Tools that changed my design process in the best way possible

By Baltazar Pazos


As a very active designer I am always looking for the latest tools to make my design process faster and better. Over the years I have used some awesome tools that at one point started feeling like I had outgrown them; in the most humbling way possible.

I found myself needing faster and more efficient tools that would help me deliver great work with less time spent on the annoying details. So here we are today and here is a list of my top 5 tools for a faster and more efficient design process (this list will probably change in the next months as new tools are developed).


Sketch

I never thought there would be an alternative to photoshop that would actually compete with its capabilities. I agree that photoshop is a much more robust product and with the recent release of artboards it is definitely a strong contender, but Sketch seems to have solved every problem that has come my way and has sped up my workflow.

What I love about Sketch

  1. I get an infinite canvas.
  2. I can create multiple pages inside one project document (Sketch file).
  3. The ability to export multiple items and multiple sizes in one shot is mind blowing to me.

Invision

Invision has been a part of my process for a couple of years now and has become second nature to our design process. Invision is a collaboration and prototyping platform that just makes life easier. It fills a gap that I knew existed but never considered there being a solution for or how much this would affect my process.

What I love about Invision

  1. I can create easy to visualize prototypes allowing my clients to better understand what I am presenting.
  2. I can liveshare a design via Photoshop.
  3. I can add clients to give feedback and leave comments on specific areas of the design.

Wake

I don’t even remember how I came across Wake but I am so glad I did. Wake is a collaboration platform where you can upload screenshots of project elements you are working on and receive immediate feedback from your team. I started using it for my personal projects and have recently incorporated it into our workflow at our agency and it has been working wonders. I started testing the beta version pretty early on and I have only encountered one problem that was rapidly solved.

What I love about Wake

  1. I love that I can add screenshots of current projects I am working on and get feedback or even upload screenshots of elements from other websites for inspiration.
  2. How easy to use it is.
  3. The iOS app is AMAZING!

Zeplin

I recently read an article on the Invision blog with Jakub Swiadek who is a designer at Meerkat and he mentioned an app that was changing their workflow called Zeplin. I immediately googled it (obviously) and it was love at first site. Zeplin is a guideline app that allows you to upload your design from Sketch (Photoshop coming soon) and gives developers everything they need including content placement, font sizes, color guidelines and so much more. After getting access to the beta version, I began to show all of our developers and management team and the vote was unanimous — we will be using it accross our entire web department.

What I love about Zeplin

  1. I dont have to convert any Sketch files to upload them.
  2. No more styleguides.
  3. It’s just the best thing since grilled cheese :)

Slack

After being a devoted Hip Chat user for years I was reluctant to make a change to another chat platform but I really had no idea what Slack was capable of doing. Slack is a messaging app for teams that intergrates with almost every tool out there that matters.

What I love about Slack

  1. I can switch back and forth from multiple teams with just one click. No need to log out or log in.
  2. Integrates with EVERYTHING (almost).
  3. Ease of use for sure!

Any tools you are excited about?