14 Must-Know Best External Hard Drives for Graphic Designers

Last Updated on May 5th, 2021

As a graphic designer, do you solely rely on your laptop’s internal storage?

Because the number of files we produce as a creative artist has surmounted the quantity that we used to produce in a year a decade ago. So, the solution is to look for best external hard drives for graphic designers and continue storing any GBs of data as required.

I, being a graphic designer, not just understand your storage related pains but also know how difficult it is to pick the external hard drive in 2021. So, I researched and picked the finest, most reliable hard drive options for you.

Come, let me share the best external hard drives for graphic designers for maximum storage freedom, below!

How to Select the Most Reliable Hard Drive?

Before I start suggesting you the best external hard disk, let me show you how to select the right one for your storage needs. Nope, it’s not just about pricing or storage capacity that ensures the right pick when you want to purchase a new external hard disk for your PC, laptop or Mac. There are certain selection elements that influence your buying decision that I’ve narrated below.

Drive Type

When you seek the best external hard drive for graphic designers, you’d find two universal options, HDD and SSD. What are they, how each of it is different and what exactly should be your choice?

Let me put it straight, HDD works on old disk methods like when you transfer data on an HDD drive, it writes everything on the disk’s surface. On the contrary to an HDD, the SSD is a much faster type that doesn’t involve a spin disk mechanism and has a faster data writing speed.

Speed

Then, you must look for the speed (or in other words performance) in an external hard drive. The speed is determined by how much data can be transferred into the device per second. For example, an external hard drive with USB 2.0 would have lesser speed than a USB 3.0 hard drive that offers up to 5GB/second data transfer rate.

This is an essential element to look into the prospective hard drive as you wouldn’t want to wait for the whole day if it offers much slower transfer speed.

Durability

If you want to select the best external hard drive for graphic designers, you must seek how durable the device is. Basically, it deals with the material of the device that allows you to carry it anywhere with you without worrying about fragile material that may break upon a slight jerk or if it falls down on the ground.

So, in order to ensure you bought the most reliable hard drive, make sure that it has a sturdy body that can withstand slight jerks and unexpected incidents, too.

Storage Capacity

Another selection metric for selecting the best external hard drives for graphic designers is to seek how much storage capacity it offers. Generally, the basic motivation for buying a new external hard drive is to have more space (in TBs) than 512GB internal hard drive. So, do look how much TBs do you get into the prospective hard drive for storage purposes.

Drive Size

Size does play an important role in the selection of the most reliable hard drive so do seek how large it is. It deals with the device’s being HDD or SSD where the former tends to have a bigger size and the lateral has a comparatively smaller size. The size basically decides if a hard drive is portable or not so that you can carry it with ease anywhere you go.

Connectivity

For adding comfort in your experience, many manufacturers add more features into the external hard drive such as giving it Wi-Fi connectivity. Having this feature can help you pick the best external hard drive for graphic designers as you don’t need to plug it in whenever you require a data transfer during the work.

Also, do seek what USB ports are included into your prospective hard drive so that you get to decide if its an average device or if it can be regarded as the most reliable hard drive available in the market.

Price

Now comes the most important selection metric!

How much to pay for the most reliable hard drive, right?

The price relates to hard drive’s being HDD or SSD and certain other features. For example, if you’re opting for an HDD hard drive, the price is comparatively low but you’ll get slower transfer speed.

And if you opt for an SSD hard drive, you’ll have to pay more but there is a faster, reliable data transfer speed. Also, if you seek a hard drive with data encryption or security options, be prepared to pay more, too.

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Best External Hard Drive in 2021

Now that you know what exactly to look for when buying the new external hard disk, let me start mentioning the perfect choices. Each external hard drive, that I’ve mentioned below, are selected either to offer you best price or maximum storage capacity as I just elaborated above.

Come, let me tell you about the best external hard drives in 2021 that you should look for adding more space to your storage vault.

Seagate STGX2000400 External Hard Drive

Best External SSD - Seagate (STGX2000400)

Seagate has been producing affordable internal and external hard drives to offer you an awesome storage experience without charging too much. It’s Seagate STGX2000400 External Hard Drive is one of the best external hard drives for graphic designers due to two particular reasons.

First, this storage device is for a multitude of platforms, let alone PC, and the second is that it has a very ideal price tag that makes it first choice when you seek the most reliable hard drive for versatile range of storage purposes.

