So you want to pursue your dream of becoming a graphic designer. If you’ve already started taking classes (or following online tutorials) on 3DS max or blender, then you’ve probably already realized how important it is to get the best keyboard for graphic design.
Choosing a keyboard may seem difficult at first, but we’re here to help. By the end of this article, you should be able to pick one right off the shelf that will be perfect for your specific needs.
Why Do Graphic Designers Need Special Keyboards?
When most people think of graphic design, they imagine that there is a lot of drawing and sketching involved. While that may be true for many graphic designers, most designers use their keyboards and a mouse to create their masterpieces.
But, why won’t a regular keyboard suffice? There are several reasons that you’d want to get a different keyboard if you intend on getting serious about graphic designing. Let’s go over a few of the most common.
The workload that graphic designers face is enormous—and they need to organize their time and get more productive. Once you get the hang of graphic design, you’ll realize how important hotkeys and shortcuts are to making your life a hell of a lot easier.
Specialized keyboards used in the industry generally come with a lot of features aimed at streamlining the work process and allowing designers to be more productive.
Sitting around at your desk for hours on end trying to get the perfect angle when designing a humanoid creature on 3D graphics software is bound to give you some pain—and carpal tunnel syndrome is no joke. An ergonomic keyboard will help you keep your wrists and fingers healthy and protect you from injury.
Not just that—ergonomic keyboards have been proven to help you work for longer stretches of time without discomfort. That’s a double win in our book.
Another benefit of having a specialized keyboard for graphic design is that you will be able to complete tasks more efficiently. Of course, if that gives you more time to focus on what’s important—creativity.
Last but not least, the aesthetic appeal of some keyboards is enough to persuade many people to go ahead and buy them instead of standard models. This is more important in gaming culture, but it is still significant in the graphic design industry.
What To Look For In The Best Keyboard For Graphic Design
Before we move on to our review of the best options we found OTM, we think it’s best to guide you on how to shop for a keyboard suitable for graphic design.
There’s a lot to consider, but don’t worry, we’ll make it simple. By the end of this section, buying a keyboard should be a piece of cake. So here’s what you’ve got to look for:
Check Out The Keystrokes
One of the most overlooked features of a keyboard is incidentally one of the most important. It’s best to get the feel of the keyboard, try it out yourself.
Remember the older keyboards that felt very much like a typewriter. Even though designing doesn’t require as much typing as other jobs, continuously using a keyboard that isn’t soft enough will put a strain on your fingers.
So, make sure the keystrokes don’t need too much pressure.
Function Keys Are Your Friend
Most graphic design programs require a lot of repetitive actions, and it’s always better to use any type of shortcut you can. Sure, you can use a combination of keystrokes as hotkeys, but function keys are even more convenient.
Getting a keyboard with extra function keys can help you work faster and be more productive.
Ergonomics, Ergonomics, Ergonomics
We can’t stress this enough—in fact, a keyboard with no ergonomics will stress your fingers and wrist. But don’t believe what the label says. Do your research before committing to a purchase.
The best thing you can do is actually try out the keyboard in real life because even reading reviews from real customers won’t compare to getting a feel of it on your own. What makes a keyboard ergonomic? More than a few things.
Padded areas, a longer or shorter keyboard, a unique design, keystrokes, adjustable inclines—all these are factors that contribute to the ergonomics of a keyboard. Because they vary so much, trying it out yourself is the only surefire way to figure out if you’re comfortable using the keyboard.
A Review Of The Best Options On The Market
Apple Wireless Magic Keyboard 2
Don’t judge us because the first one on our list is an Apple product—we’re not blindly following the crowd. The truth is, the Magic Keyboard is an excellent all-purpose keyboard, and this list wouldn’t be complete without it.
Fully compatible with Mac or Windows, this wireless keyboard is ergonomic and feature-rich. Note that if you’re not used to the “CMD” buttons instead of “CTRL”, it only takes a while to get used to it.
The key layout is also significantly different from previous models, whereby the keys are generally larger. Some keys (such as the escape button) are elongated, making them more accessible.
The best feature? It only takes a couple of minutes to charge it and you’re good to go for an entire day’s worth of work. That means you can comfortably use the keyboard wherever you are.
Most of the time you’ll find this keyboard already packaged with a Magic Mouse 2, which is another standard computer accessory that many graphic designers love to use. If you’re running a Mac, then everything syncs together seamlessly and there’s no hassle in using it.
The Magic Keyboard 2 feels incredibly soft when you’re typing, as the manufacturers have designed the keys with a mechanism to improve keystrokes. In the world of wireless keyboards, this is king.
Did we mention that it looks good? We all know how sleek and aesthetically pleasing Apple products are in general, and this device is no exception to that rule.
However, it’s worth mentioning that this product is more expensive than similar devices in this category (as you’d expect from Apple—we all know better than to look for affordability from them by now). Also, we would have preferred if the keyboard was backlit but that isn’t an issue for some people.
