The web design market is growing at a rapid pace. The industry generates around $40 billion a year, and this figure will increase in the future as more businesses are investing in web design and development.
It’s a great time to be a web design agency. Finding clients is not difficult, and if you deliver as per the clients’ expectations, you can see exponential growth.
The tools you use play a vital role in your agency’s success. The right tools help you remain efficient, complete projects on time and exceed clients’ expectations.
Today, let’s look at some essential web design tools every ambitious agency should use.
Why Should Agencies Use a Web Design Tool?
A website is instrumental to a business’s online presence, credibility, and success. Having a good-looking, responsive, and high-performance website is essential for running a business online. However, not all companies have the resources to develop, design, and maintain websites.
Here’s where web design tools come into the picture. These tools make your web design process faster and more efficient. Therefore, forward-thinking agencies should have web design tools in their arsenal.
Let’s look at some important benefits of using web design and development solutions.
No Prior Expertise Needed
Web designing is a comprehensive field, with new trends and technologies erupting every year. Gaining expertise in all these technologies may not be possible, especially for new agencies. Web designing tools help you overcome this roadblock. These tools allow you to perform all web design and development tasks without needing any prior expertise.
Complete Control Over the Design Process
Digital agencies need to have full control over the design process. They must oversee all aspects of the design workflow, from ideation to prototyping to final delivery. With web design software, agencies can improve management and complete more projects in less time.
Different clients have different requirements. Some clients want a simple and subtle design, while others need a vibrant and colorful interface. Therefore, web design agencies need to switch gears quickly. Using web design tools enables you to cater to various client requirements and ensure satisfaction.
Better Productivity and Efficiency
The best tools offer flexibility and better management. Web designers and developers can work faster, wasting no time. You can collaborate with multiple teams, automate processes, delegate tasks, and make your workflow more efficient.
While web design tools are a significant investment, they can help you save money in the long run. Sometimes, a client may come up with a requirement that you can’t fulfill. Most agencies outsource such requirements, which is costly. When you use specialized tools, you can fulfill all your clients’ needs while staying within budget.
Which Tools Do Web Designers Need?
There’s no limit to the tools you can use. In this digital economy, you can find a tool for everything, from developing websites to designing interfaces to sending emails. However, there are certain tools every web design agency should have in its arsenal.
Let’s look at these tools, and why you should use them.
Web Development Tools
Why Use Them: Web development includes several technologies, and it’s not possible to work on each technology individually. A web development tool acts as an all-in-one solution where you can work on all these technologies.
Graphic/Interface Design Tools
A graphic design or interface design tool helps you create various visuals and graphics without drawing them by hand. These solutions comprise many features that let you develop striking designs quickly and efficiently.
Why Use Them: Manually creating designs is time-consuming and prone to errors. Web design tools allow you to create, edit, and share designs.
Collaboration and Project Management Tools
Collaboration and project management tools help you better manage a project by dividing it into smaller tasks and assigning them to team members. These tools help you delegate tasks, check project status, and share information and updates in real-time.
Why Use Them: People from different teams and fields of expertise work on a web design project. These tools enable effective collaboration between these participants, which is essential for the project’s timely completion.
Apart from the tools mentioned above, web design agencies can use digital solutions based on their requirements and the services they provide. For example, if you also offer marketing and advertising services, you may want to use marketing tools.
Key Functionalities to Look for in Web Designing Tool
Each tool has features specific to its type and functionality. For instance, a design tool will have features like rapid prototyping and a vector-based interface, whereas a project management tool supports Kanban boards and file sharing.
However, there are a few characteristics to look for in any tool you add to your arsenal. These include:
Ease of Use: The tools you implement should be user-friendly and have a small learning curve. If you use complex tools, you’ll need to invest more time and resources in training your team.
Cost-Effectiveness: One of the key reasons to use tools is to reduce your expenses. However, it might not be the case if you go for an expensive solution. Always adhere to your budget.
Scalability: As your business grows, your team size will increase. The tools you use should be scalable and allow you to add more users.
Rich Features: Any tool you use should be feature-rich. You may not need many features now, but you’ll need them as your business grows. Your web design tools should have all the features you might need in the future.
Having discussed the importance of web design tools and what type you should use, let’s delve into the actual list of tools. We’ve divided tools by category, so you can easily find the tools you need.
Web Development Tools
LESS and CSS Files
Easy to set up and use
Responsive utility cases
Built-in design templates
Visual Studio Code (Front-End)
Visual Studio Code by Microsoft is an open-source code editor for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It comes with syntax highlighting, code refactoring, and testing capabilities. It is customizable and enables developers to call stacks and debug the code. Visual Studio Code comes with various free extensions for enhanced functionality.
Integrated Command-Line Interface (CLI)
Execute and debug JS
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) developed with PHP. It allows you to develop websites and host them on a server with PHP/MySQL. WordPress comes with myriad themes and plugins that make it one of the most customizable web development platforms in the market. This tool offers drag-and-drop editor functionality, making it ideal for developers of all experience levels.
