In a new report by Grand View Research, the growth calculations expected by 2027 for productivity software sector points to $103 billion. It implies the huge choice of productivity tools for all categories of knowledge workers including tools for designers.
As a side note, we believe that setting rigid metrics for designer productivity could be a back firing strategy.
Rather, the approach one needs to take should include the creation of the workspace tailored to designers' expectations. This way, performance indicators are unobtrusively building in and benefit your designer team.
To experience the best productivity apps for designers, scroll down for info on tool affordability and the functionality catering to the needs of designer work including:
- collaboration facilitation
- invoicing for design projects
- communication options
- project management features.
TMetric: Free Time Tracking App For All Kinds Of Design Projects &Tasks 🀤
Productivity is not built around maximizing hours input. It is about performing meaningful work and eliminating decision fatigue that too many admin tasks can induce.
For building the routine that allows designers to forget about calculations, minimize mundane tasks of low-value, and sync allocation and consumption of their time with precision, there is TMetric.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: It allows you to create an easy-to-follow schedule, group tasks, estimate project budgets and block distractions. Besides, it will save designer teams from missing, conflicting or confusing information on time metrics as its functionality includes options for:
- creating invoices
- automating work time calculations
- marking billable hours
- integrations with various designer apps
- planning time off.
How much it is🤑: TMetric time tracking service is free for up to 5 member designer teams. To add the advanced features to designer workflow, the cost per user will be $5 per month.
What you get🌟💡: Time saving on admin tasks and additional time tracking functionality including billing and integrations on the affordable price.
Discord: Communication Flow 🀣
Running the risk of missing on design detail can cause chaos, which brings the question of communication in spotlight, especially with hybrid work becoming a probable scenario in post-pandemic.
Discord is a leader among communication tools. Though it is widely known as a chatting app for gamers, now this is a tool loved by all kinds of teams.
How it makes us productive📊🌱:Discord offers lots of servers for graphic designers, 3D artists and illustrators shaping the highly dynamic community of professionals (for instance, on DesignDrop server, there are over 21 000 participants).
How much it is🤑: Discord is a free app. In case you need to unlock the extra functionality, there is Discord Nitro Classic for just $5 per month.
What you get🌟💡: Getting access to a high quality communication tool and automatic membership in the big professional community.
Figma: Your Perfection In UI Design 🀄
Being one of the most dynamic tools when it comes to improvement of the user experience, Figma requires no introductions. It has become a digital hub for designers since it empowers designer team members to collaborate on a project in real-time.
How it makes us productive📊🌱With capability for automating layouts, it promises less manual work in resizing. Aside from full access to design libraries, it features efficient design system, file storage and versioning options. It does not demand any learning curve, and as a beginner, you will have no difficulty in understanding its functionality.
How much it is🤑: It has a free Starter plan that you can sign up for 1 team project. The Professional plan starts at $12 per editor per month.
What you get🌟💡: Designers get a tool that lets dive in the unbroken design process and plan your project from start to finish in one place.
Canva: Logo Making Templates 🀧
Canva is an example of one-fits-all design tool that lets make impeccable designs and foster creativity of the designer team without stretching yourself thin. Its drag-and-drop functionality will facilitate the performance of any task and project. Aside from layouts, business cards and presentations, it features logo making capabilities.
How it makes us productive📊🌱With Canva templates, users can customize any component by editing it or removing it off the canvas. The template is an ideal kickstart point for logo making process.
How much it is🤑: There are free logo making templates (built around initials, podcast, milestone announcement, etc.). Additionally, a great number of logos are available on the professional plan that starts at $1.99 per user per month.
What you get🌟💡: Access to an unobtrusive online graphic design tool that, among diverse project performance offers, will assist in smooth logo making as well.
Fontshare: Making Fonts Instantly Accessible🀢
Fontshare is a free fonts app from the ITF (Indian Type Foundry). It's a great collection of fonts for professional designers that unlocks all the possibilities of typographic fun by fostering creativity. The licensed service is available for personal and commercial use.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: There are 50 typefaces to choose from on the site. Though it has fewer fonts than, for example, Google Fonts, the Fontshare app delivers the superb font quality and creates an amazing user experience in design work.
How much it is🤑: It is free.
What you get🌟💡: It provides multiple options for searching and creating texts, a list of views, a sample for editing your text. Additionally, there is a type layout tester.
Notion Portfolio Templates: Best Choice For Designers 🀥
Building the portfolio around top projects is not only an effective strategy for presentation but for the definition of the principles a designer follows in the career and collaboration. Designer portfolio made with Notion can be the best recommendation. It allows to take a minimalistic yet professional approach in self-promotion.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: It assists in creating a neat and applicable portfolio with the focus on accomplishments relevant to design industry. Aside from including the embedded forms and directing viewers to social network accounts, designers get multiple options for showcasing their best projects.
How much it is🤑: from $9 per template that will be available to Notion users regardless of their free or pro plan user status.
What you get🌟💡: Creating a portfolio that is easy to navigate while introducing you to the viewer in the professional way.
