5 Great Resources for a Designer (A Designer’s Toolbox)

A Designer's Toolbox, Design, Resources

This is the second blog post in a new series called A Designer’s Toolbox.

It’s an exciting time to be a designer. Almost everyday I read about a great new tool that has been released. We all work differently, with our own processes and on a wide range of projects, but I thought it would be helpful to list a few great resources that (I think) are essential to all designers.

Controversially I’ve not listed any of the Adobe products or Sketch. Mostly because I assume that you’re already using one or the other. If you’re using an alternative to either, sound off in the comments – I’d love to know about it.

1. InVision
It’s hard to stress just how valuable inVision is to a designer. It’s a terrific multi-purpose web app that we use daily over at Degree 53. We use it for mockups, prototypes and for client liaison. It really comes into its own during a Product Design Sprint when we’re throwing together a one day prototype. As a bonus, it syncs beautifully with art-boards Photoshop CC.

2. Evernote
I’ve used Evernote for years and am not sure what I’d do without it. It runs across all of my devices and means that I don’t have to panic if I don’t have a notepad to hand. I’ve even started using it for moodboards.

3. Pocket
Designer’s should read. A lot. We should always be learning and trying to better ourselves. The internet means that there is a wealth of information in the form or articles and videos at our fingertips. However, we also need to avoid distractions. See a link that you want to check out? –  add it to Pocket for later and get back to work.

4. Pen & Paper
This is probably the most important one! A pen/pencil, notepad and post-its are a designer’s best friends (yep – we’re a lonely sort). This entry is fairly obvious, but I hated the thought of not including it. I’m sure we all have our preference (mine is Moleskine), but it just doesn’t seem right not having a trusty notepad to hand. Also, if your design process starts with Photoshop, you’re doing it wrong, but more on that another time.

5. iA Writer Pro
I believe that a designer should not only be well read in his/her field, but that a designer should also be able to write. While we’re at it, we ought to be confident with public speaking too. Why does this matter? Well, it’s essential that we’re able to present our work in an articulate way. Ideally that would be a face-to-face presentation, but sometimes it needs to be in writing. You see, creating great design is only half the job. If you can’t sell your concept to the client then your work has been futile. iA Writer is a magnificent writing app. It strips away all distractions and enables you to focus on the task at hand. It quite simply is a must buy.

This is by no means a definitive list and I’m sure if I were to rewrite it tomorrow I could choose five completely different options. If you’ve any favourite tools that are essential to you as a designer, I’d love to hear about it either on Twitter or in the comments below.

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