Tools for Designers
Productivity and focus are the keys to any business owner’s success. The right tools can save you hours of work and free up valuable time for you to do more of the things that directly add to your revenue. If you can be more organized, you can do things faster and easier, and you can streamline your workflow, you’ll be less stressed out. You’ll also be less likely to experience burnout. Below is a list of tools for web designers, graphic designers and marketers that will save you hours of work.
Buffer lets you send out Tweets, Facebook posts and posts to LinkedIn at different times and automates the whole process. You can promote your links and articles, with hardly any effort. The paid version enables you to share to Pinterest as well, which drives a lot of organic traffic. The key to success here is to share 20% of your own content and curate 80% of other people’s content. Most website owners will return the favor and share your content with their audience. You can add your content to a regular queque, or you can schedule it to post at a specific time.
Wunderlist is a simple, but intuitive to-do list app for Mac, PC, Android and iPod, that you can sync across all of your devices. You can create lists and sublists, making it highly effective for staying organized. If you have a complex task that requires breaking things down into sub-tasks, you won’t forget the details. This has been a staple in my productivity arsenal for years.
I love Evernote, because you can organize al of your thoughts and ideas, and you can sort all of your thoughts and links to articles and information. I’ve never found anything out there that enables you to organize the massive amount of content available on the web like Evernote does.
Adobe Color is an absolute must if you want to build color schemes for your design work. If you have an od color you need to mach with other colors, Adobe Color enables you to choose different color schemes like monochrome, complementary, analogous and more. You can also tweak shades and tints to mute those colors.
This is another great tool for creating great color schemes. You can set several different parameters. The standout features is being able to see different tints and shades as you work instead of having to manually adjust them yourself.
Generate several different CSS3 effects quickly and effectively. You can create anything from rounded boxes to text shadows and box shadows. You can select mutiple columns, with space between columns. The best part is that it generates the CSS for you. This is awesome for beginners who are having trouble understanding how CSS affects different objects. It helps understand different concepts such as alignment, grids and spacing.
Ultimate CSS3 Gradient Generator
Create cross-browser compatible CSS3 gradients easily with this tool. You can control the location of the gradation, as well as the opacity. This is great for any web designer. Trying to create all of the CSS needed for a web friendly gradient can be a nightmare, but this free online tool does all of the heavy lifting for you.
Do you have multiple social media accounts and websites? trying to log in and out of different accounts can be a huge hassle. Instead, try Hootsuite. You can connect everything in one central hub. This makes it easy to schedule posts for weeks in advance. You can also see all mentions, new connections, and you can posts to multiple accounts at once. it is well worth the $9.99 per month. This one tool saves me hours and hours of work.
A great tool for newsletter or email campaigns. You can use the forever free option to store up to 2,000 subscribers and you can send 12,000 emails per month. This is definitely a great deal for anyone who is looking to get started!
MAMP is a great testing tool that allows to you have a local web development environment on your own computer. It is great for developers, because it allows you to test your WordPress creations without being live on the web. This is a must have for any serious web developer. I use it for testing new WordPress themes and big client websites that I am working on. It is typically faster than a staging site on a web hosting plan because it loads quicker.
I absolutely love Font Squirrel. They feature free fonts for just about any type of project, but they also have a free packaging service where you can download the web fonts package of any web font that you choose. It even includes the CSS, so you don’t even have to write any code!
FlatIcon is an excellent resource for just about any icon that you would need for a project. You can use them in your projects, and it helps when you don’t have the time to create new icons. Why reinvent the wheel? Sometimes you simply need an existing icon, especially for social media.
Google Analytics is a must-have for keeping track of your stats and enabling you to analyze the performance of all of your web sites in one place. You can view where traffic is coming from, the average time on your site, the bounce rate, and more. You can see how people are interacting with your website. You can also see which content on your website is the most popular. This shows you what your audience is interested in.
Woo Rank is really cool, because it analyzes your site and tells you how it is doing. It is easy to understand and gives you a huge breakdown of what you are doing right and what you can do to improve your site.
This is a great tool for backgrounds, palettes, and patterns. This is a great resource for inspiration. You can browse a huge library of inspiration for your design project.
This is a great favicon generator, so your site can have it’s own icon next to the url in your viewer’s browser, letting them know they are in the right place.
This creates your menus and drop-down menus quickly and easily, making styling your menus simple. You can focus on the look, and not on the code.
If you want to master productivity, then Brendan Buchard is the man you want to follow. He backs everything with vast amounts of research and science. He combines difference schools of science and methodology to give you all of the techniques you need to focus on what is important in your business. He specially designed his High Performance Planner to ask you the right questions each day so you can evaluate your progress in business. Not only can you keep track of each day, but there is a calendar grid so you can plan out your entire month as well.
A photo is worth 1000 words, and the photos on this site are not only free, but they are incredible. If you’re looking for something unique and special, you’ll want to check out Unsplash. It is a vast library of high quality photography you won’t find anywhere else.
Search engine optimization is vital to driving traffic to your website. Businesses make millions each year based on organic search rankings. Despite the strange name, Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an excellent tool for analyzing the technical quality of your website. Here is a short list of just a few things you’ll find out about your website.
- See how many of you pages are missing h1 tags.
- See how many of your pages are missing page titles.
- Find out if any of your pages are missing meta descriptions.
- Discover how many images your website has, and if they are missing alt tags.
- Find out is you have any duplicate information such as duplicate page titles, meta descriptions, h1 tags, etc.
The items listed above are just a tip of the iceberg of seach engine optimization, but if they aren’t right, your site will struggle to rank for search terms. The best part is that you can crawl 500 pages of a website for free. If your site is smaller, you can easily crawl your entire website.
Images are important for any website, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll blow up your load time. It is important to optimize and compress your website images to save of load time and storage space. Tiny Jpg is a great free online tool where you can drop up to 20 images at a time and it will optimize your images without sacrificing quality. I’ve seen some images go from 800 KB down to 80-100 KB which is a savings of 90%!
Tools for designers – What do you use?
If you know of other great tools for designers, list them in the comments area and I will add them to the list.