I must confess that during the research that led me to write this post, I found many fantastic digital tools for architects that I didn’t know before. From now on, I will use them and, for sure, I would have appreciated to enjoy them at university if I had known them before.
Very often, we work hard to do something that already exist and that, most of the times, it is also done better. Now, stop wasting your time when there are many ways to do the same (even better) to half the time. I think the best solution in life is “maximum results with minimum effort”.
Among the few things I’ve learned in my life, these two are the most simple, but however effective: one is that we should not reinvent the wheel, and the other is that usually the best ideas come from the outside world. So, here below the Archiobjects’ list of the best and most useful online tools for architects and designers.
The best architect tools
Map Stack is one of my latest discoveries. Very useful if you are looking for maps to be used in your table or if you just want to highlight waterways or green areas of a city. With Mapstack you can do it simply by turning off the different layers that this online application provides by default to every corner of the globe. The only problem is that it is not always open!
A true “News collector” that will allow you to save time and read all the latest stories. You can create your own collection of sites and browse the news without worrying about advertising, links, categories etc. Here there is only space for delivered daily content. If you are interested in any post, you can save it for later or open the link and go directly to the website to read the full news. A great way to stay up to date without losing hours and hours and without paying a press office.
Useless to waste many words. We all know Dropbox, and if you do not know it.. Damn, it is the best cloud storage service for your files and for sharing them with your colleagues / fellow workers.
Here you can find a lot of graphic stuff. File mock up, vectors and flyer etc. One thing is sure, here you can also find inspiration and you can discover many ways to make things better regarding your visual communication works. To better understand, we can say that graphic burger is very similar to graphic river, with a difference: it is free.
Maybe you don’t care, but the color scheme is always important. Both if you’re laying out a board or you’re preparing a presentation, choosing the right colors can give you a better evaluation or surprise your customers. There are several online tools that help you in choosing. My favorite is this one, because it is simple, quick and effective. It does not have such a wide choice, but it’s enough.
Today we often communicate through symbols – do it in the easiest way. Stop wasting your time searching on web and trying to find out the right icon for your presentation. Flaticon is a digital tool that effectively allow you to find what you need. Another useful Vector Icons resource is thenounproject!
Mind maps are a very powerful organizational tools if completed and followed. It is a real veteran science that now has found a place in a comfortable app for smartphones where you will able to collect and organize your ideas and projects in a comfortable and useful way. You can also export PDF – a great opportunity for a slide or a conceptual scheme. This can be really one of the most powerful digital tools of this page.
Few vectorial people that you can size and personalize for your drawings. They are an excellent alternative to the classical psd figures. They also look like a little bit hipster.
If you appreciate the post production in Photoshop or in Illustrator, you’ll find this tool very useful. This is a platform that organize and collect free textures of any type. It would be a pleasure to download them into your personal library.
Compressor and Jpegmini
These platform represents a smart solution to lighten your boards and to free space from your hard disk. Compressor and Jpegmini, are two great digital tools for architects and designer because they do the same work that we should do in photoshop with the command save for the web (ie. compress the size of an image without losing quality) in a few seconds without any effort. This is very useful when you have boards with a lot of pics and you don’t have time to edit each one in PSD.
You have to do a cover or a flyer, and you don’t have time at all? This online application could be definitely helpful for you. Thanks to the countless free templates and to the paid ones, Canva will help you realize cover and images with a strong visual impact.
Not the most “funny” tool, but surely the most serious. Here you can find info about the constructions materials, so, if you would like to impress your teachers and your colleagues, going forward to the maximum vote… this tool is for you.
Nobody is an excellent writer – neither I of course and except writers of course. I personally use this tool for what you are reading now. So, if there are any problems.. it’s not my fault. Beyond jokes, if you have to write a sensible text (maybe for an exam or for a final presentation) you could check its grammar and formal correction by only copy your text in grammarly.
This tool is useful especially if you are an interior designer. 3D Objects to insert in your digital model. With this digital tool you can satisfy your needs and save hours of works of modeling… to dedicate yourself to other boards and other hours of work.
An issue that happens a lot of times in the life on an architect – student or not. Usually talking about pdf files from which we have to export texts or images, but it could be the same with many other kind of files. With Zamzar you can resolve this complicated issues in few minutes, put it on your web favorites and one day it will be very useful.
Creative commons are those files who are free to use for the web community. We often use a lot of images without permission, but if you are a professional studio, you should behave in a professional way. With these resources you can find the perfect image for your site, your presentation and do whatever you want.
Architects and Designers are often forced to stay awake for nights and nights, when the situation is critical you can use this tool that calculate the exact amount of hours you have to sleep to make the most from your few hours of sleeping. I used it and it was however horrible sleep four hours per night, but someone thinks that it is the turning point.
Stop using Survey monkey or other low-emotional questionnaires, even if they are all valuable and efficient. Typeform is definitely the coolest one. With this tool you can do nearly everything: surveying the satisfaction of your clients, researching anything and much more. Everything is customizable, and with the premium account you can also insert logic jumps in your survey and transform it in a very powerful instrument. At the same time you will earn some points thanks to the good impression for your brand.
The choice of the right font is often left to the case or to Helvetica, Arial etc. It is one of the most influential element regarding your board appeal. The perfect font can make the difference between a good presentation to an excellet presentation. So take your time to download your personal fonts library. And if you are a pro using fonts, you can discover a world in myfonts.com
If you don’t need a Cloud place to leave your files and allow others to interact, but you only need to send large files (up to 2 GB) then WeTranser is absolutely the best service. It allows you to create a link to which anyone can download your material. Obviously, buying the plus plan, you will have a number of advantages.
It may be useless, or it can be your ideal companion for modeling for 3D printing. This online software (free), owned by Autodesk, allows to model simple 3D models in SketchUp style that work perfectly with popular 3D printers. Simple and fun. There are also a lot of models ready-to-use.
You have an imminent exam and you don’t have time to sleep, eat or to do shopping. Unfortunately such situations are common in the life of an architect, especially in the university years. If you are lucky to live in a large urban center, you can use the express service by Amazon Prime Now. You can order all the essential goods you need and receive them within one / two hours. Yes, it’s terrible that you can’t stop working.
Recently discovered, but I think that this new Google tool has potential. Especially in the early stages of a project, when you have to collect the ideas and references. Google Spaces offers a space where you can share anything found on the web (articles, pictures, videos etc). In this way you can talk to colleagues or members of your workgroup on what you are working.
I hope that this list of the best digital tools for architects and designer will be helpful in your career. If you have any suggestion or question, please leave a comment, I will be happy to answer!