Top 20 Must-Have Design Tools to Kickstart Your Online Journey

17 minutes read

Top 20 Must-Have Design Tools to Kickstart Your Online Journey

Table of Contents:

  1. What are UI/UX design tools?
  2. Why do you need UI/UX Design tools?
  3. How to choose the right design tool?
  4. Top 20 Design Tools in 2023 
  5. Conclusion
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

Give ordinary people the right tools, and they will design and build the most extraordinary things

  • -Neil Gershenfeld

If you’re a graphic or web designer, you know there’s a never-ending supply of design tools at your disposal. But how can you pick the best tools to feed your creativity and productivity when there are so many to choose from? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back.

In our blog, we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 design tools that any serious web or graphic designer should have in their arsenal. These resources have been endorsed by professionals in the field and have proven useful in getting designers started in the digital realm.

But hey, we get it; every designer has their own set of requirements and tastes. That’s why there’s such a wide variety of options; we wanted to make sure everyone could find what they were looking for. We’ve got you covered with everything from robust design programs to convenient teamwork hubs. 

Come along as we reveal the best 20 design tools that will improve your web presence and streamline your creative workflow.

What are UI/UX design tools?

These handy tools are indispensable to any designer’s toolkit. They are softwares or platforms made to help User Interface and User Experience designers make the best possible websites and apps.

Different UI or UX design tools exist to meet the various requirements and preferences of designers. We can make beautiful UIs, prototypes, and usability tests with the help of these software programs. 

They give us access to a plethora of features and functionalities that streamline and improve the quality of our design work. These resources have our backs when it comes to making designs that are both beautiful and functional.

Why do you need UI/UX Design tools?

Wide range of features: These tools are made to make your life easier. They give you access to a plethora of features that will improve the efficiency of your design process. 

These programs will help you with everything from sketching up ideas to developing fully functional prototypes of user interfaces. They help you save time and energy so you can concentrate on what you do best: being creative.

Visualise Design Ideas: They give you a blank slate on which to draw your designs. To make your ideas a reality, these resources can help you draw wireframes, design beautiful images, and develop interactive prototypes.

Enhance User experience: However, aesthetics are not the only consideration. These tools make it possible to create aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-navigate, and functional user interfaces. You can create flawless user flows, check usability, and collect useful user input with the aid of these technologies. This means you can make designs that people actually want to use.

Promote collaboration: These resources facilitate communication, review, and collaboration on design projects. These tools help you and your team members stay on the same page, whether you’re working with other designers, developers, or stakeholders.

Consistency and Scalability: Design tools aid in keeping UI elements, styles, and branding consistent across screens and devices, which is important for both consistency and scalability. They provide features like design libraries, stylesheets, and symbols that make it less of a chore to keep your design system consistent and scalable.

Stay updated with industry trends: Keeping up with the newest developments in your field is easy with the UI or UX design tools available today. They grow alongside the market, releasing updates and new features to keep designers abreast of industry best practices and cutting-edge innovations.

Documentation and handoff: The documentation and handoff to developers or other team members is simplified with UI/UX design tools. They facilitate a seamless transfer from design to development. 

Maybe you’re wondering, “Can’t I just design without these tools?” You can, of course! But having a UI/UX design software is like having superpowers to help you create better designs. In addition to their aesthetic value, they allow you to make designs that are practical and considerate of the end user. 

They aid in the process of iteration, allowing you to hone in on the specifics of your audience and craft experiences that hit home.

How to choose the right design tool?

How to choose the right design tool?

With so many alternatives out there, choosing the best design tool can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Here are some pointers to assist you find your way through the process:

Find out what you need: Do you need a program to make low-fidelity sketches or high-quality final products? Do you require platform-specific or collaborative features? Knowing your specific requirements is crucial in this regard.

Consider your skill level: Think about your design expertise and where you stand with the tools you use. Some programs are made with novices in mind, with user-friendly interfaces and basic functions, while others are more complex and aimed at professional artists. Pick a program that’s just beyond your current level of expertise, so you can keep learning.

Go through the features: Compare the functions of various design programs. Things like vector editing, prototyping, responsive design, and asset management are a few of the features you should look out for. Try to find options that improve your efficiency without disrupting your current design process.

User reviews: Reviews left by users can teach you a lot about the right kind of design tool for you. You can also visit online forums and social media platforms to collect more information about these tools. 

User interface: Think about the user interface of these tools and how easy they are to use. The design process can be simplified and elevated by using a tool which is straightforward and clear. 

