DESIGN TOOLS / APPS I CAN'T WORK WITHOUT
I’ve always been a gadget girl; I like things that just work (if they’re beautifully designed then that’s even better.)
My office and daily design routine combines a healthy mix of analogue and digital. Where there’s a fancy millennial bit of tech, there’s usually a something old school not far behind.
In case you were wondering, I’ve gone ahead and written some words about the things that make my design world go round.
iPad / ProCreate w/ Apple Pencil
What a godsend! I don’t know where I’d be without this trio of dreams.
The iPad inspired this post actually; a couple of you DMed about how useful I find the iPad for design work. The answer is VERY useful. I don’t know how I’d manage without.
Now, the iPad doesn’t win many awards for productivity (in fact, it probably lowers my productivity because I spend many a minute on it) But I use Procreate almost every day; it’s just really LOVELY (no better word) to be able to pick it up and draw/doodle/design/sketch without a care in the world.
I use it for sketching during the beginning of a design project, or when I need to digitise an illustration. I quickly start here, then the miracle that is Airdrop pushes it to my Mac.
The great thing about Procreate is the fact that you can transfer files as a PSD, with layers. It’s almost as productive as Photoshop itself but I generally take things over to Photoshop to finish off and export. (Design speak soz)
I’ve imported some brushes too, but find my favourites are simply the 6B Pencil and the Water Brush. I do want to acquire more brushes to experiment with, but there’s endless options in the brush settings within Procreate itself - you can tweak and change them to your hearts content.
One thing you must know about me, if you don’t already; is that I’m super organised. I use Asana as a visual planning tool. I map out design projects and stages using the bucket view; so each stage has it’s own tick-list guide. I also share a google calendar with my clients so we’re all synchronised and connected. Aint no whiteboard needed over here.
I add my clients to the Asana project Workspace, and then I assign key tasks to them (for example; pay invoice…or supply copy) It’s super handy because it will auto send an email reminder to them too, and its visual. I have to see things in front of me in a certain way otherwise I have to get out of the kitchen. It also means projects can be managed smoothly from anywhere in the world.
It comes with a mobile app too, but I stick to the desktop version just to keep it a work-time thing.
Asana has a free and paid premium version, I haven’t felt the need to upgrade just yet.
Week to View
I fear this sounds self explanatory; but I just wanted to reinforce that although I use a fancy app for process and planning, I still itemise my daily tasks and weekly priorities in a basic week-to-view. 😉
Calendly is a really handy tool, especially if you work with clients all over the world. I use this for scheduling calls with new business enquiries or with clients with funky time zones. It syncs with my G-Cal and lets clients choose an appropriate time to schedule a call; then it automatically adds the appointment to both of your calendars! Dreams! The best bit is that it works out the time difference for you, so no maths required. (Plus, it’s free!)
Planoly and Unum
This is mental and it blows my mind that I use not one, but TWO apps for instagram. omagah. They are similar BUT there is a reason I need both.
Planoly is great for automation and hashtags. You can set up grid posts and stories to auto-post, which is sometimes v. handy; plus it has a hashtag storage function where you can save different groups of hashtags for different purposes. #love
The downside with Planoly is the actual plan-view function - it doesn’t let you juggle the order around so you can see a life-like view of your grid when you post something new. Meaning I can never tell what the new order will look like.
This is where I use UNUM. UNUM does let you juggle the order and also has a ‘hide’ function so you can see the grid in reality.
Planoly - Automation and Hashtags
Unum - Visual planning
VSCO and Lightroom
I use both, defaulting to VSCO most often as it’s so easy to select the filters and get the right look each time; however if you need more tweaking and you can’t get to a Mac ASAP then Lightroom has more advanced features too.
Camera - Olympus Pen EPL7
Again it sounds obvs.com, as we all carry our iPhone cameras around with us like we were born photographers. However, I have an additional go-to camera which I use for quick insta snaps and on-the-fly capturing.
The Olympus Pen is beautiful to look at, but it also takes lush photos for social. I’ve boosted the lens to the 45mm for that *extra* blur. I know the iPhone can do it, but its not real depth of field guys.
The Olympus Pen easily creates depth and snazzy shots; I’ve always said it’s impossible to take a bad photo with it. There’s two new models around now, both as beautiful; its also possible to buy an array of accessories for it too. The most useful feature is its ability to wifi directly to your phone, so you can really insta instantly.
My plan for 2019 is to level up my camera game, but the Pen will always be my first love.
NEW ENTRY: PREMIER PRO / RUSH
It goes without saying that I use Photoshop and Illustrator for all design work, so haven’t included those here. However, I have been discovering Premier Pro and Rush of late; what with my increased interest in video content. I use Pro for the legit stuff on my Mac, of which I’m still learning about.
Rush however can be used on iPhone (there’s a desktop version too!) it makes editing really easy for mobile, which I think we all agree is ABSO necessary in the instagram story age we live in.
You can easily trim and chop footage into 15sec clips, add filters, sound etc.. all in a handy, simple easy to use app. 👌🏼