As designers, we are pressured and expected to keep up to date with all the latest computing and gadget technology, especially Apple related, but I’d like to write a few things about old tech, and its ‘job saving’ properties.
When I first set out as a freelance bid designer in 2008 my largest purchase was the most powerful laptop I could afford, and because I’d just left a corporate environment, it had to be a PC. It was the biggest and heaviest laptop I’d ever seen, with an accompanying rucksack that would have been at home on the back of a gap year student. Clients knew I meant business when I unfolded the giant screen, and it soon became known as ‘The Beast’.
The Beast stayed with me over the years but was eventually replaced by the more mainstream tools of the designer, and soon I was swallowed up by the Apple family. But The Beast still lives on and still helps us out every month.
Most of our clients are PC based so it’s vital that we keep a machine that talks the same language. The Beast is a clutter free computer running an old version of MS Office, and only one shared folder on Dropbox that we send files to. It’s saved the day on numerous occasions where clients have sent docs that won’t open on even the range-topping Apples, and it’s been brilliant to test out MS documents we have designed. The Beast is still the quickest to run PowerPoint.
So, as software and hardware develops, I’d still advise keeping an old tool in the cupboard. After all, what’s the point in designing on a beautiful retina screen, where even the smallest type is legible, when the output will be a PowerPoint shown on the oldest (client’s) projector in the land?