Laptop Requirement

You must have a laptop and the software below (Adobe Creative Cloud and Font Folio) to begin the Design and Visual Communication (DVC) program (ART 221 Intro to Design and ART 223 Intro to Typography). Be sure to order your laptop and software well in advance so that you are ready to begin classes prepared to work.

DVC recommends larger, rather than smaller, screens – the actual size depends upon the model you purchase. Consider a screen larger than 13″. RAM and hard drives can be expanded significantly if budget allows; purchasing an external drive for data backup is recommended.

You may purchase whichever laptop (PC or Mac) fits your needs and budget as long as it will run the required software. Please be sure to read the specifications for all your choices so that you make an informed decision. The Design and Visual Communication Area highly recommends that you purchase the Apple Care Plan if you buy a Mac, or a comparable insurance plan on a PC. Whatever laptop you purchase, it needs to be able to run the software adequately, so plan on RAM upgrades and the largest hard drive you can afford.

Students are required to run the Adobe Creative Cloud software during class meeting times, and must bring their suitable laptop to class.

IMPORTANT: At this time, tablets are not recommended because they do not run the software. Chromebooks and iPads do not meet the laptop requirement.

Don’t forget to ask for your educational discount!

Hardware and Software Links

Macbook Pro
Adobe Creative Cloud via WISC (for student discount)
Adobe Font Folio Education Essentials

Design Bibliography

The following document is a list of valuable books and online resources to help students learn about the wide field of design.
Selected Design Bibliography (pdf).

AIGA: the Professional Association for Design

Visit to learn more about the professional association for design. AIGA is a global community of design advocates and practitioners who advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force.

AIGA Wisconsin Chapter

Wisconsin has its own AIGA chapter. Visit the AIGA Wisconsin Chapter website.


Design and Visual Communication at UWM has its own student chapter of AIGA. The AIGA-UWM student chapter is a great way to meet fellow student designers, meet professionals in the field, share ideas, and become part of the powerful design community in the Milwaukee area. Follow AIGA-UWM on Instagram