Are Tablets Beating PCs as the Designer’s Favorite?

Tablets might not be taking over all the bastions of traditional computing devices, but they are definitely making their presence felt in certain segments as they offer a better and lightweight alternative to relatively heavier and bulkier laptops. Today we take a look at whether tablets can become the device of choice for Graphic Design professionals.

Tablets And Graphic Design

Professional designers might not yet be migrating en masse to the tablet platform, but they are taking note of the advantages they offer.


Touch devices are more natural design tools then point and click devices like the mouse. Even with traditional PCs, graphic artists have preferred to use pressure sensitive touch pads and stylus pens as input devices. These accessories give a more natural feel to the artist as they are able to use their hands to draw directly on to a medium like they would do with sketch pads.

What Constitutes A Good Graphic Tablet?

Some of the things to consider while buying a tablet for design purposes are the stylus device, pressure sensitivity, screen size and screen resolution.

Pressure sensitivity is extremely important, as artists traditionally use varying pressures to create different effects like thick and thin strokes. Specialized graphic tablets are available in the market, with high touch sensitivity and high resolution screens.

While size of the screen is important, small screens can also be useful especially for initial rough sketches. Additionally, screen resolution and color depth are extremely important as these features help bring out the details and vibrancy in an image.

Software For Graphic Artists On Tablet Platforms

Although a computing device might come equipped with optimal hardware features for a specific need, without complementary software the device will be of no use.

Fortunately for designers, many software vendors have recognized the intuitive advantages offered by tablets to design professionals, and have developed a wide range of design apps optimized for Tablets. These include drawing programs and photo editing apps available for all major tablet platforms.

Drawing Apps

Various sketching apps on tablet platforms allow you to create stunning illustrations and creative doodles using the stylus that comes with the tablet.


The Sketchbook app offers a rich set of features for graphic artists, and is available for both iOS and Android platforms in free as well as paid versions.


Sketchbook provides a multi-touch interface, and is optimized for use with a stylus as well as without a stylus. The app has an uncluttered, simple and intuitive user interface that is easy to learn and use. It has a variety of brushes and pens, and allows users to work with multiple layers. It even supports multiple undo and redo functions.

Besides Sketchbook, there are many other similar apps available like Paperless, Artrage, Fresco Paint Pro etc.

Image Editing

If you are a photo or image editing professional, you’ll be happy to know that the tablet is attracting major vendors like Adobe. Photoshop Touch is a touch optimized image editor for smartphones and tablets that has the core features of Photoshop like image adjustments, effects and layers.


You can also choose good freeware apps like Snapseed and Pixlr Express to edit and correct your images. They offer the basic functionalities like brightness/contrast adjustment, and saturation adjustments. Besides these features, these apps also come with a huge set of effect filters.

Tablets For Graphic Designers

Software vendors have spotted the opportunity and are bringing out great graphic apps on the mobile platform. Are hardware vendors also taking note of this growing niche in tablet use?

Wacom Tablets

The Wacom Cintiq 24HD Pen Display and the Cintiq 12WX Pen Display are touchscreen devices that are optimized for graphic designers. The Cintiq 24HD sports a 24 inch screen, so it is not really a good size for a tablet. But the Cintiq 12WX is a device that has a rotatable 12.1 inch TFT screen, and comes with a stylus.

Samsung Note Tablets

Among mainstream tablets manufacturers, Samsung has set the trend in stylus input. Loaded with good drawing apps and editing apps, this device is a tablet that designers might want to check out. The Wacom technology based S Pen stylus that comes with the Note devices is extremely powerful and highly responsive.


The S Pen has a smooth ball point pen tip and is pressure sensitive up to 1024 levels deep. It allows variations in the thickness of strokes, and is a highly intuitive artistic device.

Designers Will Increasingly Shift To Tablets

Tablet PCs have come a long way in a short time, and are challenging many of the traditional PC strongholds. With their touch screen technology, multi-point touch display and stylus input options; they are now ready to become the device of choice for design professionals.

Many software vendors are observing this trend and releasing apps that can take advantage of it. Adobe photoshop is a prime example of an early adapter to the tablet platform among the major design software vendors. As more designers move to the mobile platform, it is likely other hardware and software vendors will begin to cater to this niche.