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My Top 20 Tools and Resources for a Seamless Workflow

By: Miri Miller, Strategic Brand Identity Designer & CEO, CatchBranding.com


I’ve had a number of designers ask me about tools and processes that will help them in their design process.


Questions like:

  1. Which tool will help me save time?

  2. How can I make my workflow smoother?

  3. Where do you find your mockups?

  4. What do you use for getting client feedback? And even:

  5. Should I hire a VA to help me answer emails? (answer: first see where you can cut down time and give the job to a tool instead. Then, automate your workflow. If you’re still short on time after those two, you may hire😊)


So, it’s answer time!


For every part of your workflow there are tens of similar tools that could help you get the job done. When I started CatchBranding Studio, I was jumping from one tool to the next to find the perfect one for me. Every time another creative mentioned a tool – I would try it.


I spent hours upon hours testing countless tools.


I wasted so much time tool-hopping.


It was information overload.


Or, I should say, tool overload.


So today, I’m gonna take you from the place of tool-hopping and uncertainty and share the tools that I use for a seamless workflow.


Let’s dive in!


My Top 20 Tools and Resources for a Seamless Workflow

We’ll start from the beginning of my workflow.


Onboarding

Fillout – Obtaining potential client/lead information.

Fillout – Obtaining potential client/lead information.

Fillout is my favorite tool for forms. I use it on my website to collect information from potential clients. Any unverified potential client gets directed to a similar form to see if we’re a fit before jumping on a call.


There are other options similar to Fillout, but Fillout fits my needs best and their free plan suits my needs perfectly.


Price: Free Plan, Paid Plan – from $15/month


Airtable – Sales Pipeline

Airtable – Sales Pipeline

All contacts live on airtable. It’s like a very sophisticated excel spreadsheet where I keep my clients' contact info. More importantly, it’s my sales pipeline so that at any given moment I can see the ‘who’s where’ on my sales pipeline – who’s scheduled for a call, which clients are waiting for a proposal and who am I waiting for their deposit.


Price: Free Plan is more than you’ll ever need.


Calendly – Scheduling Calls

Calendly – Scheduling Calls

Avoid the back and forth emailing to book a call with a client and just use a tool so they can choose the best time for them within your schedule. This is such a time saver! And a lot more professional too.


Price: Free Plan, Essentials Plan: $8/month


Another option: ScheduleOnce also works well and their free plan is more robust than Calendly. However, I find Calendly’s interface easier to use and as it works well for me, I’m not changing over for the minute differences. Not worth my time:)


Zoom – Conducting interviews, sales calls and meetings

Zoom – Conducting interviews, sales calls and meetings

All my calls happen on Zoom. I’m on the paid plan because Brand Discovery calls are 1-2 hours, and presentation calls are 45 minutes. Hence, the 40 minute calls on the free plan is not enough.


Price: Free Plan, Pro Plan: $149.90/year



The Project

Asana – Project Management Tool

Asana – Project Management Tool

Hands down, this is my favorite Project Management (PM) Tool.


I use Asana to manage all my projects and tasks related to clients, and internal business. For larger projects, the client has access to their project and we communicate within the project board. This way there’s no scrolling through emails to find the one about revisions that somehow was placed in a random thread…


All communication is in one place and easy to find. No detail left behind! (I usually share a very simplified video walkthrough on how to use Asana at the start of the project so the client doesn’t feel overwhelmed.)


Price: Free Plan, Premium Plan: £9.49/month


Toggl – Time Tracking

Toggl – Time Tracking

See how long your projects take with Toggl – the most versatile tracking tool I’ve met. The free plan is perfect for my needs.


Price: Free Plan, Starter Plan: $9/month


Design Cuts (Fantastic fonts! I always buy their font bundles)

Typography and Font Resources

  1. Design Cuts (Fantastic fonts! I always buy their font bundles)

  2. MyFonts

  3. Pixel Surplus (some nice free fonts)

  4. Typewolf – an amazing learning resource on typography


Freepik - Images, Vectors and Mockups

Freepik - Images, Vectors and Mockups

I used to think I’m not a real designer if I don’t have Shutterstock and Adobe Stock subscriptions… But I don’t have them. My go-to site for images, vectors and mockups is Freepik. I could probably make a living off the commission I would get from Freepik, but I don’t get commission, so I’m still a designer:) Freepik has all the images, vectors and mockups I’ve ever needed and you get UNLIMITED downloads! No counting your remaining number of licenses or paying fees to buy extra!


Note: On the free plan, you need to attribute so I definitely recommend the paid plan – it’s worth the investment.


Price: Free Plan, Premium Plan: £7.75/month


AI Image Upscalers

AI Image Upscalers

I used to have to work hard trying to get images in the correct resolution from clients. Sometimes they’d send their photos embedded in a word doc or in the email body and that reduces the quality. Or sometimes, the only photo they have is a hard copy from 30 years ago – and they scanned it onto the computer! Now, I can just upscale the images and voila! I got me the resolution I need😊.


I don’t have a favorite – they all have their pros and cons and sometimes a specific image won’t work well on one but will come out perfect in another.


Flaticon

Iconography


Dopely Colours – colour name finder

Dopely Colours – colour name finder


Brand Identity Style Guides

A collection of Brand Identity Style Guides from around the world.



Off Boarding

Wise is perfect for receiving transfers in any currency.

Payment

  1. Wise: is perfect for receiving transfers in any currency. You can create virtual bank accounts for different countries/currencies and accept or make transfers with really cheap rates.

  2. Stripe: is my go-to for credit card payments. Simple to use and reasonable fees per transaction.

  3. iCount + PayMe: Payment options are not one-size-fits-all. As I live in Israel and most of my clients live in the US, this is the best tool for my needs. For all you Israel residents – you should be using iCount! I’ve integrated it with PayMe for credit card payments.


 

That’s the basic overview. There are a few more tools that I use for specific tasks (like web builders, video compressors, lottie files…) but if I would include them all, you probably wouldn’t get to the end of this article. It would be that long.


The Takeaway

Please don’t overthink your tools! Use what works and stick with it.


Last point: I’ve included most of the tools I use so you can get the most out of this article. If you don’t have a sales pipeline or project management system, don’t panic! Just suit this list for where your business is now.


 

Miri Miller

Strategic Brand Identity Designer & CEO, CatchBranding.com

Catch - targeted branding

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