Dot Design

Creative Agency

Top 10 Applications and services for a graphic designer

By Gareth Coxon, January 24, 2010

As a designer I’m increasingly using software/applications and services to make better use of my day so that I can spend more time, doing what I should be… designing.

So I though it might be interesting to share what applications and services I use day to day outside of the design packages.

I’d also be interested in what you use as part of your working day, please do add them to the comments as I’m open to new services and ways of working. But for now here’s my current list…

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Things – A great little app for keeping track of my ‘to do’s’ at any given time, you can schedule deadlines for set tasks, set reminders and alerts. Also syncs with my iPhone and so that when out and about I can log things that need doing as and when I think of them. There is also the huge satisfaction in ticking these things off once completed.

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Evernote – an application for taking screen shots of design inspiration, research, anything that is of interest to me, keeping notes and making those easily searchable at a later date. There is a desktop and iPhone version. I find this really helpful for putting together scrapbooks for future use and general ideas be them design related or otherwise.

 

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Pearl
- I’ve recently started using this CRM to better manage contacts, invoices and accounts. It is excellent so far though I’ve only been using it for a short time I see it as being very handy in saving time on these everyday tasks and keeping on top of paperwork in one place. You can invoice directly from the browser, it keeps track of outstanding invoices.

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Jam answer service – Like many freelance designers it’s just little old me here at Dot Design, I do the quoting, the marketing, update the website, work on the projects and answer the phone. Because I’m doing all of these things or when out of the office I can’t always answer the phone unfortunately.

This is where an answer phone service helps me, they answer the phone when needed and take details and a message in a very professional manner and in the name of my business, I can then call back asap. I’m currently using the Pay As You Go option but there are larger more involved packages which I’m currently considering such as their PureJam package.

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Skype - Though not a time saving piece of software as such it is a cost saving one to my clients, they can message me and call me through Skype for free. It is something I’ve under used in the past but I’m increasingly using this to communicate with other designers, web developers and some clients.

Again it’s just another way of contacting me but it enables those off overseas to communicate freely and build a relationship with me by ask questions before starting a project.
Feel free to drop me a message, my skype name is: dot-design

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Hootsuite - A browser application I use to access and make sense of Twitter. Its very useful and easy to organise with different columns for direct messages, mentions and main stream of tweets. – Ok, some might say that Twitter eats up their time rather than saves it, this can be the case.

But I’d say that it has helped me source information and ask questions to a larger audience (3700+ some how) that I just wouldn’t have had access to previously, so quickly and all in real time. I’ve also picked up a few new clients through Twitter as well, Follow Dot Design on Twitter here

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Twitterrific A very simple, easy to use app for the iPhone, this shows your twitter stream, enables me to send tweet, retweet and direct mail from the iPhone, I’ve found it very useful and intuitive in its layout.

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Linkedin – I’ve been using this app for the iPhone for around a month now and its excellent, in fact I’d go so far as to say it is better than the website itself. You can access your linkedin contacts, it displays a news feed and shows updates from my contacts  find out more about the Linkedin app over at Tech Crunch

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Yousendit.com This desktop application enables me to send files too large for email such as final artwork files for printer and clients. It has never let me down, you can send and receive Files up to 2 GB each, features file delivery tracking and you can send multiple files at once.

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Spotify desktop application – Time saver? No.  Essential? Yes! A great free service and deserves a mention, I’ve been using it for at least 8 months now and their catalogue is growing everyday. Though I’ve started to become a little tired of the adverts every 4-5 tracks so may invest in the premium membership, this can also be accessed through the iPhone, overall a great service.

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Some other useful links on this subject:
Using iPhone for business? Don’t miss these 11 apps

The 35 Best iPhone Apps Of The Year (So Far)

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7 Comments
  1. Suraj Sodha

    Hi Gareth, thanks very much for the link to my blog..appreciate it.

    I have no idea about graphic design but have seen an app on the iphone for Photoshop too. Think its fairly basic though.

    great post, will be looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  2. Andrew Kelsall

    That’s a great list Gareth. I’m familiar with some, but not others. Skype is an excellent service. I also use Billings and the online [free] “do-do” site, Teuxdeux.com.

    I must say, though, that Spotify is my new favourite site. Yeah, it doesn’t make me money directly, but having a massive collection of free music to listen to keeps me happier and more productive! I actually got one of those “invites” by tweeting that I would like one if anyone had one spare – and they did :)
    .-= Andrew Kelsall´s last blog ..Logo Design Love Book Review =-.

  3. Gareth Coxon

    Hi Suraj
    thanks for stopping by, well it was seeing your post that made we think about all the services and apps I use most often for my business, so thank you to you and I also look forward to reading more of your blog.

    I’ll have to take a look at the Photoshop app as I’ve not come across that yet. Don’t fancy retouching using the iphone screen though ;-)

  4. Gareth Coxon

    Hi Andrew, good to see you here, I did look into Billings and have to say it does look useful and well designed. But the Pearl CRM has this incorporated into to it along with other services so opted for that in the end.

    I know what you mean about the invites they have closed the free option to the service at the moment so you were lucky to get one. It is a great music service and its almost replaced iTunes for me, when I didn’t think anything would.

  5. Simon Bunker

    Great list Gareth. I love evernote and skype and consider them essential for any small business. I have used JAM in the past and rate it as a first class answering service.
    .-= Simon Bunker´s last blog ..I’m Coming Back =-.

  6. Gareth Coxon

    @ Andrew – absolutely, there only seems to be a few holes in the artists they have on there, it’s an excellent service.

    @ Simon – yeah Skype is certainly an important service in my day to day work and continues to be. JAM is an fantastic service that I now couldn’t do without.
    Good to see you here Simon

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