Eleazar Ruiz
Eleazar Ruiz. Graphic Designer Based in Seattle, WA.


Tools I Use Weekly


A few fellow designers have recently asked me about some of the tools and resources that I use on weekly basis. I use different tools and processes to satisfy each need. Anything from brainstorming, wireframing, illustrating, prototyping, project management, file management, and storage--the list goes on and on.

Here is a good read regarding this topic.

Finance Management Tools

I'm a rare kind of bird. As much as I enjoy my craft, I also enjoy business practices, budgets, and excel sheets. I don't think I was initially wired this way but as my client list has grown, I have had to become more and more comfortable with administrative work. Thankfully, I have learned to enjoy it.

  1. Freshbooks: for time tracking, invoicing, and tracking expenses. This is the tool I use the most when it comes to finances.
  2. Quoteroller: for online contracts/proposals. Quoteroller is a tool that allows me to send potential clients digital proposals, terms, conditions and contracts that they can sign electronically. It's convenient, quick, and easy. The interface design is not amazing but it gets the job done.
  3. Stripe: for taking credit card payments. It's integrated with Freshbooks so my clients can pay their invoice right after it arrives in their inbox. The price is fair and competitive. Show me the money!
  4. Paypal: just like Stripe, I use it to take credit card payments but only when working with international clients. Paypal is better for dealing with different currencies.
  5. Everydollar: I use it for business (and personal) budgeting. Hands down, this is the best budgeting tool out there.

Project/Customer Management Tools

Project management sites can be either really simple or really hefty. Your preference would depend on the type of projects you’re handling.

I'm a pretty nerdy dude when it comes to project management. I'm very organized and clutter drives me nuts! (Yeah, call me OCD). I have tried innumerable tools in this sphere and the ones below are the simplest, most helpful that I've found.

Read more about what other tools you could use for project management.

  1. Basecamp: for interacting with my clients, sharing files, setting up deadlines, to do lists, etc. 
  2. Google Hangouts: for video meetings and screen sharing with my clients & team.

File Management Tools

Dropbox: for file storage & file sharing.

You can find other tools that designers use here.

Brainstorming Tools

When it comes to brainstorming, it stays pretty simple for me. To read more about this step of the process and what other designers use, check this out.

  1. Sketchbook (Field Notes)
  2. Sharpie
  3. Pencil
  4. Niice.co: for mood-boarding and collaboration. I also love Niice's plugin for Chrome. It allows you to visit any site and pick different images to add to your moodboard. Super helpful!

For Inspiration

When looking for inspiration for a project I visit one or all of these sites:

  1. Dribbble
  2. Designinspiration
  3. Google
  4. Niice.co

Design Tools

  1. Illustrator: for logo, icon, and illustration design.
  2. Photoshop: for photo manipulation and heavy illustration (lots of texture and depth).
  3. InDesign: for editorial and packaging design.
  4. Sketch: for wireframing. Read more about this here.
  5. Invision: for prototyping. Read more about this here.
  6. Coolors.co: for color scheming. My happy place.
  7. Pantone books: for color scheming and color sampling.
  8. Wacom Tablet:  I may use the tablet depending on the type of illustration I'm working on. Most of the time I don't.


Often when designing, we all need things like: photography, mock-ups, fonts, etc. Here are places I visit the most.

  1. Unsplash.co: free photography!
  2. Stocksy.com: awesome stock photography! Best I know of.
  3. Compfight.com: stock photography.
  4. Pixeden.com: great mock-ups and sometimes free.
  5. Creativemarket.com: mock-ups, fonts. You name it, they have it.
  6. Graphicriver.com: huge collections of everything.
  7. Fort Foundry: awesome fonts.
  8. Lost Type: free fonts!
  9. The Designers Foundry: more fonts.

For Fun

Noisli: you can thank me later. I use it ALL the time!