From One Designer to the Another

What I’m about to share with you is not top secret, nor is it classified information but it will change your life as a graphic designer. Over the course of my career I’ve come across a number of resources and design tools that help make my day-to-day tasks run faster, more efficiently and most importantly keep the creative juices flowing. 

Adobe Creative Cloud

This seems like an obvious choice in software for a designer to claim as their lifeline but I had to get this out in the open. A good designer goes straight for the real deal- design everything in illustrator and Photoshop. Seriously… ditch the picmonkey. GIVE IT A TRY

Okay, this design tool may be the biggest game changer in my entire list. This site will change how you choose your fonts for EVERYTHING. When you first land on the site, you get straight to business and type in a word or phrase you want to select a font for. A simple click of the button and the page will load all of the fonts you currently have on your machine and display your phrase in those fonts. That’s right, no more guesswork and trying to remember what fonts you have on hand that might work for the style you’re going for- this site does it for you. It even lets you bookmark and compare the fonts you’d like to compare. GIVE IT A TRY



If you’re in a pinch and don’t feel like reinventing the wheel with icon designs, this site is chock full of bold, simple symbols for just about any message you need to show graphically. I’ve pulled social icons, UI button elements and even holiday icons from this site when I’m in need of a solid icon. GIVE IT A TRY


Bacon ipsum

Most designers will use Lorem Ipsum to generate placeholder content for a design until the final content is available. The latin text is… fine… but couldn’t we have a little more fun while we twiddle our thumbs waiting for the client to provide us the final copy? Bacon Ipsum boasts to be a “meatier Lorem Ipsum generator” and I’d have to agree. Filling in your placeholder content with meat related words is a more playful way to display your initial drafts to a client and in a subtle way keeps their attention on content to serve as a humorous reminder to provide you with their intended copy. GIVE IT A TRY

Sample Bacon Ipsum Text

Spicy jalapeno bacon ipsum dolor amet cupim landjaeger ribeye, shoulder tenderloin beef ribs rump bacon ball tip. Salami turkey shoulder turducken pastrami meatball beef ribs shank. Ham t-bone shankle, pork chop pork belly beef frankfurter.

Unruled Sketchpad

This is hands down the number one design tool I take everywhere with me- even over my laptop! I like to carry a simple black, hardcover sketch book with a coil binding. The coil is key as it holds my pen while I’m on the move. I prefer to use an unruled book so that my sketches and notes are not limited by the boundaries set by ruled lines (I know- how artsy of me with my unbridled page freedom). In all seriousness though, I like the option to take notes along side my sketches and organize my ideas however I see fit. Having a sketchbook during a meeting also becomes very handy when you need to visually describe an idea to a client on the spot.


Black Marker or Pen

I was seriously debating whether this point should be to always have confidence or always carry a black pen. I went with the latter. While many designers will adamantly disagree with me on this one, a pencil has no place in my sketches. A pen is permanent and forces you to commit to the idea. You cannot erase, you cannot second guess, you just draw it. If you decide the idea sucks after you’ve drawn it out, at least you can say you fully committed to trying it and it just didn’t work. Again, be committed: “I have an idea and I’m going to see where this goes”.



Ever wonder what font a website is using? This handy extension for your chrome browser makes it easy to find out what font, type size and color a site is using for their headlines and body copy. Once installed, the Whatfont button lives in your Chrome toolbar and let’s you peak at the site font description without having to inspect the code. GIVE IT A TRY

Every designer’s toolbox is different and these resources are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to useful devices that get the job done. Instead of keeping our best tips to ourselves, why not share with others and help improve each other’s workflow? What are your favorite design tools?

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