If you're planning on becoming a professional web designer there are some things you need, such as a computer, monitor and software. The equipment listed on this page is the minimum needed to get started as a web designer, along with some books that will help you build your skills and your business.
If you would rather see a Macintosh setup, I have that as well.
A thin and light laptop is one of the first things you should get to do web design work. If you get nothing else, you should get this. Don’t skimp on your laptop, you want one that will last and present a professional appearance. While you can look for a desktop replacement or ultraportable laptop, buying a budget laptop will only save you money in the short term. These laptops typically skimp on features, memory, hard drive space, or all three, and a budget laptop won’t last as long as a slightly more expensive thin and light.
You may think that because you have a laptop, you don’t need a monitor, and technically you don’t. But getting an external monitor gives you a lot more space to design your pages when in your office. You can connect your laptop to this monitor in a dual-screen setup and get even more bang for your buck. If the 22-inch monitor is too large or expensive, you should look at a 19-inch monitor, but I wouldn’t recommend going smaller than that. You can also look at 24-inch and 26-inch monitors. I don’t recommend getting a larger monitor until you’ve bought the rest of your setup.
When I first got a tablet, I thought I would use it only for drawing on the computer. But I was surprised at how useful it was for doing web design work. It works well to manipulate designs and as a mouse. I prefer using the tablet and pen to my laptop trackpad. There are many sizes of tablet, the 4.9” x 3.4” model is small but inexpensive.
Scanners are a useful tool for web designers because you can use them for more than just getting printed photos onto the web. I have scanned all types of things for web backgrounds, textures, and even icons. This is an inexpensive flatbed scanner that scans well above the required DPI for web design work.
A good, inexpensive digital camera can be invaluable when working as a web designer. It can be very impressive to a client if the design proposal you submit uses a photo of their exact building. The easiest way to do that is to take the photo yourself with the camera in your pocket. This camera is small, but has a lot of power (10 megapixels) and comes in several colors.
The other software that many beginners forget about or skimp on is graphics editing software. But buying a package like Photoshop will serve you for many many years without needing to upgrade.
Many web designers rely on Flash to create multimedia and dynamic websites. If these are the types of sites you want to build then you’ll need a copy of the software that creates it.