Everyday (workdays) there are some apps that we simply couldn’t live without, these are mine.
Most designers will remember when Photoshop or Fireworks were the only options available. I honestly have no idea how people use Photoshop to design, but Fireworks used to be great then Adobe acquired it from Macromedia and destroyed it version by version. Towards the end it would crash on me at least 7 or 8 times a day. I loved what I did but really hated the tools.
I think it was 2012 when Bohemian Coding stepped up and released Sketch. The first version was buggy and lacked features but it was such a welcome breath of fresh air. Since then everything I’ve designed has been done in Sketch.
Not much to say about WordPress that everyone hasn’t been heard a 1000 times. I made a living out of WordPress for the best part of a decade. Some of the plugins available can take WordPress to a whole new level. Be warned though friends, plugins can certainly be a double edged sword. A shout out to Advanced Custom Fields by Elliot Condon – in the last few years I was able to deliver WP solutions that would not have been possible before it.
When working in a team, especially with developers, quickly sharing a screenshot of a design or a bug is really important. Droplr makes this too easy. I snap the screenshot or record the video, it uploads it and automatically copies a URL to my clipboard. Command tab to slack, command + v, done.
Adobe Photoshop / Lightroom
I love photography, it’s a pretty serious hobby of mine. Despite my rant on Photoshop above, there’s not much that even comes close when it comes to photo editing. I’m keeping a close eye on Affinity Photo which looks to be promising. Lightroom, while still my choice for RAW processing has turned into a bit of a pig in the last few years.
An absolutely massive repository of icons – outlines only, filled and coloured. Yeah there’s tonnes of sources for icons, but the standout feature of Icons8 is the desktop app, it sits up in the toolbar and whenever I need an icon in my design it’s a single click and drag and drop into Sketch.
Like however many other billion people I’m a massive Gmail user. I just hate using apps in browsers (yes I know the irony of that statement). I don’t like the native Mail app in OSX, Airmail was just too buggy. Mailplane 3 nails gmail in an app though and it’s well priced.
People just look at you weird if you’re not using Slack now.
To be fair I’ve never tried any other streaming app, I can’t be bothered now, Spotify seemed to get it right from the start, it has more music than I could possibly ever listen to.
The humble Text Edit in OSX is awesome, I often have about 10 files open with all kinds of random crap jotted down. Probably better way to do this but, meh.
Skype is still open on my desktop and mobile everyday, relegated to personal use, it just gets used far less than it used to.
This should probably be higher up the list. Trello is the only task app that I’ve actually stuck with. Maybe that’s because I’m using it within a team and it’s kind of essential to keep track of everything that needs to be done.
I know this absolutely essential for managing code within a team. I’m just not very good at Git, I get a little sheepish in the terminal. I push and pull and that’s about it. I need to get better, I keep promising Igor (our backend developer) I’ll do the Code School course. I will, soon.
I know there’s an app for pretty much everything, but you have to draw the line somewhere. The only thing I really want to add to this list would be a good web and mobile prototyping tool. Marvel and Invision look pretty good so far.