Here are my personal top 8 tools to improve design workflows in several ways. I’m sure you know some of them already, but maybe you find some new ones here as well.
Pixelapse: Versioning for Graphic Files
Basically Pixelapse is Github for Designers. So a tool that gives you versioning, backup and collaborative features specialized for graphic files. It comes as a web app and works with all of the common Adobe Giants (Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Indesign, Flash) as well as SketchApp.
Trello: Digital Kanban to Get Shit Done!
Kanban was my personal revelation when it comes to getting things done. Trello is the perfect tool for digital Kanban - in other words to organize your work and keep track of status and progress of tasks. The basic Version is free and provides all the functionality to start your own Kanban / Kaizen Workflow.
TinyPNG: Photoshop Plugin for PNG Compression
Graphics easily become size intense. For websites, mail attachments, or whenever the “size matters”, lossless image compression is what you want! TinyPNG offers a web-app that easily compresses PNG images for you with a simple drag and drop interface. They also provide a Photoshop Plugin available for $40 that enables you to export losslessly compressed PNGs right out of Photoshop on Mac and Windows.
Slicy: Batch Export Photoshop Layers
Slicy is a nice little Helper that you can simply drag PSD Files on. It is capable of exporting different layers of a file into different formats. It will never replace a common export but can become handy for some specific tasks. Just add the file extension to the layer name and Slicy will take care of the rest. Becomes very handy when you need to export a lot of layers in same or different formats.
Behance: Designer-Facebook á la Adobe
Behance is a social network that focuses on designers. You can upload projects or work in progress to gather feedback, gain reputation or even be hired for jobs. It is a good solution to get in touch and inspired by and with other designers. You can also build up and share your portfolio through the Web App as through native Apps for iOS. The service is free but an Adobe ID Account is required.
Pinterest: Moodboards in Minutes
Pinterest is a great tool to quickly gather and organize visual input. For me it is the best tool to create fast moodboards or inspirational collages and sort them by topics of projects. Just give it a try!
Skala: Instant Mobile Preview
With Skala Preview you can get realtime previews from Photoshop (CS5+) directly onto your device (as long as all devices are conneted to the same Wifi). Ideal if you are working on visuals or UI design for apps. It works on both iOS and Android.
Prepo: Retina Image and Icon Conversion
Speaking of App development and styling: Prepo 2 is a Mac app that will help you to convert app icons and @2x retina images, easily and pixel perfect. No more manual scaling - it will save you a few minutes each time.