3 Tools to Add to Your Designer’s Toolbox

Posted in Design| 5 comments

Designers all have their own processes and tricks. Most of the time, we all use similar software to help us stay on track and organized. I’ve been lucky to test drive some really great new products the past couple months, so I thought I’d share:

Icebergs – Visual organization for creative minds

Icebergs is a website that’s kind of similar to Pinterest in the sense that you can create a “board” and gather inspiration. I know, I know… you’re thinking, “Why on earth would I want another place to gather inspiration?” What makes this app cool is the fact that you can upload and store your Illustrator, Indesign, & Photoshop files.


Essentially I can be rid of my thumbdrive and upload all my goodies for one project here, under the proper tab. You can add notes to images, create image groups within your project tab, etc. Projects are called icebergs, and all your “pinned” objects are known as icedrops. It’s kind of adorable, I won’t lie.

At the moment, it’s completely private, so unlike Pinterest, you don’t have to worry about all your goodies showing up on your friend’s feeds. The group behind Icebergs has plans to eventually add a collaborative element to the in-browser software, so I’m imagining I’ll eventually be able to invite a fellow designer to an “iceberg” if we’re collaborating on a project. It’s beta-mode only right now, so sign up for an invite! I do have a couple invites I can send to friends, so if you’re really interested, let me know in the comments!

LiveSurface Context – Layered surface template library

Ever had to mockup a billboard so a client could see what it would look like in a real-life situation? How about photoshopping a brochure design onto a blank template so you could avoid the hassle of getting an entire piece in focus through photography? No more. LiveSurface Context is an image library that has templates of everything from billboards to bottles to bags.

LiveSurface Context Screenshot

What makes this plugin badass (truth), is that you can stay WITHIN illustrator to create your mockups. No more switching between vector & raster. You simply open up your design in Illustrator, open your Context plugin, and follow the simple dialogue for an output of your mockup. You can even edit the lighting. To be honest, I haven’t been able to play with this plugin a ton, so I’m not a master of it, but you can imagine how much time this would save if you were reworking your portfolio and wanted a crisp, clean in-context look at all your work.

Here’s a little smattering of some of the library.

Pop – Prototyping on paper

Pop is an iOS app (Android coming soon) that I recently learned about at the Future Insights conference in Vegas. If you’re into developing apps, you’ve had that moment where you drew out a wireframe on paper and thought, “Ugh, I wish I could just tap this drawing and have it react like the real app would.” Well, now you basically can.

POP screeshot

With Pop you can photograph your sketches and create working “links” to simulate your app navigation and flow before you get into the nitty gritty in-computer design process.

There’s constantly new awesome tools and apps coming out to help designers in their process, but these 3 are on my radar this month. What else have you guys found that’s helping make your design process easier? Let me know in the comments!


David Pearson Says:

Posted on February 29, 2016 at 10:25 pm

Looks like Kippt.com has shut down as well. BookmarkOS.com is like Mac OS X in the browser but for bookmarks. I've been using it for the last couple weeks and really like it.

Akshay Chauhan Says:

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 10:04 am

You should try out Kippt.com its an online visual bookmarking tool. Their Chrome extension works like a charm.I think it will serve the same purpose as Iceberg in slightly better way. I haven't tried Iceberg, just seen app demo video.

Spenser Pothier Says:

Posted on May 26, 2013 at 5:59 am

Some of these tools make me wish I knew more about design and less about code.

emilyschwarting Says:

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 12:49 am

Of course! Sent you an invite! Check your email and let me know if it went through.

Treavor Wagoner Says:

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Great selection. I've used Pop online before and it's really nice. Can I get an invite for Icebergs? I'd love to try it out on my next project. e: checkmeout at treavorwagoner.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.