22 apps designers can’t live without

There’s unquestionably that era has reworked the design international. While a lot of the design procedure used to contain hands-on paintings with X-Acto blades, Cow Gum, and French curves, it’s now advanced right into a in large part digital-driven trade. Apps of a wide variety have digitized the purposeful parts of an artistic studio: Dropbox rather than a submitting cupboard, Slack rather than a snappy name. 

While it should appear that the litany of apps may probably weigh down a undertaking and even stifle creativity, a handful of them have risen to the highest of the design international’s checklist—for productiveness, inspiration, and conversation. We requested designers, illustrators, and creatives from world wide to percentage their go-to apps. Here are 22 they informed us they are able to’t reside with out.

The responses were edited for period and readability.

Things and RightFont

The first is Things, a role control and productiveness app. I to find it tremendous helpful to regulate my days, weeks, and months so far as organizing tasks each professionally and for my part. It’s local to iOS and macOS and helps to keep my thoughts transparent and my table blank.

The 2d is RightFont, which is a qualified font supervisor for macOS. It’s intuitive and simple to make use of and has the power to auto-activate with Adobe instrument corresponding to Illustrator or InDesign. The dynamic font preview software may be helpful for evaluating more than a few typefaces with one any other. It makes managing and putting in fonts a easy and stress-free procedure.

—Dan Elliott, dressmaker and artwork director


My Most worthy paintings app could be Dropbox. I stay all my paintings information and pictures stored there, and it helps to keep a couple of older variations of each document stored so I will be able to return if I overwrote one thing through mistake. 

—Lucia Calfapietra, illustrator

Insight Timer and Todoist

Insight Timer is my go-to meditation app for objective environment, confirmation, and staying constructive. I don’t believe myself a non secular individual however I consider within the energy of the thoughts and visualizing luck—similar to athletes do. I’m satisfied to record that groovy issues stay going down to my occupation as a dressmaker and an artist.

I don’t know the way to paintings or reside with out Todoist! [With] all my paintings and private to-dos in a single position and likewise hooked up to my calendar, my thoughts is at leisure and I will be able to center of attention on designing. I’ve “Work This Week” for precedence jobs and “Work Bucket” for jobs that want doing however don’t have any time limit (e.g., PR, site replace, to find artwork residency).

—Mamimu (June Mineyama-Smithson), dressmaker/artist


It sounds humorous however my go-to app is actually simply Spotify lately. I will be able to paintings from any place at this level, and I will be able to paintings each digitally and even with uncooked necessities—paper and pencil are simply out there any place. The most effective factor I will be able to’t paintings with out is my tune library!

—Steven Harrington, artist and dressmaker


One of my favourite apps for inspiration is, in reality, Tumblr. I’ve remained unswerving since 2010, and whilst the app has observed its ups and downs, from a design inspiration point of view the sheer amount of content material, pictures, posters, archival paperwork, colours, textures, and textual content keeps my inventive juices flowing.

—Andy Johnson, author, editor, and dressmaker

Lightroom Mobile, Retouch, and InShot

My picture enhancing is completed thru Lightroom. I additionally use Do You Travel presets to provide my pics a bit added punch. I take advantage of Retouch for speedy picture edits like putting off stray traces or random gadgets from pics, and I take advantage of InShot for any easy video enhancing like splicing clips and rushing up photos. 

—Joanna Muñoz, lettering artist and illustrator


My go-to app could be Behance! It’s an ideal supply of inspiration as a result of no longer most effective are you able to see a variety of wonderful paintings from more than a few artists protecting a couple of disciplines, however you’ll be able to watch in-depth livestreams which display an artistic’s design procedure and methodologies. You actually get a way of the person at the back of the paintings. Streams on Behance like Adobe Live are a great instance of this! As neatly as being a contract dressmaker, I even have the privilege of being a number on Adobe Live. This provides me the chance to talk with creatives from other backgrounds and upbringings. This can indubitably supply inspiration and affect inside my very own follow.

—Kieron Lewis, freelance graphic dressmaker

VSCO + Photos

VSCO and my pictures app move hand in hand. As a dressmaker and illustrator, I incessantly get impressed through the colours, scenes, and composition of the arena round me. I seize pictures incessantly and edit them in VSCO, which permits me to actually convey pictures to existence with their filters and enhancing choices, like bumping up the saturation and including some grain.

