The Art + Design curriculum integrates computer technology with most courses. A student-owned laptop and Adobe’s Creative Cloud is necessary for all students to complete course assignments and projects. Generally, Apple computers are the industry standard for most majors in Art + Design, however, many Windows computers are also suitable. You may already own a suitable laptop, however, should you need to purchase one, orders can be placed through myNortheastern, where Northeastern has worked with Apple to offer a discount beyond the standard educational discount. Orders should be placed prior to your arrival on campus. Deliveries to residence halls are strongly discouraged.

If you don’t have a laptop and purchasing one now presents a hardship, there are options available to you. Please contact Chris Franson, our Technical Director, with questions at c.franson@northeastern.edu or 617-373-7168.

General Laptop recommendation

For Design, Photography, and Art majors, either the 13″ or 15″ Retina MacBook Pro is suitable. We recommend at least 8GB of RAM and at least 512GB of storage. We further recommend that students in Video Art consider purchasing the 15″ models, as the additional power and screen size can be valuable. AppleCare+ Protection Plan for up to three years is strongly recommended.

For Game Design students we recommend a Windows laptop which meets or exceeds the following specifications:

• Quad-core Intel Core i7
• 16GB RAM
• 1TB Storage (SSD is recommended, if your budget permits.)
• Nvidia GTX 1060 or better graphics
• VR Ready

Animation students should consider a computer similar to the above listed Game Design recommendations but if preferred, may also consider an Apple MacBook Pro 15″ with 512GB storage.
Students should also strongly consider an extended warranty with accidental damage coverage.

Software and Fonts

In addition to the laptop, our courses require specialized software and fonts depending on your academic program.

Adobe Creative Cloud is essential for all Art + Design courses. Creative Cloud is available on a discounted subscription price for students at Adobe. The additional software we require is either free or steeply discounted for student use.

Other courses with specialized font and software requirements are:

  • Animation: Adobe Creative Cloud (After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop), Autodesk Maya
  • Graphic Design/Design: Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator and Photoshop), Font Package
  • 3D Foundation and Tools: Best to check with instructor. Software may include: Autodesk Fusion 360 or Trimble Sketchup Pro. May also need Adobe Creative Cloud, Illustrator, Maya, Photoshop, After effects. Need to know specific software functions to produce work in the Makerspace.

New students will finalize their first semester schedule and classes at summer orientation. Fonts and software packages can be purchased when you are on campus during the first week of classes.

Backup Storage

Finally, the importance of backing up files cannot be stressed enough. Students should have at least one external USB hard disk large enough to back up all of their files. Apple laptops include Time Machine backup software, which is simple and convenient to use and provides a backup in case of computer failure, loss or theft. Online backup services, such as BackBlaze provide an additional level of security.

Technical Help Contacts 

Art, Design, Art, and Media Arts: Chris Franson at franson@northeastern.edu or 617-373-7168
Game Design: Jason Duhaime at  j.duhaime@northeastern.edu or 617-373-6262