Five Innovative Tools to Inspire Designers

As a designer, there is nothing worse than your job’s equivalent of writer’s block. You have a huge project to complete and the deadline is looming, but you are having trouble coming up with the ideas and inspiration to get the designer ball rolling.

If this sounds all too familiar, you might benefit from a few snazzy new tools and that can give you the creative push you need to get that designing project done and really “wow” your client. Consider the following ideas:

Spring for a New Smartphone

Capturing color and details in an accurate way is invaluable when you need to create color schemes and generate textures. A snazzy smartphone with lots of bells and whistles can help you to do just that. If your current phone is reaching dinosaur status, head to a retailer like T-Mobile and check out the iPhone SE. This affordable phone’s sleek design is inspiring on its own, as is its 12 MP iSight Camera with its accurate color, focus pixels and True Tone flash. The phone also features a sharp 4-inch retina display that will help you to clearly see your work.

A New Laptop

Laptops are invaluable tools for designers. In addition to allowing you to take your projects on the road and meet with clients to show them your designs, they also feature plenty of RAM and processing power to let you run your graphic design software. Inkbot Design recently featured a list of the best laptops for graphic designers to use; it includes the Apple MacBook Pro with its i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and AMD Radeon Pro Graphics that promote a high resolution screen. The article also had high praise for the Lenovo Z70 and its 17.3 inch anti-glare screen, which makes it easy to show off your designs to clients even in bright sunlight and gives you the ability to connect to a larger screen through HDMI.

A Beautiful Color Choosing Tool

To select the best colors for your design work, consider downloading the Material Design colors from Google; the extensive color palette includes both primary and accent colors that can be downloaded and used for illustration or in other projects. The 500 colors were selected to create a complete palette that can be used on your iOS, Android or web device. The huge selection of colors may inspire you to try some new shades or mix hues in a different way.

A Fun and Useful Font Finding Tool

If choosing fonts to use in your design project is giving you a headache, give the free FontFlame tool a try. Referred to as “Tinder for fonts,” it will match up two different fonts on the screen to help you visualize what they look like together — choose “love” or “hate” to see the next examples. This handy online tool may inspire you to combine fonts you would have never considered as compatible; as a bonus, it is quick and easy to use.

Napkin App

Maybe a change of scenery would help get rid of your designer’s block — if you think the busy-ness of the local coffee shop or the quiet solitude of a bench at a rose garden would inspire your work, the Napkin app was made for you. This free app allows you to design quick mockups right on your phone. You can then share your ideas as PDFs through Dropbox, email and other methods, open the PDFs in Illustrator or Sketch to keep on working, and use its multiple artboards to help your ideas come to life.

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.

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