Without proper investment in staff and technology, every web design company will sooner or later fall on its feet.
All designers need to be happy to be productive. Thus, paychecks need to be released on time each month, managers should invest in helpful tools to ease up working on projects, and things need to be run smoothly and before deadlines.
Luckily, there are apps for pretty much every department in a web design agency. Have a look at them and feel free to share your opinion if you’re using any of them.
Every web designer needs a set of tools to do their best. The following may become anyone’s default set to get things done or they may help explore similar apps for better performance.
The cloud-based designing tool is similar to Sketch, as you’ll read further on. Unlike Sketch, it’s designed for team collaboration on projects.
Pricing is free for individuals, for up to two members, and three projects. Paid plans begin at just $12/month, fairly cheap compared to similar tools.
Features include sketch imports, code attributes, prototyping, export of various files, and team library features. It includes four Boolean operations, pixel-perfection, and design scaling to fit any screen size.
This is a tool for designers where they drop all mockups for ongoing projects. Here, colleagues can leave comments, add suggestions, and share opinions on how to improve the design.
As for pricing, they offer the ‘free forever’ plan with limited options, while the ‘Starter’ pack costs as little as $15 per month. All their plans include SSL encryption and daily backups.
Their motto is ‘design better, faster, together’, which is pretty accurate. Companies such as HBO, Amazon, Netflix, and Airbnb are amongst their top-rated clients, as they have nothing but praise for this highly popular app.
If your team needs a great product design platform, UX Pin is the one. It helps design and present (as well as collaborate on) mockups, prototypes, and wireframes.
Pricing can be free and paid, per default. Paid plans have multiple features enabled and start at $23/month, while free accounts are limited per 1 user and prototype.
Users can share, comment, assign, approve, code, set up guidelines, leave notes, keep a summary of all colors, and even sync Sketch and Photoshop files, allowing them to be changed into interactive prototypes. Certainly, it is a useful tool for design coding.
Sketch is a design toolkit (vector graphics editor) that is so successful so it has won Apple design awards back in 2012. There is a sort of downside to it – Sketch only works for macOS.
It costs $99 per year to obtain a personal license. As for teams, it starts at $89 per two accounts, and up. Depending on how many licenses you need, the higher the number, the lower the costs per account.
Features include the shared library, collaboration, prototyping, smart guides, easy grids, templates, pixel perfection, exporting, and much more. Users mostly praise it for its ease of use, even for newbie designers.
Code for web design
Designers and developers are two very different professions. While they cannot work without one another, designers sometimes need to perform the coding part on their own. Don’t worry, we got you covered.
The famous hand-off tool allows designers to share and work on designs in Photoshop, Figma, Sketch, Illustrator, and Adobe XD platforms. It helps users build web and mobile apps with the same design. Cloud-based, it’s available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Avocode isn’t free to use, though free trials are available for individuals and companies. The cheapest option costs $14/month, while a team of five users has to pay $90 for the same amount of days.
Overall, Avocode’s cons are considered pros of its greatest rival, Zeplin. For example, Avocode lacks in the area of style guides, especially global style guide options. Nevertheless, it does its job perfectly and the company constantly works on large improvements.
Bootstrap is a free CSS framework that helps users design websites much faster and with ease.
While pricing is free for up to 10 users, more advanced plans include more users, larger storage, priority email support, etc. The other two plans are set at $15 and $29 per month, respectively.
Bootstrap is one of the cheapest and most valuable tools of its kind and comes really cheap for both small and large businesses.
Ally.js is free to use, and as part of its extra features, it further determines how focus changes while applying different outline styles.
What’s so great about this responsive front-end framework? It provides users with a responsive grid and HTML/CSS user interface components and templates.
One of the most advanced responsive front-end frameworks is free to use, thanks to an open-source mashup with ZURB style guide.
Users can play with many interface elements and get optional functionalities found in JS extensions.
Client collaboration and management
As clients pay for the bills, they need to be updated on everything that’s going on in the company, at least project-wise. The following apps should satisfy their curiosity.
Every company needs a solution that enables clients to look at sales and deals in real time. On the other hand, this CRM helps managers overlook activities in the sales department to see if any changes need to be made, reports to be created, etc.
Offering discounts for annual payments, the most basic Pipedrive plan costs $15/month per staff member. To try whether it fits your company, they offer a 14-day trial and it’s possible to use the app for free for 60 days once annual payment has been made.
Users can set lead scores, use its email marketing options, create proposals and tasks, adjust the calendar daily, and much more. Worth trying out, though pricey!
Uniquely purposeful to deliver the most beautiful proposals, this software is the most complete deal closer with extremely important features included, such as online signatures and advanced reporting.
It costs $19 per month for a single user, with limited offers available. Custom plans are available, calculations and suggestions being done via customer support.
Actively sending proposals, building the perfect templates, interactive quoting and monitoring metrics are some of its key components, while sales teams have all the freedom in the world to close more deals.
