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Excuse me for being totally uninformed, but it usually seems like creative types of people i.e. graphics designers prefer Macs over PCs for accomplishing their tasks. I was wondering, why is this? Is it because the software is designed specifically for Macs only?

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Can you please change your question to "Are Macs preferable to PC's for handling graphics software", or something similar without a pre-determined bias. Its a good question but the wording as is encourages a flame-war –  JamesHenare Jan 21 '11 at 5:23
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And you have begun the eternal Mac Vs PC war... –  Dan Hanly Jan 21 '11 at 15:50
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I changed it. Not looking to start a flame war, I just wanted to know why, if this is indeed the case. –  mathStudent Jan 21 '11 at 17:18
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Downvoting for being a pointless religious debate that, while fun, never is resolved. –  DA01 Jan 25 '11 at 16:29

7 Answers 7

up vote 22 down vote accepted

There's also the aesthetic side to it. I am and have always been a PC user. However, I still have to admit that OS X and Mac hardware have always been better designed from an aesthetic standpoint than Windows/PC.

Designers naturally gravitate towards beautiful designs. And since we all draw inspiration from our environment and absorb influences from the designs we come across, being surrounded by beautiful typography and stylish interfaces all the time can also make you a better designer.

The Mac culture and Apple brand are also very attractive to creative types (musicians, artists, writers, etc.) because of the way Apple has marketed themselves (e.g. the Think Different. campaign). Not all of this is marketing of course. Macs have deliberately catered to designers and artists, producing high-end DCC workstations and developing strategic partnerships in the multimedia production industries to make sure that leading tools were designed specifically for Macs.

In addition to preinstalled (high quality) creative software, Macs have also historically come standard with a better spread of fonts than PCs. It also didn't hurt that Macs came with high quality S-PVA or S-IPS displays instead of the common TN displays that most PCs come with (this is starting to change as Apple tries to cater more to the general public).

When you see Guitar Center selling Pro Tools + Macbook Pro bundles and your university media center is equipped entirely with Apple workstations and 30" Apple Cinema displays, what are you liable to buy as a musician/graphic designer/animator/etc. when you decide to buy a workstation?

Between the aesthetics, their strategic positioning in digital media industries, their brand appeal, their momentum, and their ease of use, it's no wonder that most designers choose to just drop a couple of grand on a Mac instead of building their own PC for 20-30% less.

Edit: Littlemad's answer reminded me of a few things:

  • For cross-browser/platform testing, you probably should get a Mac since Macs can run Windows, OS X, and Linux easily & legally, whereas the same cannot be said about PCs.
  • It should be noted that not all Apple LCD displays are S-IPS or S-PVA anymore. Though the high end Cinema displays still use S-IPS AFAIK, and as do the larger MBPs.
  • They have the same BS policy as most other LCD sellers—a display has to have more than X dead/stuck pixels/subpixels to be considered defective. So you still need to buy an ISO 13406-2 Class 1 display to be sure your LCD isn't defective.
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glad to be of inspiration :) –  Littlemad Jan 25 '11 at 13:21
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I use PCs for everything, but +1 for recommending Mac as "easy and legal" cross-browser/platform testing equipment. Mac OS X can be run in VirtualBox but you have to jump through hoops to do it and it violates the EULA. Much easier to install Win7 & Ubuntu on a Mac box. –  Farray Apr 30 '11 at 1:58
    
"for cross-browser/platform testing, get a mac" From a technical standpoint, Macs are really hard to get Linux on, since they don't use a bios like most other PCs. So if you're looking for a cross platform experience, get a pc, which you can install every OS on except MacOS, and borrow your friend's Mac for testing in MacOS. –  JFA Apr 4 at 21:48
    
@JFA Not true. Here's an EFI boot manager that works with Macintosh computers. –  ghoppe Jun 12 at 18:34

