“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R & D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” – Steve Jobs
Macintosh, as you know all too well, is the much beloved computer, made by Apple. Macintosh computers were the first ever manufactured so as to be accessible to average users, and dominated what little market there was for personal computers from the early 80’s to the early 90’s.
After a short period of decline between the early and mid 90’s, Macs have regained popularity, and is currently pretty much dominating the hipster scene with Macbooks.
If you are a designer that’s only just recently made the switch from a Windows computer to a Mac, then you are probably looking for some apps for it, just so you can see what this puppy can do. We are here to help. To aid in your quest for Mac apps, we have decided to make a list of some of the best the internet has to offer.
We could just start off our list with the Adobe Suite, but that would be just plain lazy of us, so instead we will be kicking off with a Mac exclusive. Taking full advantage of the latest Mac technologies, Pixelmator is a terrific image editing app that offers lots of tools for all your “photoshoping” needs.
Whatever you are designing, be it UI, UX, icons, or anything else you might have in your head, Sketch is here to give you a helping hand. With its state of the art vector boolean operations and extensive layer styles, this app’s workflow makes the creative process streamlined, and significantly less of a hassle, allowing you to focus on being creative.
Calling itself a “composition engine”, alpha lets you work with whole images, rather than individual pixels, and its tools reflect that, meaning that it might take some time to get used to it. Once you do, however, you will discover an entirely new way thinking about image composition, thereby taking your designs to a whole new level.
If you are working with HTML, then you are definitely going to need BBEdit. It is the leading HTML and text editor for the Mac, boasting an intuitive interface, FTP and SFTP open and save, AppleScript, and Mac OS X Unix support, this is a must-have for web designers using Mac. Also, the developers are a humble bunch, using “It doesn’t suck.” as a slogan.
Keeping screenshots and photos in folders might seem organized enough, but once you have enough of them, looking for a specific one becomes a real nightmare. Ember is here to help you neatly organize all you design inspiration, by letting you drag and drop images off the web, and applying tags and other metadata to create “Smart Collections”.
Time is of the essence in web design, and Espresso’s goal is to give you a caffeine buzz (pardon the pun). Extensive language support, contextual completions, and Zen actions are just a few of the words used to describe how this app will help you with your workflow, and as an added bonus, it also has CSSEdit 3 built in.
We’ve mentioned how important infographics and diagrams are, in a previous article, so an app just for creating them had find its way on our list. Diagramix is just the app you need if you are preparing a professional looking pitch for some up-tight corporate types.
Built on Subversion, Cornerstone provides a tremendously useful version control tool, keeping all the changes done to a project over time in one, easy to access place. It focuses on user friendliness on all levels, beginning at price, and ending at UI, and it doesn’t loose performance along the way.
9. Hype 2
Nothing quite captures a user’s eye as animated and interactive elements. Websites can feel a bit samey at times, so it is your duty as a web designer to turn it up a notch. You can do that with Hype, which has a whole array of cool features and effects that you can use to make stunning animations (which are also IE6 compatible).
As the developers themselves state, it’s design and layout software by UI designers, for UI designers, meaning that, once again, user friendliness reigns supreme. It also has a nifty tutorial section to help you ease into the app, which you can see here.
11. Logo Design Pro
We’ve discussed how important logos are before, and you will be thrilled to see how easy and fast making a logo becomes with this app. Thousands of logo templates, a great resizing tool and a great interface make this program a must-have if you have very little time to make a logo.
Guess what this does. If you guessed “transmits files really fast”, then you are right.
Fonts, when done properly, are awesome. Fonts are one of those cool, little elements that most people don’t really notice, but make all the difference in the world in a design. Glyphs is a great app for the Mac, that lets you either create an entirely new font, or modify an existing one, making sure you will never be short on fonts.
Intensify lets you work on your photos, the same way that Ableton lets you work on your songs (for creative purposes, we’re thinking of you as a DJ. Great show last night, by the way). Endorsed with nice words by Urs Buhlman and Lucas Gilman, this app is absolutely fantastic for creating gorgeous photos from even the banalest shots.
15. MacDraft PE 6
MacDraft is a great app if you like vector illustrations, and by “like” we mean “make”. The “PE” stands for personal edition, but it still has plenty of features from the award-winning professional edition, while being easier to learn than other available similar programs.
It takes much, much longer to explain this app, then it takes to actually use it, and we are already kind of half-way done. Basically, you chose a color from either your mockups, or the standard color window, set the gradient, choose the browser prefix, color fallbacks, and output types, then Gradient will generate a ready-to-paste code for you to use in your web design.
17. SketchBook Pro 6
If you are a pen tablet user, then you will absolutely fall in love with SketchBook. This app is especially designed to be used with the aforementioned pen tablets, making the process of drawing in the program feel natural.
Out of all the apps on our list, it’s this one that can definitely get you hooked on it. It is incredibly easy to use, and the results can be pretty awesome. Seeing as it runs very fast, you can just keep on experimenting until you get a result you like, making it both a fantastic toy and tool.
19. Icon Slate
Not much to say here other than what it does, with the mention that it does it really well. With Icon Slate you can compose, import, and export icons in several formats for both PC and mobile.
20. PhotoArtista – Oil
And now we finally know where all those Impressionist paintings that you find in bars come from. Although you probably won’t get the classiest of results, it’s still impressive just how good the app is at creating “oil paintings” from photos, and you never know when that will come in handy.
That wraps our list of 20 awesome Mac apps. We hope you found them useful, and that they’ll help you make great designs. Please leave us your thoughts, along with any suggestions, in the comment section below.