How to Set Up Your Web Designer Office

What Equipment is Vital and What Can Be Eliminated?

The Minimum Equipment for a Web Design Freelancer

If you're going to get started as a freelance Web designer, there are a few things you must have to do the job:

  • A computer
    It can be Macintosh or Windows, or even Linux. I worked for 9 years on Windows and then switched to Macintosh. There are benefits to both, pick the system that you feel most comfortable with.
  • HTML editor
    It doesn't matter how much or how little you spend on your Web editor. Dreamweaver is one of the most popular tools used by professional freelancers. But you can use a free editor like Kompozer or even a text editor inside your OS like Text Edit or Notepad. The best way to find the perfect Web editor for you is to fill in my questionnaire.
  • Graphics editor
    Even if you're going to use all clip art or photos for your sites, you'll want a graphics editor to do things like change the file size and optimize the images. There are lots of free and online options for graphics software. You aren't limited to buying Photoshop. The best place to find the graphics tool that meets your needs is the Graphics Software site at About.com.

Once you have those three items, you'll have the minimum set up to do Web design freelancing. But there are other things I would recommend you get to help make your work easier.

Office Equipment for Freelance Web Designers

If you have a laptop, you can work almost anywhere. But most people find that having a specific place to work every day is more productive. These office fixtures will help you do your work:

  • A desk
    This can be as simple as a board on top of sawhorses or as elaborate as you want to spend. But you want it to be tall enough that you aren't looking down at your monitor and your hands can reach the keyboard without getting carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • A chair
    I've tried many different types of chairs from those strange kneeling chairs to exercise balls and standard wooden chairs. But the chair I've had for the last 9 years is the Aeron chair. I have a green one. This is the best chair I've ever sat in. If you're looking for a new office chair, you should consider this chair. It's very comfortable and very adjustable. And if you buy online, you can get one in many other colors than just black. Compare Prices on the Aeron Chair.

    Ergonomics are important for Web designers as we sit at our desk for long periods of time. Once you've chosen your desk and chair, you should follow the Guide to Setting Up an Ergonomic Computer Station on the Ergonomics site at About.com.

    Your Freelancing Business Identity

    Your business identity is the logo and color scheme your business uses to differentiate itself from other businesses. This consists of:

    Other Software for the Web Design Freelancer

    There are lots of software packages out there that are of use. In fact, anything you can write down on paper probably has a software package to do it for you. Some of the software I use includes:

    Other Electronics a Freelance Web Designer Might Need

    Finally, you might want some other electronics to make your life easier. Some of the electronics that are in my office include:

    • A printers/scanner
    • External hard drive for backups
    • Wacom tablet
    • Cell phone or land line phone

    Remember that you don't need everything on this list to be a freelancer. Start with the minimum and add things on as they become necessary or you have the money and want to buy them.