Design Tools News No. 7

Here is the latest installment in my ongoing series about what’s new in design tools. This week’s items include continued innovation in creative productivity for iPad, lots of pushes towards greater fidelity prototyping, and a handy scorecard for how all of the many prototyping tools out there match up against one another.

  • Quill is a new “collaborative drawing and wireframing” app—for tablets. The app works in real time or asynchronously, and basic team workflow is supported: project organization, permissions management, commenting and sharing. More at
  • Folio is a new, simple version control system for OS X, launching today. It’s based on Git, so it is capable of supporting teams or multiple contributors, though its developers say that aspect is not yet exposed. This is a very interesting problem to solve; in both my design tools survey and anecdotal research, designers still use shockingly manual and even arcane methods of managing versions. More at
  • Flinto releases an OS X version of its popular iOS prototyping tool. The company claims that it has been working on this new product for the past year. It costs US$99 but a 14-day trial is available at
  • Atomic, the browser-based prototyping tool, now features “advanced motion control.” Atomic’s designer Jarred Bishop writes: “You can now adjust the delay, duration and easing of individual elements on a simple and familiar timeline, complete with in-editor playback, timeline scrubbing and a comprehensive set of easing options.” More at
  • Rapid prototyping leader InVision announced a forthcoming product called Motion, an advanced user interface animation editor. The company claims that it will allow users to “communicate your design vision in the highest fidelity possible,” and features a timeline as well as a code editor. No shipping date announced yet. More at
  • is another browser-based prototyping app, and it now sports revamped groups, layers and multi-item edit. I don’t like to post about every feature release but I thought that it was interesting to note that the timeline in Motion by InVision and Atomic, as well as’s attention to its layers view, all point towards a similar, Flash-like interaction model. That may be where we’re all headed. More at
  • Gravit is also browser-based, but it’s a “pixel design tool for beginners and professionals,” analogous to Illustrator or Sketch. More at
  • Vectr is a new design app that works both in the browser and on the desktop. Your work product resides in the cloud, apparently, as it’s automatically synced and available to you on any platform where Vectr is available. Its creators promise weekly updates and improvements and a “free forever” price tag. More at
  • Blocs, a WYSIWYG web design tool for OS X, launched a major revision: version 1.5, since updated to 1.5.1. You can read the changelog here or watch this kind of leisurely overview video. More at Blocs was also a finalist for App of the Year in the 2015 Net Awards (see below).
  • So who won App of the Year? None other than Bohemian Coding’s Sketch. It’s well-deserved; the Sketch phenomenon is our strongest signal that the market for creative tools is thriving. See all the winners at
  • Finally, Emily Schwartzman of design and strategy firm Cooper has updated this mammoth scorecard of prototyping tools. Each application is graded on criteria such as speed, fidelity, sharing, dynamic elements, etc. Schwartzman says that this is a “living document” that will be updated periodically (there are at least one or two omissions). See it at

And here is the demo video for Folio. It’s definitely worth a look.

Read the previous installment in this series here, and send me any tips and recommendations via the form below. Thanks!


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