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The 2024 Designer App Toolkit

January 12, 2024

2024 still sounds like the future to me, it's crazy that we're here. 2006 was yesterday, wasn't it? Since we're now 'living in the future', I'd like to share a glimpse into the toolkit that shapes my day-to-day life from a productivity and design standpoint. These tools have helped transform my business, make me more dynamic and creative, and most importantly, keep the roof over my head.

1. Figma: The Collaborative UI/UX Champion

Figma continues to be my go-to for UI/UX design. Its cloud-based, collaborative environment is perfect for any design work. From prototyping, concepts and final designs, its user-friendly nature makes it a staple in my design process. Gone are the days of having to ask the same question, "Is this the latest file?". Cloud-based designing makes it easier for me and my clients to communicate and collaborate and ensure we're all on the same page as it were.

2. Photoshop: More Than a Classic

Adobe Photoshop remains a mainstay in my graphic design work, especially with its revolutionary 'Generative Fill' feature. This AI-driven tool magically fills in parts of the image based on its understanding of the surrounding area, transforming the way I handle image editing and manipulation. It's nothing short of magic and I think I'd be lost without it now.

3. After Effects: Motion Graphics Maestro

For motion graphics and visual effects, Adobe After Effects is my favourite. Its robust capabilities let me animate designs and add a dynamic layer to my digital content, essential for engaging multimedia presentations. Motion design is crucial in the digital design sphere and After Effects helps bridge the gap between idea and reality.

4. Things 3: Simplified Task Management

Things 3 stands out in task management. Its elegant interface and efficient organisation make handling daily tasks and projects manageable and visually appealing, keeping me focused and productive. It's available across all my devices though so I can monitor my projects and tasks from on the go. Pretty handy I'd say.

5. Fantastical: Intelligent Scheduling

Fantastical's natural language processing simplifies planning and scheduling. It's invaluable for managing my calendar, with features like automatic time zone conversion and scheduling meetings with links, I'm no longer having the same conversation. "Can you do Monday at 3 pm?, or Tuesday at 11 am?". Now I can just send a link with times I'm free and my clients can book in meetings as they need. Time-saving to the extreme.

6. Mimestream: A Smoother Email Experience

As a native Mac email client, Mimestream has streamlined how I handle my Gmail accounts. Its intuitive design and fast performance make managing emails less of a chore. And let's be honest, email can be a chore.

7. 1Password: Security Made Easy

1Password might be the most important app I use. It is essential for managing passwords and sensitive information. It combines high-level security with ease of use, ensuring I never use the same password more than once (somewhat ironically given the name). It also lets me share sensitive information with my clients securely with its expiring links.

8. Arc: The Future of Web Browsing

Arc reimagines web browsing with its innovative interface and organisational tools. It's perfect for managing extensive online research and has fantastic nifty features that make browsing the web so much easier! From screensharing features to pinning key areas, I'm not sure I could work without it now.

9. Notion: The All-in-One Workspace

Notion has become indispensable for project management and documentation. Its versatility allows me to create a customised workspace, combining notes, tasks, databases, and more in one integrated platform. It's the backbone for organising my projects and collaborating with teams.

That's it! Not a huge number of tools but each brings their own unique take on the design and development process. They form the cornerstone of my workflow and allow me to stay organised and creative. I'm always on the lookout for new software, so if you've got any recommendations please let me know!

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