Must Have Tools and Services For Designers
While there is no shortage of themes, page and app builders, or design aid services and resources, you still have to do some searching to make certain you choices are quality choices. This short list of high quality items covers most of the bases, and you can select one or more of these products or services with confidence. You naturally want to get your money’s worth, and that will definitely be the case here, plus one or two freebies have been included to sweeten the pot. If you see an item of interest, click on the hyperlink that takes you to a website for additional details.
With its incredible new page builder as its central feature, the release of X Theme’s Version 4 has created more than just a stir. Cornerstone, the new and innovative page builder, created a virtual storm of rave reviews. Its intuitive, app-like interface, in combination with Themeco’s diverse selection of design elements, makes page building almost ridiculously fast and easy. X’s other features may have temporarily been taken out of the limelight, but it must be remembered that they are the reason this theme is ThemeForest’s fastest selling theme of all time, and will likely remain so. Your purchase of this theme gives you access to the many plugins created for WordPress by Themeco, plus you will have access to a dynamic community site, to information-rich forums, and to a user support team that is second to none in the industry.
Enfold is an exceptionally easy to use WordPress theme. It is in fact its usability that has made this theme Themeforest’s best-rated top seller. Import a demo with a click, and you are ready to start building, or you can import several demos, and use design elements from each. Once you start building your very first website, you will understand why the editor is considered to be the easiest to work with of all of the WordPress themes. A multiplicity of features is a good thing to have, but they must be easy to put to use, and it is Enfold’s focus on decisions rather than features that makes it the powerful and delightful WordPress theme it is.
The first thing you may be tempted to do when visiting Be Theme’s website, is to browse through its 100+ pre-made layouts. In fact, they are so prominently displayed, you can hardly avoid doing so. These layouts include virtually any category you will be likely to design a website around. They represent design concepts, and they are definitely idea generators. They are also completely editable. These layouts will get your project off to a fast start, and Be’s 40+ other features will enable you to maintain your momentum. If you need it, you can expect more than a little help from the world-class support team, which is at the ready 24/7, and is a team that is well known for its rapid responses. Be is intuitive and lightning fast to work with, and by far one of the best choices you can make.
Website Builders and Platforms
XPRS is more than a little different. If you are a whiz with Lego, you will feel you are in familiar territory when you first start using this website builder. XPRS’ building block system, which is embedded in its CMS, is called Polydoms. The building blocks differ from Lego blocks however, since they can be edited and modified. This website builder is also somewhat of a different breed in that you will not require the use of plugins to get your work done. It is free for students, artists, and non-profit organizations to use. Professional users pay yearly fee of $250, and receive unlimited licenses in return, allowing them to manage hundreds, if not thousands of clients’ sites. XPRS is incredibly easy to use and a real timesaver. Check it out.
Webydo is a full-service SaaS platform led by its growing community of more than 175,000 designers and web agencies. This cloud-based, responsive web platform allows designers create, manage and publish their clients’ websites, code-free. With one-click hosting and client billing as standard features, Webydo eases the designer-client interaction brining a new level of professionalism to the website creation process. Webydo also enables you to manage multiple clients’ sites through its customizable dashboard. Excelling in design craftsmanship demands using the right tools: Developers have WordPress. Amateurs have Wix, Weebly and Squarespace.
WordPress Page Builders
To say that Themeco’s recent launching of their Cornerstone page builder created some excitement would be an understatement. This innovative tool became an instant hit in the web design community, and its users are still raving about it. Many drag and drop page builders are easy to use, but few do most of the editing and previewing on the front end. Cornerstone features side-by-side, interactive displays of the edit and preview processes, making it possible for you to see the edits as they happen, and in a clutter-free environment. This page builder is definitely worth looking into.
Themify Flow is another WordPress page builder that features front end editing. You can see the status of your work as you are building a page, obviating the necessity of having to check back later to see what you did. The number of templates you can design has no limit, the styling of individual design elements is quick and trouble-free, and you have total control over your layouts from start to finish. These characteristics makes Themify Flow difficult to ignore as a page builder of choice. One more thing: Since it is open source, you can use it for free!
Project Management and Collaboration Tools
If your project management tools have not been giving you the performance you need, Nutcache is the ideal solution you’ve been looking for. The same is true if you are looking for a better way to manage and improve your team collaboration efforts. This tool is a definite program management asset for tracking time, expenses, and project status, and for organizing and storing comments, documents, and project notes in its collaborative boards for eventual sharing. You will always be kept aware of your project’s status and your team will always be kept in the loop.
