Joe Rutland

Freelancer Web Designer Toolkit

13th Mar 17

Over the years of being a web designer, I have tried and tested countless apps and products for design, productivity, and workflow – here’s what I’m running on a daily basis since I became a freelance web designer.

COMMUNICATION

EMAIL CLIENT

I’ve tried so many email clients and never really liked one enough to stick with it longer than a few months max.

Recently I had been using polymail on both mac and iOS – but I found it too buggy and unreliable on the iPhone and had just swapped to Spark, with its smart inbox so I don’t get unnecessary spam pinging in the middle of the night I was really liking it. That was until last week when I ditched the iPhone and went back to Andriod (yep, that’s right, I prefer Android phones). So the process started again on mobile with Spark not being on the PlayStore 🙁 I’m currently using BlueMail, but I can’t see myself using it for much longer in truth. Leave any recommendations int he comments or hit me up on Twitter

CLIENT CALLS

Quite a standard one for new client calls and most people have a Google or Skype account so whichever is best for the client – Hangouts or Skype.

OTHER COMMUNICATIONS

Slack. I love Slack and would love to utilise it more than email. It’s so much easier to keep track of web design projects and chat with the rest of the team all in one beautiful app.

UI & WEB DESIGN

Since going freelance last year (2016) I changed from the full Adobe suite to Sketch and I haven’t looked back since. It’s fast, lightweight and aimed at UI design professionals, where Photoshop was highjacked by us and we got annoyed when it wasn’t perfect for what we wanted to do with it.

PHOTO ALTERATIONS

Now I still have Photoshop but literally only open it up to colour correct or manipulate photos ready to import into Sketch.

IMAGES FOR WEB DESIGN

Okay, so I try to use nice looking stock photos for web design projects when I can (unless a client is adamant on full cheese). But after seeing a tweet from Dan Edwards about Zoommyapp I have to now add this into my toolbox already.

WIREFRAMING

When ever I start a new UI or web design, the pad and marker come out & I will always swear by my Whitelines Pad,

PROTOTYPING

There’s only one choice for me when it comes to prototyping, it has to be InVision. An awesome service on its own, but since I switched to Sketch, as I mentioned before, the power and ease of sync between them plus Craft and Invision Sync for mac my workflow has become so much quicker and easier.

FRONT END DEVELOPMENT

Now I tend to mainly stay on the design side of design projects, but on occasions, I do code front end.

TEXT EDITOR

I don’t have much loyalty to a text editor as it’s not my primary tool, but since I got it last year, Visual Studio Code has been the perfect addition to my web design toolbox.

ADDITIONAL

The last few again are just for when I do code a bit, so are all basic and do the job I need, no doubt the real front end devs would argue that there are better services:

  • Task Runner: Yeoman/Gulp
  • Command Line: Terminal

So that’s it, the tools and services I use on a (nearly) daily basis as a freelance web designer.