Top Resources That Should Be In A Designer’s Toolbox
Along with the uniqueness of each client's project, comes the uniqueness of designers. They are naturally different, having distinct skills, tastes, styles and experience.
This leads to the fact that most web designers like to think that they’ve selected the best tools and services for their toolkit. While this could probably be true, some resources and services are still the best even if some don't want to believe it.
While aware that opinions differ on these matters, I’m going to showcase in this article the resources that have helped me in the past and also some of their great competitors which should be taken into consideration.
A proper website builder helps you channel your creativity without needing to actually know how to code. ALLYOU.net delivers professionally developed websites that involve minimum effort to create a website. This Swiss platform was developed to serve the needs of creative people from different fields of experience, like photographers, stylists, graphic designers and it can even be used by web designers to create websites for their clients.
Simple is better, they say, and you should keep it that way when designing websites. ALLYOU knows this and makes it easy for you to select a template and use the drag-and-drop front end editor to customize it and create a great website as soon as possible. ALLYOU offers free services including cloud hosting, and for a monthly fee starting from $8 depending on your payment plan, you can upgrade your portfolio site and get a lot of interesting features.
Wix is impressive when you look at its power of gathering more users every day. It's not surprising given that it's a simple cloud service that it is used by people to build HTML 5 websites without a single line of code. It also has several apps that will make your experience better, like social plugins, ecommerce solutions, forums, contact forms and e-mail marketing options.
We have to be honest, it takes a while before you grasp the components of this website builder, but once you do, you will have the chance to create great websites for yourself and even for your clients. You will see that there are a few advantages that Moonfruit presents such as SEO tools and well designed site templates.
CrocoBlock is another awesome collection of themes for creating WordPress sites. Their database has over 80 responsive and top notch themes. This is a great chance to get top notch themes at a really low price, of as little as $0.65 per theme.
They are really thoughtful and care about their customers so much that they offer 3 free themes if you sign up for a trial. Also, the stock images that you see in the theme demos are available for free with the theme, which is a really cool thing. Think about it, when you get your theme, it will look exactly like in the demo.
Creating a WordPress website is not an easy task, as many might think. You may need to create a blog, a portfolio for yourself or for your clients, company website, an e-commerce site, a photography site for a showcase or many other types of WordPress websites. X theme is a one of a kind theme which is so versatile that you can create almost any type of website with it, solving your problems that you face when having to create a WP website and don’t know which theme to base it on.
Theme X is not just a WordPress theme, but also an astounding tool and once you get to see what it can do, you will see why they call it the only WordPress theme you will ever need. The "Stacks" are proof of that. The X theme, unlike other themes, offers you a wide range of unique designs and besides this neat thing, you also have the possibility of editing your site with a tool called site previewer.
TemplateMonster is a huge marketplace of website templates and it has more than 46,000 templates that will make selecting the proper one a sure thing. Since they started their business in May 2001, they have established partnerships with Drupal, Magento, WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, WooCommerce and many others. Since then more than 1 million people have bought templates from them. Their flexibility, 24/7 support team, and their multitude of themes make them a serious choice when wanting to buy a theme or template.
TemplateMonster offers a variety of services including web templates, customization, installation, hosting, copywriting, and SEO. Their blog is quite useful and you’ll find all the necessary information you need including promotions, freebies, web design updates and more. Their support team is ever ready to offer you help in creating your website with a template.
Pixeno is also a great web hosting solution, especially if you are looking for reseller hosting solutions for small businesses, creative, freelancers or web designers. It is impressively fast and was even included in the top 3 hosting solutions in terms of speed.
If you create an account on their website, you will get a web host manager with the reseller account and you can add websites to your package, each having their own cPanel.
You can get 15% off using the coupon code DESIGN15. There’s no time to waste. Get it while it’s hot.
HeartInternet is a great solution for web hosting, for emails, websites, and web apps regardless of how big or small your business is. It is also good to know that their support team is always available and furthermore, it is not outsourced but located in U.K.
There are a lot of discounted items that a designer can get and if you don’t pay attention, you might miss the opportunity. Mighty Deals is a great place where you will find discounted resources for designers.
You should act fast and get their special offers while they are available. There are daily discounts even as high as 90% for a lot of cool stuff that you would need. Items like web development courses, toolkits, themes and templates and a lot more design tools are available for you at a great price.
Medialoot offers deals in a different way. In order to get their awesome resources you will need a membership which can cost $14 per month or $99 the entire year, which is a total bargain.
With one of their memberships, you can get top notch resources that are made by designers for designers. In this way, you have the assurance that these are amazing. Among the resources that you can get are UI kits, vectors and illustrations, icons, font families and many more.
