5 Tools to Help Graphic Designers Be More Efficient

When time is tight and deadlines are looming, efficiency is key. For designers, building a collection of useful shortcuts, online tools and resources is crucial to staying on task and keeping work fresh. Our designer shares a few of her favorites:

  1. A Sketchbook
    Whether you work primarily in print, branding, or web/UX, a paper sketchbook or notepad is the easiest way to keep your ideas organized and thoughts focused. The rapid-fire approval, discarding, and revision of concepts on paper is invaluable to the design process. Grids, lines, plain paper—find what works for you!
    Try it: us.moleskine.com
  2. Adobe Color CC
    Formerly Adobe Kuler, this tool enables designers to easily build, save, and use color palettes across the Adobe CC suite. Browse user-submitted color palettes or create your own using the color wheel, the Color Rule tool, or the eyedropper tool.
    Try it: color.adobe.com
  3. TinyPNG
    Today’s web designers and developers can agree: page loading time due to high-res images is a serious concern. TinyPNG helps alleviate these worries, compressing PNG and JPEG files while retaining their optical quality. It is available as a free online tool, a Photoshop plugin, and even a WordPress plugin.
    Try it: tinypng.com
  4. Adobe Typekit
    For designers, font licensing is often one of the trickier parts of the job. It can be hard to find a balance between quality fonts, price, and usage restrictions. Enter: Adobe Typekit, offering thousands of fonts for use in print (and web!) through partnerships with numerous well-known foundries. Typekit is included in a CC subscription so fonts seamlessly sync across Adobe programs and devices.
    Try it: typekit.com
  5. Dribbble
    When you’re in need of honest peer review and feedback, or are at a loss for where to even begin on a project, turn to the Dribbble community. Marketed as “show and tell for designers,” Dribbble invites designers across disciplines to share screenshots of their in-progress or finished work. Membership is by invitation only, but the whole collection of images is public and easily searchable. Dribbble designers often share free downloads of templates, fonts, or other useful tools.
    Try it: dribbble.com

This article first appeared in Tactics Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 1.

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Tags: Design, Graphic Design

Picture of Annalise Taber

Annalise Taber

Annalise is part of Shawmut’s creative services team and is responsible for turning our clients’ creative vision into reality. She is a versatile and experienced designer who works across print and digital channels to deliver exceptional visual communications. Her work includes direct mail, e-books, infographics, brochures, catalogs, websites, and more.

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