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  1. #1


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    MAC vs PC in the Graphic Design Context
    I work in the public sector overseeing a small marketing department and we use Macs to design our various print materials.

    My IT department is questioning the need for using Macs in this capacity and they want to replace them with PCs citing anything graphic design related on the Mac can also be done on a PC. I'm against this mostly because the designers "grew up" on Macs. It's what they know.

    I'm in the process of creating a rebuttal to their claims but where do I start? Does anyone have any good suggestions as to why I need to use the Mac vs the PC in the graphic design process? The IT dept is more focused on quantitative data rather than qualitative data so saying Macs are easier for the designers to use just doesn't cut it.

  2. #2

    Phototini's Avatar
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    In my experience there is no difference between the two. In fact these days there are only very small differences between a Mac and PC. One being the operating system, the other being openGL and direct X compatibility.

    So unless your GD crew needs the openGL functionality of a Mac then they really don't "need" a Mac to do their job. As I'm willing to bet that every program they use is available for Mac and PC.

  3. #3

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    If you're doing design for printed media - only have one item to mention and that's the difference in how the 2 systems render fonts. While I'm one that prefers the onscreen rendering of Windows, if you're doing print media, I'd have to say OS X is still the way to go.

    Tell the IT dept to stay in their own area of expertise and let those in your area of expertise handle your work.

    I always like how someone that doesn't do a particular job, always thinks they have a better idea of how to do it than the ones that do it every day. Have you been going in to tell the IT guys what tools they need for their work?
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  4. #4

    ZorroAMG's Avatar
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    I agree with bobtomay, the IT dude is just meddling and wants to make his job easier at the expense of the designer. Why create a learning curve for the designers now? If it ain't broke don't fix it.

  5. #5

    bassguy86's Avatar
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    This is always a problem with IT guys. MY old roommate was just about always harassing me about my mac. Sometimes this is because they wish they had a mac, but often it's just a prejudice. They were "raised" on PC's therefore OBVIOUSLY PC's are better. But the Macs DO have a MUCH more user friendly interface and it would throw off the graphic designers to have to switch. I personally got rid of my XP partition on my Mac because I didn't like it. Our entire graphic design department runs mac minus one or so stubborn people.
    Also Tell the IT guys to be thankful that there are that many less pcs to possible get a virus and interrupt the productivity of the designers and cause more work for them.
    Check out some of my Design work.
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  6. #6


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    Postscript fonts.
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    No IT jerks.
    And oh yeah, NO VIRUSES NO SPYWARE NO MALWARE NO SOLITAIRE.

    Just a half-dozen of the many reasons I would sooner give up the print business (after 30 years) than use a Windows PC.

    In fact, just today I was visiting a new local printer to look over a proof; they are, like most, an almost-100% Mac shop.

    They handed me the proof and I handed it back a second, saying "looks great."

    They were a little taken aback -- don't you want to check it? No, it looks EXACTLY like what I saw on my screen, the registration marks are all good, and the copy is all signed off on. I was just here to make sure you got the colour right.

    "You must be a Mac guy," the foreman said with a grin. "We have to spend hours going over proofs with PC clients."

    Nuff said.

  7. #7

    Village Idiot's Avatar
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    Adobe on a PC is like Adobe on an Apple.

    Really. And people saying that the IT guys should mind their own business or that they're jealous are just rediculous.

    If you have the IT department questioning whether or not the design department should go with a PC that can do the exact same job, then you probably have a finance department asking the IT department why they're spending $2000+ on one computer when for $2000 they could buy 2 computers or pay the lease (yes, tech companies lease computers and support which works out nicely in the real world) on computers for the whole department for a whole year.

    Unless there are programs that will only run on OS X, then they can use any computer to do their job.

    Quote Originally Posted by bassguy86 View Post
    This is always a problem with IT guys. MY old roommate was just about always harassing me about my mac. Sometimes this is because they wish they had a mac, but often it's just a prejudice. They were "raised" on PC's therefore OBVIOUSLY PC's are better. But the Macs DO have a MUCH more user friendly interface and it would throw off the graphic designers to have to switch. I personally got rid of my XP partition on my Mac because I didn't like it. Our entire graphic design department runs mac minus one or so stubborn people.
    Also Tell the IT guys to be thankful that there are that many less pcs to possible get a virus and interrupt the productivity of the designers and cause more work for them.
    I was "raised" on PCs. I own Apple computers and products. I do work in the IT field. I also understand that it's not an Apple vs. PC thing and that it's business decisions that drive what people use in a work environment.

