One of the best things we love about working in the creative industry is that it’s collaborative and evolving constantly. Creativity is such an abstract form of thinking, operating and producing. It can’t be limited and has the power to transcend social, emotional and cultural boundaries, to only name a few! We appreciate where creativity has taken mankind and to where it’s going and one of the things we appreciate most is that we now have more accessibility, platforms, technologies and devices to create, enhance, inspire, share, sell and have fun with than ever before.
In this blog post we’ve compiled a list of our favourite apps that help us in practical and aesthetical ways – some simply are just for inspiration and fun, others are essential for helping us run a business and allow us to operate more smoothly.
The app itself is great but what we LOVE about the Bēhance app (and Bēhance in general) is the calibre of the design work that is submitted by its users. There is nothing better than knowing you can rely on a website, ecommerce store, product etc… to meet or exceed your expectations every time and even better, for us creatives, inspire us to dig deeper and produce new, more exciting designs. It’s also a great platform as it can also help distinguish and separate poor design work, copy cats and shameless product self promoters from those who are truly genuine in their pursuit of originality and authenticity.
To download, search “behance” in the app store or click here
Both the Pinterest website and iOS app have quickly become our number 1 go-to place for quick design inspiration. Our one caution is that you can get sucked into the vortex of endlessly browsing and end up wasting a lot of time.
Tip:Typing in one word search keywords can yield an overwhelming amount of results, try to narrow the search results by being more descriptive, e.g instead of searching for ‘Typography’ search for ‘Summer 2017 Gothic Typography’
To download, search “pinterest” in the app store or click here.
Dribbbles website tagline: ‘Show and Tell for Designers’. Do yourself a favour and visit dribbble.com if you haven’t already!
Dribbble (think basketball, not baby saliva!), limits each image you can upload to 800 by 600 pixels, they call these images “shots”. The size limitation of these ‘shots’, is Dribbbles strength, as they’ve created a clean and attractive interface. It gives designers the full advantage by showcasing their work, allowing them to promote themselves without having other distracting and cluttered images competing for the viewer’s attention, as some other design community websites can have.
This iOS app is a great place for design inspiration and ranges from web design, graphic design, illustration, icon, typography and logo design.
To download, search “shotsgram” in the app store or click here.
Adobe Create Magazine
The Adobe Create app has only recently made it’s way onto our iOS devices, all I can say is, I wish we had discovered this app sooner. Adobe Create is about inspirational design work and inspirational, creative people.
The app is laid out like a blog with each post being packed with rich text, image and video content, visual imagery and behind the scenes videos, which draw you into the designer’s creative process. Well worth a look and fascinating to see how other creatives work.
To download, search “Adobe Create” in the app store or click here.
Here at PrePress Toolkit we’re all about Apparel Design, so naturally we look for apps that are geared towards this however the pickings are pretty slim so, what’s the next best thing? Apps that showcase t-shirt and apparel designs for sale, enter the Threadless app.
Strip down Threadless and at it’s core, is a product printing and fulfilment facility. Through the wonders of the internet, graphic designers can submit artwork, have people cast their vote on which design they think are best, then have those winning designs made into real products that they can order online. It’s enterprising as well as entertaining.
We see and use the Threadless app for design research and to help us gauge the apparel design market. There is a huge difference between a good looking, graphic design and a printed t-shirt or garment that sells. Some graphics don’t translate well into apparel prints, perhaps chosen garment colors were wrong for the print or season, some designs don’t appeal to a broad enough audience, which can equal minimal sales… you get the idea.
Winning Threadless designs have already been stress tested and survived, so take that knowledge and use it wisely.
To download, search “Threadless” in the app store or click here.
The ASOS iOS app is another app that we use to research current fashion trends. ASOS stock a large range of brands and make it quick and easy to focus on a garment type or style you are designing for to allow for greater appeal value to your market.
To download, search “ASOS” in the app store or click here.
It’s inconvenient to always be lugging around a laptop with the sole purpose of checking-in on your ecommerce store, so we don’t. We use our phones instead, we can check on sales in a coffee shop, while waiting for a food order, or sitting on the toilet (what else are you going to do… right?).