Mac has better support, and better initial funtionallity. You do pay more for this, but if you are willing to pay for all the extras, you can get a PC close to the standard of a Mac but the argument that PC is so much cheaper and can do as well... that's a bad joke. To get close you have to purchase a lot of extras. A base PC will not compare to a base Mac in function. Now I'm the first to admit, you pay for that functionality, more than I feel is proper, but actual comparison (yes I use both platforms as a professional graphic designer) the PC cannot function nearly as well. My 'high end' windows XP chokes routinely, whereas my older G-4 hums right along. The newer G-5 blows the PC out of the water every time. I can't wait to get them to upgrade to the newer mac system. Save your pennies and buy a PC, I have yet to find a seasoned Graphic Design or Video professional worth his salt that doesn't prefer a Mac. Everytime I hear someone claim to be a 'professional' graphic designer who swears by PC, I ask about their work history... 'professional' always ends up seeming a little optemistic description for what I hear.

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-1 due to largely unsupported statements. Ghoppe said it well... "it's dangerous to pass judgement on any specific person's preferences. There are plenty of graphic designers who use other tools and are just as creative, just as there are plenty of hacks pounding away on Macs." –  Farray Apr 30 '11 at 2:08

The Macintosh project creator Jef Raskin had great experience in interface design and usability. IMHO, usability and productivity are the main reasons to use Mac. You just create, without having to think about how to make your creative environment work. Its easy to make up-and-running.

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If you don't know your way around computers, mac might be easier to get into. PC offers more customisation at much lower price. Generally I think Apple reaps the benefits of superstition in this area of comparison. Ofcourse, if you just had put your money into getting brand new Mac, you do want to believe that it's better. In no way I can imagine Mac handling my graphical errands better than my PC. I have used them at school few years ago, but I highly doubt that anything has changed.

From Mac users I often hear them only praise how little work they have to put up with while installing stuff like drivers. And how little they have compatibility issues. For me, it doesn't change a thing, because I know my way around my windows. I like not having to pay Microsoft a dime when I get hardware upgrades, but I guess you could install OS X on a regular PC as well(?not true?).

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"I like not having to pay Microsoft a dime when I get hardware upgrades" -- this is a nonsensical statement. You still have to pay someone for hardware upgrades, when you upgrade a Mac, you don't pay extra for software either. OS installation is far less painful, there's always an upgrade path, there's no activation or other hoops to jump through. –  ghoppe Jan 31 '11 at 16:57
    
@ghoppe: You missed the ethical point dude, Apple and Microsoft are monster companies, so the less I pay them alltogether the better. I already mentioned how stuff like installing things is easier on Mac so no point repeating me, I just don't find it worth the money because it's no hassle for me anyway. –  Ars Magika Feb 8 '11 at 0:57
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The price discrepancy argument had some credence a decade or so ago but hasn't been true for some time now. Comparing spec's to spec's, a comparably equipped PC will cost about the same as a comparably equipped Mac. What Apple DOES NOT do, however, is compete in the low-end market. There's a market there, but that's not likely the Graphic Designer market. If you are against big corporations from an ethical POV (a valid POV) then perhaps go the Linux route. Ubuntu has come a long way. –  DA01 Apr 30 '11 at 16:34
    
@DA01 sniff No Adobe products on Ubuntu thought... and Gimpshop just isn't the same. :_( –  Farray Apr 30 '11 at 22:39

I do not think that nowadays it is particularly true any more about Mac better than PC for graphic design. You do not have to have a Mac to be a Graphic Designer. PC & MAC have same potential in software and hardware. I love and hate both, and use both for various things.

In past where 2 factors to make you choose the mac:

  • There were software dedicated to design were better handled on the Apple machine. Especially in the printing sector. We are talking about the era pre OSX
  • Mac aesthetic was and is always the primary factor in delivering, from software to hardware. As well they always trying to play on the "coolness" of the design thinking that something useful can be as well beautifull, and had many things as software, like better UI respect to Windows.

Nowadays for me there are just 2 factors that it will make you choose a Mac

  • Better quality screen (even if sometimes this could be an issue for the reflection effect or because colors in mac are slightly whiter).

  • Better font rendering (on the web pages).

Random personal considartions

I still think that for web design it is better to use PC (because otherwise you cannot test the bad font rendering, or IE unless you install an emulator on Mac) and if you can buy a Mac as well because it is good to see the difference between OS.