Some project planners and task manager tools only succeed in creating more work and more stress; objectives they were designed to minimize. Azendoo offers a more relaxing way to approach your work, yet keeping everything under control. With this task manager and project planner working for you, you can finally relax without fearing that everything will suddenly go out of control. Part of the secret to this application’s success is that it was intended for use as a collaborative teamwork tool. It offers an ideal solution to any issues you may be facing in attempting to keep your projects on track.
Converting Designs to Code
When your design is complete, and you are ready to let the developers take over, look to PSDGator to take your PSD files and convert them into W3C valid HTML/CSS, or HTML5/CSS3 if you prefer. One of the excellent features this service offers is to review your design and specification to see it if there are any outstanding issues to resolve before they commence with the coding. If you have existing sites that require recoding to become responsive, PSDGator will to that for you as well.
HTML 5 slicing is their team’s specialty, and Direct Basing’s clientele consists of freelancers to Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. Whether your design has been captured in PSD files, Adobe Indesign or Illustrator files, they will make it web browser-ready. Fast loading time is always a top slicing priority, whether your need is for web pages, newsletters, emails, or web shops.
40 Dollar Markup converts Photoshop designs to W3C valid HTML/CSS. They also recode legacy PC websites to bring the code up to standard, and they convert desktop designs to responsive designs. This service does not use automated software. Everything is hand coded, and once the code has been delivered to you, 40 Dollar Markup will be there should you be in need of further support.
If using a large, well-established hosting service will make you feel more comfortable, Glowhost will be an ideal solution. They have a reputation for providing the fastest and most accurate hosting services in the world, and their servers are located in 16 locations around the planet. Specialties include managed dedicated, managed cloud, and complex service cluster hosting services. Glowhost is definitely worthy of your consideration.
Whatever level of hosting support you require, Site 5 has a plan for you. Any plan you choose offers unlimited bandwidth and disk space, a disaster recovery backup service, free migrations, and 24/7 phone support. That’s a good deal for a low price. You also have the option to choose the hosting location, a choice which can influence how fast your website will load. Contact Site 5 by email or live chat if you would like to know more.
Stock Photo Agencies
With its library of 26 million images, Bigstock is aptly named. The number may seem overwhelming at first, but you will find it easy to quickly drill down to a few quality examples of what you are looking for, whether it is a photo, a vector, or an illustration. Take advantage of the 7-day free trial offer and pick up to 35 free selections to get started. After that, you can make your purchases by subscription or by prepaying for credits.
Stockfresh also has a library that features millions of items, and they claim to have the best prices on the market for high-quality photos, illustrations, and vectors. As an added feature, the Stockfresh website is responsive, so you can browse their offerings, and make your selections, while you are out and about. Both prepaid and subscription plans are available.
If you do some or all of your marketing via email, the Sendloop web app might be just the right tool for you. It has everything you need to conduct you email marketing campaigns, including an excellent selection of mobile device-ready email templates, an online image editor, and a drag and drop email page builder. This high-quality specialty item is definitely worth a look.
Typeform did to forms what Tesla has done with cars: completely redesigned online forms from the ground up. Typeform creates a beautiful and conversational form experience for your audience. You can embed images and video seamlessly into your forms to further clarify your questions. Build quizzes, take online payments, and even tell stories. The free version has crazy options.
When you need to design an Android mobile app in a hurry, and one that will feature a stunning array of material displays, the Vonn UI Kit can save your day. This drag and drop kit includes a selection of 100 classy templates placed in 9 convenient categories, so you can always find the template you need in order to get started in no time at all. Download the files on Photoshop and you are ready to go!
The Ink iOS Mobile UI Kit is the right solution for you if speed and ease of use are among your top priorities. You can quickly create apps and/or prototypes using any of the 120+ Photoshop and Sketch screens included in this kit. They have been placed in 7 convenient categories to help you quickly zero in on exactly what it is you need. This mobile UI kit will make a nice addition to your toolkit.
Icons and Fonts
The name says it all. The way icons are displayed on mobile devices can make the difference between your design’s success or failure. The Icons Responsive library features more than 1000 scalable and responsive icons. They come in 4 sizes, and they are presented in outline, flat-filled, and round container styles. The icons are also in a vector format for editing purposes.
TrueSketch fonts are completely handcrafted, practical to use, and fun to work with. Handcrafted fonts can be used for many things, but they can at times play a major role in helping to establish a brand. The package includes both standard fonts and italics, and a nice selection of stylistic alternatives. Desktop, web font, eBook, App, and Server licenses are offered.
Everything you see here is top quality, whether it is a product, a service, or a resource; so you need not be concerned about making a bad choice. If you have seen something of interest, visit the website and explore what the product or service provided has to offer. You might even want to do some comparison shopping.
We are always interested in whether you found something of interest or not. If you know of a product or service you feel should be included in our listings, let us know. Leave your ideas or comments below, and make it a point to visit us again.