Asking employer for new and better design tools

I was curious if some of the professionals could share their expierence asking for new and better design tools.

I recently started a new job at a company that has had product designers in the past, but hired me because i can bring an added level of aesthetic beauty to their product line that they’ve never really had. I don’t want to be the “new guy” who expects all of this new equipment. It ranges from things like drawing utensils to color printer and I even see a real value in a cintiq.

I’d love to make my work area more creative and inspirational at some point as well. What advice do you have for reaching these goals without rubbing people the wrong way. This company is smaller and family owned, i report almost directly to the owner.


You don’t have color printers in Wisonsin ? ;=)
Welcome to the board Ryan:

I’D taccle that one through an “investment plan”. Maybe nobody there even ever
thought of what a professional design studio looks like. You’ll certainly won’t compete
with Pininfarina, but a modest equipment should be there and I bet the owner will
understand, if you can show him what is needed and why.

How you put together your plan needs to be taylored to the situation and the temper
of the guy who runs the show.


Another good thing to do is to make different price groups of equipment that you need. Make the dream option and how much that will cost and then do one or two more realistic options. Make sure to say define what the benefits are with each option. Like if you really want a cintiq make sure to say why it is worth the money for the employer to invest in it.

For the look of the studio you should be able to change things as long as it does not cost any money. What we do were I currently work is we bring are own things in. Some guys have designer toys on there desk. Some will bring a desk lamp that they really like.

We also just reorganized the studio and moved our desk round. Which has really been awesome we now all really like were we are siting now. It was a lot of work to move everything and getting every one on the same page but the end result is a much better and productive studio.

If the company is small enough, you should be able to articulate the value - but don’t try to BS anything just to get some nice hardware. I’ve had people come to me and tell me they neededa $10,000 Mac Pro, when in reality they just really wanted a $10,000 Mac Pro, but could’ve accomplished the same work on a base Mac that was 1/5th the cost.

A Cintiq may be the same way - depending on budgets, you may want to see if you can pick up something similar to demonstrate the value (a used tablet PC for example) to show how having it will benefit your productivity and us that as a selling point.

For customizing your workspace, that shouldn’t be an issue as long as you don’t get in other peoples faces. Don’t demand you need beads hanging around your cubicle, but if you want to improve the lighting, ergonomics, or just the space layout that should be pretty easy to sell.

Some good points above. The key here is to communicate the value. What will the company gain from you having better equipment? Just you having cool toys is not worth it. If you are asking for Cintiq then communicate how you will be able to sketch digitally and can eliminate steps. If you need a new printer, what is it going to bring to the business? We get it as designers. We know that better tools improve efficiencies and output, but to a business person this may not be apparent.

As far as you space goes…your a designer, be creative, but also figure out a way to engage others. I used to sit in a team of all engineers as a lone ID. I got lucky as my desk was right next to a white board. I looked at that as an opportunity to seed design in their minds. I sketched on the board, posted sketches, research, moodboards, scenarios, and so on. What this did was not only keep me engaged and surround myself with inspiration, but engaged others. Never under estimate the power of just showing other what we do.

I guess the theme here is that the best way to get what you want is to bring others along with you.


Edit: Wacom in the past would give out loaner Cintiqs for 30 days. That is how I sold the value into our business. You might want to check it out.