Common Ground by Erin Elizabeth Wilson

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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.

The University Bookstore always provides $25 off of a custom ordered laptop (anything not on their price sheet) and $25 off AppleCare extended warranty if purchased with a computer. Additionally, the Bookstore provides a finance program with 25% down and three monthly payments interest free. View 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 2017–2018 School Year

For students entering the Design major we recommend using Adobe Creative Cloud service. The UW bookstore regularly offers the Creative Cloud -12 month prepaid membership for $239.88 (a savings of $120). This subscription includes many of the programs design students need: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Muse, Acrobat Pro and others.

Additionally, all design sophomore students are required to purchase the Adobe Font Folio Education Essentials package. This font collection can be purchased online through Adobe only. The cost is $149. All Design Sophomores must purchase this package by Winter 2018 for the Typography class. Please note: the UW Bookstore does not carry this package, you must purchase this through Adobe.

Along with the Adobe Font Folio package, design students should use a font management program such as Font Book (free, built into OSX), Linotype Explorer (used in the SOACC) or Extensis Suitcase. This must also be  installed before Winter quarter 2018 starts. Note: these products are not available for PC machines.

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

For other software titles, please see the entire UW academic software price list (includes Rhino pricing): UW Academic Software Price list