Category Archive for Tools For Creatives

Happy Monday! I thought I’d start your week off with 5 programs that I use that are essential for running my business. These programs help in so many ways from my work flow to my intake process to delivering approved final files to my client. Check them out and let me know if you have any recs for programs you use! I’m always looking to streamline my process →

Pancake App
I’ve been using Pancake for a few years now and love how it’s evolved. I use it mainly for entering in new clients and writing up estimates/invoices. It’s fantastic! And super simple to use. Clients have the option to pay through their invoice and you can break up payments simply through the app as well.There is also project management and time tracking through here. I also love that you can set it up on your own domain and customize your invoices.

Square Cash
I am seriously obsessed with this app. It’s essentially an easier way of getting paid and you don’t have to worry about the 2-3 business day wait that you have to do with Paypal. PLUS the transaction fee is much less than Paypals and the money goes directly into your bank account. It’s not setup with Pancake yet(because it’s so new) but I’ve been sending my clients their invoice and at the bottom of the invoice giving them my “cashtag” which is my unique url so they can pay me directly by entering in their debit card info.

Before Hello Sign I would send my client their contract, have them print it out, sign it and mail it back to me if they didn’t have any pdf signing software like Adobe Acrobat. Hello Sign has helped me SO much in that I can just upload their contract(they also have templates you can use too!), I mark the areas they need to sign and date and it emails the client directly so they can sign it online. It has helped my intake process tremendously and you get 3 free contracts a month to use!

Aaron introduced this site to me and I am such a fan. Invision is essentially a prototyping app for websites, applications and mobile apps. I’ve been using it for a current clients website and love that you can make it interactive. You can set hotspots for links to show the client what the link will look like when you hover over it as well as fun things like making the navigation bar at the top stick to the top when you scroll. It’s amazing, if you design websites for clients I definitely recommend trying this out. It makes your whole experience with your client that much better because they’re getting to kinda test out their site before it goes to development. You can also have your client write in changes on the site as well.

So we’ve had the client pay their invoice, sign their contract, approve final files for their project, now I upload all of their final files for their project on Dropbox and give them a direct link to the folder for them to download. Then I set the link to expire after 30 days. Once the link expires I then move their completed project to another folder within dropbox labeled “Completed projects.” I am such an ocd file organizer and love being able to back up everything onto Dropbox. Also! I sometimes go through phases where I love to clean out folders of stuff I don’t need anymore, Dropbox actually keeps a record of everything deleted in case you get a little crazy and need that funny dancing cat + Shaq gif you got rid of.

Hey! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? I’m still here, just working like crazy on some fun projects. Though I haven’t been here blogging too much I have been over on instagram sharing more bits of my life and day-to-day. I thought this would be a great time to brush the dust off my blog and share my favorite apps with you! And not just photo apps either. :)

Scanner Pro – This app was recommended by Jessica Hische at Circle Conference last year and I cannot get enough of it. It’s amazing for scanning in lettering and it automatically syncs with your Dropbox account so I can just scan it in and go to dropbox from my desktop and it’s already there. I love it! It’s also useful for scanning in receipts for my business and allows you to sync it to a specific folder on your dropbox as well.

Teux Deux – This is by far one of my favorite productivity apps on my phone. I love that it syncs with my account on my desktop and that I can create and label tons of lists either for a specific day or just a general list. You can also set recurring to-do’s which is great for setting reminders for specific bills, writing out blog posts etc.

Postmates – Okay, totally out of the norm for me but I love this app/service. Postmates is essentially a delivery service for pretty much anything. Need some groceries? Want someone to pick up something specific from the Apple store for you? Want lunch from your favorite restuarant but don’t want to put pants on? Postmates has been my favorite for delivering dinner on nights when I’m jamming on a project and don’t want to step away to cook. It’s not available in every city so I’d check to make sure it’s in yours. You can use my invite code for a $10 delivery credit: mj9l

Snapseed – This is easily one of my favorite editing apps for my iphone photos. I downloaded it a long time ago and couldn’t figure it out at first but once you understand how to use it, you will love it! Essentially, I bring all of my photos into this app to turn up the brightness, bring down the contrast and saturation and sharpen my images. I’ve noticed when trying to do this in other photo apps they turn out grainy and the quality seems off, this app definitely keeps things crisp.

VSCO Cam – After adjusting brightness and saturation in Snapseed I’ll bring it into VSCO Cam and use one of their filters. Some of my favorite filter packs are the Limited Edition Collection, The Minimalist Collection and the Aesthetic Series which are all available to download in their shop.

Those are my faves for my phone! Stay tuned for some favorite desktop apps I use frequently on the next Tools for Creatives. xx

Every couple weeks I’ll be sharing some great tools and resources I’ve come across that help make life as a creative freelancer that much better. This one relates more for the creative who also blogs but I promise it’s not always going to be about blogging! Blogging has been a major aide in bringing in business and serves as such a great creative outlet for weeks when I’m doing work that might not be as fun. Now that I’m freelance designing full-time developing a blogging schedule has been important + forces me to be more consistent whereas when I wasn’t too serious about blogging I’d post once every few weeks and the topics were always up in the air.

I recently downloaded the Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress and it’s been a lifesaver! You can view your entire month or week(whatever works best for you), drag + drop posts where needed and schedule and edit everything within the calendar. I add each specific post in as a draft that way every Sunday I can write out all of the content for the week and hit schedule. I don’t like the idea of my blog being on autopilot with so many scheduled posts though so I’ll try to write more personal/what I’m doing/learning entries throughout the weeks. I’ve tried writing out each post on an actual calendar and it’s so hard, especially because the perfectionist in me concentrates more on how my handwriting looks than on what the actual post is saying. I might be totally behind with this plugin but it’s really benefitted how I blog and helps keep me on track so I don’t run out of topics to post about. Consistency is key!

Last year I put together a post on Must haves for your Mac which still holds strong as I frequent those quite often. I thought I’d string together some resources that I use a lot while designing as well. Hopefully this benefits you in cutting down your time in some way or another. Time is money, after all. ;)

GuideGuide: This is a great photoshop extension that builds your photoshop grids for you. Super helpful especially if you’re a web designer. You just enter in the number of columns and the spacing you want and it handles all the rest for you.

Alfred App: Now this isn’t necessarily specific to designers however bouncing between Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Spotify etc while you’re working it can be quite distracting. This helps you find files easily on your computer as well as launch applications with hotkeys. Super productive and it helps simplify your dock by not having to keep all of those favorites apps in there.

Little Ipsum: You need this. It’s a super quick latin text generator for text filler when you need it. This way you don’t have to go onto google or use cupcake/bacon ipsum even though they are fun, they do take up time. I love that Little Ipsum is so lightweight too!

Creative Market: If you’re a designer and you’re not part of Creative Market yet, you are truly missing out. This site is chock-full of icons, vectors, textures, templates and so much more. And it’s inexpensive all while supporting other creatives.

Subtle Patterns: If you’re looking for some high quality seamless patterns you won’t be disappointed by these. This one and this one are super cute. And looks like this plugin will be launching soon, can’t wait!

Pancake App: Pancake is a great way of keeping track of your invoicing and payments. I love that you can customize it and that you can attach final files for delivery that allow the client to download as soon as they’ve paid their balance. Super helpful.

As a designer, are there any resources you’re loving? Share in the comments! :)