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Undergraduate Laptop Requirement

All sophomore design students are required to have a laptop by the start of Fall Quarter 2017. For students who are purchasing a laptop for the first time, we strongly recommend an Apple laptop over a PC machine. Members of the professional design community work almost exclusively on Apple machines.

The School of Art Director of IT annually negotiates with the University Bookstore for Apple laptops as well as required and optional software for design students. Details for the laptop and software are usually available by mid-September and will be available here on this page.

University Book Store’s Tech Center provides an additional $25 off of academic pricing on a custom ordered laptop (anything not on their price sheet) and beats Apple’s price for AppleCare+. Additionally, the Book Store provides a finance program with 25% down and three monthly payments interest freeView price quotes for recommended systems.

Apple often updates their computers in the Fall so it may be beneficial to hold off on any new purchase if possible, until late September or October in case new models are introduced.

Students may use any alternate Apple or PC model, but the laptop must have wireless capability and be capable of running a contemporary version of the Adobe Creative Suite software (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator).

For students interested in Industrial Design, the laptop should be capable of running Rhino (a 3-d modeling program) and Solidworks - many users choose Apple laptops and run windows in a Bootcamp partition. The recommended MacBook with at a minimum, Intel dual-core i5 or higher processor, is capable of running Windows software using either Apple’s bootcamp configuration or by using a virtual machine environment provided by software such as Parallels or VMWare.


Software Requirements for 2018–2019 School Year

For students entering the Design major we recommend using Adobe Creative Cloud service. This subscription includes many of the programs design students need: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Muse, Acrobat Pro and others. This software is available via subscription service only directly through Adobe and academic pricing is available here:

Design students should use a font management program such as Font Book (free, built into OSX), Linotype FontExplorer X or Extensis Suitcase. This must also be  installed before Winter quarter 2019 starts. 

The Book Store carries Rhino 5/Mac and Rhino 6/Win for $95 each.  Please check this link for the differences between them:

For other software titles, please check University Book Store’s Software page:

Microsoft Office is available for all UW students for free as part of the UW STF program. Details are available at: