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When I decided to pursue design I thought Wow, what a cool creative job to have. But when I got into the industry and started working with real clients, I got annoyed so fast about the fact that I get to be creative for like, what, 30% of the time? The rest was dedicated to some small, tedious tasks I hated to do.
It’s been a year and I am tired of it. I was wondering if it’s possible to somehow automatize the chores that leave no time for being creative.
On this day there are quite a lot of tools that claim to do just that — but the opinions differ from one designer to another.
So, why not try them out?
I decided to conduct a small experiment and test out 10 web tools and see if I can get at least part of those tasks to be done automatically or it best to be done manually.
Here’s what I found out: out of the 10 apps I tested, 3 proved to be professional and functional enough for me to breathe out in relief.
So, I present to you, 3 hidden gems + 3 resources I use since forever to find visuals available for download.
- UXPin — for creating interactive prototypes with built-in libraries, instead of creating everything from scratch.
UXPin is a prototyping app that gets closer to the code and enables you to work with interactive states, logic, and code components.
What I liked about this tool is that it allows you to create a prototype and bring it to life, by letting you use it like a complete, coded application. Another thing that will make me go back to this app is a built-in library with different flows, button hovers, and expandable menus, and a lot more.
It’s an amazing full-fledged working environment, where you can send your design to a client, let them leave feedback, or even assign new tasks right inside UXPin.
Now, I see myself using the app to create my mobile application designs and directly discuss them. UXPin is an efficient and very time-saving solution, allowing the client to provide their feedback a lot faster.
- Genially — for creating interactive designs like infographics with ready-made templates.
Genially is a web-based application that will help you create a list of visuals in a few clicks.
This one may be a little cheat — inside the app, you can find quite a number of professional-looking templates for infographics, guides, presentations, social media posts, and more.
When I was running low on time I used the app to create some of the visuals for my client. The app allows for a lot of customization options, including color palettes, adding gamification, or interactive elements — everything you need to present a cool design basically.
Most of the time I see myself using Genially to create infographics. What can I say, the templates are just awesome.
- Gingersauce — for creating the brand books as presentations of your logo designs faster.
Gingersauce’s functionality allows you to create brand books online, in a few clicks. The templates added to the system are quite versatile, you can make a brand book for basically any brand of any style.
Apart from the obvious brand book creation for my clients, I have also found Gingersauce super helpful in my logo presentations.
As a premise, I create a lot of logotypes, almost every day. When I discovered Gingersauce, I decided to ditch my usual presentation method and try making a brand book for each of my prototypes. I found 2 benefits: 1) saves time, as the app automatically creates the logo variations, misuses, spacing, etc; 2) the clients usually send a lot fewer edits and verify the logo almost right away.
- AniCollection — for finding CSS animations.
AniCollection is a resource for designers who work closely with code. This library has many animations — all-ready-made and available in CSS, HTML, JQuery, and AniJS formats.
The website offers a collection of animations like bouncing text, or fading text, zoom in, and rotating icons. Basically, small things that will add some spice to any web page.
I especially like that I can add all the ‘anims’ to the cart and download all of them at once. Efficient!
- Pexels — for finding royalty-free images.
This website is a must for any designer: you can find over 25,000 free stock photos and videos to use in your designs. Open the picture and download it — in a selection of sizes, that simple.
You can also create your own collections of photos, that you like and wouldn’t want to lose.
Cool thing is that Pexels is super active: new photos are added to the library very often. One of the reasons is that they hold contests for photographers with real prizes, thus encouraging them to upload their works to the website.
- TextureKing — for finding free textures.
The library is great for anyone looking for some free textures to download: from metal, stone, concrete, wood, liquid, fabric, and glass. The interface is super simple, just click on the category, pick the image, and download it.
During the course of my experiment, I have come to the conclusion that there is no harm in trying out new tools. I think sometimes it’s useful to cast away the perfectionism that’s deeply rooted in every designer and make your work a lot more efficient with what today’s market can offer.
Do you have anything to add to the list? I’d love for you to share what resources you are using to be more efficient in your job!
10 Days and 10 Web Tools For Designers: What Hidden Gems I Discovered? was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.