Design Tools News No. 3

I’m still on vacation through the end of this week, and haven’t been paying very close attention to what’s happening out there. Nevertheless, plenty of design tool news still found its way across my desk.

  • Design hand-off tool Zeplin is out of beta. Their official launch apparently refreshes the user interface and requires some transition in projects, and they’ve posted a guide for beta users.
  • Smarticons is a periodically updated icon set hosted on the web, and they’ve upgraded to version 2.0. They’ve also released an OS X menu widget that lets you search their icons and instantly place them inside any of the major graphics programs, e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, etc. It doesn’t sound revolutionary but I think it’s great and I wish all of my icon packs could work with it. More at
  • Affinity has officially released version 1.0 its Affinity Photo software, a rival to Adobe’s Photoshop—primarily for retouching. It retails for just US$50 but is on sale for US$40 through 23 July. The photography site Fstoppers has a good overview here.
  • Monodraw is an OS X tool for making diagrams, layouts, flow charts and visually representing algorithms, data structures, binary formats—all with ASCII. Why would you want to do this, other than that you might be a total nerd? The company explains “because it’s all just text, it can be easily embedded almost anywhere.” Okay. More at
  • Fileloupe is a powerful file viewer for OS X. It seems intended to work as a more robust replacement for the Mac’s Preview and QuickTime apps. More at
  • Adobe Illustrator 2015, released just a few weeks ago, has been updated to address a number of bugs. Read the changelog.

In case you missed it, read my last roundup of design tool news here. And if you have anything you think is worth sharing, please send it my way via the form at the bottom of this post.


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