4 Useful Design Planning Tools

If you didn’t notice already, I like sharing! Here are a few tools I use that make work life so much easier.


The name gives away the purpose completely: Crew built this platform to create mood boards. It’s a great casual, but professional looking way to collect and display images in clean, responsive, masonry format to share with a client without needing to create slides or a PDF.

It’s so simple and doesn’t involve creating any accounts. All it takes to get started is clicking a button and dropping images directly into your browser. Images can dragged around to reorder and have the option for added captions. However, don’t lose your share and edit links, especially if you will switch between computers or clear out your browser cookies regularly while working on your mood board.


Pantone Color Finder

This is so very helpful to me several times a week. I also regularly make use of the Pantone Color Manager app, but I like using Color Finder with the clients I deal with remotely or to nail down a color or to get an easy spread of similar swatches to print off and hang up on the wall when planning out new products. In Color Finder you have the option to either select a color off a color slider or enter a color number or name. If putting in a specific number, all the coating and material options come up as the results, but if you just put in a color name or make a selection from the slider, Color Finder will provide 100 swatches as the result.



I generally listen to NPR or BBC World Service while I work, but sometimes I need to be focused but relaxed while I work and then I open Noisli in my browser. It has a little soundboard of nature sounds, white noise, and binaural beats. Besides creating a mood through your ears, there are additional features available if you sign up for an account: the ability to save your favorite sound combinations, access to a timer, and a text editor. If the subtle background color changes bother you, there’s also an option to stop it. It’s also available as phone apps and a browser extension.


Paper & Pencil

Last but not least, the most important analog tool you will ever use: the notebook and pencil or pen or whatever you need to get marks down! Moleskine, Field Notes, and Handbook, are fine, but it really doesn’t matter what brand you use. I often make my own little notebooks to use and a legal pad is always game. Arguably you can do this with a tablet and an app too…but I digress. I like to mix handwritten notes with sketches while I plan things out or even to explain things in client meetings, sketching out ideas as we chat.

I’m always interested in trying out new things to be productive and I’d love to hear what you use to stay organized while you work!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.