Created by a combined team of web designers, developers, and managers, BeeWits exists to simplify every company’s working hours.
While the number of active users is unlimited with all three plans, the same can’t be said about active and archived projects. Pay either $19.99, $29.99 or $39.99 to work on multiple active projects at any given month. A free trial is included in the price.
While it is great for planning and monitoring projects, prices might be too high as there are similar and cheaper alternatives. It’s recommended for large companies with bigger budgets.
Productivity and project management
Keeping everyone focused and on the same track is hard without proper management tools. Some of the options available below have already been tested, so why waste precious time searching for alternatives?
Using modern technology based on genius invention of more than a century old, GanttPRO is a safe bet when it comes to project management software. Users save a lot of time on planning and managing staff, increase teamwork efficiency, and pay less to gain more.
Voted among the top 20 most affordable management apps by Capterra, GanttPRO has team plans starting as low as $5.90/month per user, with individual monthly plans for just $15 billed annually. A free trial is available.
With over 350.000 registered users, GanttPRO lets clients know what’s going on in between tasks, allowing transparency within the workflow. A highly recommended software by many successful companies.
Besides having all those standard management features, Podio is really fast to establish upon subscribing and it’s easy to add external users.
There is a free trial for a five-employee account, with basic plans starting at $9 per month, and upwards.
While managers have all the creative freedom with this software, it can also be seen as a negative trait, because new team members can easily get confused if too many apps and configurations are changed by users other than managers.
To best define Redpen, they labeled it as one of the most popular feedback tools for creative projects available. Team collaboration has never been easier since they use visuals to create visuals.
Pricing starts at $20/month for up to 5 projects, with larger plans available. All plans include unlimited invitations, teammates, versioning, and singles.
Dropping meaningful comments anywhere on the design allows for things to get fixed much faster. You can include as many colleagues as you want, and it’s easy for managers to organize the project by drag-dropping various parts of it into one piece.
The app with advanced task management, planning, and scheduling, Paymo is used mostly by small and medium companies.
Freelancers get a free account with 1 GB storage, 3 invoices, and time tracking among other features. If you need to subscribe your workers for this app, it costs $9.56 per month for each user.
With Paymo, users can customize in-app templates, track time, expenses, and milestones, use other collaboration tools, and show clients what the team has been up to.
Templates and bundles for work
Without proper sources for materials, projects could last for months, if not years. It’s the reason why all web designers need these few sites to bookmark and use them whenever they need help with.
Flaticon is possibly the largest database of free icons online. It has around 2 million vector icons in over 40.000 packs – enough for any designer’s taste.
Besides having many free, high-quality, editable graphic designs, there are premium icon packs as well. Monthly subscriptions start at 7.50 euro/month when billed annually. If you need a one-off subscription instead, you can just pay 9.99 euro for 30 days, then cancel it.
Flaticon is used by at least 90% of all graphic designers, be it for simple apps, websites, or games. It’s probably also added as a bookmark by many other professionals.
Like Flaticon, UI Cloud is the largest UI design database on the Internet. More than 40.000 UI elements are available for designers to customize and use under creative license.
It’s completely free to use and download kits and packs from UI Cloud. However, proper attribution should be given to the original authors.
Categories are divided among different OS, HTML5, CSS, PSD, jQuery, and vector files.
Yet another great web resource database with plenty of designs to choose from. Finding your favorite themes, logos, icons, vectors, and various graphics is very easy with Pixeden.
It costs just $6/month to gain access to all premium files, and there are many free ones to choose from as well.
Pixeden is a pretty reliable source for almost everything designers need, so it is better to bookmark it before moving on with browsing.
This is, without a doubt, the largest Internet database for free vectors and icons. Over 4 million files are stored on it, both free and premium.
To become premium users and gain exclusive access to cool graphics, visitors can choose between the ‘1-month’ plan for 9.99 euro for 30 days or opt to use it throughout the year, being charged 7.50 euro monthly.
Unlimited downloads, ‘no attribution’ graphics, priority support, and enhanced search results are among its great features. Freepik is a daily checkpoint for all graphic designers worldwide.
The biggest marketplace for discounted design bundles is pretty unique in its way. Passionate designers try to earn a few bucks by selling some of the best works of art online.
While subscriptions don’t exist, visitors still need to buy most graphics. They vary in price and can get as cheap as $3 per bundle. Freebie fonts, graphics, mockups, photos, and bundles are also available if you join their mailing list.
DealJumbo isn’t exactly like the other graphic databases, but it offers more complete packs for web design. Since it’s a marketplace, prices vary per product, so you may pay more for what you get or buy something really good at a knockdown price.
Without assistance for the administration part, a company won’t make it in the long run. Accounting and administration software is the key to keeping everyone happy and on the same team.
Created for small and medium-sized companies, this cloud-based app helps accountants send invoices and detailed reports to clients in any location.
