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Feb 28, 2008


Rob Mortimer

Designers are more productive on Macs

Less cost to fix errors or change hardware setups

Generally more future proof

Better resale value at end of business life

Katharine Taylor

Macs last much longer.

You have fewer conflicts with printers and other designers who are likely to use Macs.

Safer online when you are download tons of stuff like stock photos (also saves money on virus protection software).

More stable and dependable OS (important when you are running high-memory usage graphics software).

More customizable and efficient GUI for a designer's needs.

Already comes with utilities like Font Book to help designers organize files (I hate Font Book, but don't tell him that).

Steve O

Being a designer AND a bit of a techy nerd, I know that either machine is equally capable of doing the job at hand. Macs just feel better and call to our designer souls. I use a PC for freelance work due to costs (more punch per pound with a Windows machine), but I'd buy a Mac tomorrow if I could justify it. Although I have issues with some of the comments above, they can all be used as leverage on your boss. They are easier to set-up, run out of the box and keep secure. The best argument is Apple's high build quality - they use the best of everything.


the mac/pc debate is totally outdated. for designers these days, beyond personal preference there are no differences significant enough to warrant a strong stance on either side.

in the case of this organization, they will likely be making a bulk buy of computers, software and licenses, so it seems as though going all pc is in their best interest. if they are attached to a charity, cost is going to be a big issue, and macs are simply more expensive.

as for the common misconceptions & arguments against using pcs:

myth: pcs are prone to viruses
fact: any competent user can avoid getting a virus. if your computer has anti-virus software (and there are some great free anti-virus offerings) and if you have 2 brain cells to rub together, the chances of you getting a virus are almost zero.

myth: pcs crash all the time
fact: just like macs, pcs haven't been crash-prone for over a decade. technology has improved on both platforms. if people want to base criticisms of pcs on windows 95, then they should be fair and allow others to base criticisms of macs on os7.

myth: pcs are ugly grey boxes
fact: there are some hot looking pcs on the market these days, and none of them are grey. if you want a flashy-looking pc, there are tons of options. if you want to build a custom pc (which for many people is a great option) you can make your pc look however you want it to look. something you can't do with a mac. and I personally haven't seen a "grey box" in years. where do people come up with this stuff?

myth: the user interface isn't as easy to use
fact: it's only hard for you because you're not familiar with it. like switching between freehand and illustrator, or between quark and indesign, there will be some differences in how things are handled or where they are found, but claiming they are "too hard to master" just makes you look silly. and sophistication in interface isn't always a bad thing. not everyone wants things to be childlike and glossy. many power-users will tell you that pcs handling of file management, devices, etc is much more powerful and gives the user more control.

myth: pcs are more expensive to upgrade and fix
fact: whaaa? hello - any upgrade or repair one needs to make on a pc can almost always be done by oneself - often for little to no outlay of cash. if your video card is fried, you can buy a new one and throw it in there. if your dvd drive is failing, ditto that. this simply isn't true of macs.

there are likely a lot more arguments I am forgetting, but my point is, getting over the disdain you have for pcs might be a better route to take than trying to finagle the organization you work with into getting you a pretty box for your desk. it's in your interest to be able to work with both macs and pcs. I am infinitely glad I am able to do both. it means I can walk into any studio and hop on any machine and be perfectly at home.

when dealing with personal purchases, it's great to have a choice. then "going with your heart" is one of the options you have. but when dealing with an organization that has business interests to keep in mind, it's a bit disingenuous to go looking for arguments where there really are none.


having just moved from a mac to pc environment, one important factor that i've noticed is that macs are far more keyboard based with a range of intuitive shortcuts for navigating. which means no nasty mouse-to-keyboard RSI strains. after 4 weeks in a pc environment, i've alread had to take half a day off work in order to go to the physio for the first time in 10 years and my boss in the proccess of ordering new lumbar-support chairs and wrist pad doovalackies.
in terms of business interests, the cost of the computer and techno peripherals may be lower, but the cost of personnel time and OHS investment outweighs the savings.


lauren: the problem isn't with the pc, it's with you - in that you simply don't know how to use it yet. anything you can do on a pc, you can do without a mouse. my advice is to learn the many intuitive keyboard shortcuts that exist for the pc. in most cases they are similar/identical to the mac shortcuts.

Dave Potter

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments (was my post). And I guess you're probably right that I'm going to struggle to find a clinching reason why we should switch. However as a designer who uses PCs at work, and has been using Macs for years at home (and uni before that) I know I am much happier and more comfortable on the Mac - and I guess if I can find enough small reasons, and argue passionately enough, I might just get my way.

martyn reding

In my opinion. Apple products are a far better investment, whenever i've been in similar situations i simple win out by logging all the time spent dealinng viruses, crashes, slow processing etc and show how that adds up to more than the initial price difference.

pc will be cheaper up front, but it won't last as long and will cost time and money to maintain. apple desktops are more expensive, but generally last longer and need far less attention.

in my opinion.


martyn: again, these are a bunch of common misconceptions. the reality is that on any current pc, "viruses, crashes, slow processing etc" are not going to be an issue, nor do pcs have a shorter shelf life. as with any current computer of either platform, the need to upgrade will come long before the demise of your system.

and I'm constantly amazed that mac-exclusive users genuinely believe that pcs are more expensive to maintain. upgrades are waaaaaay cheaper, and repairs are infinitely more convenient and inexpensive, considering how easy these things are to do oneself. if you really believe that macs are so problem-free, I invite you to check out any of the hundreds of mac troubleshooting forums online. the fact is, if pcs really were as inferior as you claim, they wouldn't have nearly the market share they do. people have become extremely sophisticated shoppers these days.

dave: if you really feel that strongly about using a mac at work (and I know how little things like preference can make a difference to our enjoyment of a thing), then why not simply say, "I'm happier and more productive working on a mac" rather than trying to contrive arguments? your employer should be interested in your comfort, productivity and happiness, so if you're just honest, you may find that's all it really takes.

