Visual Tools

In this column, I comment a few remarkable multi-OS solutions, and methods that I find interesting. I focus on how fast and lightweight the application is, which functions it offers, and the quality of the output. Some of the best tools range from remarkable open-source software to free online solutions.

A personal thought course

In my opinion, designers are busy with aesthetics on one side and meanings on the other side. The visual is well part of the content; the graphic part conveying the idea, playing the same role as text, but more synthetically.

The reality is that dealing with meanings, colours and shapes is a personal thought course. Computer's support takes place once the representation becomes formal, at least in our mind. Learning a software is a personal journey. We might approach the software in different manners. Some of us need a preliminary training or video presentation, others like myself learn from the software, diving into the docs when needed. This leads to different appreciations of the tools needed by the designers, in particular at mock-up stage.

Designer's Tools and Methods

Creating and editing images

Today, I comment two absolutely different image creation and editing software:

An attractive and remarkable open-source raster graphics editor for professional image retouching and editing. The Gimp.

An online tool called Fotoflexer, that deserves discovery for image retouching and editing. Fotoflexer is accessible to complete neophytes./p>

SVG images

SVG The world or scalable vector graphic brings a different view on images.

'Animating the web'

web animation is a brief discovery of the wealth of methods and languages available for introducing movement in web pages (Javascript, JQuery and Ajax, CSS, SVG, server-side tries and more).

Mock-up tools

A couple of straightforward mock-up tools: and the open-source Pencil.

Note: the links above open in a new window.

Some applications have so many features that they might require some learning time. How intuitive they are depends on your style of learning. All pages of this dossier include downloadable resources as PDF files.

Commented sources

Download this page as a reminder (click Download to save as PDF file)Download

Other external sources you might find helpful to identify different methods or software:

Commented resources and articles
Commented Repositories
Commented Designers' Tools

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