Useful Resources and Tools to for Your Designers Toolkit

By Speckyboy Editors on August 4, 2015 in Graphic Design, Web Design
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There are many design tools on the market to consider as possible additions to your design toolkit, in addition to a number of useful services, and a wealth of design element sources.

Finding just the right solution in any of these categories can take a bit of searching, and you may not know if your choice has been the right one until after a purchase has been made. There are of course top quality freebies out there, which are always worth a try.

In this post you will find some of the best design solutions in several different categories. If you see something of interest, visit the corresponding website and explore further.

WordPress Themes

X Theme

X Theme is justly proud of its latest version, 4.0. While the authors anticipated positive feedback, the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. This fastest selling Themeforest product will more than likely see its sales figures move up a notch or two. The main reason for all of the rave reviews X is receiving is due to its new page builder – Cornerstone.

X Theme

This page builder’s 100% front end editing capability is a real time saver, and it will make a definite contribution to the overall quality of your final design as well. X’s other features may have been temporarily shoved out of the limelight, but they are there, and as robust as ever, if not more so. As a user, you have access to all of the Themeforest WordPress plugins, and the support you can expect to receive is second to none.

Enfold

Import a demo with a click and start building your website. That is how easy Enfold is to use – from start to finish. It’s even easy to import several demos and work with pieces from each of them. These are examples of prioritizing decisions over features. Features accomplish many things, but they must be easy to implement in order to do so, and Enfold realizes this.

Enfold

The drag and drop editor, in combination with other easy-to-use features, makes this multipurpose Website theme a powerful tool to have at your disposal for building a website quickly, smoothly, and seamlessly as you progress from one task to the next. This theme is Themeforest’s best rated top seller. Try it, and you will see why.

Be Theme

Be Theme has been one of the most popular multipurpose WordPress themes for a long time. It is by far the biggest of the premier themes in terms of functionality, as well as in terms of the number of its ready-to-use pre-made layouts that cover almost any theme you can think of. The 100+ layouts represent exceptionally versatile design concepts you can use to get your design project of to a fast start and into high gear.

Be Theme

Its 40+ features help you along the way, as does its world-class support system, which is there 24/7 should the need arise. Be is intuitive, user friendly, and lightning fast to operate. It is one of the best, if not the best WordPress theme choices you could make.

Website Builders and Platforms

XPRS

There is much to like about XPRS. It is a code-free, responsive website builder that employs a new building technology and does not require the use of plugins. It features a white label package for professionals that is offered for $250 per year. This is an excellent price, considering it is for an unlimited number of licenses, so you can manage thousands of client’s sites.

XPRS

At the opposite end of the price spectrum is the free license offered to students, non-profits, and artists. Insofar as the new technology is concerned, its website builder is called Polydoms, and it is akin to building with Lego blocks, although in this case, the individual blocks can be edited and modified. Check this product out. It is simple to use, and a genuine timesaver.

Webydo

Webydo is a full-service web design platform for professional designers. The cloud-based and responsive environment allows designers create, manage and publish their clients’ websites, code-free. Webydo provides one-click hosting and client billing as standard features, and also enables you to manage multiple clients’ sites through its dashboard feature.

Webydo

WordPress Page Builders

Cornerstone

When Themeco released Cornerstone to the website design world, they suspected it would be an instant hit, but they were no doubt a bit surprised by just how great of it hit it was to become.

Cornerstone

This innovative, and totally intuitive, page builder has set the design community on its collective ear; the reason being the side-by-side interactive editing and preview displays. These clutter-free display shows the designer what is happening as it is happening. The rave reviews are still coming in, so why not join the crowd?

Themify Flow

More and more web designers are beginning to appreciate the benefits or front end editors that allow them to see their page building progress as it is happening. Themify Flow’s page builder offers this type of live preview which, among other things, makes the styling of individual design elements a snap.

Themify Flow

The number of page templates you can produce is virtually limitless, and you have total control over the process from start to finish. There is yet another reason to select Themify Flow as your page-building tool of choice. It is open source, and yours to use for free!

Project Management and Collaboration Tools

Nutcache

True to its name, Nutcache saves and stores things; but it accomplishes much more. Besides gathering information, this project management tool will help you perform all of the common project management tasks, from making assignments, to tracking progress, to billing clients.

Nutcache

Its collaboration features keeps your team members in the loop as well. Nutcache truly excels as an online team collaboration aid. No matter the size of your team or your project, you will always know just where your project or projects stand.

Azendoo

Azendoo can do what a typical project planning, task managing tool should do, what but most seem incapable of doing well. Azendoo can make going about your work more relaxing, while at the same time helping you work more efficiently.

Azendoo

This task management and project planning tool was created to serve as a useful collaborative teamwork tool for design teams, which means everyone in your team can be involved in working a project as it should be worked; while you keep relaxed, cool, and moving along at full efficiency.

Converting Designs to Code

PSDGator

PSDGator is a small web development team that offers a wide variety of services to a large number of clients. They will take your PSD files and convert them into W3C valid HTML/CSS or HTML5/CSS3, whichever you prefer.