Apart from checking on your sales, this app isn’t ‘quite there yet’ (at the writing of this post). Shopify need to update the app to add more functionality like their website, for example the ability to add and edit products, create discounts, add product categories would be highly beneficial for users.
To download, search “shopify” in the app store or click here.
Like the Shopify app, we mainly use the Woo app for checking our product sales from websites we chose to run on the WooCommerce platform (reasons for choosing WooCommerce over Shopify and vice versa, is a whole blog post on it’s own, which we will bring to you soon).
This app too, lacks the functions to add or edit products, it’s basically just a convenient way to check on sales.
To download, search “woocommerce” in the app store or click here.
We only use and recommend BlueHost or Pagely for website hosting, however, neither company have an app for checking domain names, however GoDaddy does, and it’s very good.
Why do we check domain names? Well, we believe it’s important to have a .com domain for all our brands, products and companies. Creating a brand name that has the .com domain still available is very tricky these days (seems like every good name is already taken!), but the GoDaddy domain finder app make the process that little bit easier.
When we think we’ve landed on a company/brand name we like, we pull up the app and check if insert-brandname.com is available. The great thing about the GoDaddy app is that it will also suggest possible naming options if the .com isn’t available. Once we have our product or brand name web domain decided on, we log into our Bluehost account and purchase the domain.
To download, search “Godaddy domain finder” in the app store or click here.
We never thought we would say it, but we love seeing the PayPal logo, that is, when it pops up, notifying us of sales! We still find it so satisfying, knowing that we’ve delivered another awesome product to a designer somewhere in the world.
PayPal have done an extraordinary job in packing so many usable features into their app, you really don’t need to log onto the website. You can do everything from your phone or iPad.
To download, search “Paypal” in the app store or click here.
You’ll notice one common thing in this productivity category and that is the ‘Cloud’. Cloud functionality, or the ability to store and access files from the internet has really revolutionized the way our business operates. Quite literally some tasks in our business just wouldn’t get done without the use of some of the apps listed below.
Adobe Capture CC
Adobe Capture CC is an app which took us by surprise, it comes as part of the Creative Cloud suite of applications and one we downloaded just because it was available to us. I didn’t think we would use it all that much, but this not-so-little app, has basically replaced our scanner altogether and given us features that we now can not live without.
In a matter of moments, we can capture an image of a drawing we’ve been working on, have the app vectorise it and then serve up the image to the Adobe Creative suite, where we can continue editing the newly vectorised design in either Illustrator or Photoshop. This saves us so much time and allows us to quickly explore and test ideas.
To download, search “Adobe Capture” in the app store or click here.
Google Docs has completely revolutionized the way we work as a team. This blog post is being edited by another team member at the same time the blog post is being transcoded from my voice into text and just creates more efficiency.
To download, search “Google Docs” in the app store or click here.
Like Google Docs, Google Sheets has completely replaced Microsoft Excel in our work environment. Having multiple people logged into and collaborating on the same spreadsheet is game changing. From within the spreadsheet we can link between Google Docs, different spreadsheets, different image folders etc and from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. At first it was daunting to move our business to the cloud, we had reservations about security, but Google have been very solid there have been little, to no bugs in the software. Now that we have made the move, we’ll never go back.
To download, search “Google Sheets” in the app store or click here.
For setting the vibe and getting your creative on!
Every designer works differently, we prefer to listen to music to create the right environment for the projects that we are working on. In the same way that intense music in a movie builds the excitement or tension within a scene, the same principles apply to build the right vibe and inject the right emotion into a graphic design. Apple’s music app, is an obvious choice for listening to music on your iPhone or iPad, but what we’ve really been into lately is SoundCloud.
With Soundcloud we’re able to chill out to or, create the right audible environment to work in. You’ll need to sign up for a SoundCloud account, but once you do, you’ll then be able to subscribe to playlists and then have those playlists or individual tunes available on your laptop, iOS or Android devices from anywhere there’s an internet connection.
To download, search “Soundcloud” in the app store or click here.
What iOS design or ecommerce related apps are you loving at the moment, let us know in the comments section below!