    Last year we had maybe 5-10 reported viruses. That's for over 300 people. That's roughly 3% of the people in our office that had virii. That's a pretty low number, but then again we have a pretty good defence against that stuff.

    We have backup computers for when those occurences happen and I'd say interruption to productivity is almost non existant.
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  8. #8

    louishen's Avatar
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    It will not be a deal breaker, but they will find that when recruiting, most, if not all, print designers will be Mac users. I for one would think it a bit odd that a print design department where using PCs (I have only ever seen this inside a bank), and, because I enjoy working on Macs so much, Windows would count against me wanting to work there.

    Sure, the software is basically the same, but the OS does so much stuff I cannot begin to list that makes my day more productive, things that I cannot do as easily on Windows. Before anybody starts, I also have a PC at work with Adobe Creative Suite and find it much, much easier with OSX.
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  9. #9


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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
    I was "raised" on PCs. I own Apple computers and products. I do work in the IT field.

    Last year we had maybe 5-10 reported viruses. That's for over 300 people. That's roughly 3% of the people in our office that had virii. That's a pretty low number, but then again we have a pretty good defence against that stuff.

    We have backup computers for when those occurences happen and I'd say interruption to productivity is almost non existant.
    I don't doubt you, and you're obviously more talented and broad-minded tha most IT people I run across. But I have to wonder how many people like you it takes to maintain that defense, set up and re-implement those backups, and train the users to avoid the pitfalls that cause problems? And how much the people like you who do this job make each year, and the software you require to keep those problems to a minimum cost the company each year?

    I think back to the Orlando Sentinel, a newspaper I did my time with that had about 900 Macs and about 2,300 Windows machines last time I stopped in (about two years ago).

    They had ten full-time (that's $50K/year or more, and lots of certification) "techies" to cover the Windows machines, or about 230 machines per tech.

    They had ONE guy to cover the Macs, who got paid less than the PC techs because he didn't need to take endless "certification" exams and thus wasn't "worth as much."

    The Mac guy used to have a part-time assistant, but the part-timer got bored for lack of work and became a PC tech instead.

    Nuff said.

  10. #10

    bassguy86's Avatar
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    Yea, It would be a close decision on whether or not to take the job if it was a PC run design firm. PC does have it's benefits, being cheaper and running a few things mac won't. But most artists are willing to still go with a Mac because it's kind of the industry standard and much more pleasant to work on. One of my house mates bought a "modbook' it's what the ipad SHOULD have been, a touch screen macbook with all the power of a regular macbook, only with a touch screen. Expensive, yes but so nice and worth it if you are in the design world.
    I think the majority boils down to what you want to use it for. Macs are great for Artistic things, yes, I know PC can run this stuff too but it's just a bit different. I have 1 Design friend who already had a PC so has to deal with using that in design school.
    PC is great for business purposes, banks, law firms and other places.
    So Preference and where you work/what you use it for.
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  11. #11


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    Quote Originally Posted by bassguy86 View Post
    Yea, It would be a close decision on whether or not to take the job if it was a PC run design firm.
    It wouldn't be for me. Not at all.

    One of my house mates bought a "modbook' it's what the ipad SHOULD have been, a touch screen macbook with all the power of a regular macbook, only with a touch screen. Expensive, yes but so nice and worth it if you are in the design world.
    I'm sure it's a beautiful product, but you are kind of glossing over the expense. The last time I looked, it was nearly 600% more expensive than a base iPad. The iPad is not intended to replace a laptop, you're missing the point of the device. But your housemate obviously needed what he/she got, and I'm sure they're very happy with it.

    I think the majority boils down to what you want to use it for. Macs are great for Artistic things, yes, I know PC can run this stuff too but it's just a bit different.
    To me, there are a number of serious factors that contribute to Mac superiority over Windows in the specific field of graphic design, but the main one for me as a designer is FOCUS. Windows is very very very very VERY bad at letting the user focus on the work. Mac OS X is very very very very very GOOD at getting as much out of the way as possible. So yes, while Photoshop (for example) runs more-or-less the same on both machines, the experience overall is nonetheless quite a bit different.

