They range from productivity, prototyping, project management and organisation, the latter two being of real importance to any freelance designer. These are the areas that can make or break a projects profitability, so having good PM and organisation tools is vital.
Also, you'll see these apps aren't restricted to designers, so as long as you're working in the digital sphere then they'll be useful to you. So let's begin:
In late February 2016, Slack announced they raised $200 million in funding which puts the total corporation valuation at $3.8 BILLION! A staggering figure which clearly emphasizes the companies size and hold on the market. So what is Slack?
It's a communication platform that allows teams and other stakeholders to create channels to open up conversations in one place. No more comms that get lost in email chains or missing docs, if you want to communicate to your team digitally then it should be on Slack.
It's trusted by LinkedIn, Airbnb, CBS and the U.S. Department of State who pay subscription fees to use the product. For more information visit their website.
As the name suggests, Evernote lets you create notes for everyday purposes. It's broad nature make it hard to pin point exactly where it will fit into your daily life. Give it some time though and you'll wonder how you ever managed without it.
It will become the place to brain dump any inspiration, travel plans , to-do's and general note-taking. You can create notebooks to organise your notes and the simple formatting options allow you to create lists and checkboxes which becomes very useful. Also, it syncs beautifully on all devices. Download from the App Store now.
Such a simple but effective app. Gero aims to 'harmonize your work-break balance and increase your productivity'. If you get distracted easily or are constantly interrupted by non-work related things then you should look into Gero.
Created by the award-winning agency ustwo, the apps premise is based around timmed 'work' sprints; you set the number of sprints, sprint durations and break durations. Then hit Go and work until the clock hits zero, then you take a break and start over again. Simple right? Download from the App Store now.
You can download Noizio for desktop and mobile but the features remain the same. Essentially, Noizio is a little productivity tool that let's you pick from a selection of relaxed ambient sounds that get you focused. Anything from thunderstorms and crashing waves to a log cabin fire or parisian café, there will be something to get you in the right mood.
There are a dozen or so sounds to choose from that can be mixed and matched to create your perfect ambiance. For more information visit Noiz.io and take a quick tour.
Marc Edwards and his team at Bjango give us Skala and what a lifesaver this app is. This pixel perfect, WIP design previewing tool is vital for any mobile designer who is serious about their craft.
First you have to install both Skala Preview & Skala View on your desktop and mobile device, you then connect them via USB or Wi-Fi (USB is recommended for the best connection). Then all you have to do is drop your WIP artwork files (jpgs, psd or clipboard) onto Preview and View will display your designs in situ on your device. Simple as that and like I said a lifesaver for any serious mobile designer.
Invision is one of the leading web and mobile prototyping tools available on the market. The free plan offers more than enough for you to get your teeth stuck into. If you're working with teams then the ability to comment and track comments is second to none. The ease at which you can add hit areas and transitions to your prototype make the whole process so intuitive that in several minutes you can have yourself a working prototype.
Out of all the free plans on offer elsewhere, this one is a no-brainer really for what you're getting. Also, the Invision blog has some interesting reads so it's worth checking out. Visit their website to find our more.
Trello is marketed as the 'keeps track of everything' tool, which is dead on point. I use it for tracking QA tickets, scheduling & planning and a repository for all the cool stuff I see. But I've seen how useful it can be for random DIY projects and cupcake party planning, so it's definitely worth a look.
It works beautifully on desktop and mobile and the 'drag and drop' feature when moving cards is a nice touch. Trello is so scalable and the ability to customize your boards, lists and cards means you will find use for it on every project.
Not a design app so to speak but a recent WEBBY Award winner so it makes my list. Also, you can't produce your best design work if you're not well nutritioned.
So on to the app itself, Yummly brings you a library full of wonderful food recipes. They neatly display TON's of recipes and the smart filtering makes sure you find what you're after. The painless method of adding 'Yums' to your profile is great, which simultaneously updates your shopping basket making the whole process a doddle. Include enticing photography, a clean UI and subtle animations and you've got yourself an app every iPhone owner should own. View on the App Store now.
If you find it hard deciding what colours to use on a design or wonder what colours website XYZ used then this app is for you. Sip allows you to use an eyedropper on any part of the screen to extract the colour of that pixel. Once installed, the app sits in your menu bar and from there you select what colour codes you wish to copy. Hexidecimal and RGB are the norm but there's a load of other codes for available for developers.
The app is free but there's a paid version which offers an extended set of features but so far I've managed without, find out more at App Store now.
Last updated: 21 August 2016
Hey, I'm Luke, a digital designer whose focus is web and mobile design. I'm currently part of a proud team at Bulb Studios where I work with clients to create smart and engaging digital experiences.
Born in Coventry, my travels have taken me to 5 continents and I've lived in France, Australia and the United States. I've also had extensive stays in New Zealand and South Africa.