- Sleek and visually pleasing
- Ergonomic design
- Comfortable typing
- Large keys
- Excellent battery life
- Easy syncing with Mac products
- No backlight
- Some may not be comfortable with keyboard layout
Logitech Craft Advanced Wireless Keyboard
If you’re looking for a versatile option with a lot of potential for customization, this is the keyboard for you. As a graphic designer, you’ll find that you need to operate a wide variety of software and the use of hotkeys as well as other shortcuts will help you work faster.
The Logitech Craft comes with a unique input dial at the top left-hand corner, which you can customize to perform a variety of different functions. That’s one of the most useful features we’ve seen in a computer accessory —ever.
What can you do with the input dial? You can add functions that you use regularly so that it acts as a shortcut for you. Additionally, the dial can be customized with different profiles for different software. So if you’re using Blender it can be used for a few shortcuts, and when you switch over to Adobe Photoshop it can perform entirely different functions.
Not convinced yet? Even though there isn’t any sign of a wrist pad on this keyboard, it’s low and comfortable to use. The keys are soft and silent and the matte curved surface of the keys makes them much easier to use for typing or other purposes.
We found that the keyboard is relatively ergonomic, especially given the spacing between keys. It may be black, but it doesn’t look standard at all. There’s something sleek and good-looking about this model, especially with the backlighting.
Of course, a backlit keyboard will help you work your way through the night when you’re on a roll. Did we mention that it comes with a numeric pad, which makes it even more convenient to use.
What else can you expect from the Logitech Craft? Although we would have liked to see a custom incline, the 4-degree incline is sufficient for most people. You can expect a great typing experience, and you can connect your keyboard to up to 3 devices at once (using wireless). You can also use Bluetooth if wireless is not an option.
All this is to say that this model is an excellent option and deserves a spot on our list of the best keyboard for graphic design.
- Ergonomic, low keyboard
- 4-degree incline
- Silent typing
- Scissor keys for easy keystrokes
- Customizable input dial
- Wireless and Bluetooth versatility
- Incline can’t be customized
Kensington Pro Fit Ergonomic Wireless Keyboard
Now, this is truly an example of the use of ergonomics in design. The Kensington Pro Fit may look awkward at first, with its angled shape—but that’s a key to making it ergonomically designed. It also has a padded area for your wrists.
And that’s not all.
The keyboard has a customizable incline—that means you can adjust the tilt of your keyboard both ways according to your needs. In case you didn’t know, that makes it possible to alight your wrists as comfortably as possible to avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome or other discomfort from prolonged use.
Add the fact that the keys are completely silent, and you’ve got a winning combination. Also, we found that it is compatible with most (if not all) devices and operating systems. You can connect via the wireless USB receiver, or use Bluetooth.
You don’t even need to bother charging it! A couple of AA batteries will do the trick, and that’s very convenient. Also, there’s a battery-saving mode to prolong battery life, so you don’t need to be rummaging in your kitchen in the middle of the night for extra batteries.
In terms of extra features, we find that the hotkeys come in handy for graphic design, but that’s the extent of customization you get.
We would have preferred it to be backlit, but that’s a minor flaw. Our major concern is with the quality of the keyboard. We’d say you get what you pay for here because it leans towards the cheaper build quality.
- Fully ergonomic design
- Wrist pad
- Adjustable incline
- Compatibility with multiple devices
- Cheap quality
- No backlighting
For fans of mechanical keyboards (like the old-school type), this is the ideal option. You can choose between clicky, tactile, or smooth linear when you buy this keyboard. Everyone has their preference when it comes to keystrokes, so Keychron decided to cater to that specifically.
Technically it isn’t designed to be ergonomic. However, for many people, a mechanical keyboard is more comfortable. Keep in mind that you won’t get silent typing, but that’s to be expected.
We also included this model in our search for the best keyboard for graphic design because of one feature we particularly liked—it’s both wired and wireless. That means you can use it wirelessly via Bluetooth, where you have the option of pairing with up to three devices and switching between them as needed. You can also use the wireless USB receiver.
Still, if you feel that battery life will be an issue (it usually isn’t), you can use it via a wired connection. That’s versatility at its best.
The backlighting gives it an aesthetic appeal that goes well with the aluminum body.
- Choice of keystroke type
- Wired and wireless
- Not silent
- Not really ergonomic
Conclusion: The Best Keyboard For Graphic Design
That sums up our search for the best keyboard for graphic design. We hope you found our review informative, and it will help you the next time you’re in the market for a new keyboard.
Whether you’re a graphic designer or not, a keyboard is likely to play a crucial role in your work process, so pick wisely. Our top pick is between the Apple Magic keyboard 2 and the Logitech Craft, as we’ve mentioned earlier.