By the nature of the job, Web designers are at the mercy of their clients when it comes to costs. Go over a quoted budget, and you could be forced to eat the overrun or risk losing the client. As we move into the final quarter of the year, designers are busier than ever. With all the holidays approaching, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with additional design work for all the seasonal activities quickly approaching. With the additional workload, it never hurts to have an ever growing list of tools and services to help bring your web design projects in under budget without sacrificing quality. To help you keep costs low, here are 10 new and absolutely free tools that every designer needs to know about.
Chances are, you’re going to your favorite stock marketplace to find nice stock photos and illustrations for your projects. But have you really shopped around to know you’re getting the best deal? That same photo could be for sale at another marketplace for half the price. Or a promo code could be available from a site and you’ll have no idea. By using Lootback, you can search several top stock photo/image sites at once, find a promo code AND get cash back when you make a purchase. Lootback earns a commission when you make a purchase through them from any of their featured merchants (iStock, Shutterstock, ThemeForest, etc.) and they turn around and split the commission with you. Lowering your overall costs and increasing your profitability. It appears to the the most affordable way to purchase files that we are aware of. Who doesn’t like getting cash back?
When you’re a freelancer, invoicing is a necessary evil. You have to wear many hats as a Web designer and one of them says Accounts Receivable on the bill. Instead of paying an invoicing service a monthly subscription, consider Nutcache.com’s free, customizable application.
Selling domains is as old as the internet. However, Namebox is a new site that simplifies the process and makes it quick and painless. Since most freelance Web designers have one foot in client work and the other in their own website development projects, that usually means they have a small handful of cleverly branded domain names sitting around and not getting used. For no charge, you can list your domains at the price you want and let buyers come to you. A great way to earn some extra cash as we move into the busy holiday season.
Google Web Designer
HTML5 is quickly replacing Flash in the vast majority of Web applications. If you want to get out ahead of the curve, Google’s new Web Designer tool can help you do just that. Create animations, view and edit code, and build advertisements at no cost.
Feeling constricted by the fonts available on your computer? TypeWonder is a useful tool that lets you test fonts on any website. This helps you envision what it will look like before you publish. Saves a lot of time.
The best web designer tools are the ones that make everyday tasks just a little easier. AnimateScroll is one such tool. A jQuery plugin, the tool provides – what else? – scroll animation with more than 30 unique effects. Saves a ton of time
CSS Deck: Forms
Forms are among the most powerful tools in a website owner’s arsenal when it comes to engendering customer loyalty, building a contact list, and minimizing hassle. CSS Deck provides a free tool from which you can build these forms without tearing your hair out over endless coding.
Created to aid developers in the design of web apps, this free tool is quick and customizable. Topcoat is a brand new open source CSS library designed to help developers build web apps with an emphasis on speed. It evolved from the Adobe design language developed for Brackets, Edge Reflow, and feedback from the PhoneGap app developer community.
You can’t expect to make it far in Web design these days without being able to offer your clients unique, advanced graphics. Some designers subcontract this kind of work, but if you like to exercise your own artistic talents, a free drawing library like Two.js is invaluable.
Creative Link Effects
For some clients, direct and simple is the way to go. With others (decidedly few, sadly), you are free to stretch your imagination and create something that is very much like art. With Creative Link Effects, you have free access to over 20 interesting and whimsical link animations that can add charm to any website, commercial or personal.
Did we miss any? If you’ve found a new tool that can help others save time and money, please let us know in the comments below.