A few people have asked what tools and apps we use over at DreamerMade so I figured I would write a quick piece to give an idea of what we use in a given week and more importantly, why. This list primarily focuses on web apps + tools. This post would turn into a book if I included mobile apps so I'll save those for another time.
Tools aren't everything but they sure help get the job done faster. I've broken our tool box down into 3 sections: Design, Productivity, and Programming.
Note: We recommend these tools because we use them and like using them. As far as I know, we haven't received compensation from anyone on this list. If we have, I've been bamboozled since I haven't seen the money. - Ryan Dean
This Chrome extension is number one on my list because I use it every day. If you want to quickly sample a color code on a webpage, you'll want to check this tool out. I use it when I can't remember what hex color value I've used before or when I see a color I want to use. Best part, it's free!
$19.99/mo for students, $29.99/mo for business
Buying Adobe software is expensive! Luckily Adobe offers Creative Cloud, a much cheaper option that includes access to all of their programs for a monthly fee. I use Photoshop the most for graphics + mockups but occasionally use Illustrator and After Effects depending on what we need done.
FREE for personal, $12.95/mo for work
When you don't need the heavy set of tools from Photoshop, Canva is a great alternative for designing quickly in the cloud. They have tons of templates for a range of applications including social media posts, infographics, and even posters. It's free to take advantage of most of their features but their paid work plan has some pretty cool features. One is the magic resize tool which we use to automatically resize one design to work with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Another nice feature of their upgraded plan is the brand kit which saves your brand colors, fonts, and logos for quick use in your designs.
FREE for personal use, $9.99/mo for premium
Flaticon is the place for icons. Whether you need them for a website or social media graphics, chances are they'll have the icon you're looking for. The premium plan is nice since you get access to over 30,000 premium icons in addition to the one's included. Better yet, you don't have to credit the author for each icon used. I like giving credit where credit is due but this method does get old after you do it a few times.
Another Chrome extension I use constantly is Page Ruler, which allows you to measure any area on your screen to find out the dimensions in pixels. I use it when designing web elements for the website and even for designing social media graphics. You'd be surprised how much this tool comes in handy.
Canva let us know about another great tool they offer, Canva Colors. Next time you need to find a hex color for a project or the perfect color combination, check out this useful tool.
$5/mo per user
I've always been a big fan of Google products, especially Gmail so it made sense to use Google Apps for our company. Adding team members and setting up a personalized company email address is a piece of cake. File management with Google Drive is fantastic with plenty of options for managing access and seeing changes made. It comes with 30GB of storage which is plenty for most but if you run out and need more, it's only a couple more dollars a month. Overall, I like how it connects with a lot of the tools we use and keeps things within reach like Google calendar, contacts, and hangouts.
Yep, another Chrome Extension made the list. If you need to take a screen capture of a web page, this nifty tool let's you do it quickly and then save it as a PNG file. We've used this for preparing demos, reviewing design issues, and even saving things we see that inspire us for a new project. If you prefer to take a screenshot of your entire screen you can use command + shift + 3 on your mac keyboard. You can also use command + shift + 4to capture a certain part of your screen.
FREE for limited features, $10/mo for awesome
If you post a lot of content on social media, you know how long it can take to manage. I just started using Buffer a few months ago but I've already seen huge time savings. The free version is okay but personally don't think it's worth using without the ability to schedule content for Pinterest or using the calendar tool, both of which are available on the $10/mo Awesome plan.
FREE for basic features, $10+ /mo depending on subscribers
Email Marketing has become a standard in business and Mailchimp happens to be our favorite email marketing tool. Their user friendly interface makes it easy to create great looking templates and even easier to track performance of our campaigns. They offer a lot of different pricing options but we prefer the monthly plan that grows as our subscriber list does.
Okay, to be fair we might be a little biased adding this tool to the list but we do use DreamerMade to track + develop new ideas for platform features, marketing campaigns, and even events. It's a great feeling to accomplish something using the very thing you've created but we're the first to tell you it needs to be developed further to truly be the tool we envision.
FREE for public projects, $7/mo for private
Github is a must have tool if you are developing a web or mobile app. We use it to manage our source code from the cloud, which makes it easy to access from almost anywhere. It also makes it possible for multiple team members to work on our code at the same time and keep track of these changes. The best thing about it for me is I can mess up and not worry about losing everything. I can't tell you how many times I've managed to make the worst bugs happen and the more I try to fix it, the worse it gets. Before Github, these errors would leave me defeated but for $7 a month now I can revert back to a point before the error. Well worth the price.
FREE for unregistered version, $70 for 1 license
Sublime Text is my text editor of choice when writing code for DreamerMade. It's easy to navigate between tabs of one project or multiple projects and has a lot of options for customization.
Pay as you grow
Amazon AWS helps the community "keeps the lights on" and stay online + store all of those fancy profile pictures and world changing documents you upload. It's not the easiest to use at first compared to Heroku but the ability to pay as you grow and the options for scalability really attracted us to AWS.
Technically the opposite of a programming tool but it was only fair to include since this blog was created with Squarespace. I could of created a blog from scratch but it seemed like a hassle. Plus after using Squarespace in the past (when I was a newbie to coding) and remembering how easy it was to manage, it was an easy decision to make. They are great for more than blogs and have some really great templates for online stores and professionals.
Do you agree with this list? What apps + tools do you use? Share your feedback for a chance to be featured in an upcoming blog post.
Until next time
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