Let's talk about – Tools of the Craft

Photography by Iris Zhou

Photography by Iris Zhou


I once watched a video that made the bold proclamation:

“I can do my entire job on my phone.”

Ok, I thought, you can email obviously. I guess you can take photos too. But what about all the files people work on, the documents, the images, the spreadsheets? All of that is really just on your tiny little mobile device?

In that particular case, the answer was yes. The video maker explained that he used email to delegate and provide feedback, social media for his marketing, and phone calls to communicate with his team when needed. That particular job fir perfectly with the functions of the phone, and I couldn’t think of many other jobs that could.

Creative fields, especially, tend towards the tools. From art supplies to camera equipment to Adobe programs, it seems every creative has their own kit that is key to the making of their art.

When it came to design, I always thought I needed those Adobe programs. When I didn’t have the heart to go buy another month of their subscription, I began messing around with the tools that were already on my computer. Generic programs like PowerPoint and the Pages program on my MacBook were surprising me over and over again with the creative tools they offered. May not be conventional, but you’d be surprised too by the number of graphics I’ve made through these free. :)

Tools can often serve as a gatekeeper that prevents young creatives from doing the projects or executing the ideas they have in mind. Programs and equipment can be exponential in price and many creatives are forced to get, well, creative. It’s a hard situation to be in and I’m always happy to see community programs pop up that offer equipment rentals, shared spaces, and more.

For you: what tools do you use for your creative work? What do you deem essential? What has surprised you in being inessential?