There are a few things all designers have in common.
We often have similar education and understandings of the design "rules". We share a creative spirit and a detail-oriented eye. But, designers also have vast differences.
The way we create, get inspired and the tools we use are just a few of the ways we differentiate ourselves.
In this blog post, I'm going to share the 7 tools I can't design without. From surprising resources, like Podcasts and Pandora to more traditional resources like Adobe Illustrator, this post walks you through each step of my creative process and what tool I absolutely have to have.
Let's get started!
1 | Pinterest
If you're subscribed to my newsletter you already know my love of Pinterest. I use Pinterest to promote my blog, collaborate with my clients and get inspired when creating new designs.
When I turn to Pinterest to get inspired, I like to stay away from the obvious search results. For example, if I'm designing a website, I don't search for website design pins. I like to look at home, places, products... really anything that might inspire me. I do this to ensure my designs are creative and authentic. I don't like to get too closely inspired by other designers.
Check out my Pinterest below:
2 | Pandora and Podcasts
I always get inspired when I have a good song or podcast playing in the background. As a write this blog post, Netflix is on the T.V. in front of me.
Setting the scene for your creative space is different for everyone. Some people need to clean up their desk, get their favorite pens or pencils or blast the tunes.
If you're looking for a little inspiration, my favorite podcasts of the moment are: Lore, Elevation Church, Criminal and This is Love. My favorite Pandora stations are: James Arthur, Halsey and Drake.
3 | Pen and Paper
Whenever I start a new design, I pull out my pen and paper to get the creative juices flowin'.
I like to start with a sketch because it gives me free reign to explore my ideas. I have always found I have more freedom with a pen than Adobe's pen tool.
I tend to find more connections and combinations when I can see a few pages of sketches together. Not only does this help me design a logo and it's variations, I often find icon and brand collateral inspiration during this free sketch time. It also lets me get my ideas out a lot faster. If you're anything like me, ideas come flowing fast and the mouse can't quite keep up.
4 | Google Fonts
There are numerous font websites and I could talk about almost all of them - but today I'm only going to talk about one.
Google fonts is one of my favorite font websites because all the fonts are free for commercial use, they are optimized for the web and aid in site speed. I also want to mention that the fonts are beautiful and expertly designed. Google Fonts also lets you divide the fonts by category, languages, style and more.
5 | Creative Market
Creative Market* may be one of my favorite tools on the list. This platform is filled with handcrafted design content from creative entrepreneurs just like you.
Creative Market's number one mission is to make design simple and accessible for everyone - even those that aren't tech-friendly. Plus, you're supporting your fellow entrepreneurs which is always something to feel good about!
I like using Creative Market for fonts, stock photography and icons. You can also find website themes, social media templates and logo design.
*Creative Market is an affiliate partner. If you purchase something through this link I may get some cash-money. Thanks!
6 | Adobe Color
Adobe Color is one of the many products of the Adobe Creative Cloud software family. Adobe Color helps you create color themes, explore existing color themes and house your own color theme creations.
Adobe Color helps you create color palettes utilizing color scheme rules. For example, analogous, monochromatic or complementary. They also have triad, compound and shading.
Once you've created a color palette you can access it from all of your Adobe programs. This way you don't have to jump between softwares to reference your hex codes.
Related: How to create a color palette for your brand
7 | Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is the number one tool I use for my business.
Adobe Illustrator is a program used by both artists and graphic designers to create vector images. Vector images ensure your graphics can scale without becoming pixelated. This comes in handy for logo design, social media graphics or print design.
I'm a strong believer that any creative business owner needs a basic understanding on Adobe Illustrator to create all your promotional and branding materials.
What tools do you use when you're designing? Let me know in the comments!