Posted in Design by
Anthony Hortin

No doubt you’ve come across the odd list or two of “Useful Tools”. Most people have a collection of tools or certain sites that they find invaluable for designing. Well, now it’s my turn to create one. These are some of the tools that I find extremely useful and use on a regular, if not daily, basis.

Have a browse and through and see what you think. Are you using the same tools? Do you have others you can recommend? Leave a comment and let me know.

Color Inspiration

Kuler
A great tool for experimenting with color variations or for simply finding inspiration from palettes created by other users. It is also available as an Adobe Air desktop application.

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Daily Color Scheme
Another great site for finding inspiration among different color palettes.

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Color Meanings
Do you know what various colors symbolise? This site will help you understand what meanings are associated with various colors. It’s great to refer back to every now and again when you’re contemplating new design concepts.

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Productivity

Paymo
Paymo is a free time tracking tool. Ideal for freelancers or small-medium businesses with multiple team members.

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eWallet
Keep all your passwords and PIN’s safe with 256-bit AES encryption. eWallet is now available as an iPhone app as well, complete with synchronisation between your iPhone and a WiFi connected Windows PC.

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Web Development

Firebug
Firebug is a Firefox add-on that allows you to edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.

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HTML Validator
This is another extremely useful Firefox add-on that adds HTML validation inside your browser.

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Typetester
Typetester is an online application for comparing screen fonts.

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ColorZilla
An advanced Eyedropper, Color Picker & Palette Viewer extension for Firefox.

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Browsershots
If you’re doing any sort of developement, then you should be testing your sites across multiple platforms and browsers. Browsershots will help you do this so you don’t have to spend all your hard-earned money on setting up your own testing lab.

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Email Marketing

Campaign Monitor
Whether you need to send out emails for your own business or for clients, Campaign Monitor works a treat. They also have some great tools for testing your email on different email clients and for SPAM testing.

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Guide to CSS support in email clients
Even though this “tool” is on the Campaign Monitor website, I think it warrants its own special mention. Designing HTML emails that render consistently across the various email clients can be quite time-consuming and frustrating. Even if you don’t use Campaign Monitor to send out your email newsletters, they have some great tips & resources on their website. One in particular is their guide on what CSS tags work with the various email clients. If nothing else, this guide can save you from hours of hair pulling (your own and others).

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Design Resources

Brands of the world
Browse and access vector format versions of thousands of brands and logos for use in mock-ups and presentations.

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All Free Logo
Another vector logo library similar to the above site. If you can’t find the logo you’re looking for on one site, you’re sure to find it on the other.

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Designer Cheat Sheets
A fantastic resource of 100 web design cheat sheets from Web Design Schools Guide. There’s something for everyone here.

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