By opting for Seagate STGX2000400 External Hard Drive, you get to select various storage options that range from 500GB to 16TB. Plus, the 18” 3.0 USB offers you a faster data transfer frequency which I personally liked very much.

  • The reason for adding this to my most reliable hard drive option’s list is the backup support along with a free 2-year Microsoft OneDrive subscription.
  • I believe not having a USB 3.1 is what this device lacks in terms of quickest connectivity and performance.

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Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX2000400)
157,042 Reviews
Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX2000400)
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  • Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup a snap just drag...
  • To get set up, connect the portable hard drive to a computer for automatic recognition no software...
  • This USB drive provides plug and play simplicity with the included 18 inch USB 3.0 cable

Adata SD700 External SSD

Best External Hard Drive - ADATA SD700

If you’re a traveler with variable storage needs, I recommend you to check out the Adata SD700 External SSD that offers you comparatively ideal storage experience with its 512GB storage space. The reason for recommending Adata SD700 External SSD is the body structure that offers you water-proof, dust-proof and shock-proof experience along with having a compact size that easily finds its place into your suitcase. Plus, multiple OS support gives it the status of most reliable hard drive in this price tag.

Speaking of weight, Adata SD700 External SSD weighs around 74g which makes it a viable option for any portable hard drive, in comparison to most options mentioned in this list.

  • The reason for adding Adata SD700 External SSD to the best external hard drive in 2021 list is its superior performance that proves to be a relief for those who don’t like waiting much during data transfers.
  • I only didn’t like the absence of USB Type-C that is a little discomforting for me, personally, otherwise it’s a good device in this price tag.

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ADATA SD700 3D NAND 1TB Ruggedized Water/Dust/Shock Proof External Solid State Drive Yellow (ASD700-1TU3-CYL)
815 Reviews
ADATA SD700 3D NAND 1TB Ruggedized Water/Dust/Shock Proof External Solid State Drive Yellow (ASD700-1TU3-CYL)
  • Read/write speed up to 440MB/s
  • IP68 dust/water proof
  • Military-grade shockproof
  • Supports Windows, Mac OS, Android

Western Digital My Passport 4TB

External Hard Drive - Western Digital My Passport

One of the strongest contenders in the hard drive producer’s list, Wester Digital is another reliable seller that you can turn to. A great addition to its My Passport series is the Western Digital My Passport 4TB that gives you full storage freedom. Having 256-Bit AES encryption, Western Digital My Passport 4TB offers you a safe storage experience with a decent USB 3.2 connection interface.

This device is an ideal option if your search includes something lightweight and portable in nature as it only weighs 210g. Also, having 4.2 x 3.0 x 0.8″ dimension is what makes it a go-to hard drive if you travel a lot. With its 4TB storage space, you can store any size of movie clips, images or PSD files which is one of the reasons for declaring it the best external hard drive for graphic designers.

  • AES 256 Bit and light weight is what convinced me to add it to the most reliable hard drive.
  • You might not like the speed of Western Digital My Passport 4TB if you purchase a device having USB 3.0.

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WD 4TB Black My Passport Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBYFT0040BBK-WESN
4,690 Reviews
WD 4TB Black My Passport Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBYFT0040BBK-WESN
  • Auto backup with Included WD Backup Software
  • Password Protection with hardware encryption
  • Trusted drive built with WD reliability
  • USB 3.0 port; USB 2.0 compatible; System Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7; Requires...

Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Best External SSD 2021 - Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Next, in the list of best external hard drive for graphic designers, is Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive that comes with a sturdy material and 1TB data storage. This is, also, the best deal if you’re looking for something that is dust-free and provides security against water related issues.

The 3.0 USB cable offers a nice length to connect it easily with your laptop, Mac, or PC along with offering data encryption. The best part about Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive is the NFC technology that offers you quick connectivity to your device.

  • The USB capable and ruggedized features are one of the reasons for adding it to the most reliable hard drive list.
  • The only downside, that I noticed, is the inability to connect it via your smartphone otherwise it’s a decent option to cater your storage needs.