Vicki Brown

I use a mac at work, which is great, but make sure you get the maximum RAM you possibly can. I have a 64 bit PC at home running Vista, and while I'm sure it'll get better, it's very clunky. iTunes just hates it and corrupts all the time (and we all know that iTunes IS the most important program). No XP scanners etc work with it, even sometimes with supposedly updated drivers. I don't use design software as intensively on it as I do at work, but I use it enough to know that it's similarly unhappy. If you do end up with another PC, just do a ton of research first.


"i simple win out by logging all the time spent dealinng viruses, crashes, slow processing etc and show how that adds up to more than the initial price difference."

I'd say this would be true, if you were to buy a cheap generic brand out of the box windows machine. You pay cheap; you get crap. The price associated with an Apple is the brand and actually some good internal components. You can only compare productivity on similar specced machines.

If you were to spend the same money on good components for a Windows based machine you would have as good if not better computer. You wouldn't be paying for the brand and depending on how much of the computer you are able to assemble yourself that would be extra money for better parts.

The virus issue... well I can't blame anyone but the user. If you're going to fly a plane, you should know how before getting in or yes you will crash it... Don't open spam emails selling you viagra.


The computer is nothing more than a tool. Although a carpenter may have preferences, he/she would be just as skilled no matter what hammer or nail he/she wielded.

If your operating system is preventing you from accomplishing the task at hand (design or otherwise) maybe you need to re-evaluate your career choice. The software on both platforms is virtually identical (adobe suite etc), aside from that the hardware itself is also virtually the same.

That said, you weren't asking for reasons why to avoid apple, you were looking for support. So here are something you can use:

Apple products (as mentioned previously) appeal to the designer in us. They are clean, slick, shiny and designed well. Since you're in a design environment, a tool that appeals to the designer in you could potentially increase moral and therefore productivity. Productive workers increase the bottom line.

Furthermore, when clients enter your office you need to create a professional first impression on them. Apple products make this first impression. Think of it like entering a showroom for a new home. They showcase what appears to be only the best and it sells. Like it or not people can be so shallow as to base their decision on nothing more than simple aesthetics. If you earned even a couple clients this way the machines have more than paid for themselves (depending on your client base). Impressed clients increase the bottom line.

We have both apple and windows machines in our studio, for the record.

Jacob Cass

There was a 4 page article about this in the latest Aussie Desktop graphic design mag. The final verdict was Mac however I am a true PC fan.


How do you ever get to designing on a computer when it takes a good 3 days for all of the start up programs to load?

No, seriously. A tool is a tool...it doesn't define the person. I just recently switched to Mac exclusively and I can say it is more of a zen experience, but thats just me.


I've been pretty lucky. In an otherwise entirely PC-based organisation, I get to work on a Mac. The reason I've got one is that our web team needed to test our new site on Safari, so they bought the highest spec iMac they could find (!) and after a couple of weeks they didn't need it any more so were going to put it back in it's box (!!). I don't think I've ever pounced on anything so fast.


Why should it matter? The hardware is identical and last time I checked the apps we all use were available for both Mac OS X and for Windows.

I do not really buy the argument that Macs create a more professional business presentation.

My own preference is for Windows just simply because of the fact it's what I already know and I can use it 100% faster than I can OS X. I also hate the fact the Apple refuses to release their OS for non-Apple PCs. Yes, I could get a hold of a modded version of it but I prefer to remain legit. Security is a non-issue because I am proactive in my malware solutions by running regular scans during downtime.

I also dislike the Apple Tax which Mac users pay for Apple's hardware.

some one

Good God! Who really cares what they're using. If you were so adjusted to Mac interface, then why did you switch in the first place. Remember also that Mac users are less compatible, and if you are in a company in which you must be able to easily share files, you cannot have one person using one type of computer and the rest of the people using a different one. Quite frankly, a Mac will cost more than a PC, regardless of "time spent with viruses, freezing, etc." 'cause guess what? Buying a new computer is more expensive than using one that's already bought. As you say that you are a designer I assume that you are a graphic designer. Macs may look pretty, but Photoshop and other software are the same, regardless of whether you use Mac or PC. I think that you are trying to justify your desire for a Mac with unselfish reasons, rather than the most likely true causes of "I want to be different" and "I think Mac computer hardware looks better, I want a Mac"


I'm a graphic designer who works on a PC, and It shocks me how many people still think you can't create the same things on a PC that you do on a Mac. HELLOOOO...? It is the same software! HELLOOOO...I saved a butt load buying a PC, have never had a virus or major crash, and know tons of keyboard shortcuts.I even have my 5 button mouse programmed with the ones I use the most often. I love it.

I've worked on both machines and find I can do the same work on either. Sure I'm better at the PC now cuz I've logged more time on it, but that is true of working on any machine. PC is great for me because I deal with emailing so many clients files who are on PCs-contracts, art files,proofs and photos. But with most printers accepting .eps and high resolution .pdfs I'm happy on my PC.

Good luck with your mission for a Mac. If you work better, are more productive, and are just happier on a Mac, I hope you get one. But I hope you won't be a Mac Snob and act like the MAC is the only thing for worthwhile designers to work on. Because it is simply not true.

Just be glad you can use both. Not everyone can, and that could limit their future opportunities.

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