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Top Tech Talk: 7 Design Apps for Mac

December 1, 2015


This blog post, like the two previous Top Tech Talk entries may not interest all of you and that is okay. I blog only about what I care about and I care about helping those in the design industry find applications that will help them become better at what they do. These are my top seven design applications and apps that aren’t necessarily design apps, but should be in every designers arsenal. All for the mac platform.


Affinity Designer – $49.99

When Serif launched their answer to Adobe’s Illustrator I was completely on board because even though Adobe makes wickedly awesome products they are equally wicked expensive. Affinity Designer is an extremely powerful and beautifully designed application geared towards those of us who deal a lot in the vector realm of things. If you are looking for a powerful vector creation software program then this is the one you want to try. Why? It has everything. The gradient, pen, brush, and all of the other tools you would expect are there and are extremely easy to use.

BONUS: It has not only a vector persona, but an easy to toggle to Pixel and Export persona to boot.


Affinity Photo – $49.99

Yes, I have been suckered into Affinity. They make beautiful applications. What can I say? Affinity photo is, you guessed it, their answer to Adobe’s flagship application Photoshop. This application isn’t as cleanly played out as Photoshop, but my oh my is it a powerful piece of software. There are loads of features that will be quite familiar to you in editing style and operation, the rest is easy to figure out once you learn the layout of it all. Affinity decided that personas needed to be an easy access in all of their product line so there are liquify, develop, and export functionalities built in.


Spectrum – $19.99

For those of you who want to get color right on the money every time check out Spectrum. There are loads of programs out there that will get the job done, but I love the layout. I have had this application in my tool belt since I started designing and I would trek through the unknown of new projects without it.


Duet – FREE for mac/pc

For those of you who love to have dual monitors, but are on the move all the time you know as well as I that carrying around a monitor is not only completely ridiculous but it is also extremely unfeasible. Duet allows you to use your iPad as your secondary monitor. EPIC! To top it off the program is easy to use. All you need is the app for both of your devices and (sadly) your lightening connector. The only downfall for Duet is that there is no other way to connect your iPad as your secondary if you so choose. Having the option of using bluetooth to connect when you need to (even if it is a bit jittery).


Dropbox – FREE (Storage expandable for fee)

Yes, I covered dropbox in my Top Teck Talk post for iPhone appsand yes I am covering it again. If you live under a rock and don’t have dropbox, get out from under the rock and download it already. Geez.


Notability – $5.99

This is a new application for my designer tool belt and the more I use it, the more I wonder why I haven’t been using it all along. This application is a dream. Notability allows you to write notes, annotate documents, record lectures/meetings/consultations and to top it all off it allows for easy connectivity across multiple devices thanks to iCloud and dropbox syncing. Thank you Notability creators for making client sessions and even brain storming so much better.


HyperDock – $10.00

Hyperdock juices up your application dock with something we have all been craving, application window previews. Yup. You read right. Application window previews. If you are like me and put your computer in sleep mode with everything minimized this application is a no brainer. I have saved myself hours of my total life span by simply downloading this application. I find myself simply hovering over the application to find out what all I have going on instead of right clicking and guessing which photo number is which.



Pixelmater – $29.99

I guess I will give a bit of an honorary mention. I occasionally find myself using pixelmater to do quick photo edits. I honestly use it once in a blue moon, and not for anything other than quick edits of non-client related photographs. If you are looking for a one time cost efficient answer to the likes of Photoshop for simple tasks then this is the program I would recommend. Yes, I know it does so much more than edit photos, but I honestly don’t like that it doesn’t have a grayed out work pallet surrounding your working document.


There you have it people, my top seven applications for designers on the Apple OS X side of the spectrum. If you have any applications you think I should check out and may possibly be worth adding to the list please just let me know in the comment section below. Let me know what you think.


Forever a tech geek,


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