For companies with not more than five clients, the ‘lite’ plan is available for $15/month. Larger companies can pay up to $50 monthly or create custom plans. A free trial is included.
With these plans, accountants get unlimited time tracking, estimates, expense entries, invoices, etc. It’s also possible to connect bank imports, include other team members, and accept various credit card payments.
One of the best HR software available on the market, Gusto is very unique offering users the chance to fully take care of their staff.
This cloud-based app will automate health insurance, manage employee database, take care of paychecks and bills, retirement plans, take care of taxes for you, and much, much more.
It starts at $6/month, plus a $39 base price, and upwards. A free trial is included. More than 100.000 companies worldwide have tried it before and are now part of Gusto’s one big happy family.
What can Xero do for companies? To begin with, it will connect the company with many banks, help with various advisor tools, accept and send payments and invoices, and keep track of all inventory.
Similar to Gusto, Xero might be a bit fairer in terms of pricing, as you can subscribe for just $20/month or more, depending on how big your company is. Optional extras are also available as with almost every other accounting software nowadays.
Xero is very accurate in terms of finances and is adjusted to almost any company type out there, including private Amazon sellers. Reviews for this software are generally positive, which means it might be the perfect accountant tool for your company.
Portfolio and inspiration
Finding inspiration in other people’s works isn’t called stealing ideas, because designs can always be upgraded by other professionals as well. Let’s have a look at the best portfolio sites out there, with some unique works created by true web designers.
Niice is an efficient tool for showcasing and organizing freshly-created ideas. Users can drag and drop content from their laptops to the app directly and show it to head designers, who check and approve the right designs.
As for pricing, you can use the free version which includes 5 boards and exports, 100 image uploads, and Slack integration. Otherwise, the ‘pro’ workplace begins at $99/month.
While considered a bit pricey, most medium-sized companies use it to better organize visual content. It’s got some cool integration features powered by AI, such as automatic scanning and organizing libraries. Overall, it’s supposed to make life easier.
Acquired by Adobe in 2012 for $150 million, Behance is a leading online platform for showcasing designer creativity. It counts over 10 million members and is used by many famous art centers, institutes, and colleges.
To showcase designers’ work, it can be the perfect place for doing it. While it’s free to sign up and start uploading visuals, the ‘Prosite’ option allows users to customize their portfolio and create a custom domain for it. Note: users can create portfolios by visiting www.myportfolio.com, starting at $9.99/month.
It’s good both for companies and freelance web designers because you can find amazing talents here and promote your latest work, so why not give it a try?
Similar to Behance, Dribbble is a large online community to promote artwork, including web designs, illustration and graphics, and other creative art.
Compared to similar sites, Dribbble’s paid option costs as little as $3/month where users can connect your Dribbble portfolio with their websites.
Some features include reducing the visibility of less important work to people visiting the user’s portfolio and show the best projects instead. There’s also the ability to post job opportunities for hiring managers.
With a user base of around half a million users, Dribbble may be the perfect opportunity to show the company’s best projects and work on new ones with the rest of the team while letting the audience be the judge (for free) of best designs.
Find and hire talent
Finding good workers isn’t easy. Just ask any HR manager of any IT company – they all agree on this. To find a hard-working web designer, there are few places you need to start searching for good freelancers.
Specifically created for graphic and web designers, 99designs is probably the number one marketplace for connecting clients and creative workers.
Their pricing works a bit differently than most sites. Clients create a contest for a certain project, starting at $299, up until $1299. Only the best designer handpicked by the clients gets the job. In case the client hasn’t found the person for the job, 99designs offers a money-back guarantee.
Overall, this site can help find good designers, but contests won’t always show the results you’re after. So, it’s best to try other options first, then try your luck here.
Fiverr is a rather affordable marketplace for freelance services, including web and graphic design. What’s good about it is that companies can find quality designers at great prices. If the job’s done properly, they could be invited to join a company or continue working as freelancers.
As for pricing, you won’t have to pay for anything except for the services. Registration is free, and Fiverr takes 20 percent of each transaction, included in the service fee.
Overall, finding designers on Fiverr can be as good as it can go wrong. Some freelancers use design shortcuts to make quick cash, while others take their time to finish it. Ultimately, clients leave 1-5 star reviews describing the service as delivered.
Europe’s most used online platform provides companies with freelance workers, where the two parties agree upon acceptable terms and fees. It works in a pretty simple way similar to that of 99designs.
Pricing is differently set for buyers and freelancers. For freelancers, higher service fees are charged for lower amounts received, and vice versa. As for buyers, they get charged with fixed and percentage fees.
Overall, People Per Hour is a good place to hire an extra pair of hands for your company.
Managing a company with employees is like having a family that needs taking care of. Thus, invest in it and soon you’ll see the results.
Are you using any of these apps, and if so, which ones? Are you satisfied with its performance? We’d love to hear your opinion!