Command & Control – A tale of two states (of mind)

Jan 22, 2014
Ashwin Chandran


A little over a couple of months ago, Windows 8 overtook the Mac’s share in the worldwide OS market. I can’t draw the same connections when I start looking around me though. Being a part of an internet company that shares spaces with a design studio, I’m pretty much surrounded by them aluminium machines emblazoned with the glowing fruit. My friends circle also includes people from 3 other design startups. So far I can count just one of them who’s currently on Windows, but even she wants to make the switch soon.

Which brings me to the not-so-new question: Why can’t Windows and Design be used together in the same sentence? I know for a fact that people in design schools have long “recommended” the use of a Mac for work, but being a front-end developer with pseudo-designer creds I’m yet to figure out the breakout advantage(s) presented by OS X to support this surrounding aura that has existed for years now. Yes, there might have been a time when the offerings in terms of features or actual apps differed by a lot, but as of 2014 I’m hard-pressed to find differences between say both versions of Photoshop or Illustrator CS6. Everything from crop to content-aware fill works and outputs similar results, with no discernible differences in performance between similarly specc’ed machines. Heck, even automatic save and restore works as intended on Windows. Double heck, I bet you didn’t know that there was a time when 64-bit Photoshop existed only for Windows! What is it that eludes Windows from getting some designer love then?

Let’s look at things objectively for a bit then. You might say there are better designed software waiting to be used, and yes I can agree partially there. Pixelmator for instance is a wonderful app, and I’d strongly insist everyone with a Mac to give it a try. It might not be a Photoshop replacement yet, but it does take care of the common tasks in a better way than Adobe can imagine right now. Still I see everyone around using the same Photoshop or Illustrator that’s very much accessible from a PC as well. Then there’s the trackpad argument, but then you won’t be doing much of your work without a mouse or a Wacom. You can and will definitely bring up the “environment is easier to use and be more productive with multiple spaces and launch control” line which entails a different post and debate altogether. I’d let that be for now saying that “to each his/her own”; I honestly think both environments have their pros and cons and neither is a clear winner as of this day.

I know that I might have come across as a little biased here, but truth be told, I’m not trying to convince anybody to switch to Windows or sell the idea that Macs don’t offer anything different for designers. What I really wish is for people to stop giving blind “recommendations” based on what they like. After all, good design always entails an open mind, doesn’t it? 🙂

Image Courtesy: PC vs Mac Kids v2 by jasonh1234