Affordability and Pricing: Evaluate the design tool pricing structure. Free or trial versions of some tools are available, while others can be purchased either once or on a recurring basis. 

Look for tutorials and guides: Dig into the design tools’ in-house guides, demos, and tutorials. You can learn a lot about a tool’s features and how simple they are to operate by watching a free lesson or video guide.

Top 20 Design Tools in 2023

We’re lucky to work in an industry where a wide variety of resources are available to help us develop compelling and engaging user experiences.  This section will discuss the twenty most talked-about design tools currently available. To make things easier for you we have divided them into 5 categories: Prototyping, Resources, Extensions, Animation, and Illustration. 

PROTOTYPING

1) Figma

figma

Figma, a highly effective and collaborative design tool, has recently swept the design industry by storm. Since its 2016 debut, it has rapidly garnered traction among product teams, design lovers, and UI/UX professionals. 

Figma is a cloud-based platform that facilitates real-time collaboration and a streamlined design handoff, completely changing the way designers collaborate and share their work.

Key Features:

Collaborative capabilities

Clean, easy-to-navigate user interface

UX Prototyping

Design Handoff 

Cloud-based nature

Usability Testing

Design Management

2) Adobe XD

Adobe XD

With the help of Adobe XD, designers can produce attractive user interfaces, interactive prototypes, and captivating user experiences. You can be sure you’re in for a treat because it is a component of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

The seamless integration of Adobe XD with other Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator is one feature that sets it apart. This makes your design workflow more effective and consistent because you can quickly import files, graphics, and vector illustrations from various programs.

Key Features:

Prototyping and interaction design

Access to designs anywhere, anytime

Animations and transition designs

Repeat grids

Voice Design

Plugins

Content-Aware Layout

 

3) Indesign

Indesign

With the help of the potent desktop publishing program Adobe InDesign, designers can transform their concepts into eye-catching layouts. 

You are in complete control of every element of your layout while using InDesign. To obtain the ideal balance and visual hierarchy, you can quickly arrange text, photos, and graphics. Your drawings will be pixel-perfect and aesthetically beautiful thanks to the exact positioning and alignment tools.

Key Features:

Multiple page use

Interactivity

Liquid Content

Text Frame fitting

Productivity Enhancements like split screen

 

4) Sketch

Sketch

Sketch is a potent vector-based design tool that provides designers with an easy-to-use interface. It’s like a digital playground where you can let your imagination run wild and easily create amazing graphics.

Sketch’s simplicity is one of the features that sets it apart. The interface is neat, uncluttered, and created with UI/UX designers’ needs in mind. You’ll instantly feel at home and prepared to explore the world of design as soon as Sketch is launched.

Key Features:

Vector Editing

Artboards

Extensive library of Plugins

Prototyping

Creating Symbols and Reusable Components

Collaboration 

 

RESOURCES

5)Envato

Envato

For designers, developers, and other types of creatives, Envato is a well-known marketplace that provides a vast selection of digital materials. Envato’s large library of design resources is one of its unique advantages.

 Envato has everything you need, whether you’re seeking beautiful website designs, catchy graphics, expert typefaces, or interesting stock pictures. 

Key Features:

Unlimited access to a vast library of design assets

Items can be purchased individually

High-quality design elements

Vibrant Community of designers and creators

 

6) Dribbble

Dribbble

It is the preferred medium for designers to showcase their work, get criticism, and establish connections with like-minded people. Dribbble’s emphasis on visuals is one of its distinguishing qualities.

Designers can upload shots, which are essentially bite-sized peeks inside their projects. These images demonstrate their talent, knowledge, and design prowess in a condensed and striking manner. Similar to a digital art exhibition, each image has its own narrative.

Dribbble is a place to get inspiration in addition to being a platform for sharing work. You can go through numerous design categories, view images from other designers, and get an idea of the newest design trends.

Key Features:

Encourages Collaboration and Engagement

Teams and Playoffs

Includes Dribbble Pro and Dribbble Talent

7) Pinterest

Pinterest

Entering Pinterest is like finding a gold mine of ideas. It’s a visual wonderland where you can investigate a wide range of concepts, from fashion and home décor to crafts and recipes, and everything in between. 

Consider it a digital corkboard where you can organise and pin everything that captures your attention.

Pinterest’s visual discovery is one of its unique qualities. Finding inspiration is simple when you look up specific themes or browse carefully selected boards. Each pin acts as a window into a creative world, providing a glimpse into exquisite photography, brilliant designs, and original concepts.

