Most Powerful Tools In a Designer’s Toolbox

A website is much like the face of a company; it needs to be attractive for visitors to fall in love and explore further prospects. It should hold the attention of prospective customers long enough. Why? Simply because there is nothing called ‘Love at second sight’!

Most Powerful Tools In a Designer’s Toolbox

An ugly site turns off prospective customers who will then seek solace with your competitors, simply because their website looks a lot more desirable.

A good website is the starting point of any marketing and branding campaign. It goes without saying that the web designer must have all the tools up his sleeve to establish and sustain an unbeaten online presence. Having these tools apart from the technical knowhow will make sure that the website looks desirable and approachable; thereby attracting more traffic and generating business leads. Yes indeed, ‘Design wins ROIs’! This tried and tested mantra really works. To make this happen, we need to search for tools which will target all aspects of the website like the design, colour scheme, coding and groom it for the ‘Big Day’ when it will be unveiled & launched for the rest of the world to see!

Graphics Tools

As we know, any form of branding or website begins with the illustration & re-touching tools. The most popular of those are Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop as one might be aware. But wait! Here’s news: ‘There is life beyond Photoshop and Illustrator!’ So let’s check out the other tools to paint the brightest picture of your online presence!

Sketchpad

Sketchpad

Sketchpad has a great interface and can be used to produce vector graphics. Many weaknesses of existing apps have been eliminated in this friendly application and high quality vector images can be produced as a result. It is definitely useful and friendlier to use than Photoshop if you are designing and developing for Mac OR iOS applications.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo was released earlier this month (July 2015) and it is already creating waves within the designer community. Serif’s Affinity photo is definitely one serious contender fit to challenge the top gun like Adobe Photoshop. It is meant for designers and photographers and is fully compatible with Photoshop and other imaging file formats.

GIMP

GIMP

GIMP is free open-source software and stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Today it’s available in versions for Linux, Windows, and Mac. There is a wide range of tools available and is a very good option if you are searching for a no-cost photo editor. The tools are handy and easy to use; the developers have made sure that there are no compatibility issues as well. You’ll be able to work with all the popular file formats without any trouble at all.

Typography

Another aspect of a great website design is its typography. It must be on par with the theme of the website and convey the message ‘Bang on’! The elegance of fonts in addition to actual content will determine whether or not your website looks pleasing to the beholder. The font must be readable and in line with the overall colour scheme. We do have several typography tools at your disposal for doing just that, so let’s begin.

Fontspiration

Fontspiration

Fontspiration is one such tool for Apple. They say inspiration comes without warning or announcement; whether you may be sitting below an apple tree or on a sofa watching the Saturday night TV show. If you are fond of typefaces, then this app is for you. So, discover new fonts, browse creative samples and yes – Get Inspired.

Anyfont

Anyfont

Anyfont is typically used to install a variety of fonts for iPhone and iPad platform without opting for a risky jailbreak. Once installed, these fonts can also be used by other applications by accessing its font book.

FontCandy

FontCandy

FontCandy has some cool options where photos can be given colourful captions. Designing requires various possibilities, and Font Candy offers you just that! You can create typography designs as well as amazing artwork. If you love candy (who hates it anyways), you will definitely love FontCandy.

Typekit

Typekit

Typekit library is used to add different kinds of fonts for web designing purposes. It is basically a subscription font service which supplies thousands of fonts from foundry partners into one library for quick browsing, easy use on the web or in applications, and endless typographic inspiration.

Automatic Coding and Design

Now that we have tools for font and image beautification, let’s get down to the hard work. Have you ever wanted to be a web designer but were scared of programming? Have you ever wanted to be in total control of your website and its code? Don’t worry, times have changed; programming doesn’t have to look scary and fit only for nerds. That’s because we have apps for every human need – almost! So go ahead and try out these!

Webflo

Webflo

Webflo provides you with an interesting range of web templates with UI designs for your design work. It means that you can take care of the design and the code gets generated for you.

Amazium

Amazium

Amazium is used to create minimal, colourful and yes amazing web designs! It is a simple and ‘Responsive Web Design’ that allows you to quickly and easily build a website that can be viewed on all devices. “Responsive Web Design”, means that the website can adjust to your screen size without the need to make a separate website for the specific device! Time is precious and with Amazium your website can be setup amazingly fast!

Bootstrap

Bootstrap

Bootstrap makes front-end web development faster and easier. It’s made for folks of all skill levels, devices of all shapes, and projects of all sizes. Bootstrap easily and efficiently scales your websites and applications with a single code base, from phones to tablets to desktops with CSS media queries.

Colour Palettes

A colour palette is like the basic ingredient which determines the success of failure of your design plan. There are many tools available to come up with the perfect palette for your design.

Coolors

Coolors

Coolors are one among them. Here we can create colours, lock and save them until we get the right combination or colour palette of our own. It is very useful and great to use.

Color Hunter

Color Hunter

Color Hunter provides a colour palette using your chosen image. Although Color Hunter may not look like much at first glance, it’s actually a really useful colour tool if you can’t find a particular colour. Find an image that you like the look of and then enter it into Color Hunter; the tool will then create a colour palette from your chosen image. It’s a great way to create your own colour theme.

Pictaculous

Pictaculous

Pictaculous is an excellent tool from the makers of MailChimp allows you to upload an image and generate a colour scheme from the colours within. There’s also a handy Adobe Swatch download for your theme, making it a quick and easy way to grab the colours you need to complement a photo.

