Design tools we use to build Deekit

Here's the list of design tools we use at Deekit, how and why we use them as well as tools that we no longer use.

We sketch initial ideas using:

We have tried many ways to capture sketches, different tools and formats. Here’s a full list and our views on those.

Paper and whiteboards. Before Deekit was ready enough, we used both paper and whiteboards a lot. Simple to sketch things out — yes. But for teams not in same location it’s just horrible to share and collaborate with.

There is loads of debate that paper and whiteboards are easier and more natural to use and that digital devices are not good enough. We’ll share below our views how the setup works just amazingly well.

Few examples of our daily design thinking previously:

After moving our design brainstorming online, we found a different usecase for the whiteboards already in the office:

Invision. We have probably used Invision way too little so far for what it’s enabling. We think it’s great to test your designs before implementing them and get outside feedback as you can literally out your full designs in front of people. But all other ones have covered most use cases so we really have not needed it as much.

The Interactive Sketching Notation framework is a visual language we stumbled upon when using paper for designing. We love it ever since and now actively use it also online. It is set of simple rules on what the user sees and does unified into coherent sketching system. A visual design language, as we would say it.

Affinity Designer is simple and beautiful design app (Apple design award in 2015 says it all!?!)

Graphic by Autodesk (formerly known as ipro) is another great vector based drawing and design app. With new iPad app we’d say it’s again a great alternative.

Mischef. Great drawing tools and good alternative for Photoshop for example. We’d say it works well for more artistic work at hand.

Deekit. Whilst advanced design files get created in Illustrator or Sketch, basic drafts, giving feedback on designs etc we do inside Deekit. For this, either we sketch initial design ideas together with team. Or post images of the fancier and more complete designs the canvas and throw our feedback and questions right next to it.

We create full designs using:

Adobe Illustrator probably needs no words.

Sketch. Most of our designs have moved to Sketch as it is easier than Illustrator. And to be honest, one could say that their are more startup friendly also, price wise.

Sketchappsources — great collection of Sketch plugins and resources.

Principle enables you to create animated and interactive designs. Takes you few minutes to learn and off you go creating animations.

Astropad turns your Ipad into graphics tablet. We started trialling with Astropad the very early days of it and today we are rather impressed. Great alternative if you don’t have a fancy graphics tablet at hand.

xScope is a tool that should be part of every designers toolkit (or alternative) as it allows you to simply to measure, inspect and test on-screen graphics and layouts. Great tool when designing your app for iPad, for example.

Pixave. Any designer who has been struggling to manage your UI elements and icons, then Pixave is the right tool for you. Keeping a simple elements library with wealth of the features yet at a humble low cost.

Sim Daltonism is a colour blindness simulator. Easy tool to test how your app is seen by a colour blind person.

Skala Color is simply amazing colour picker for designers. Amongst many great features, it recognises the colour you have copied to clipboard and presents them as a colour swatch that you can easily use.

We get photos from:

Unsplash — who wouldn’t just love the amazing collection of photos from Unsplash? 🙂 — another site with stunning collection of free stock photos with high resolution. Many images are added on weekly basis and all photos are released under creative commons public domain — no attribution is required as such.

Gratisography offers free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects, captured by Ryan McGuire.

Life of Pix. Beautiful free high-resolution photos with no copyright restrictions.

Placeit not only offers photo mockup templates on different devices, but you can create also low-budget demo videos. For a startup, this is just amazing.

ImageOptim. Image optimisation is important and for this we use mostly ImageOptim. Interesting second alternative is also online

Pablo by Buffer is amazing if you want to design simple quotes and images for your marketing activities. Even our CTO is totally into this one!

Pixelmator is beautiful image editor for Mac with piles of features. Feature and complexity wise it sits nicely between Pablo and Photoshop.

We create videos and animations with:

Gifrocket is for all gif lovers — create gifs easily from your videos.

iMovie is our absolute favourite when simple editing is needed on your videos. Perfect for fast edits without too much hassle.

We get fonts from:

Adobe Typekit & Google Fonts which both are famous for their font collections both for web and apps.

Fontastic — collection of font icons to use in your apps and website.

Which other design tools you use? 😊

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