Tips For Optimizing Your Mac For Graphic Design

Tips For Optimizing Your Mac For Graphic Design

Graphic designers live in a different world when it comes to working. They don’t just need a device to create impressive stuff, but they need a machine that lets them unleash their creativity. Whether you are a seasoned graphic artist or have just started, you will probably know that Macs are the best for aspiring creative geniuses.

The brand’s history with designers dates back to the eighties when it was revered as a classic tool for them. Additionally, it has a reputation for rendering fonts better and delivering high-end user experiences. 

Creative people cannot resist the incredible look and feel of these premium devices. But these aren’t the only reasons why you should prefer Mac as a graphic designer.

It also offers opportunities to do more when it comes to improving the performance and functionality of creative initiatives.  Even as a beginner, you can take some simple measures to make your Mac designing-ready without much effort or expense.

Let us explain the steps you can implement to optimize your device for creating the best graphic designs.

Speed matters the most

Speed Mac

When it comes to creating graphic designs efficiently, the speed of your device matters the most. Working with a slow Mac can be frustrating because it can hamper your productivity, which is the last thing that creative artists want to deal with.

You can imagine how challenging things can get when your workflow gets disrupted in the middle of the task. You will probably lose the design idea floating in your head as device performance will be the top concern at such moments.

If you are serious about optimizing your Mac for design projects, you must have a performance boost on top of your mind. We will share a checklist of performance-boosting tips now. 

Upgrade your RAM

Upgrade RAM

Your Mac’s performance depends on its random access memory, so it is the first thing you must check before getting started with your design projects.

You will get into a fix if your device lacks sufficient capacity because it will not render at high speed. If running an old machine, there are chances that it may have slowed over the years with the accumulation of data and applications. 

Fortunately, swapping out your RAM does not require a lot of work, but it can make a remarkable difference to your Mac’s speed. If you plan to buy a new device, look for high RAM configurations like 32 GB.

You will also not have to spend a fortune on upgrading it for an old computer. Once you are done, it will be a lot easier to multitask as you switch between apps and browsers.

Update your OS and tools

 os mac

Graphic designers need to operate with sufficient RAM configurations. But you also have to be extra careful about running the latest version of the operating system. Apple keeps bringing frequent OS updates that offer performance improvements and address security issues of the previous versions.

Updating your OS as and when there is a new one is your best bet. You should also run the latest versions of the software tools you use for your design tasks.

It is easy to update your Mac, and you can handle it without professional help. The same goes for software tools. While moving to the latest versions will bring a significant boost to your device performance, you will probably have to get a hardware upgrade if updates do not help much.

Further, the device you are using may not support a specific update, so you may have to look for a replacement if it is outdated. 

Disable resource-intensive applications

Graphic designing involves heavy resource requirements, so you will need to free up your Mac by eliminating the other resource-hungry apps from it. Such apps can impede your work as they end up using a significant percentage of your CPU and slowing down your system.

You can expect to face glitches when there is excessive pressure on the CPU. It makes sense to be selective and stick to your design tools rather than waste your device resources on apps that deliver no value.

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It is easy to identify these applications using the Activity Monitor. You can find it in the utility folder in Applications. Once you are there, you can see the applications that seem to be the heaviest.

Just highlight them with your mouse and close them by clicking on the cross sign in the Activity Monitor. Your system resources will be free to make the design tasks smoother and easier. 

Clean your Mac regularly

Clean Mac

Perhaps the simplest way to speed up your Mac is to invest in a regular cleanup. Whether you use the device for graphic designing, gaming, or even working on Word files, regular cleaning keeps it in top shape. The first cleanup step is to check out your cache because cache data can take up lots of storage space.

As it swells over time, a full cache can bring a significant slowdown in the device’s speed. Clearing the cache data will take only a few minutes, but it can help you get far better performance and designing compatibility.

It is equally vital to clean the junk from your device because it could be a reason why your Mac’s performance may not be keeping up with expectations.

Go through your hardware regularly and get rid of junk such as large and old files, unnecessary apps, logs, and hidden trash. Make it a routine you must follow every couple of weeks because you require a lot of space to store your designs. 

Declutter the desktop

Declutter Mac

A regular cleanup job isn’t enough to completely purge your Mac and make it ready for graphic designs. You also need to declutter the desktop to make the device perform faster and better. Most designers struggle with desktop clutter because you may save file versions after design changes here.