Create, manage, and edit website content
Add unlimited pages, posts, and products to your site
Integrate with other website editors
Integrate with a fully managed subscription service like BlueHost and Hostgator
Apache is an open-source web server solution that connects the server-side and client-side to share data and files. It comprises customization features and modules for administration controls. It is user-friendly and feature-rich, making it a suitable choice for hosting websites.
Loadable dynamic modules
Compatible with IPv6
Gzip compression and decompression
Web Design Software Tools
InVision Studio is one of the most comprehensive UI design and prototyping tools. It supports complex animations and helps you create responsive web designs. The software has a drag-and-drop interface, making it easy to use. It also has built-in collaboration features, so multiple designers can use it at once.
Create responsive prototypes without writing code
Edit HTML codes and other web elements
Create parallax animations, motion graphics, and swipe triggers
Integrate multiple artboards into one animation
Resize and crop images
Adobe XD is a vector-based tool that allows you to create prototypes, custom websites, and mockups. It comes with advanced features and is the go-to tool for many website designers. If you use Adobe products, you’ll get used to Adobe XD in no time. If you’re new to Adobe, you’ll need to go through a steep learning curve. You can try GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) if you need a simpler tool.
Create reusable buttons and resizable cards
Add hover and toggle features
Grid system for dragging and repeating elements
Integration with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Adobe Photoshop
Webflow is a powerful website builder and designer tool that allows you to perform all kinds of web design tasks, from simple photo editing to robust prototyping and editing code snippets. The tool has a component library with various design elements, such as Google Fonts, UI kits, and Sketch files. It’s a great tool for creating responsive designs and complex illustrations.
CSS grid-powered layouts
Compliant and exportable code
Over 2,000 web font families
100+ responsive website templates
Editable and reusable symbols
Google Web Designer
Google Web Designer is a drag-and-drop page editor and website design tool for Windows, Linux, and Mac. It helps you create interactive HTML5 content. Google Web Designer provides a GUI with other tools. For example, it has a Text tool that integrates with shapes tools, pen tools, and 3D tools. The software is free to use.
Pre-programmed web components
Add multiple pages
Create 3D animations and transformations
Develop custom and collaborative design
Sync actions with events
Project Management and Collaboration Tools
Asana is a popular project workflow management tool for teams of all sizes, though it’s best suited for large organizations. It comes with all the essential project management features, like Kanban boards, Gantt charts, task lists, calendars, and more. Since Asana is cloud-based, you can use it on any device from anywhere.
Individual task lists and focus mode
Notifications and reminders
If you’re looking for a simpler collaboration tool, Trello will be a great pick for you. It is a web-based task management solution that allows you to manage your projects using Kanban boards. If you need a secure and easy-to-use project management tool to manage your workflows visually, Trello will be an ideal pick.
Drag and drop editing
Seamless organization with tags, labels, and comments
Progress meter checklist
Card records archive
If you’re looking for a tool that’s more focused on team collaboration than project management, you can try Basecamp. It’s a suitable tool for distributed teams. The tool allows you to create simple to-do lists and share them with your team members. You also get custom calendars, bulletin boards, and team messaging.
Interactive Gantt Charts
Social collaboration platform
Track project hours
Monday.com is a robust project management system designed for managing remote teams and promoting collaboration and engagement. It comprises task lists, project timelines, and Kanban boards. You can share notes, comments, and attachments. Monday.com also allows you to customize task workflows.
Individual and team workload management
Efficient collaboration with integrations and automation
In-depth reporting and analytics
Project dashboards for up to 10 projects
Time and task tracking
iStock is a website where you can buy exclusive, royalty-free images and videos. While you can download free stock photos, exclusive photos make your design unique. Therefore, a web design agency should have a subscription to iStock or any royalty-free image provider.
Purchase a single photo or a bundle
If you’re looking for a source of vector graphics, Freepik is the right place for you. You can download icons, infographics, and illustrations. Both free and premium resources are available. The website also has manipulating images—you can edit the text on them as per your needs.
Photoshop documents (PSDs)
Free and paid resources
Blender is a free and open-source 3D rendering and modeling tool that lets you create 3D models, visual effects, animated films, motion graphics, computer games, and 3D applications. Nowadays, many businesses are investing in 3D videos and animations to hook their customers. Therefore, web design agencies should use a 3D modeling tool like Blender.
Rendering, modeling, and sculpting
Animation and Rigging
Agencies that provide marketing and advertising services must have a marketing automation solution in their toolkit. HubSpot is a marketing automation tool that allows you to manage and automate several marketing tasks, like SEO management, ad tracking, social media management, and more.
Blogging and SEO
Social media management
Ad tracking and management
Over to You
Using the right tools is instrumental to your success as a web design and development agency. The tools discussed above can be a starting point for you if you’re building your digital toolkit. However, you can definitely explore the tools not mentioned here. Hundreds of web design and development solutions are available, and you should choose them based on your requirements.
Dave is an Emmy-Award® winning web designer/developer and has worked in the digital media industry in both newspaper and broadcast television since 1999. He has also worked as an Art Director for a medium-sized advertising agency in the South Florida market and TheeDigital's customers' are benefiting from his talent these days.