—Sophia Yeshi, illustrator and dressmaker, Yeshi Designs

Adobe Illustrator 

I take advantage of Adobe Illustrator as a day-to-day software for poster and brand introduction. It’s an excessively flexible software that is helping me reach very advanced designs and feature amusing within the procedure. It is helping me as a dressmaker/human in the best way I will be able to mess around with shapes and generate putting items and patterns that can be utilized in numerous codecs. 


Amongst my notes and digicam apps, TikTok (and its “For You Page”) is a continuing scroll of latest, surprising, and richly unique views, sandwiched between present international occasions, tear-inducing tales, and, after all, the occasional meme. Yes, it might develop into procrastination (we’ve all been there), however I really consider lots of the subsequent best creatives are using the platform and pushing it to be one thing a long way past the preliminary purpose. Personally, I’m no longer there for “design inspo,” however as a substitute open the app with an artistic undertaking best of thoughts and depart with a contemporary outlook that I consider feeds again into the paintings and helps to keep it culturally related.

—Alby Furfaro, head of design at 303 MullenLowe


My present go-to app is Procreate for the iPad Pro. Seeing as I combine conventional and electronic mediums, pen and ink has at all times been my most well-liked medium. I’m from the old-school generation of designers who used mild bins, tracing paper, and scanners to create illustrations. Since switching to Procreate about 4 years in the past, it has helped an ideal deal in bridging the space within the procedure I used to be used to for executing my paintings. I to find that I produce at a far sooner price now as I immediately caricature/ink within the app, changing the method of sketching, inking, and touching up on a mild field or tracing paper; scanning; then moving to both Photoshop or Illustrator, which I have been familiar with for such a lot of years.

—Sindiso Nyoni, graphic artist/illustrator


I admit I’m no longer probably the most app-centric sort, however I can say that I really like my Notes app. I’ve notes for mainly each street of my existence ,from assembly notes to TV displays I need to begin to Wordle guesses I’m sitting on. It’s chaotic, however it’s all there. 

—Katrina Ricks Peterson, artwork director, Actual Source

There are only some number one apps I take advantage of (as opposed to the ever-present design instrument) value noting. The primary one could be I take advantage of this as a analysis software for tasks—most commonly as personal channels, however a couple of which are public. It permits you to acquire no longer most effective pictures however paperwork, textual content, hyperlinks, sounds, and so on. There’s additionally a little bit of neighborhood concerned that you’ll be able to tailor and isn’t in response to an set of rules. 

—Daniel Kent, inventive director, Ikhoor Studio

Apple Calendar and Pinterest

Apple Calendar is synchronized with my Google account, my telephone, and my laptop, so I’ve my agenda very arranged. I believe it is a essential level in my day as a contract dressmaker with the intention to center of attention on paintings, whole my duties, and feature a life-work steadiness.

I take advantage of Pinterest for speedy inspiration each day. What I love highest about Pinterest is the robust visible associations, however I’ll say my fave for this are some web sites like Savee (they must make an app!), The Brand Identity, or Fonts in Use.

—Pia Alive, impartial inventive director


Instagram is a brilliant supply as a result of it’s been utilized by designers to show off their portfolio/works. I apply numerous inventive folks, and so they all have other design approaches, so the items proven on my feed have a variety and feature combined kinds, from delicate to wild concepts! Looking at the most efficient works isn’t simply to assemble inspiration for my subsequent paintings, however it has transform a motivation that I will be able to additionally do extra good stuff that different inventive folks would be capable of take inspiration from.

—AJ Trinidad, artwork director and artistic design specialist


My go-to app would must be InDesign. As a lot as I would like to paintings solely on an iPad (I really like the speculation and ease of it), it’s InDesign that helps to keep me hooked up to my MacBook. Besides being the one full-featured app to put out books and magazines on, it’s the very best clean canvas to throw concepts onto and arrange then again you favor, with only a few restrictions. But on the other hand, it’s one of the vital first packages I used to be educated on, so that you discover ways to mainly do the whole thing on it. . . . I’m positive the similar may well be stated with Excel? 

—Giuseppe Santamaria, photographer and dressmaker

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