As a graphic designer at a digital marketing agency, it’s so important to figure out shortcuts and efficient systems to get work done quickly while maintaining quality. I’ll share some of my favorite tools that I regularly use. Some are free, some aren’t, but they all are tricks I’ve learned along the way to increase my productivity which helps get our client campaigns up and running faster.

Web Extensions & Tools

While I mainly use Google Chrome as my preferred browser, I’m sure there are similar extensions that can be used on your browser of choice. The following are available for Chrome:

Colorzilla is a color tool that allows you to simply click a spot on any web page to copy the hex code for that color. This is handy when I’m creating, for example, a social media post graphic that needs to be branded with the business or organization’s colors.

GoFullPage is another Chrome extension that generates a full-page image of any website. This can come in handy for website audits, redesigns, or refreshes. An example of how I’ve used it in the past is for a website refresh. When a client’s website is functioning the way they want but maybe is looking a bit stale, we typically do a refresh rather than a full overhaul of the site. With this tool, I can grab an image of each page on the site, add it to the background of an Adobe XD file and build over the top of it to show how the site would be updated with new imagery or colors.

While the web inspector tool isn’t an extension, it’s a development tool that is readily available in Chrome. You can use the key command option+command+i to open it or navigate to it in the menu – View > Developer > Developer Tools.

I typically use this tool to find out what fonts are used on a client site or to grab a background image. If you have a bit of coding knowledge, you can even add or edit code to see a preview of those changes! It’s a powerful tool that I know has much more capabilities than I would ever need!

Unbounce Landing Pages

Landing pages are so important for digital marketing campaigns. They allow us to create hyper-focused web pages that are detached from a clients’ main website and have a specific goal. Unbounce allows a graphic designer with limited (or zero) coding knowledge to create a landing page using text, image, box, and background elements to quickly build a page. It gives you the freedom to move and stylize various elements exactly where you want them while also optimizing for a mobile experience.

Even adding in elements, such as a form, doesn’t have to be daunting. You simply just drag and drop the form element onto the page, add in the fields you want, and stylize.

While there is a bit of a learning curve to fully understand all of the features. You can get a simple landing page up and running fairly quickly. Just don’t forget to optimize the mobile version and get your subdomain connected so you can publish the page to your own domain!

XD Plugins

While there are quite a few popular UI/UX design platforms, Vuepoint utilizes Adobe XD. We trust that with all of the other Adobe apps like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, XD will continue to improve and be supported. With that said, XD is what we use for website mockups and I’m loving the ease of some plugins while building out pages.

Icons 4 Design is essential when you just need a simple graphic for an element such as a radio button, checkmark, or contact icon, for example. With a quick search, you can see all of the vector element options for your search. I can’t tell you how much faster this makes putting a page design together when you don’t have to custom make all of these little elements.

Every designer needs to utilize Lorem Ipsum at some point because they don’t have the final content. The Lorem Ipsum plugin allows you to simply select a textbox and fill it with Lorem Ipsum placeholder text. Then you can continue styling as you see fit.

Finally, the Stock Image plugin searches the Adobe Stock Library for any search you want. You can quickly add in placeholder images and apply them to your design in seconds.

Shutterstock

While on the topic of stock photography, this is such a crucial tool in any designer’s briefcase. In a perfect marketing world, every client would have beautiful, professional photography to represent their business. Most of the time, this is not immediately available. This is where stock photography comes to the rescue! We have used Shutterstock for over a decade and it has served us and every industry of clientele that you can think of. While most photos never work perfectly for a layout, that’s where a designer’s photoshop skills can fill in the gaps to make it the perfect solution. Shutterstock isn’t free, but for an agency, the cost is very much worth it and is a resource our clients can benefit from.

Lumen5

When it comes to social media, any digital marketer will tell you that video is what’s hot. All of the social media platform algorithms favor video and for good reason. More eyes are on your brand when you post videos. Again, like photography, a lot of clients don’t have high-quality, produced videos to share. With tools like Lumen5, you can create video animations using static imagery, text animations, and stock video. Lumen5 makes it easy to not only put a video together quickly but also change the dimensions based on the platform you are posting to. Plus, most features you would need to get started are free!

Whether you’re a designer looking for tools to up your efficiency or a business owner looking to create your own content, there are so many tools to allow you to do just that. But if you can’t handle it all, meet with us to discuss your business’ goals and we can help you take your digital marketing to a place you never could by yourself. Contact us today!