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Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC USB 3.0 1 TB Rugged Portable Hard Drive (HD-PZN1.0U3B),Black
107 Reviews
Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC USB 3.0 1 TB Rugged Portable Hard Drive (HD-PZN1.0U3B),Black
  • USB PC Compatible plug-and-play. Compatible w/ Mac after formatting.
  • Ruggedized (mil-spec)
  • Hardware Encryption
  • NFC technology

HyperX – SHSX100/960G SSD Hard Drive

Hard Drive For Graphic Designers - HyperX SHSX100

HyperX – SHSX100/960G SSD Hard Drive is another compact, portable option with storage space up to 960GB. This storage device is not just suitable for graphic designers but also proves a helpful tool for gamers and photographers by offering a huge storage space in this price tag.

Offering you a decent 500MB data transfer speed, this is the most reliable hard drive that is suitable for PS4 and Xbox along with supporting Mac or Windows OS systems.

The design is also a distinct part that offers you an elegant feel if you prefer using a rather stylish hard drive for commuting purposes. Plus, the USB Type-C connectivity option makes it an ideal choice for those with rather limited external storage needs.

  • It’s the design and lightweight that pushed me to add it to the best external hard drive for graphic designers list.
  • But I do have some reservations with respect to its speed and overall performance.

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Seagate Backup Plus Hub Desktop Drive

Most Reliable Hard Drive - Seagate Backup

Here’s another wonderful creation from Seagate in the shape of Seagate Backup Plus Hub Desktop Drive that offers you a versatile range of storage capacity. The Mac/Windows compatibility is another plus point that sets it as the best external hard drive for graphic designers.

Plus, it’s a perfect match for someone who prefers NTFS drive format along with having 3.0 USB connectivity that gives this device a decent data transfer speed, too. With all the great features, this Seagate Backup Plus Hub Desktop Drive is an ideal option for those who create data in abundance and want to store it for a longer period of time.

  • One of the reasons for calling this a reliable hard drive is the price as well as the connectivity ports with awesome data transfer frequency.
  • But I did notice the lack of wireless connectivity feature in this storage device that could have given it an edge over other options in this price tag.

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Seagate STEL6000100 Backup Plus Hub 6TB External Hard Drive Desktop HDD – USB 3.0, 2 USB Ports, for Computer Desktop Workstation PC Laptop Mac, 2 Months Adobe CC Photography
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Seagate STEL6000100 Backup Plus Hub 6TB External Hard Drive Desktop HDD – USB 3.0, 2 USB Ports, for Computer Desktop Workstation PC Laptop Mac, 2 Months Adobe CC Photography
  • Store and access content for years with up to 14TB in a USB drive
  • A great external hard drive for Mac and Windows, this hub can charge mobile devices and transfer files...
  • Use seamlessly between Windows and Mac by installing the provided NTFS driver for Mac
  • Complimentary four-month membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan’s photo and video...

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

Disk External For Graphic Designers - Buffalo MiniStation

Apart from releasing MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive, Buffalo also created Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt that can rightly be said to have all the essential storage device features.

Offering you 1TB storage space with USB 3.0 ports, this is a nice option for anyone looking for a small-sized, portal storage option. What I liked the most about this device is the 10Gbps data transfer speed that is comparatively faster than most of the devices mentioned in this list.

  • It works smoothly with both Windows and Mac OS systems which is why I considered it the best external hard drive for mac users.
  • But I missed 2nd Gen USB ports into this monster storage device from Buffalo.

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Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt USB 3.0 1 TB Portable Hard Drive (HD-PA1.0TU3) Silver
429 Reviews
Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt USB 3.0 1 TB Portable Hard Drive (HD-PA1.0TU3) Silver
  • Perfect for creative professionals and multimedia enthusiasts
  • Time Machine compatibility
  • Includes high performance USB 3.0 port
  • Interface speeds up to 10 Gbps

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

Best Hard Disk - LaCie Porsche Design

This one’s a true treat for someone with portable hard drive needs! LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive offers a versatile range of features including being lightweight and offering comparatively speedy data transfers (5Gbps/second).

Plus, this device comes with USB 3.0 ports and compatibility with various operating systems which is why I included it in the best external hard drive for graphic designers list. Also, the compact size of this aesthetically beautiful design gives you the power to carry it anywhere without worrying about the weight.

  • The primary reason for calling a reliable external hard drive is its study body and speedy transfer frequency.
  • But I did notice the lack of wireless connectivity despite having a fast USB port inclusion in this device.

