As designers, we’re always looking for little tips and tricks to make our lives easier, whether it’s a keyboard shortcut or helpful online resource. Here are a list of 10 tools that can help out any designer! (It wouldn’t be fair for me to tell you to use all of these tools if I’d never used them myself, so I’ve given them all a try and highly recommend them!)
1. LittleIpsum – Downloadable app for Mac or online tool for Windows users. It generates an amount of placeholder text specified by you. I used it on my Mac at work… loved it! (The trick is “paste”… that’s how you get it into your document!)
2. Smush.it – Tool for optimizing images. Upload your photo or provide a link and it does the work for you!
3. GuideGuide – Downloadable Photoshop tool. I hate the fact that Photoshop seems to be lacking the precision of InDesign when it comes to guides… this tool fixes all of that!
4. WeTransfer – Online file tranfer service. I used to use YouSendIt, but the free version only allowed me to send files up to 50MB. WeTransfer allows you to send files up to 2GB… the cherry on top: you don’t even have to create an account!
5. FiveSecondTest – Online tool for designer feedback. This unique online tool allows designers to upload their designs and set up a series of 5 questions to ask viewers. Viewers get 5 seconds to look at a design and then answer questions about it… it’s quick, easy, and provides valuable, unbiased feedback. (I haven’t uploaded designs of my own but have provided feedback to other designers… it seems helpful to get “first impression” type of feedback.)
6. TypeTester – Online typography tool. Easy tool to compare multiple fonts side-by-side.
7. Fount – Online font identifier. I have one word for whoever created this – genius! Drop this little guy into your browser toolbar and when you turn it on, it identifies any font on any website you go to. (Disclaimer – if the font is in an image, it doesn’t work… it has to be actual type in the website.)
8. Designers Toolbox – Exactly how it sounds, this is a website full of tools for designers… everything from document templates to an html cheat sheet!
9. Harvest – Online time-tracking and invoicing tool. This is the one tool I haven’t tried myself, but after viewing the website and video it seems like a handy tool for those of you who are freelancing or running your own business!
10. Paper & Pencil – I know that as designers in the 21st century, we can get wrapped up in the computer and all of its glory, but never forget the fundamentals! Always keep a pencil and paper handy for quick sketches and thumbnails or a hand-drawn approach… this is where your creativity starts!Read More