Key Features:

Multi-Channel Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Activity Tracking

Curate your own collections

Community and Collaboration

Versatility

 

8) Freepik

Freepik

This portal provides a staggering selection of top-notch visuals that can take your work to the next level. Freepik has you covered whether you’re developing a website, producing a presentation, or writing a social media post.

Key Features:

Extensive library of free and premium resources

User-friendly interface

Vibrant community of contributors

Freemium model

 

EXTENSIONS

9) Better ruler

Better ruler

Better Ruler is like having a reliable friend by your side to help you get all the measurements and alignments right in your designs. You can eliminate the frustrating moments of guesswork from your design process thanks to this helpful tool.

The adaptability of Better Ruler is one of its best qualities. It’s not your typical ruler; rather, it’s a digital version that can be accessed from any electronic device. Better Ruler makes it simple to align components, measure distances, and double-check proportions with only a few taps or clicks.

Key Features:

Offers different measurement units like pixels, inches, or centimeters

User-friendly interface

 

10) ColorPick Eyedropper

ColorPick Eyedropper

The ColorPick Eyedropper extension acts as a magical palette, making it much easier to pick and capture colors. It’s a program that helps designers easily grab colors from the screen and use them again or combine them into other projects.

The ColorPick Eyedropper extension’s adaptability is one of its most notable qualities. It only takes a few clicks to create a color swatch from a picture, webpage, or anything else on the screen. It ensures that you capture the precise tones you want without resorting to manual color matching or guessing.

Key Features:

Create and organise colour palettes

Offers HEX and RGB codes on element

User-friendly interface

3 colour formats: RGB, CSS, HSL

11) Font Finder

Font Finder

Using Font Finder is like having a secret decoder for typography; you can see which fonts are being used on any website and learn more about them. It’s a program that makes it easy to access thousands of fonts, giving you greater flexibility in your design work. 

Font names, styles, sizes, and even precise CSS codes can be uncovered with only a few clicks. Font Finder streamlines the procedure so you can get things done faster and easier.

Key Features:

User-friendly interface

Seamless integration with browser

Allows to bookmark fonts for future references

Allows test different font combinations

Provides the ability to create font collections

 

12) HTML to Figma

HTML to Figma

Connecting the design and development processes is a breeze with the HTML to Figma extension. Using this application, codes can easily be converted to design components with minimal effort on your part.

The HTML to Figma extension stands out because of its ability to convert real site components into real design components. 

Key Features:

Support for multiple pages

Automatic image optimisation

Ability to export CSS and JavaScript files

ANIMATION

13) Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects

You can make motion graphics, animated titles, and other visual compositions with the help of Adobe After Effects.

Adobe After Effects is remarkable because of the extensive visual effects and animation options it provides. After Effects equips its users with the means to realise their creative potential, be it in the form of seamless transitions, realistic particle effects, or abstract animations.

Key Features:

Text-functionality

Tracking Motion and Stablisation

Rotoscoping

Visual Effects

Content Library

Dynamic Linking

Time-line based interface

Seamless integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps

 

14) Cinema 4d

Cinema 4d

Whether you want to make spectacular visual effects, character animations, architectural renderings, or product visualisations, Cinema 4D has you covered.Cinema 4D’s easy-to-navigate interface is one of the program’s most notable qualities. 

It’s made to be user-friendly so that artists can concentrate on their vision rather than the nitty-gritty of the process. The user interface is well-structured and adaptable, making it easy to find and use all of the available features.

Key Features:

Wide range of modelling tools

Powerful timeline based animation system

Advanced rendering capabilities

Integrates easily with other softwares

Supports various file formats

 

15) Blender

Blender

Blender is a software that allows artists to realize their wildest fantasies. It’s a versatile program that can be used for everything from character animation and architectural visualisation to video game creation and visual effects because of its extensive feature set.

Blender’s rich modeling toolset is one of its most notable features. Designers are able to create complex 3D objects, characters, and environments using a variety of tools, including polygonal modeling, sculpting, and procedural modeling. 

Key Features:

Compositing and Motion Tracking Abilities

Rendering

Simulation

Modeling

Sculpting

3D and 2D Animation

 

16) Spline

Spline

Spline is like a blank digital canvas on which you can create anything you can imagine. Stunning images and fascinating animations can be made quickly and easily using this web-based design and animation tool. Spline gives you the tools to easily and creatively bring your ideas to life, whether you’re a seasoned designer or a budding animator.

Spline’s simple and straightforward design is one of its most appealing qualities. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy for anyone to pick up and start making beautiful art right away. 