COLORD

COLORD

COLORD is a colourful tool which acts as a great source of inspiration by sharing colour palettes generated by its users, as well as patterns, gradients and images. A visual feast for the eyes, it’s not a simple generation tool, but it is worth a visit to find some happy discoveries.

Web Based Browser Testing

There are endless combinations of browsers these days, and developers and designers have to make sure that the sites they have built should be compatible with all the browsers. It is very difficult to manually check browser compatibility for any given site. But there are now tools available with the help of which it has become easier to test a website for cross browser compatibility. Some of these tools are outlined below:

BrowserStack

BrowserStack

BrowserStack is an online web-based browser testing tool which has an instant access to all mobile and desktop browsers. It has the ability to test internal and local servers with secure setup. It is a cloud based platform and so no download is required. It has developer tools pre-installed in it such as Microsoft Script Debugger, Firebug Lite etc. Cross-browser testing as well as debugging becomes easier with the help of these developer tools.

ResizeMyBrowser

ResizeMyBrowser

ResizeMyBrowser is a tool that can resize a browser from both, outer and inner windows. Users can manually resize the browser and the current size can be easily viewed in real time. It also has a button to help you switch between outer and inner windows.

CrossBrowserTesting

CrossBrowserTesting

CrossBrowserTesting is another tool to test browser compatibility online, with access to 130+ browsers and about 25 different kinds of operating systems as well as mobile devices. This tool lets you choose one browser as a base browser and compares the site with different browsers, and it also prepares the summary of differences. You can also get the screenshot of the images showing cross browser testing, to help you debug layout issues.

Browsershots

Browsershots

Browsershots is another app that helps testing cross browser compatibility of websites. This is a free open-source app having a distinctive feature of dividing the task of screenshot creation among the members of community. This is a simple-to-use tool. The user just needs to enter the URL of the website and select the required browser setup. There are many options to choose from such as Java, Flash, JavaScript, size of screen and colour depth. The users are then required to wait for some time till the screenshots are ready.

Online Code Testing

With the trending technology and development of new apps on a daily basis, it has become very difficult for the developers to develop websites compatible with all platforms. There is dire need of online tools for testing code snippets. Some of them are as below:

CodePen

CodePen

CodePen is like a recreation ground for the front end of web. It is related to sharing, educating and motivating. This tool comes in handy if you want to test a code and find out the bug, or showcase your work to fellow designers and get their feedback, or get some examples for the design that you want to follow for your project.

jsFiddle

jsFiddle

jsFiddle provides an environment to developers where they can test code or design on three major platforms i.e. HTML, JavaScript and CSS. It lets developers fiddle with the code directly in the browser itself.

CSSDesk

CSSDesk

CSSDesk is an app that lets developers test CSS3 properties with box shadows and gradients as well as it helps in the building of templates for small webpages. Like all other testing websites, the code appears on the left, and the final webpage on the right side of the screen. The developer can type the code and see the changes. It also allows downloads of source codes into your system.

WriteCodeOnline

WriteCodeOnline

WriteCodeOnline is a tool that helps with basic URL, PHP and JavaScript encoding. The distinct feature of this app is it lets the users see the results just below the text field where they enter codes. However it is not good for debugging larger PHP codes as it requires some other files as well. This application is good for smaller code testing.

Online Design Inspiration

Designers are always on lookout for online tools to help them make better designs for their websites and to inspire them. Presently, there are many such tools available online. Some of them are explained below:

Dribble

Dribble

Dribble is a place where web designers, logo designers, illustrators, graphic designers, icon artists, typographers and other creative people can share their creations. They can share screenshots of their work and get feedback from fellow designers.

Designinspiration

Designinspiration

Designinspiration is a tool that inspires designers for creating new designs. The site has numerous designs from designers all over the world. It is a perfect place to look out for current designing trends and to find out what types of projects are being created these days.

PlaceIt

PlaceIt

PlaceIt is another good tool where designers can get live device templates which can be used by them to drop their own creations and see how they will look on different devices. It also helps users to take live images for their website, where they can see how the app will appear on live devices.

Web Based Icons Finder

Icons are a very important part of the designing process. They help make the site more interactive and lively. However, it is not so easy to create icons. At times it can take hours to create the icons you need for your website. But, now there are many websites which offer free icons. However, you need to check their licensing policies before using their icons for your commercial projects. Some of the web based icon finder sites are mentioned below:

Iconfinder

Iconfinder

Iconfinder is a website with the largest collection of icons. This website was established in 2007, and now has 340,000 icons in its stock to offer to developers, designers and other creative people. It also lets illustrators to contribute their original work with them and earn loyalties in return.

Flaticon

Flaticon

Flaticon is another website that offers icons for use to developers and designers. This tool helps convert icons into web fonts. The users need to select the icons they want and then download the same in the download box. They are then free to use the downloaded icons.

FindIcons

FindIcons

FindIcons is an icons search engine that boosts of having largest the database of icons. The users can search the type of icons they want for their designing project, and download the same. The distinct thing about this is the service has been built from scratch. Everything including backend codes, icon database, mascots and frontend designs, are made from scratch.

 

Though there are numerous tools available online in each category to help developers and designers create beautiful websites, the tools mentioned above are all you will need for weaving the magic of your online presence throughout the World Wide Web successfully! So, what are you waiting for?! Download the software’s you need, prep up your website and expect an upward surge in your list of web-admirers.

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2 Comments

  1. Every tool is essential for web designer. With these tool today’s website designing can not exist.
    I like the way you have described this topic it was very nice explanation. It will be very helpful if a fresher comes to read this blog.

  2. It’s great tools i use it. As a graphic designer i recommend it. Thanks for explain the tool. I think it help me professional work.

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