Every web designer has a toolkit, or an arsenal of weapons, they use to attack every project. The most well-known of these tools are generally Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, but there are a number of additional tools and software that can help you take your project to the next level.
As a designer, you can’t be afraid to step outside of the box. Have you been designing with the same tools and software for the last 6 months? Well then it’s time to add some new moves to your repertoire! Using the same methods will usually provide the same results. The design industry is constantly changing, and there are always new tools on the horizon that can be used in many steps of the web design process.
Adobe Edge Animate
The first tool doesn't stray outside of the Adobe Collection, but you still might not have heard about it. Adobe Edge Animate is a software that allows designers to create web-ready animations. If you’re familiar with Adobe Photoshop’s animation timeline or Adobe After Effects, then picking this up shouldn’t be a problem.
Most of Adobe’s products have a similar user interface that allows for a seamless transition between the software, and this one is no different. This tool comes in handy when an animated GIF is not enough. With Edge Animate, you can create and animate sleek interactive graphic elements for desktop and mobile web. This software allows you to publish the appropriate HTML files to upload to your website as well, so you save a step on implementation.
Google Web Designer
Google Web Designer is another tool that allows web designers to create interactive HTML5 designs. It’s still in beta, but it is available to download for free. Google Web Designer can be used to build web pages, but I find it most useful when creating interactive display ads.
With their latest update, you can start with pre-built templates that already have the size and functionality built in that complies with IAB ad unit guidelines. You can also create expanding, push-down, floating, and in-app banners for desktop and mobile devices that can be published locally to your hard drive or to DoubleClick Studio. Perfect for all of you advertisers out there.
The best way for me to describe Sketch is a mix between Photoshop and Illustrator. If you’ve ever had to go back and forth between the two programs, then you know how time consuming it can be.
Sketch gives web designers the ability to build website mockups, application interfaces, and vector icons on designated artboards. Sketch’s user interface is very easy to use, and the design results are really clean and beautiful. They offer a free trial on their website, so take it for a spin!
Red Pen is one of the best tools out there for giving and receiving feedback on designs. No more emailing mockups back and forth and reading over long strings of feedback from multiple team members. All feedback and design iterations can be saved in one project folder, which makes it pretty easy to organize all of the project files.
Use Red Pen to take your team’s collaboration to the next level and avoid comments being lost in translation.
Designers love coffee shops. It’s something about the atmosphere, the sound of the espresso machines, the quiet murmur of voices, the clicking on the keyboard– there’s just something about it that helps get the creative juices flowing. But, we can’t always get to a coffee shop and for those moments, there’s Coffitivity.
With Coffitivity, you can have the ambient noise of a coffee shop in the comfort of your own home, or workplace. It’s amazing, really. I’ve created some of the best projects while running this app in the background on my laptop (along with an awesome playlist on itunes, of course). But, don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself!
I encourage you to try these tools and hone your skills in something new. They all have their own specific uses and are great to keep in your back pocket (or bookmarks.)
If you're looking to develop or redesign your website and want expert guidance, take a look at the web development services from Marcel Digital. Feel free to contact us and we'd be happy to talk through your business goals and how we can help them come to life!