PSDGator

PSDGator can also recode your existing sites to make them responsive. You can always expect to receive clean code that has been optimized for speed. They will first check your design, and get back with you if they have a question before taking action.

Direct Basing

Direct Basing’s specialty is HTML5 slicing, and this company provides this service to freelancers and Fortune 500 companies alike. They will make your Adobe Indesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop design files usable for web browsers, taking care to pay special attention to fast loading times for web pages, shops, newsletters, and emails.

Direct Basing

40 Dollar Markup

40 Dollar Market features the lowest prices for PSD to HTML/CSS conversions in the industry, and they back up their work with a 100% guarantee and full refund. The deliverables you receive will be hand-coded, W3C valid HTML/CSS that has been optimized for peak performance. They will also take your existing websites and convert them into responsive code if you so request.

40 Dollar Markup

Hosting Services

Glow Host

You should expect nothing less than 100% reliable service from whatever web hosting service you select, and Glowhost will certainly fill the bill. It is a large, reputable, and a well-established hosting service that operates a host of servers located in 16 worldwide datacenters.

Glow Host

Glowhost specializes in complex server clusters, managed cloud servers, and managed dedicated servers. They can provide all the hosting support you may need.

Rose Hosting

If you are looking for a hosting service the guarantees 100% uptime, and one that is designed to exceed its client’s hosting needs, Rose Hosting is definitely worth a try. Their support is great. It is there 24/7, which is what you have every right to expect from a hosting service. Their servers are fully managed and on a Gigabit Network, and free weekly backups are standard.

Rose Hosting

Stock Photo Agencies

Bigstock

If you haven’t looked into a service before that offers superb photos, vectors, and illustrations, and you don’t quite know what to expect, sign up with Bigstock for a 7-day free trial. You will get up to 35 images for free. Enroll in one of their purchase plans, and their 26-million image library is there for you to use. You can use their subscription service or purchase credits.

Bigstock

Stockfresh

Stockfresh has a library of millions of high-quality, hand-picked photos and vectors that are available for what is claimed to be the best price structure on the market. You can purchase what you want through their prepay system, or save even more by signing up for a subscription purchase plan. Their website is responsive, so can download your selections from your mobile device.

Stockfresh

Web Apps

Sendloop

If your website building tools are not providing the features you need to set up an automatic email marketing service, or you are finding it difficult to do so, the Sendloop web app provides the exact solution you are looking for. Its features include an excellent selection of more than 60 responsive, mobile device ready email templates, a drag and drop email builder, and an image editor.

Sendloop

Typeform

For years, online forms looked the same, but no longer. Typeform has completely reimagined forms. The UX is amazing and is worthy of your audience. Typeforms look sexy on mobile devices, too, so you can focus more on building forms, and less about them looking good. Core features are free, so what are you waiting for?

Typeform

UI Kits

Ace Mobile iOS 8 UI Kit

The Ace Mobile iOS UI Kit makes it easy to design iOS mobile apps to show to your clients. The screen selections contained within this versatile kit make it possible to create hundreds of different apps that will perform flawlessly on iPhone 6.

Ace Mobile iOS 8 UI Kit

There are 75 PSD templates to work with that are supported by more than 100 icons and 300+ UI design elements. The screens are placed in categories, and cover an impressive array of subjects.

Zed – Essential Wireframe Kit

The Zed-Essential Wireframe Kit is just the tool you need to put together a quick prototype for a website. It can be as simple as selecting and opening one of the kit’s 25 PSD templates, tacking on a client’s logo or an image the client has supplied, and showing that client what the final website might look like.

Zed - Essential Wireframe Kit

Zed works with Photoshop CS5, which is used to open the 1500 pixel wide templates, which have been conveniently placed in 10 commonly-used subject and functional categories.

Icons and Fonts

Icons Responsive

The Icons Responsive is a nice icon library to have on hand if you are working on multiple projects, and you want to introduce variety into your icon stylings. There are well over 1000 icons to choose from, with each coming in 4 different styles and as many size variations. Every icon is responsive and scalable, and since they are vectors, they can be edited.

Icons Responsive

Tallow Handcrafted Uppercase Font

There is such a huge variety of different fonts on the market that it is tempting to think there is little need for yet another one. Unique handcrafted fonts can have important roles to pay however, such as establishing a brand identity, and the Tallow Handcrafted Upper Case Font family is a perfect set of design elements to play that and other roles.

Tallow Handcrafted Uppercase Font

Most western languages are represented, and small uppercase letters can be combined with their larger compatriots for unique and compelling textual displays.

Concluding

Whether you are looking for a premium WordPress theme, a hosting service, or a new and unique font, we hope you have found it here. Since we have only featured top quality items, any decision you make will be a good one.

Your comments, ideas, and suggestions will be more than welcome, as they will contribute to our selection process of products and services we will want to be sharing with you and others in future lists.


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