Web Designer Toolkit

Categories freelance, web design, workflow

Over the years of being a web designer, I have tried and tested countless apps and products for design, productivity, and workflow – here’s what I’m running on a daily basis since I became a freelance web designer.

Communication

my mac email client of choice - spark

Email Client

I’ve tried so many email clients and never really liked one enough to stick with it longer than a few months max.

Recently I had been using polymail on both mac and iOS – but I found it too buggy and unreliable on the iPhone and had just swapped to Spark, with its smart inbox so I don’t get unnecessary spam pinging in the middle of the night I was really liking it. That was until last week when I ditched the iPhone and went back to Andriod (yep, that’s right, I prefer Android phones). So the process started again on mobile with Spark not being on the PlayStore 🙁 I’m currently using BlueMail, but I can’t see myself using it for much longer in truth. Leave any recommendations int he comments or hit me up on Twitter

Client Calls

Quite a standard one for new client calls and most people have a Google or Skype account so whichever is best for the client – Hangouts or Skype.

Other Communications

Slack - a key to project management as a freelance web designer

Slack. I love Slack and would love to utilise it more over email. It’s so much easier to keep track of web design projects and chat with the rest of the team all in one beautiful app.


UI & Web Design

As a web designer I use Sketch for all UI and website design

Since going freelance last year (2016) I changed from the full Adobe suite to Sketch and I haven’t looked back since. It’s fast, lightweight and aimed at UI design professionals, where Photoshop was highjacked by us and we got annoyed when it wasn’t perfect for what we wanted to do with it.

Photo Alterations

Now I still have Photoshop but literally only open it up to colour correct or manipulate photos ready to import into Sketch.

Images for Web Design

Okay, so I try to use nice looking stock photos for web design projects when I can (unless a client is adamant on full cheese). But after seeing a tweet last week from Dan Edwards about Zoommyapp I have to now add this into my toolbox already.


Wireframing

When ever I start a new UI or web design, the pad and marker come out & I will always swear by my Whitelines pads,

Prototyping

There’s only one choice for me when it comes to prototyping, it has to be InVision. An awesome service on its own, but since I switched to Sketch, as I mentioned before, the power and ease of sync between them plus Craft and Invision Sync for mac my workflow has become so much quicker and easier.


Front End Development

Now I tend to mainly stay on the design side of design projects, but on occasions, I do code front end.

Text Editor

I keep Atom in my web designer toolkit for all front end development coding

I don’t have much loyalty to a text editor as it’s not my primary tool, but since I got it last year, Atom has been the perfect addition to my web design toolbox.

Additional

The last few again are just for when I do code a bit, so are all basic and do the job I need, no doubt the real front end devs would argue that there are better services:

  • FTP: FileZilla
  • Task Runner: Yeoman/Gulp
  • Command Line: Terminal

So that’s it, the tools and services I use on a (nearly) as a freelance web designer.

I’d love to hear what you use, what you think I’ve missed, what I would be better using. please leave comments below.

2 thoughts on “Web Designer Toolkit

  1. Interesting read and it’s nice to see clear similarities to my own daily software. I was going to do a similar post when I finally finish the redesign of my own site (hopefully in the next couple of days).

    The only things that differ for me would your FTP client, CLi, and Sketch.

    I’ve never really spent much time with Sketch but I think that’s purely down to the fact that I’ve never really needed to up until recently. Having only started freelancing for about a week or so now, I was previously restricted to the software used by the agency that I previously worked for and that was the standard Adobe packages.

    I’ve told myself since starting out on my own that I need to commit to trying Sketch out as my full-time digital design tool. There seem to be some pretty big upsides to using Sketch over Photoshop for designing digital products.

    Have you tried Adobe XD?

    1. Hey David, glad you found similarities.

      I love sketch, like you I only started using it when I went freelance last year. Id highly recommend trying it out.

      Never tried XD, heard good things but I didn’t want to be tied to Adobe where as sketch is a one off payment

      Best of look with the new freelance adventure, love to see the new site when it’s up

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