The Designer’s Survival Kit

Part of being a freelance designer is not always knowing where your next job, or next flash of inspiration is coming from. It always pays to be prepared.


  1. CONTAINER – Start with a sturdy tin that’s small enough to carry with you, but large enough to contain things you need. You want something that isn’t a hassle to carry with you.
  2. MASKING TAPE – Some people may not agree that you need this, but as a creative, I find it incredibly useful to keep handy.
  3. ERASER – Always useful in case of mistakes.
  4. POST-ITS – Useful for annotating your sketchbook or paperwork which a client gives you.
  5. MINI POST-ITS – If you have room for these too, they will come in handy for use as bookmarks in document etc.
  6. SKETCHBOOK – Probably one of the most useful items. It will allow you to take notes, and even sketch ideas and things which inspire you.
  7. HIGHLIGHTER – Useful for it’s intended purpose. When clients hand you paperwork you can quickly highlight important parts.
  8. PERMANENT MARKER – You never know when you might need one, but useful for writing on something which a regular pen or pencil can’t, such as a CD case.
  9. DRAWING PEN – Your favourite pen for sketching and drawing, whatever it may be. Personally I prefer the Tombow Brush Pens.
  10. REGULAR PENS – I suggest having two colours handy, red and either blue or black. You can’t be seen taking notes with a pencil.
  11. PENCILS – Try and carry two, just in case. Useful for sketching, drawing and making documents non-permanently.
  12. USB FLASH DRIVE – Keep your useful files on it, such as a copy of your portfolio or other promotional material, your T&C’s, blank invoices etc. Also useful for grabbing a copy of files from your clients when you meet them.
  13. PENCIL SHARPENER – Make sure it’s a good quality one, and keep it sharp. Blunt/cheap ones will break your pencil lead.
  14. BUSINESS CARDS – You should always have these in your wallet anyway, but they’re small enough to tuck away into your tin.
  15. PAPERCLIPS – Keep a few of these handy. They don’t take up much room.

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