15 Essential Graphics Tools for Online Designers

Great design is a process of hard work and inspiration. There are no shortcuts, but technology offers you plenty of tools to save time and increase productivity. Of course the hard part is actually finding the software that fulfills your needs.

Over the course of the last year I’ve created an online toolbox, composed of software and websites that I use for my day-to-day design needs. These tools streamline my work and increase my efficiency. Today I want to share them with you so you can spend less time working and more time enjoying the things that are important in your life.

Adobe Color Wheel

adobe color

Coming up with the great color combinations can be a challenge. Adobe Color Wheel helps simplify the process. Pick one color and the Color Wheel automatically selects a number of colors that work well with it.

Colorzilla

colorzilla

Colorzilla gives you the power to instantly discover the color combinations used on any website. The software provides you with the hex codes for the color scheme used on the page you are visiting. It’s available as a plugin on Google Chrome and Firefox.

Font Face Ninja

font ninja

Font Ninja is a great online tool. At the click of a button the plugin identifies the fonts used on a website and then gives you the option to download the font (of course you shouldn’t abuse this feature). It is available for Safari and Google Chrome.

Type Genius

type genius

Type Genius suggests fonts that work well together. Select the font you want to use and Type Genius reveals different fonts that work well with it. To help you make a decision the site gives you examples of font pairings so you can see what they will look like alongside each other.

Youzign

youzign

Background image removal is one of those daily tasks that I found myself struggling with before I started to use Youzign. This online graphics design software offers a simple online solution to image cropping. In literally 20 seconds flat you can remove the background of any image.

Convert My Image

image converter

Sometimes you need a simple piece of software to do one basic job. Convert My Image is a great example of this. It lets you change an image to a different format. The nice thing about this software is that it includes a large range of image formats. For example, JPG, BMP, RPG and PS.

Pixlr

pixlr

Pixlr is my go to tool for simple photo or graphic editing. There are three parts to the software; Pixle Editor, Pixlr Express and Pixlr O-Matic. Pixlr Editor offers a range of tools for graphic editing. Pixlr Express lets you add tints and text to an image and Pixlr O-Matic lets you add borders, overlays and effects. That’s a lot of functionality for a free piece of software.

Tiny Png

tiny png

Load time is an important factor for search engine rankings. Tiny Png compresses the file size of your images while maintaining the quality. It’s a small thing, but it does make a difference to page loading speed.

Page Ruler

ruler

Page Ruler lets you measure the pixel dimensions and positioning of online elements. It is a very useful tool for anybody involved in designing software or a website. The plugin is available on Google Chrome.

Perfect Pixel

pixel perfect

This useful plugin lets you add a transparent image overlay onto a website so you can see if what you created is identical to your mockup. The interface is clean and easy to use and is a valuable tool for anyone designing online. The plugin is available on Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox.

Resize Window

window resizer

Resize Window lets you see what a website will look like across a variety of devices (mobile, tablet and desktop computer). There are a large number of screen resolutions to choose from. You can also create your own.

Fillerati

fillerati

Fillerati is a placeholder text generator. It’s a nice alternative for anyone who is bored with ‘Lorem Ipsum.’ Depending on your needs, another option is the ‘Corporate Ipsum’ Chrome plugin that generates meaningless business jargon you could fill a report with.

Light Shot Screenshot

lightshot

Since I started working online I’ve used Light Shot on an almost daily basis. The software lets you take a screenshot of whatever you are working on. You can then add some notes and either upload the image to the server, and receive a url, or download the image to your desktop as a png.

Last Pass

Last Pass

Last Pass stores all your passwords and usernames in one place. Once you’re signed in you can use the software to automatically log into any website that requires login information. The pro version lets you share your passwords and usernames across your team, while not actually giving anyone the actual password.

Stay Focused

stay focused

If you love Facebook or find yourself getting distracted by the Internet while you work then Stay Focused could be right for you. The plugin keeps you productive by blocking access to sites during your working hours. Stay Focused also keeps track of how long you actually spend browsing the Internet while you pretend to work.

I hope you found this list of online tools useful. I know there are plenty of alternatives to the tools I suggested, but these are the ones I personally use. They’ve helped me in my day-to-day business life and I’m sure a few of these tools will help you to.

P.S. If there are any great tools I’ve missed let me know about them in the comments below (I’d love to check them out).

Bio:

This article was written by one of our guest authors. We always appreciate contributions and if you'd like to contribute too, please don't hesitate to visit the contribute page.

Leave a Reply