PC are cheaper and software is cheaper too. But you might find more incompatibility between parts in hardware that with Mac. Mac instead wants you to buy every single accessories from them, and it cost you twice as much.

Virus are on both OS, just on PC are much more than on Mac.

I love on Mac the "finder", I hate that you cannot cut and paste, but only drag to cut something.

Windows is easier to put your hand on the OS system and hack it, Mac has a more close and restrictive software.

I personally prefer to have a PC Tower (where I can open and change the hardware easily, and mess up with software), and a Mac laptop (that normally you do not open and it has a better durability in battery and lighter than PC version).

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"Windows is easier to put your hand on the OS system and hack it, Mac has a more close and restrictive software." -- Really? I take issue with this statement. The core of Mac OS X is unix, which is the definition of "hackable". XCode is available to download for free. Mac OSX has a system-wide scripting architecture with hooks to most applications. It's called Applescript. –  ghoppe Jan 21 '11 at 18:46
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"Virus are on both OS, just on PC are much more than on Mac." -- please point me to a "virus" in the wild with any significant presence on the Mac. I'm fascinated to hear about this. –  ghoppe Jan 21 '11 at 18:50
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@ghoppe, i heard about a cracked version of iWork that had a virus bundled with it, granted i don't know how many it affected, but it Littlemads point was fair: Mac do have virus its just not an issue to the same scale. There is more hype than reality about virus on both OS's –  JamesHenare Jan 21 '11 at 23:17
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@Littlemad, font rendering is different, not better or worse. codinghorror.com/blog/2007/06/… –  JamesHenare Jan 21 '11 at 23:25
    
@Ghoppe: I just talk about my experience with the software I found more easy to hack something on windows than on osx. I am not a programmer, and I do not use console commands too much or studied any language. I tried to make some script after hours I couldn't do a simple cut and place of files with applescript (move a file from a folder to another folder) but it feels that you have to be an expert programmer more than using windows. –  Littlemad Jan 25 '11 at 13:16

Probably a Mac user would have a better opinion, but from the 'outside' its seems like Macs more consistently deliver high quality experience. The hardware is damn attractive and the OS (from limited experience) is more consistent at giving you information you need and hiding information you don't (though Windows 7 was a huge improvement Microsoft). Hardware and software feel integrated in a way that is extremely rare in the Windows world.

These things especially give Macs a style that is almost drug-like for art types.

As far as practically performing better; there are too many variables that it is bound to be extremely subjective. You can definitely get the raw computing components more cheaply on the Windows side of the fence. But that doesn't tell the full story in how they are put together, how they work with the software, and how the entire package enables your work flow.

What is beyond dispute is that you can produce good design from a Windows machine or from a Mac, and not feel at a significant disadvantage either way.

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+1 for "either way" –  Littlemad Jan 21 '11 at 9:33

graphics designers prefer Macs over PCs for accomplishing their tasks. I was wondering, why is this?

I think it's dangerous to make this generalization, but it seems to ring true to a lot of people. I think there are a lot of nuances and history behind this but it all sort of boils down to the obvious. Graphic designers appreciate good design.

Macintosh computers are designed from the ground up to be elegant, easy to use, and an integrated experience. Compared to other computers, they tend to just "get out of your way" and require less technical fiddling. This appeals to creative types who just want to use the computer as a tool.

Historically, Macintosh computers have been at the core of many design industries, practically inventing Desktop Publishing, so a lot of this is also simply design "culture" and industry inertia.

Be aware that this is all generalization, and it's dangerous to pass judgement on any specific person's preferences. There are plenty of graphic designers who use other tools and are just as creative, just as there are plenty of hacks pounding away on Macs.

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+1 for "industry inertia" & "Desktop Publishing" –  Littlemad Jan 21 '11 at 9:34
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There are advantages and disadvantages to both so I think it's 100% personal preference, like you say, Graphic Designers appreciate good design and that is a personal preference. –  Dan Hanly Jan 21 '11 at 15:53

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