Dragon Anywhere: Save Time On Writing 🀨
When designing with constraints on time, the best time saving trick is to eliminate the mundane tasks. This way, professionals get more room for practicing self-reflection and building a more productive schedule. One of the apps with the wide time saving functionality is Dragon Anywhere.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: It is an accurate dictation app that is available in English, French, German. Additionally, you can customize the list of words the app must recognize. It supports multiple file formats for sharing.
How much it is🤑: It is $14.99 per month after a week of free trial.
What you get🌟💡: Instant access to dictation and transcription service.
Peloton: The App For Workouts and Mental Wellbeing 🀐
It is a well-known leader on the market of virtual workout apps that offers everything for strength training, yoga excellence, meditation, running and stretching. The star status coaches will be supporting you on the journey of cultivating your artistry through self-discovery.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: It is a stated fact that stretching your limits when exercising activities requiring excessive mental efforts can cause burnout and hinder creativity. One of the best solutions for maintaining mental wellbeing is taking breaks and, most importantly, taking them right.
How much it is🤑: $12.99 per month after 30 days of free trial
What you get🌟💡: Incorporating physical activity and meditation practice in designer's routine with applying Peloton means taking productive and proactive approach to preventing exhaustion.
If you are into exploring apps with the similar functionality, there are plenty of alternatives benefitting mental and physical wellbeing described in detail here.
Wake Up Time: Start The Day Right🀪
The day is a unit of time that has a rhythm, and so do you. It turns out that you can choose the optimal start of the day so why not balance creativity and practicality by giving a try to an app that signals the best time to wake up and feel energized?
How it makes us productive📊🌱: All you have to do is set the time you go to bed, and the app will customize the 'waking metrics'.
How much it is🤑: It is free to use.
What you get🌟💡: Scientifically backed up sleep metrics for improving your sleep hygiene and optimize personal and business productivity.
Copy AI: Content Creation 🀦
Oftentimes, designers' work incorporate skills in copywriting, which stands for a reason: since content builds in the set layouts, copies and design become inseparable. This small addition to your workflow can make a big impact.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: With applying AI-powered tools like Copy AI, designers can save efforts, energy and time on polishing skills in creating and editing content.
How much it is🤑: On Solo Plan a user can get unlimited runs, translation service into over 25 languages, and participation in Premium Community.
What you get🌟💡: Aside from generating a copy, this tool helps produce headlines, blog intros or product descriptions so that a designer could estimate the text length and its layout.
PDF.io: File Management🀩
It is a tool with minimalistic interface that designers are highly likely to appreciate. PDF file management functions with drag-and-drop: it lets choose a file on the computer and manage it in seconds according to the needs of your design project.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: It keeps PDF diverse management options in one place.
How much it is🤑: Free to use.
What you get🌟💡: By clicking on conversion button, users achieve multiple purposes ranging from unlocking the password, merging several files and compressing the size of the file to changing orientation of pages and converting formats.
More curated lists on prototyping, sketch and image management for designers are available here.
GIMP: Desktop Publishing 🀙
If you are looking for desktop publishing solutions on the budget, Gnu Image Manipulation Processor (GIMP) is an obvious time-tested choice.
How it makes us productive📊🌱: Its photo editing features are as strong as of Photoshop. What's more, the multiple plugins accessible from the third party services will be free. For accelerating the speed, the tasks you are performing in GIMP can be done with a right mouse button.
How much it is🤑: Available for free.
What you get🌟💡: With the functionality that GIMP provides, designer teams can easily balance strategies about improving design outcomes and tactics related to understanding of user interfaces. The tool is available across multiple operating systems including all versions of Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Bonus for your 🎯p𝓻𝔬𝕕u©️Ƭì√ι𝓉𝐲 (ɔ◔‿◔)ɔ
✴ Thangs is a great app that helps 3D model geeks find each other in the big 3D Model community having access to over 1 million 3D models available for free downloads and sharing.
✴ UX Library helps you not only learn UX Design but acquire expertise in user experience research and design specialization.
✴ Design Clever is a community of designers on tumblr that has an option for direct submission of your work.
✴ Animista is a platform that provides an access to a big collection of pre-made CSS animations that are available for customization.
✴ Shape Divider is a free tool for designers that assists in creating SVG shape dividers for projects of any complexity on desktop, tablets and mobiles.
✴ HEIC Import is a plugin that will help you import .HEIC images into Figma as PNG, JPEG or GIF.
✴ With Inlytics designers who are actively utilizing social networking opportunities on LinkedIn, get insights on the performance of their posts and evaluate engagement with their potential customers in seconds.
✴ If you need to shorten time on reading the content, you can use Readify extension. It is an open-source solution that enables ad-free mode of content consumption.
✴ Since the cost of interruptions exceeds 23 minutes , applying a focus booster like Nozier becomes an irreplaceable tool in the arsenal of any creative. It is an app built around the collection of natural sounds (waves, forest, wind, rain) that easily 'harness' concentration abilities.