I don’t know if it’s a designer thing or not, but it annoys me a lot to see a design with a font that I don’t recognize. I’m sure you have encountered this situation as well. Luckily, there’s a tool that can help you if you’ve been struggling to find out what font a certain design has.
WhatFontIs is an excellent tool for designers who don’t want to waste time and want to find out fast what font has been used by another designer in his work. The tool is quite straightforward and you can either upload an image with a font, or add the direct url to it and in the blink of an eye, you will have a list of the closest matches available for that font.
Displaying content in the right manner is of importance in website development. In a site design the typography needs to be attractive in order to transmit the proper message.
Therefore, it’s really important for you as a designer to find and use the proper fonts for the specific project you are working on. UrbanFonts offers you the best free collection of fonts that you can use. There are over 8,000 free fonts, and I’m sure that the ones that you need are among these.
Vector Open Stock
If you don't want to spend any money, than there's always time to scan through websites that offer high quality free vector graphics. You may wish to consider Vector Open Stock above all others, as they have a fast growing collection of original vector art of great quality, just waiting to be snatched.
Among their original stuff you might be attracted to their Cartoon Character collection, a huge amount of Flat Icons that are perfect for app designs, fantastic Abstract Backgrounds and also a large collection of silhouettes of all kinds, always useful for any design project. In addition, Vector Open Stock also has been updating and improving their site to make it more reliable and fast, we'd encourage you to give it a look.
Shutterstock is among the best microstock agencies where you can get vectors from. You will see why a lot of designers like it for finding vectors. It’s a common marketplace and has a habit of promoting new items which makes it easy for you to find vectors that are following the latest trends in illustration design.
PicJumbo is a site with a lot of high quality stock images that are free. Neat looking images of 10 megapixels are continually being uploaded and the greatest thing that everybody appreciates is that they don’t look like the classic stock photos. The images are available at no cost and you can use them however you want.
Unsplash prevents you from going through thousands of images to find your perfect image. It offers you top notch free stock photos which meet your desires. It also has an addition of ten new photos once in ten days which have a CCO license enabling you to download and use them freely however you want.
Teamwork can easily turn to chaos without proper organizing abilities. Project Management is important in the web design and web development environment, therefore, using helpful software is always recommended.
Azendoo is a great tool and it can be used both on the phone and on the web. Its free version allows you to create a lot of workspaces, and also to set as many tasks and subjects as you want.
The free version is good, but the premium one is even better, coming with a lot of amazing features and capabilities.
Did I mention that it comes with integrations like Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and many others?
Things should be simple for designers in terms of project management. After all, they already have a lot on their mind that they need to take care of. Casual.pm is a visual and not complicated at all solution for designers and an alternative to the regular project management tools.
It has a different structure than its competitors and probably that’s a good thing, because it makes every task really easy, switching from features like Gantt charts, for example, to MindMaps.
Picons contains some of the best hand-crafted and crisp icons that will leave an impression on anyone. With their great design they will be able to compliment your website, mobile app or other media where you would want to use them. The icons are created in Illustrator and are of course scalable.
A set of 80 sleek icons is also available for free and you should check it out. You should also follow them on Twitter for when they offer a new and interesting icon set.
It’s the biggest icons collection that you will find on the internet with over 5,000 icons and increasing, and all of these can be yours with a single purchase. Roundicons icons are unique and hand-crafted by their designers.
The icons are available in different styles flat, outline, glyphs and many more, and they are all available in PSD, SVG, Ai, PNG, and CSH formats. All newly released icons and also updates are available for free to clients who purchased their sets.
PSD to HTML Services
Designing a website layout is great and seems fun if you’re a designer, but coding it is a daunting process, if aren’t used to it. This is where a PSD to HTML service is really useful. Direct Basing is a great choice, especially because of its fast turnaround of just 12 hours.
XHTMLized is another best option for PSD to HTML services. It has over 10 years of experience in providing services to many organizations as back-end developers. When you collaborate with them, you will sign a non-disclosure agreement that is meant to protect your data and property.
People who will be contacting you will be doing so by first-name basis only, as XHTMLized believe in creating healthy relationships with their clients and they succeed in doing so not just with their friendliness, but also thanks to their great services. Beside this, the project Producer who was assigned to you can be reached at any time in case you have questions or suggestions.
Shopify is the best place for people that want to create an online shop. If you’re a designer that needs to create a shop for one of your clients, this is the option that you need to use. This service enables you to easily manage orders, customize site design, accept credit cards many other features that are needed when selling online.
If you want to create an e-commerce platform based on WordPress, choosing WooCommerce should be a no-brainer. This plugin is free and comes with lots of new features with each update that it gets. Check it out and see for yourself.
There are a lot of other services that could fit in this list, but I’m going to stop at just these. These are some of the best solutions in their categories and if you don’t believe me, you can check their competitors as well, but you’ll only waste time by doing so.