16 when i get the chance. Its a much better computer experience.
  15. covisio macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2007
    I think certainly in years gone by, Macs represented a much better investment for small-to-medium graphic design/prepress outfits. Typically the average creative, artworker or prepress worker used a very wide range of applications. In my company we had pretty much every graphic package worth its salt installed on every machine: Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (and then the CS packages when they came in), Quark XPress, Freehand and so on. Then we added the specialist prepress software. Probably if we were still going today we would have added the web-related packages as well. They truly were a workhorse and represented very good ROI, even though they were more expensive than the average PC at the time. Additionally they required very little in the way of maintainence. Our IT guys barely had to touch them. I think we had one hard drive failure in 10 years.

    As other's have said, compatibility was the big issue. We had to be sure we could open any other designer or company's artwork without issue. Any conversion problems either led to A: huge time losses sorting it out or even worse, B: an unnoticed difference in the files causing several tons of print to go down the pan and all the associated losses. It wasn't worth considering.

    I am the creator and end user of all my artwork now, so I don't have issues like this, but I bet those in the industry still have cross-platform problems, especially with 'live' artwork.
  16. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    With OpenType and TrueType, there are no such problems anymore.
    The Adobe Suite is the same on both platforms. The QuarkXpress is the same on both platforms.
  17. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2008
    I've used PC's all my life until January this year.

    Since the switch:
    - I haven't had to worry about maintenance nearly as much
    - Adobe CS runs so much better especially since I'm usually finding myself with at least 2 of them open at the same time
    - I'm in love with the MBP screen and the ease of being able to switch to dual screen mode at home by plugging in a Mini-DP, USB and my power adapter
    - The fact that my 5.1 Logitech Z5300-E's work fully by just plugging the front channel plug into my headphone jack gets me everytime
    - The workflow in OSX is so much better, much more efficient
    - I can have large files open in two programs and my computer will not slow down nearly as much as a PC
    - As a designer, I look at my laptop everyday and appreciate the awesome design of the MacBook Pro. It doubles as sexy eyecandy and my best work friend.

    I still use PC's, just for games not design.
  18. covisio macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2007
    It depends what industry you're in. We had to take whatever artwork the customer provided. That could have been created on any platform, any version of software and with any font type, be it Type 1 or 2 Postscript, TrueType, Opentype or whatever. We weren't in a position to send it back, we had to deal with it. The majority of suppliers at the time used Macs and often Mac-only fonts. It would have been insane of us to start trying to use PCs at that point in time.

    I'm sure today that if I were to have the same version of software and the same OpenType fonts on a document everything would be fine going from Mac to PC or vice versa, but in reality how often does that happen?

    The OP was asking why Macs for design. The answer is "history". Today, there is no real reason apart from ease of use and comfort. The more comfortable you are with a system, the more work you will get done and the more creative you can be. Whether that's Mac or PC is up to you, but I wouldn't want to switch now.
  19. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    By far the large majority of places I've worked in, still have a substantial investment in a library of Mac Postscript Type 1 fonts. And I've dealt with enough cross-platform issues, particularly with libraries and books on publishing projects in both InDesign and Quark to know that things aren't necessarily as easy as painted.
  20. design-is macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    London / U.K.
    All the above are valid points, but above all, the most important thing from my opinion is as follows:

    If you work all day, every day, creating designs and layouts, then a Mac makes life easier and is quicker.

    I don't mean necessarily in processor speed, but they are so much easier to use once you're 'in the groove' compared to windows. Exposé for example is just one of the features that makes working on a Mac with multiple files so much easier and faster. And so far, you don't have to worry about viruses. Backup is easy with Time Machine. Almost everything works well (as opposed to Windows where almost every works badly). All the seconds, minutes and hours that the better OS saves you will prove invaluable.

    If you can afford to invest in a high end Mac, I recommend you do so. You won't be disappointed (well, it's very unlikely).
  21. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Of course. I understand that. But what will you (and others) do if one day Apple will announce, that they will not make computers anymore?

    That is why I am trying not to be dependent from one company.
  22. iCole macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    If Apple stops making computers (which will never happen since no iPod, iPhone, ... can function without a mac and you need a mac to create apps, but ok, if) The transition from MacOS to Windows isn't that hard. The only thing you need is your applications. Almost everything exists on Windows or will exist. Your documents can easily be migrated. And your old macs still can serve until they're dead. It isn't a disaster for a designer, but it would suck for sure, since i believe that MacOS is just way more fun to use.

    edit : besides, what makes you believe Windows will be around forever ;-)
  23. eponym macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2010
    That's an irrelevant issue for two main reasons:

    1) It's absurd. Apple won't suddenly stop making computers anymore for a million and 1 reasons.

    2) You're not being dependent on Apple (or MS) anyway. Your workflow is really dependent on the products from other parties. The fact that you're even considering more than one platform shows this. There is nothing to stop you from jumping back and forth unless you're using a really specific product. A PSD is a PSD. An OTF font file is an OTF font file.

    To address your original question: as many have said it's about history and proven track record. For a LONG time, the Mac platform was far and beyond the best platform for creative production. Largely for technological reasons and innovations. Take a look at Apple and Adobe's history. Postscript development and Adobe Illustrator. Photoshop's history—it was originally invented on a Mac by a student and was Mac-only for the first 4 years. Quark Xpress, which was a revolutionary app for page design, started on the Mac (and I've yet to ever see it running on Windows machine, even though it exists).

    It's easy to say "I can run XYZ on my PC..." now. But for the longest time, these premiere apps either didn't exist on windows or weren't as good as their Mac counterparts. Windows has been playing catch-up in this industry for two decades.

    And the last thing to note is the cultural differences. Windows and Mac OS are very much reflective of their parent company's culture. People who want to work (and will succeed) in the creative industry tend to notice and appreciate the little things. Macs have a style, an attention to detail. It says "we cared enough to think about this." It resonates with like-minded people. They like having an OS with a million little touches because it motivates them to take as much care in the product they're producing.

    Windows for the longest time has felt like a programmer's OS designed by a programmer (have you ever used Windows without ClearType?). Windows has historically focused on being able to go from point A to point B. And not giving a damn about how you get there.

    ...asleep yet?:D
  24. chatfan macrumors regular


    Nov 2, 2006
    in mah cribb yo
    0o0o0oo0.. the Amiga!

    That really started a lot of the things mac's are now famous for, including a multitasking multi threading multi user unix kernel with a GUI :)

    Still got a 4000 but I agreee, computers are tools.

    The main reason I own only mac's these days (ok and a few old Amiga's because they still RULE even with a 25mhz 68040!) is being compatible with my customers. Check possible client base, if they are Macheads, get a Mac, if not.. well still get one if you want a laptop :)



    There are more things I hate about mac's then I ever hated about my home build uber PC's but still would not want to go back. Finder sucks if you are used to Directory Opus. :eek:
  25. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    One big thing in the past was that you had to have your work in a certain file format when you sent it off to the printer

    Another big thing is Apple had things like color calibration that insured it looked the same on the screen as it did on paper

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