During the course of running a small yet busy graphic design, website design and creative advertising agency, we often seek out and sometimes stumble across, really useful software that soon becomes integral to our company. In this blog post we’ll share our ‘Top Five Apps’ and why we find them so useful in the day-to-day running of our studio.
Skype isn’t just another VOIP client (Voice Over IP), it’s phone calls, video calls, instant messaging, voicemail, conference calls, a collaboration tool and yes, VOIP too. With Skype, we are communicating with an ever growing number of our clients all around the world, holding meetings and conference calls, working with colleagues who are based hundreds of miles away, on just about anything that we need to do together.
We use Skype on on our mobile phones, computers (desktops and laptops), even on our TV! The great thing about Skype is that it’s free to start using it to speak, see and instant message other people on Skype and you can even try out group video calling with the latest version of Skype. Additionally, we’re reducing our telecommunications costs and working smarter at the same time.
Dropbox is a really neat, free service that lets you effectively take all your documents, photos and videos anywhere and it’s quickly become vital to running our busy studio at Quentin James Design. In a nutshell it’s very clever, yet simple cloud storage, where any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and the Dropbox website. Dropbox also makes it easy to share documents with others as it allows you to invite friends, colleagues and collaborators to use folders within your Dropbox. It’s a great solution whether you’re distributing a few large files or many smaller files with another person or even a group, as all they need is a Dropbox account – which is free. If your laptop is accidentally dropped and damaged or lose or stolen, you can relax knowing that your data stored in the cloud and none of your important stuff will be lost.
We’re using Dropbox to easily and safely manage and store ongoing projects, distribute essential files with our collaborators and partners, as well as working closely with our clients on new briefs where sharing files is key to the creative process.
When managing a busy design studio, keeping track of that brochure design project and website development proposal can be difficult. Not any more thanks to Evernote. Evernote is a powerful and flexible app which makes it easy to remember all sorts of things, both big and small, allowing you to work online, on your computer or on your mobile device. Evernote, as the name suggests, lets you to create and organise notes, which are searchable, can include photos, web clippings and even entire web pages, you can even record and store audio notes. When it comes to organising your notes, Evernote enables you to create notebooks and share your notes and projects with friends, family, colleagues and classmates. All of your notes and notebooks are stored in the cloud and automatically synced across all of your devices.
We reply on Evernote for taking notes of phone calls with clients and suppliers, creating minutes from video conferences and face-to-face meetings, as well as storing useful and important snippets of information found online as well as offine. These are all organised into notebooks, sometimes notebooks within notebooks, which are all fully searchable and stored in the cloud.
We’re all spending more time online be it working, shopping or occasionally tweeting. This means our digital profiles are growing and we’ve got to manage and remember many different logins for many different websites. Often, people use the same, easy to remember password for each website but that password which is easy to remember is likely to be easy to crack. 1Password is a nifty little app that can create strong, unique passwords for you, and then remember them, and restore them, all directly in your web browser.
You just remember ‘one password’ to unlock the app on your device, and 1Password then logs you in to your social media website, grocery shopping site and every other site that requires you to log in. Even better, you can store your keychain in your Dropbox account giving you access to 1password on multiple computers, safe in the knowledge that your keychain is stored securely in the cloud. 1Password can also store FTP login details, notes, software licence details, credit card details and other account information securely. It’s simple to use, easy to setup and saves us a lot of time during the average working day. We’re so reliant on this app that we’d be lost and logged out without it!
Data backup strategies and disaster recovery plans are vital to businesses large and small and something that we take very seriously at Quentin James Design. SuperDuper makes data backup and recovery painless, because it makes creating a fully bootable backup simple. It uses a clear, friendly interface that is understandable, easy to use, and SuperDuper’s built-in scheduler makes it simple to back up automatically. It’s a great sidekick to Apple’s own Time Machine and works great under Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion, allowing you to store a bootable backup alongside your Time Machine volume. Plus it runs great on both Intel and Power PC Macs!
Mac (Intel and PPC)
"If you need design work that's going to actually help produce sales, he's the man!"
"Quentin is quick to understand a brief and always delivers outstanding work on time and on budget."
"His right-first-time approach saves valuable time on every project and he backs his design work with excellent advice."
"A pleasure to work with and we will be using Quentin James Design again."
"The finished article was excellent and perfectly balanced for the audience involved."
"He interpreted my rather vague brief with speed, quality and an intuitive sense about what I needed."
"Having had the initial discussion Q came back with various options and from there on in through regular discussions he produced a website design that I'm proud of."
"I would highly recommend Quentin James Design if you are looking for a partner for your business."