5 essential Mac apps for designers and freelancers

Image Optim

Image Optim is a free desktop app for MacOS that lets you optimise a file's size. It basically combines a set of separate tools and is the front-end for applications like SVGO, OxiPNG, JpegOptim and others. You can use it for optimising the file size for PNG, JPG, GIF and SVG files. I use it after I've finished editing and/or exporting an image file and I am just about to upload it via the Webflow asset panel. The tool lets you fine tune the level of optimisation you're after, so you are able to find the right balance between having a small file size and keeping decent image quality. After you've started the optimisation process by simply dragging your image file(s) into ImageOptim, and the file has been processed (this usually happens quite quickly) you see exactly how much space you've saved in terms of file size – this is being displayed as percentage. I recommend having one folder with your original files and a second duplicate one for your optimised file, as Image Optim simply overrides the existing files and you might not want to use your originals. Unfortunately there is no way to specify where the files should be saved after the optimisation process has been completed.

Further Info: https://imageoptim.com/mac

Clean My Mac

This is another tool that found its way onto my Mac quite a while ago. What can you do with it? Well, it basically lets you remove system junk and old mail attachments and unused files from your computer. It also has other handy features such as showing you which applications have updates available, as well as showing you which applications use the most space on your hard drive. You can also use the built-in uninstaller feature which lets you remove apps completely – including any other files associated with the app. This is obviously not an app I use on a daily basis, but every now and then I use it to give my computer a bit of a spring clean.

Further info: https://macpaw.com/cleanmymac

NTFS for Mac

Another tool I use quite often if NTFS for Mac. It's not very exciting but super useful if you want to read or write files on an external NTFS disk or hard drive. NTFS is a file system used by Windows machines and this little tool makes it easy to make use of an external device using this particular file system. In my case I have an external hard drive which is one of several backup devices I have for design files and other digital data. The tool lets you mount your device (you can either auto-mount or disable this function) and it appears just like any other hard drive on your desktop and finder. You can also use it to verify or erase data on your NTFS disk. Great tool. Does what it's supposed to do.

Further info: https://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/

Loom

I probably have already mentioned it in one of my previous posts, but I say it again: Loom is a very handy tool if you want to do screen recordings on your computer. While there's a Chrome extension to make it work, I usually use the free Mac desktop app which lets you record either your whole screen or only a particular window. You can choose to have your own face (recorded via Apple's internal camera) appear at the bottom of the screen while you'r recording as well. For me Zoom is especially useful when I help other Webflow users or clients troubleshoot their site. I can simply record a video of me explaining the solution directly within Webflow and the video is being uploaded automatically to Zoom's server. Here I can copy a link to the recording and submit it to the client. Alternatively I can download the video and upload it to YouTube or save it elsewhere. While the free version of Loom has all of the features you'd usually need as a solopreneur, the paid version has some extra features like an on-screen drawing feature, the option to set custom recording dimensions and adding a CTA (call to action) button to your videos. There are also additional features available for teams and larger organisations.

Further info: https://www.loom.com/

Notion

This is a tool that I have just started using recently. Similar to other services like Confluence, Notion lets you organise your files, and projects and work together with other team members or clients. I currently mainly use it just to arrange and organise my own business related information. This includes research and ideas for new blog posts, content marketing or new features to be implemented on my Webflow portfolio site or urgent to-do lists. The great thing about Notion for me is that I can easily rearrange information and really build a structure that suits me and my way of working. The flexibility of Notion here is great! Definitely check it out if you're tired of using a mix of different application and would like to investigate an all-in-one solution.

Further info: https://www.notion.so/

Keep an eye out for some upcoming post on helpful apps and tools – I am publishing a new post at least once a week. Got a cool tool you want to recommend? Let me know.

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