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Design tools you won't believe exist

Introduction

You've probably heard of design tools like Adobe Illustrator and Sketch. But did you know there are also sites that let you create a custom UI kit, and even one that lets you make your own fonts? Here's a list of some lesser known but nonetheless awesome tools for designers.


VANGHOGH

Vangogh is essentially a Google Search for colour palettes. You can enter any search term, such as “blue” or “orange”, and Vangogh will use millions of images to generate the perfect colour palettes.


CHECKLIST.DESIGN

If you're anything like me, you'll have days where you sit down to work on a project and find yourself wondering if everything is in place. You run through your mental checklist: "Is my logo visible? Do I have all of the relevant links? Have I remembered to include that quote from Steve Jobs in this post?"

You might even write down notes or reminders for yourself as a quick way of ensuring that important aspects of your design are covered. If that sounds familiar then CHECKLIST.DESIGN might be for you. It's an online tool that allows users to create their own "design checklists" by adding any items they wish to consider (such as fonts or colours) along with descriptions and reminders about what each item means/does so they don't forget anything important.


SVG ARTISTA

SVG ARTISTA is a free tool that lets you create an animated loading symbol (or any SVG) in about 2 minutes. Simply drag and drop your logo into the app, customize the fill and stroke animation, then grab the code and paste it into your editor.


SHAPE

Shape is a website that makes it easy to create and share prototypes. You can use it to get feedback on your designs, collaborate with other designers, and show off work to potential clients.

The interface is simple and intuitive—after signing up, you'll be able to create a new project in seconds. Once your design is complete (you can use any software you like), all you have to do is upload it into the Shape editor and add some basic functionality if necessary. You can then share your prototype through the web app or embed it directly onto another site—it's an excellent way to present interactive concepts without resorting to clunky software like Flash or PowerPoint presentation slides.


REALLY GOOD EMAILS

You may have heard of email templates before, but you might be wondering what the difference is between a template and, say, a design document (like a wireframe or flowchart).

Email templates are essentially pre-designed layouts for your emails that you can use to create content for your automated marketing campaigns. They can range from simple blocks of text with some placeholders for images or videos and buttons—to more complex designs that include multiple columns and graphics. Email templates are like building blocks: they give you predesigned space to add in your own content so it looks polished and professional when it's sent out to the people on your list.

They're also great because they save time! If you're working alone on an email campaign (or even with other people), having these ready-made layouts means less time spent developing new designs from scratch every time there's an update to send out. You just customize them with new information each time so they stay fresh while still looking consistent year after year over time—and there's no need for custom coding either.


CLEANMOCK

Cleanmock is a mockup generator that helps you share screenshots in style. Whether it be web or mobile, Clean mock has your back. You can even customise the background colour to make your mockups match any branding guidelines for your project or client.

Clean Mock isn't the only tool out there that lets you create stylish visuals from screenshots and images though—there's Appcredible and Placeit too.


UNSCREEN

UNSCREEN is a free Chrome extension that allows you to remove the background from any video. This means you can cut out a person or thing from the background of a video and use it for anything you want.

For example, say you want to make an animated GIF of yourself playing football with your dog. You could take footage from a YouTube video and then cut out just your character in the shot and paste it onto another video of some other guy doing something else entirely. It works frighteningly well; give it a shot.


COLOURSLURP.COM

It's lightweight and does what it says it does.

Colourslurp.com is a tool that helps you choose the right colours for your designs. The site allows you to select a colour from a photo, then use that same colour in your design. You can also use it to find the right colour for your brand!

  • Select the color you want by clicking on the screen or dragging over the area you want with your mouse cursor (black arrow). Then select "use" in order to copy this color into the box below.

  • If there are more than one element in your photo, click on each area separately using Ctrl+Left Click (Windows), Command+Click (Mac) or Shift+Control+Click (iOS).

Conclusion

There are thousands of design tools out there, but these 8 are my personal favourites. I hope you enjoyed reading about them.

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