It is easier to access files from the desktop, but the icons take up RAM space. It is best to have a minimum number of icons on the desktop to conserve your RAM for more crucial tasks.

Just doing a bit to keep your Mac’s desktop clean and organized can take you a long way in terms of speed and performance. Start by deleting the unused icons and organize your files and folders neatly in Desktop Stacks. You can save then files in cloud storage rather than leaving them on the desktop.

The benefit of these steps goes beyond speeding up the device. You also get an aesthetic advantage for your screen space, which is great for designers who always crave inspiration as they get down to work. 

Manage the startup items 


If your Mac has unnecessary apps that launch whenever you start it, you can get into trouble while using it for graphic designing. Redundant startup items can be the main reason for the device losing out on its performance.

But you often end up having many of them over time, even without the intention of using them. A conscious effort to get rid of such items can take you a long way.

Click on the System Preferences to check the startup items on your Mac. Select the ones you do not need when the device starts and clear them out from the startup items list. Also, be judicious about adding new ones. You will see that your device works a lot better without them.

Delete extensions and add-ons 

mac extensions and add-ons

Another hard-to-avoid habit is to accumulate browser add-ons and extensions on your browser over time. While these are useful tools and serve a purpose, having too many of them can overload the browsers.

You may lose out on browsing speed eventually, which can be a big problem for graphic designers who need to access different sites in the course of daily tasks. 

While you must pick only the add-ons and extensions that you really intend to use, it is also important to check the existing ones and delete those you do not require.

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Steer clear of the habit of opening too many browser tabs simultaneously. Close the ones you do not need, and you can work seamlessly on designs.

Restrict Mac’s visual 

Graphic designers love Mac devices because they are great for visuals, but you need to follow the rule of less is more to get the best out of these features. Restricting the visuals can go a long way in boosting the device’s performance. But make sure that these changes do not affect your design work in terms of quality and ease.

Consider being selective with custom effects because they can interfere with speed even if they help you to add superior textures or make the designs more realistic.

These settings can hog the system’s resources and slow it down. Weigh the benefits of using these effects against the cost of performance slowdowns. You will be able to choose better or apply them only when you genuinely need to. 

Understand the best configuration for graphic design

mac configuration

While following these tips for Mac optimization for graphic design can help a lot, you cannot go slack with the right configuration. Here are some factors that you can consider for picking a device compatible with your needs. 

  • Professional applications and tools for graphic designers focus on illustration, 3D, and interface design. All of these take up a lot of RAM, so you will need a Mac device with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. But it always makes sense to opt for the highest possible RAM you can afford in your budget. It is best to look for a model you can easily upgrade later, depending on your evolving needs. 
  • When it comes to internal SSD storage, you will require at least 256GB to sustain high-resolution images and graphics on your internal disk. A solid-state drive is a better alternative to a hard drive. Apple products are sealed units, so you cannot replace a drive later. It is best to get ample space right at the start. Alternatively, you can have an external drive for additional storage.
  • Graphic design applications do not hog as much processing power as video editing software. A 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5 CPU will be enough for your graphic design requirements. 
  • Another hardware element that you cannot miss out on is a graphics card with adequate RAM. You may also consider one compatible with an eGPU. Most MacBook Airs and older models have integrated GPU, which can slow down the system while doing graphics projects. It is better to use newer models to overcome this disadvantage. 
  • Graphic designers should also look for ports before finalizing the Mac model. You will probably have to connect your device with a tablet and peripherals while working. A computer with at least two Thunderbolt 3s is ideal for the job.
  • Display matters the most when you plan to use a device for designing. Larger monitors promise a better workflow because you have more screen space to work on. However, the resolution is equally important if you want to create the best designs. Look for at least 1280×800 for the best outcomes. You need not worry about pixel density with a Mac because any model is better than regular laptops in this area. 

If you plan to buy a new Mac for graphic designing, these specifications can help you make the best pick. You may need to spend a little extra, but it will be a great asset for those who want to pursue the profession for the long haul.

Hardware upgrades are an ideal option for users who want to use the Mac they already own for the next projects.

Graphic designers who own a Mac or plan to buy one have a clear advantage over the PC users. Macs excel for design work because they have in-built features that match your needs and expectations, provided that you pick the right model.

Also, a few measures to optimize its performance can help you get much better with your creative talent. So go ahead and start creating the most incredible designs with your Mac! 

Charlie has been building WordPress themes, reviewing web hosts and utilizing social media since their respective inceptions.

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