This time last year, I wanted to explore my options for digital lettering. A macbook pro seemed like too big of a step in the direction of graphic design when I really just wanted to be able to digitize my lettering. When weighing my options, I literally sat in the mall looking for reviews from someone in the same situation so I hope this is helpful for you if you find yourself in the same spot!
This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission from items purchased from those links. All opinions are my own.
The main options I looked at were the Windows Surface Pro, the Apple iPad Pro, and getting a drawing tablet that could be used with a laptop.
I ruled out the drawing tablet because I didn’t like that you can’t see what you’re drawing directly on the screen and I also felt like I’d have to buy a new laptop, even if it was just a cheap one. If you already have a great laptop, the drawing tablet still might be a great option for you–a lot of them truly have great reviews!
I headed to South Park Mall in Charlotte to compare the Windows Surface Pro and the Apple iPad Pro in person. The Windows Surface Pro seemed to have a lot of fun features and you are truly getting a whole laptop with a touch screen, but unfortunately, it felt so different from regular lettering to me. It may have gotten better with practice, but my lettering on the Surface Pro looked and felt NOTHING like it does on paper. With the iPad Pro, I picked up the stylus in the store and it immediately felt like I was using a pen and paper and it looked just as beautiful, too!
I can’t compare the two long term because I obviously ended up going with the iPad Pro, but I can say that there was a huge difference to me in immediate ease of use. The iPad Pro also came with a 30 day return policy so I felt like I had some time to really make sure it worked for me with little risk.
These were the first two items I sold that I made on my iPad–I literally made these and had them printed within 2 days of purchasing the iPad if that gives you an idea of how easy it is to learn!
Things to consider when purchasing the iPad Pro:
1. Apple Pencil – If you intend to use it for lettering, you will need to purchase the Apple Pencil as well which is about another $100. In terms of lettering/design, the iPad Pro is pretty much useless without the pencil (but I LOVE it so much that I’m okay with that!).
2. Apps – I plan on doing a part 2 iPad Pro review with the apps that I use most frequently, but some of the apps do cost money. Procreate is by far my favorite and most used app on the iPad and it costs about $8–nothing that will break the bank but just know you’re not completely in the clear from spending money after you have purchased the iPad.
3. Monetizing – If you are purchasing the iPad Pro for your business, it is a large write off which is great come tax season! However, if you are truly purchasing it solely for business (which you should be if you are writing it off!!), you should have a plan ahead of time of how you plan to make your money back from your investment. I went with the largest memory space, the Apple Pencil as mentioned above, and Apple Care so it was quite a hefty upfront cost for my small side business. I thought that I could post a few digital prints on Etsy and would be making money off of them around the clock but it turns out that is not the case; unfortunately the world of digital downloads is quite saturated so it’s not as easy as it seems upfront. This is not to discourage anyone from buying it, as it is a great product and I would 100% go back and buy it again if I had to do it over, but you really need to think about what unique things you’ll be making that customers will have an appetite for before dropping the money on it. It took me a little while to find some niche products to sell so just be prepared that the money won’t come rolling in as soon as you list your first digital download.
These were all projects that I’ve used my iPad to complete–some were just for fun, but most were sold in my shop!
Conclusion: The Apple iPad Pro is a fantastic and intuitive tool for digital lettering and art. If I had to do it over, I would definitely purchase it again and I love recommending it to friends! I’ve used it on so many projects like invitations, digital prints, bridal party cards, wedding maps, logo designs, favors, wedding signs, and more. It’s so easy to pick up and use, so if you’re up for putting some planning into how you’d like to use it for your business I definitely recommend it!!