As a tech tools junkie, I have been privy to using some great tools in the creative space. One of the requirements of working with me as a designer is the ability to share design mockups.
This not only helps to ensure the accuracy when it’s time to move into development, but it also paints a clearer picture of the vision.
Related post: Mockup Tips to Help Your Developer Nail Your Design
When I first started out in the web world it was through design and in my courses I had to learn how to use Photoshop. Before that, I was using web tools such as Picmonkey and Pixelmator to create graphics for blog posts, etc.
After months of practice, I became pretty good with the Adobe creative suite and it’s still one of my favorite suite of tools that I use till this day.
There are numerous tools out there to create fabulous design mockups, let’s start with the most well known by Adobe. There are a few options in their creative suite, that the large creative community uses:
1 | Adobe Illustrator
A vector based industry standard design tool that allows your imagination to dream as big as you want. With unlimited options, you can easily create layered artboards to create a vision that will wow your clients. Plus it is easy for your developer to export necessary design assets, .hat helps maintain the design aesthetics.
2 | Adobe Photoshop
Another Adobe tool that designers can use to design limitless layouts in Photoshop. Using Photoshop gives you greater control of editing images and adjusting the more detailed elements such as temperature, contrast, etc on photos. It is also great for cleaning up fine details in photos like dust, out of place elements, etc. Plus you can link in additional time-savers such as the Font Awesome’s library to help speed up the design process.
3 | Adobe XD
Adobe XD Is a bit newer than the other two but exclusively focuses on design, with the ability to design for various screen sizes. Plus a really nice feature is the ability to do interactivity, so you can see how elements are supposed to behave and engage with other pages. The mobile feature is definitely one of my favorite features of Adobe XD. A nice bonus is this product is free to use which if you pay for Adobe you know it can add up!
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4 | Affinity Designer
Is similar to Illustrator but not part of a monthly subscription. It’s a one-time payment, so if you are not into doing a monthly subscription this is an alternative. You can create limitless designs and have a lot of similar features of illustrator. Definitely check out the reviews and download a trial to test it out. You are able to open up PSD, AI and other file formats using the program. If you’re an Affinity designer fan let me know. I love picking up extra skills!
5 | Sketch
Sketch is a powerful design tool that a lot of design agencies use to collaborate with their teams. It’s only for Mac users and has a yearly fee which isn’t bad at $99/year. Sketch has a clean user interface that makes dragging in elements super easy. It also has some code export to help speed up the development process. So if you do both design and development this might be a tool you can use to help speed up your workflow.
There are other options out there worth a peek. Using industry standard design tools helps developers get a better idea of the designs intended purpose. Yes, you can figure it from a photo but it causes extra work and most devs aren’t cheap. So do yourself and your business justice by incorporating standard design tools into your business.