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If you’re a web designer then you’ll know of the pressures of the job; the constantly changing digital landscape calls for all manner of ever improving skills and demands. To keep the websites you’re creating, or you manage, at the peak of their aesthetic and user friendly powers then you’ll want to have some apps to keep everything under control. Here, in handy list form are 20 of the finest you can own. Take your pick!
Evernote is an app where notes can be archived and used in your design projects and, since your Evernote account can be accessed across multiple mobile devices and desktops, you can access and quickly search within your archive to find the note you need to enhance your work. It’s very popular and there are many professionals who would be very stressed without this little app.
2. Google Drive
You’ve no doubt heard of this, but if you’ve not decided to use it to date then you’re missing out on a tremendous, streamlined tool. Google Drive lets you store files in one place, access them from anywhere, use the Google Drive Android app in combination with this, and share any files with your contacts. Very useful.
Offering more than a million palettes and a portal to an online community of some 75,000 designers, ColorSchemer is really quite a marvel. You can browse palettes to use as colour schemes in your visual work, create your own palettes to share with the COLOURlovers community, receive feedback on palettes, and discuss anything related to colour schemes. It’s got rave reviews, so this one is vital.
Winner of the Best Photo App of 2012 was Snapseed. It’s a photographic app for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that allows you to snap photos, enhance them with special effects and filters and share them with your online community.
Snapseed has numerous options for adjusting and editing your photos: stylish retro aesthetics, precision enhancements, adjustments to specific areas in photos, and customisations with subtle changes or more extreme and dramatic effects.
5. SketchBook Pro
Here we have a professional painting and drawing app which allows you to turn your iPad into a digital sketchbook. It caters for all manner of drawing; if you want to sketch or brainstorm ideas or produce refined finished pieces then all the features are there. SketchBook Pro has plenty of tools and is intuitive to use.
WhatTheFont, put simply, helps you identify fonts from around the internet. It can also be used to identify fonts from web pages, or on images, which you can save in your picture album. Ingenious stuff!
The FontBook app is a vast catalogue of international typography containing 37,000 typefaces derived with more than 730,000 typeface samples. It’s compatible with iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch. All very useful, and in its iPad incarnation FontBook is a source of inspiration and fascination as you search and scroll through the samples. It looks stunning, but as a resource it’s highly valuable.
Here you can give a whirl a full range of app design elements including concepts, graphic content, user interface, icons and images, all without having to write a single piece of coding. AppCooker is an accessible tool allowing you to create and test out your impending designs.
9. Adobe Ideas
Almost everyone on Earth knows Adobe (this is a fictitious statistic), but Adobe Ideas is an equally brilliant app designed for Apple’s finest gear. It allows you to create smooth vector drawings and designs on the move, so is great for testing out and saving ideas. It’s an instantaneous process – as soon as you’re done you can share them out amongst your connections.
10. Adobe Photoshop Touch
This is synched with Adobe Creative Cloud, this app allows you to start photo projects on your mobile device. Photoshop Touch focuses on Photoshop’s most popular core features, the app allowing you to use layers, filters, selection tools, brushes, and special effects.
Favicon fans can rejoice with Favigen. As the site says, “The term favicon dates back to 46BC and comes from the Latin favitius iconius.” Handy information, and a useful app. You can make your own icons with this tool. 10,755 have been made so far, as the site proudly proclaims, so why not add to this amount!
Not so much an app, more a handy website which will tell you how quickly your website loads. Obviously, in this digital age, the faster the better, but Loads.in can also help you hunt down any niggling problems you might still have with your loading times.
Finally we have the very useful (for creative professionals), Marksta. It’s an app for copyright protecting your design output, using your iPhone or iPad to add a watermark, text or logo to protect images before you upload them to the internet.
The globally revered matching system used by designers, printers, and manufacturers has been in action for 50 years now. With this in app form you have access to 13,000 Pantone colours on your Apple decides. The myPANTONE app contains an extensive library of colours, you can capture and match colours from photos, images and webpages, and you can create colour schemes, palettes, and add the results to e-mails or HTML.
Penultimate is a handwriting and drawing app that aims to recreate the tactile experience of writing with ink on paper. The app is part of the Evernote collection of applications and as such syncs with your Evernote account so you can create and archive sketches and notes, add them to your next project or share with colleagues and clients as means of demonstrating your designs, ideas and project plans.
There are plenty of task management apps available and one of the best is OmniFocus. It offers a range of management features with voice, image, and text note-taking for when you’re busy out and about. Or if you’re simply brainstorming. There are also plenty of viewing preferences to set to your preferences, as well as localisation features to help you along further still. You can, of course, sync your tasks and notes to the official server in order to manage everything all at once.
Webr is a neat web design app for iPhones and iPods, and also Mac and Windows laptops and desktops, that allows you to create beautiful sites that work perfectly on smartphones and other mobile devices.
You can choose from a range of Webr themes to suit your new website – whether it’s a professional business website, a journal-style blog, portfolio or image gallery – upload text and photos and quickly publish the site online. Once your site is up and running its easy to add new content and maintain your online presence.
This one has been a big hit, and right so. iDraw is a vector-based drawing app for the iPad. The standard selection features available are analogous to Adobe Illustrator’s (this is no bad thing), and it has powerful pen and brush tools you’d find in drawing and illustration. The vast wealth of other elements (shapes, layers, colour and shading tools, text support) is also very impressive.
Basically if you’re into sketching, technical drawing, creative artwork, poster and flyer designing, then this is for you. Once you have completed your drawings you can export as vector PDF and SGV files or as transparent PNG or PDF images. These can, naturally, then be digitally flung across the internet in numerous formats.
This iPad app is a wireframing applications for professional web and mobile app designers. iMockups differs from the norm as, those who want to create and edit dynamic user interface prototypes, can do so with this tool. You can work across multiple projects at once (each with multiple page mock-ups), and share your designs via email etc. Professionals only, though. This isn’t much fun for amateurs.
Finally we have Harvest. This takes up a basic spreadsheet layout for time and expense tracking – perfect if you’re always on the go. However, it also links with your digital Harvest account so everything is synced gloriously together with everything else you’re doing (such as invoicing reports).
Alex Morris is a writer for a canon ink cartridges firm in Manchester, England, where he writes about toner cartridges HP and uses these apps (some of them, anyway) to keep his hectic working life in order. So should you!