    In my classes I often talk about the difference between the passengers on a cruise ship and the captain of a cruise ship to illustrate what I mean. The passengers are generally having a fun time, going where they want to go and doing what they want to do and not thinking much about what's involved in getting them there. The captain, on the other hand, is very aware of all of that stuff, and so he's probably having a LOT less fun on the boat than the passengers are.

    That's kind of like what using the two platforms is like, at least for me. On Macs, I can focus on the destination. On Windows, I have to spend entirely too much time focusing on the journey.

    PC is great for business purposes, banks, law firms and other places.
    I don't know about "great," (I think Windows could be WAY WAY better than it is, entirely separate and different from Macs), but its better suited to those activities in some ways, definitely.

  12. #12

    Village Idiot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    I don't doubt you, and you're obviously more talented and broad-minded tha most IT people I run across. But I have to wonder how many people like you it takes to maintain that defense, set up and re-implement those backups, and train the users to avoid the pitfalls that cause problems? And how much the people like you who do this job make each year, and the software you require to keep those problems to a minimum cost the company each year?

    I think back to the Orlando Sentinel, a newspaper I did my time with that had about 900 Macs and about 2,300 Windows machines last time I stopped in (about two years ago).

    They had ten full-time (that's $50K/year or more, and lots of certification) "techies" to cover the Windows machines, or about 230 machines per tech.

    They had ONE guy to cover the Macs, who got paid less than the PC techs because he didn't need to take endless "certification" exams and thus wasn't "worth as much."

    The Mac guy used to have a part-time assistant, but the part-timer got bored for lack of work and became a PC tech instead.

    Nuff said.
    How many of those macs did anything besides run photo shop?
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  13. #13


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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
    How many of those macs did anything besides run photo shop?
    Oh, they all did the usual assortment of things a typical Mac user does (email, IM, surfing, music), though you're right that their main focus was graphic arts apps (Multi-Ad Creator, Quark Xpress, CS3) -- but this is no different than millions of small-biz and home Macs, so I'm not sure the question is really relevant.

    Ironically I was working in a Mac repair shop when the Sentinel ordered a huge number of Emacs (this was a while ago of course) and then spent the following year slowing having some 300+ of them fixed (they had leaky capacitor issues as I recall) under warranty. That was by far the largest single-customer QC issue I ever saw. The Sentinel was pretty unhappy with Apple about that, but it didn't last long -- the G5 iMacs eventually came out and all the eMacs were replaced with them. By now I'm sure they've gone all-Intel.

  14. #14

    Village Idiot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Oh, they all did the usual assortment of things a typical Mac user does (email, IM, surfing, music), though you're right that their main focus was graphic arts apps (Multi-Ad Creator, Quark Xpress, CS3) -- but this is no different than millions of small-biz and home Macs, so I'm not sure the question is really relevant.

    Ironically I was working in a Mac repair shop when the Sentinel ordered a huge number of Emacs (this was a while ago of course) and then spent the following year slowing having some 300+ of them fixed (they had leaky capacitor issues as I recall) under warranty. That was by far the largest single-customer QC issue I ever saw. The Sentinel was pretty unhappy with Apple about that, but it didn't last long -- the G5 iMacs eventually came out and all the eMacs were replaced with them. By now I'm sure they've gone all-Intel.
    Because trouble shooting photo shop is not really that big of a job.
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  15. #15


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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
    Because trouble shooting photo shop is not really that big of a job.
    Nobody who uses Photoshop at a newspaper needs a tech to "troubleshoot" Photoshop, and that's not what techs do anyway. They do provide some basic training in the included Mac software (primarily email), but they are mainly focused on troubleshooting hardware problems, not software problems. In part this is due to the fact that software on Macs tends to "just work," and in part this is due to the fact that graphics arts professionals are generally already well-trained on their programs and don't need "newbie" type assistance unless they are dealing with programs outside their area of expertise.

    Most in-house Mac techs (at least at the newspapers and mags I've worked for) spend very little time in software training and a lot more time keeping the network operating smoothly, ensuring backups are being done properly, and helping the Windows guys with their problems.

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