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Top 5 online tools to improve a designer’s workflow

Within this blog, we will share five of our favourite online tools which have all been found to help improve our own work processes and speed up our workflow.

By Molly
Monday, March 30th, 2020
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 58 seconds.

As a creative agency, we are always on the lookout for neat tips and tricks to improve our workflow and help us to work as efficiently as possible. Within this blog, we will share five of our favourite online tools which have all been found to help improve our own work processes and speed up our workflow.

Adobe Color

Putting together a colour palette can be quite a time-consuming task for any designer, that often involves a great deal of trial and error. However, Adobe Color is a great online tool for generating colour combinations that work.

Adobe Color has an intelligent understanding of colour theory, which allows users to quickly build palettes of colours that work together. When using this online application, you have the option to flesh out full palettes to complement an existing colour, or you can create a whole new palette from scratch; either by toying around with colour sliders or uploading an image for the system to extract a set of colours from.

Whilst this app is free to use without an Adobe subscription, it does allow those with a Creative Cloud subscription to save their palettes, or ‘colour theme’ as they are referred to by Adobe, and access them from within the colour panel of their desired Adobe programme.

See: https://color.adobe.com/create

Adobe Color’s ‘Colour Wheel’ feature allows you to create a palettes by entering values and using sliders
Adobe Color’s ‘Extract Theme’ feature creates palettes from upload image

Calligraphr

Handwritten typefaces can add heaps of character to a project, but sometimes it can be tricky to find one which feels appropriate for the job at hand. Calligraphr is a handy online resource which helps you to create your own handwritten font – saving time by not having to trawl through type foundries searching for a suitable choice and giving you the option to create something totally unique.

The Calligraphr process is incredibly easy, you simply download a template from their website, print it out (or open it in your preferred drawing application), and populate the template with your hand-drawn characters. Then, after either saving out your completed digital template or scanning in your printed template, you re-upload it to the Calligraphr site. The site then converts your template into a .ttf file for you to download and import into your font library.

Whilst there are some limitations to the free version of Calligraphr, such as the inability to control character spacing, ligatures and character randomisation, it is still a really great tool for anybody curious about creating their own handwritten font.

See: https://www.calligraphr.com/en/

A snippet of the Calligraphr downloadable template with the ‘draw helplines’ and ‘characters as backgrounds’ functions enabled

WhatFont

In a nutshell, WhatFont is an extension for Google Chrome which allows you to inspect and reveal the typeface name, size, weight, line height and colour of any live text on a webpage. Whilst WhatFont is a fundamentally basic tool, it has consistently proven to save heaps of time and energy within the studio, ranking it in our opinion, a must-have extension for any designer.

See: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/whatfont/jabopobgcpjmedljpbcaablpmlmfcogm?hl=en

The WhatFont interface inspecting live text on the Masters Allen website

Magic Poser Web

Magic Poser Lite is a free web browser version of the 3D character posing tool, Magic Poser. It is, in essence, the 21st century’s answer to the traditional wooden artist’s mannequin.

Upon entering the site, you are equipped with a fully posable, realistic male mannequin, that you can view from any angle. A toggle through the settings along the top of the interface allows you to customise your model, from changing the gender to adding hair and adjusting skin tone. You also have a great deal of control over the direction of the light hitting your character.

Magic Poser Lite is a fantastic reference tool to use for anybody needing to create characters, draw figures in specific poses, or just wanting to brush up on their life drawing skills.

See: https://webapp.magicposer.com/

The WhatFont interface inspecting live text on the Masters Allen website

ColourPick Eyedropper

This simple-yet-effective Google Chrome extension allows you to hover a colour picker tool on any website – over images, content boxes or live text – to get a hex code and RGB values for any visible colour.

Similar to WhatFont, this modest tool has proven a real time-saver in the studio, as it totally eliminates the need to screengrab webpages and open them in Photoshop in order to get a colour reading. It does the job and does it well!

See: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/colorpick-eyedropper/ohcpnigalekghcmgcdcenkpelffpdolg?hl=en

The ColourPick Eyedropper giving a reading from an image on the Masters Allen website

As they say, time is money, and so we hope that these nifty time-saving tools will prove beneficial to you, your team, and your future projects!

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