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LaCie Porsche Design 4TB USB-C Mobile Hard Drive, Silver + 2mo Adobe CC Photography (STFD4000400)
115 Reviews
LaCie Porsche Design 4TB USB-C Mobile Hard Drive, Silver + 2mo Adobe CC Photography (STFD4000400)
  • Delivers speeds of up to 5 GB/s
  • Features reversible USB C connectivity as well as compatibility with USB 3.0 ports
  • Massive capacity in a compact size
  • Sturdy, all aluminum enclosure while still lightweight and ultra portable

LaCie Rugged USB-C

Best External SSD 2021 - LaCie USB C

LaCie has another wonderful external hard drive for those who prefer portable devices to get their work done. Consider buying LaCie Rugged USB-C that offers you a versatile range of storage space including 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB options. Plus, the LaCie Rugged USB-C has a USB 3.0 connectivity option that gives it a super-fast data transfer frequency with instant connection with any OS. What I liked the most in LaCie Rugged USB-C that I call it a perfect option and best external hard drive for graphic designers is its design that offers you the ease to carry it anywhere you go.

  • I really liked the palm-size dimensions of LaCie Rugged USB-C along with the super-fast data transfer rate which makes it a reliable external hard drive.
  • This device may not be suitable for those of you who are on a tight budget.

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LaCie (LAC9000633) Rugged Mini 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 USB 2.0 Compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive, For Mac And PC Computer Desktop and Laptop
11,368 Reviews
LaCie (LAC9000633) Rugged Mini 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 USB 2.0 Compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive, For Mac And PC Computer Desktop and Laptop
  • Shock, drops up to 4 feet, dust and water resistant for all-terrain use
  • For Mac compatibility this Hard Drive requires reformatting. Refer to Application Guide for more details
  • Password protection built in. Maximum speed is 130 mb per second
  • Uses USB 3.0 which is up to 4 times faster than USB 2.0 (USB 2.0 compatible)

Storage diskAshur2 HDD 1TB Red

Hard Disk External - iStorage DiskAshur2 HDD

Having security is one vital feature that we overlook when buying an external hard drive. If you’re looking for an external hard drive that gives you full control over the security and encryption, consider buying iStorage diskAshur2 HDD 1TB Red that is known for having advanced security features along with offering you versatile storage options.

Along with offering you full portability freedom, this device comes in different body colors. Plus, the water-resistant feature is another signal that it’s the best external hard drive for graphic designers and creative beings.

  • I personally loved the easy connectivity feature in Storage diskAshur2 HDD 1TB Red along with a rugged design.
  • But this device might not be the right option if you’re limited on your budget.

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iStorage diskAshur2 HDD 1TB Red - Secure portable hard drive - Password protected, dust and water resistant, portable, military grade hardware encryption USB 3.1 IS-DA2-256-1000-R
133 Reviews
iStorage diskAshur2 HDD 1TB Red - Secure portable hard drive - Password protected, dust and water resistant, portable, military grade hardware encryption USB 3.1 IS-DA2-256-1000-R
  • Easy to use: Perfect solution to protect your digital assets. Simply enter a 7-15 digit PIN to...
  • The diskAshur2 helps you ensure compliance with data regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA.
  • The diskAshur2 is the perfect solution for storing your personal or company data. Carry the diskAshur2...
  • The diskAshur2 will work on any device with a USB port, no software is required. Compatible with: MS...

Samsung T5 SSD External Hard Drive

Best External SSD 2021 - SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD

If your search includes the most portable and compact hard drive, I recommend you to consider buying the Samsung T5 SSD external hard drive that has revolutionized the storage industry with its unbelievably small design with maximum storage capacity. This SSD device offers you 1TB data along with USB 3.1 ports connectivity which gives them an edge over other devices and makes it a reliable external hard drive for Mac as well as the Windows platform.

  • I’m a fan of its supreme data transfer frequency that makes it the best external hard drive for graphic designer along with such compact size and lightweight.
  • But you might find it way too out of your budget as it has a higher price than normal devices mentioned in this list.

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Sale
SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB - Up to 540MB/s - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive, Black (MU-PA1T0B/AM)
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SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB - Up to 540MB/s - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive, Black (MU-PA1T0B/AM)
  • Superfast read write speeds: SSD with V-NAND offers ultra-fast data transfer speeds of up to 540MB s (up...
  • Compact and portable design: Top to bottom shock resistant metal design fits in the palm of your hand and...
  • Secure encryption: Optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption keeps your personal...
  • Seamless connectivity: Includes USB type C to C and USB type C to A cables to connect to PCs, Macs,...

Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 1TB SSD

Best Hard Drive For Graphic Designers - Seagate Game Drive

Last from Seagate, in this affordable external hard drives list, the Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 1TB SSD is a smart option for anyone with huge storage needs. Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 1TB SSD is not just a suitable option for graphic designers but also for those who are associated with the design industry in any capacity and create data in GBs on a routine basis.

You get to have 1TB storage (with more storage options, of course), and a USB 3.0 connectivity that gives you instant connection whenever you need to transfer data.

  • I liked the design as well as the data transfer frequency in this device which is one of the reasons that I call it the best external hard drive for graphic designers.
  • But, again, it has a bit higher price tag per GB in comparison to most storage devices listed here.

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Seagate Game Drive For Xbox 1TB SSD External Solid State Drive, Portable USB 3.0 – Designed For Xbox One, 2 Month Xbox Game Pass membership, 1-Year Rescue Service (STHB1000401)
48,269 Reviews
Seagate Game Drive For Xbox 1TB SSD External Solid State Drive, Portable USB 3.0 – Designed For Xbox One, 2 Month Xbox Game Pass membership, 1-Year Rescue Service (STHB1000401)
  • Compatible devices: Gaming Console
  • Gain free access to 100+ great games with a limited time membership to Xbox Game Pass
  • Dive into the action with a quick step by step setup and plug and play USB 3.0 connectivity—no power...
  • This external solid state drive features a lightweight, shock resistant design with a sleek black finish...

SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable External SSD

Best External Hard Drive 2021 - SanDisk 2TB Extreme

Known for making small memory cards, SanDisk has a viable external storage device option for you, too. Having USB 3.1 connectivity option, this device offers you a nice data transfer frequency and earns the title of a reliable external hard drive with its promising features. Aside from its connectivity features, the design is praise-worthy with perfect dimensions that bestow this device the element of portability, too.

  • One of the reasons for considering it the best external hard drive for graphic designers is the high-speed data transfer and water/dust resistance.
  • You might feel the needy a permanent USB cable in this device, though.

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SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable External SSD - Up to 550MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-2T00-G25
46,343 Reviews
SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable External SSD - Up to 550MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-2T00-G25
  • High-speed transfers with up to 550MB/s read speeds let you move Hi-Res photos and videos faster (Based...
  • Ruggedized, water- and dust-resistant (IP55-rated) (IEC 60529 IP55: Tested to withstand water flow (30...
  • Shock-resistant solid state core for greater durability (Shock-resistant (up to 1500G) and...
  • Compact and pocket-sized

G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3

Hard Disk External - G-Technology 8TB

Now comes the big surprise for you all in the shape of G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3!

Having maximum storage capacity, in comparison to all the suggested devices on this list, G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3 wins heart with its supreme feature list. This device is truly a reliable external hard drive for transferring and securing photos as well as videos on 480MB/second speed without affecting the result.

Plus, the body of G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3, gives this device a super sturdy touch preventing shocks, and jerk damages in case of any mishap.

  • The performance is the prime reason for adding it to the best external hard drive for graphic designers list.
  • Yes, you might not feel comfortable with the USB wire’s performance, though.

Learn More

G-Technology 8TB G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0, Removable Dual Drive Storage System, Silver - 0G04085-1
46 Reviews
G-Technology 8TB G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0, Removable Dual Drive Storage System, Silver - 0G04085-1
  • Two removable enterprise classhard drives
  • Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 Ports for high speed data transfer
  • Up to 480MB/perfect for photo & video editing
  • Hardware RAID in RAID 0 (Performance) or RAID 1 (protection), or JBOD

Also check:

Final Words

So, this was all that I had to share for picking the most reliable hard drive for all creative beings. The G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3 does have a higher price tag but it also offers you maximum storage facility with awesome data transfer speed.

But if you’re seeking an economical hard drive, I’d recommend you to go with Seagate Backup Plus Hub Desktop Drive that costs comparatively lesser than the premium ones in the list and offers a decent storage space, too.

Keep creating awesome graphics, keep storing all your work with an external hard drive. Adios!

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commision.

  • A Picture of Waqas D.

    Waqas D.

Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.

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