10 useful design productivity tools

Staying organized and efficient is important when you are working as designer.
Having the right tools can help immensely to devote yourself to the creative process by freeing some time.

The list of productivity apps and tools is growing every day. All of them offer better management for your work which can be a bit overwhelming as you have to choose the best tools for your personal needs.

Comparing and testing different apps and tools can be very time-consuming so here is a list of what I believe are the most useful tools to stay organized and therefore be productive and creative.


Basecamp is the most popular project management tool and it is used by thousands of creative teams. There are many other similar programs that I tried but Basecamp seems to be best one in terms of keeping track on projects, interacting with team members, sharing ideas and discussing them.

Basecamp is the ultimate solution for creative teams to keep project workflow organized without any gimmicks and complicated user interface.

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Kippt is a new bookmarking web app for me but I can say it exceeded my expectations. You can use it as a web app and plugin. You can also install the chrome extension so you can quickly add links to your lists. Content or “clips” can be organized in folders so everything is neat.

The very best thing is that links are displayed as an image gallery not like boring links which makes is useful to find what you are looking for when you have thousands of clips. You can edit the clips, reorganize, favourite and delete them. You also have the option to set the links private so they are for your eyes only. There is also a community feed which helps to discover new and interesting content.

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Finding the right to-do app is very difficult. I have tried a few but not used any of them for a long time. There seemed that something was missing. Todoist is a great tool to organize the tasks even if you are using the free version which provides a lot of options. All options are available with the premium versions which costs €23 for the whole year.

Todoist is a great choice as you can use it at multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and desktops. You can use it on Mac OS or Windows. It also integrates with Thinderbird, Outlook, Gmail and Postbox. There are numerous features that will make you give it a try: such as creating subtasks and subprojects, setting human deadlines (e.g. 2pm Monday), real-time synchronization across various devices and platforms, and many more useful options. Give it a try and you won’t regret it.

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Flevr is created by a fellow designer who at the beginning of his design career felt a bit disappointed of the design related search results provided by the search engines so he decided and created a design search engine.

Don’t struggle alone with projects

Join the creative community of UX, graphic, web designers and developers to get help with any design or dev project.

Flevr gives the relevant search results based on the design content not on the SEO. Delightfully useful tool for every designer.

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Colorzilla is a bit old tool but it is still amazing. I love tools that just get the job done and are tricks-free. Colorzilla allows you to pick colours from a webpage and choose to copy the colour code in RGB or HEX.

There also some other useful options that you can use: such as colour history, web page color analyzer, palette browser and gradient generator. Sweet, isn’t it? I have used Colorzilla since it was created and I haven’t found a similar tool that is so useful and handy.

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0to255 is a lovely tool is you not certain about current colour and you would like to check if a variation of it will be more suitable.

It is a very simple tool that is used in your browser. Just paste your colour and choose the variation you like. Seeing the whole spectrum of shades and tints is extremely helpful and it will save you some time.

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I assume that Firebug doesn’t need any presentation as it is the most popular inspect element tool. I have used for so long and I never felt the need to replace it with anything else. It is so simple – right-clicking in the browser opens two panes where you can see the actual code and “edit” it without touching the real one.

It saves time as you can see the result right away by editing the specific parts of the code.

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Codepen is one of my favourite tools as it is the ultimate source of code inspiration. It is full of amazing pens created by talented people all over the world. Sometimes I like forking other people’s projects just to add my bit to see if it will work better. I also use it to test code snippets and try new stuff.

I strongly recommend if you love coding as much as I do.

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Currently, we are experiencing a stock image revolution as the usual stock images are more or less detested nowadays. The trends from the last couple of years are that the visuals used should be close to the natural life environment. Weirdly smiling/happy people in offices are no longer used. Creatives prefer using real-life visuals to illustrate ideas, ones that are personally appealing to the visitors.

AllTheFreeStock is a the ultimate tool which allows you to search for visuals from all the top free stock image sites so you can find the right ones for a web template, site or mockup.

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If you are in the design industry for a long time, you may find the famous Lorem Ipsum a bit boring. There are many alternatives to it and it is a matter of choice which one you will choose to use. Notloremipsum is a handy tool that gives you industry-related text you can use on your design mockups.

You may feel that the text is not enough for your design so you can try Hipster Ipsum or Corporate Ipsum.

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2 Responses

  1. Meonia says:

    Petia, I am passionate content strategist and graphic designer working with a startup. I had used todoist some weeks back and loved the interface but it lack some features like gantt charts, group chat, one of our team memeber recommend us proofhub he was using it from months and we quite impressed with it, basically it suits our budget at best 😉 All features at single platform. What you think ?

  2. designify says:

    Hey Meonia,
    Thanks for stopping by. Had a look at the tool you suggested and I think it is impressive. The main idea of the article is to suggest tools that are offering great features in their free versions (plans). When I was writing this post I was thinking about designers that are on a tight budget e.g. design startups or freelancers that are just starting. Proofhub is a great tool but for professionals and studios that have steady income. I may write a post targetted to the latter and include it. Thanks again for visiting and suggesting a lovely tool. Appreciate it.

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