Key Features:

Timeline Based Animation System

Vector-Based Approach

Offers Collaboration Opportunities

Integrates with popular tools and platforms

ILLUSTRATION

17) Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

When it comes to vector graphics, Adobe Illustrator is your best bet for creating eye-catching illustrations, logos, icons, typography, and more. Unlike raster images, which are constructed from pixels, vector graphics are defined by mathematical equations. Because of this, logos and graphics that need to be duplicated at different sizes can be made with no quality loss at all.

Adobe Illustrator’s extensive set of drawing tools allows you to make detailed, precise illustrations.With Illustrator’s various tools, such as the Pen for drawing your own paths and the Shape tools for rapidly producing geometric objects, you can give life to your wildest imagination. 

Key Features:

Activity Tracking

Application Management

Collaboration Tools

CAD Tools

Design Management

 

18) Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is an advanced image editor that gives you complete control over your photographs and other media, letting you make precise adjustments and make radical changes. 

The extensive set of editing tools and options available in Adobe Photoshop is one of the software’s most notable features. Photoshop provides a wide variety of tools for manipulating images, from fundamental alterations like cropping, scaling, and retouching to more complex methods like layers, masks, and blending modes. 

You can use them to fix mistakes, improve colors, get rid of clutter, and create gorgeous final products.

Key Features:

Pattern Review

Cloud Document Versioning

Live Shapes

3D Digital Asset Management

Custom Brushes

Collaboration Tools


19) CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW

It’s a full-featured program that can help you make beautiful vector-based graphics, logos, and other designs. CorelDRAW allows you to bring your ideas to life with precision and originality, whether you’re a professional designer or a creative hobbyist.

 Intricate and scalable designs can be built with the help of accurate management of anchor points, curves, and shapes. CorelDRAW gives you the power and versatility to create everything from simple logos to elaborate artworks.

Key Features:

2D Drawing

CAD Tools

Content Sharing

Colour Matching

Content Import/Export

Seamless integration with Corel PHOTO-PAINT and Corel Font Manager

PowerTRACE

Compatibility with other softwares and file formats


20) Canva

Canva

When it comes to graphic design, Canva is like a one-stop shop. It’s an accessible web-based service that provides numerous design options for things like social media posts, presentations, and graphics. Canva makes it possible to quickly and easily create stunning visuals, regardless of your level of design expertise.

Canva’s huge collection of premade, high-quality templates is one of its most notable features. Canva offers a wide variety of editable templates for a variety of different projects, such as brochures, business cards, social media posts, and even whole presentations. 

Key Features:

Drag-and-drop interface

Collaboration features

Versatility

Background Remover

Instant Animation

Magic Resizing

Conclusion

In conclusion, the design world is alive with potential , and the right tools can make all the difference in your digital journey. In this blog post, we’ve gone over the top 20 essential design tools that can help you get started in the digital world and give you the power to make eye- catching images, fascinating animations, and smooth user experiences.

We understand that navigating the enormous world of design and learning how to use these tools can be daunting. This is where a professional design agency comes in. And who better than Itzfizz Digital

We at Itzfizz Digital are devoted to providing cutting-edge web design and other digital services. If you hire us we will help you establish a solid web presence and design an engaging user interface.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’re ready to take things to the next level in your web design adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

Are design tools only for professionals?

The majority of design tools cater to beginners and enthusiasts, offering user-friendly interfaces, ready-made templates, and intuitive features that make it simple for anyone to create visually appealing designs without prior design experience.

Do design tools cost a lot?

Depending on the software and licencing options, design tool prices change. While some products have free trials or versions available, others need a one-time fee or membership. To make an informed choice, it's critical to assess your budget and the tool's usefulness.

Can design tools be used on different operating systems?

Yes, a wide variety of design tools are available for Windows, macOS, and even some Linux operating systems. To be sure the design tool you want will work with your operating system, it's critical to review the system requirements.

Are there design tools for specific industries or niches?

It's true that some design tools are targeted for particular markets or professions. For instance, there are design tools made especially for designing games, clothes, and other things. To address the particular needs of each profession, these specialised tools provide resources and capabilities that are industry-specific.

Can design tools help with user testing and feedback gathering?

Yes, certain design tools have integrated features or built-in capabilities that make user testing and feedback collecting easier. These tools make it simpler to iterate and enhance your designs based on user insights by allowing you to build interactive prototypes, run user tests, and gather feedback right inside the design interface.
About Author

Leeya is a passionate content writer intern at Itzfizz Digital, eager to apply her love for writing to the dynamic space of digital marketing. She is committed to honing her talents, taking on new challenges, and contributing to the agency’s aim of providing clients with great content and marketing solutions.

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