The cloud has revolutionized the way creative professionals work; by enabling easy sharing, editing, selling, advertising, and more, it has become an essential aspect of the design process. Cloud computing has spread so far that it’s even given rise to the concept of “cloud commuting;” so many designers have integrated these services into their job that they’re now able to work from home.
In essence, the cloud is able to run applications via the large number of computers that are available online, instead of just relying on yours. Refer to a cloud computing guide to find more in-depth information, but for now, read on to find out just how many essential tools are being hosted on the cloud.
Image credit: Cloud computing photo by Shutterstock
Share and Store on Cloud
The most popular function of the cloud is storage; and there are many solid options, such as SugarSync and iDrive. A particularly clean and Mac-friendly option can found in CloudApp, which allows you access directly within many Mac apps.
Dropbox is probably the most well-known; it allows users a free start with 2GB of storage, with which you can also sync, back up, share, and recover files with ease. Paid accounts are available, but you can also gain more space for free by referring friends.
For designers who operate a data-heavy website, the cloud can be a godsend for storing information and retrieving it quickly. Services like Amazon’s Simple Storage are scalable, so even if your web traffic leaps off the charts, it can keep things up and running smoothly.
Create Color Palettes
Many designers are frequent users of Adobe Kuler, a service that allows you to build, save, share, and import color palettes. It’s a great resource for color inspiration, allowing you to extract colors from an uploaded image, along with rating and commenting on others’ themes.
Manage Your Projects
Many companies use Basecamp to organize teams, which provides a centralized management system that’s great for unwieldy group projects. It allows multiple users to save files along with drafts of prior versions, make to-do lists, give feedback, and gather for discussion.
Evernote is a great way to keep track of everything you want on the web, storing screenshots, images, videos, and websites in one place. It’s easy to sift through and categorize; you can even do searches for text within images.
Use a Host
Web designers can often be found using GitHub, especially when working with a team of developers. With this powerful tool, you can upload and sync front-end design, as well as find dependable frameworks and markup tools. GitHub also gives you access to cutting edge front-end framework tools like Bootstrap, and an online community of experts that you can turn to for advice and guidance.
Experiment with Markup
CSS has become more and more powerful of late, but also more of a commitment to truly master. CSSDesk lets you strip away all the distractions and play around with small snippets of code to figure out the effects that you want.
Use Typetester to get a better sense of how different typefaces look on the screen; you can look at up to three at a time, altering the size, color, tracking, and word spacing, among other options.
Using the cloud has many obvious advantages, but still, some are wary of it, because they fear inaccessibility. While it’s true that you can sometimes be inconvenienced by a broken or slow internet connection, the same irritations can be voiced for say, your Photoshop crashing. But if you’re using the cloud and you lose a connection, your data will never be lost. On the other hand, if a desktop application crashes, you’ve likely lost your unsaved work. Connections and browser capabilities are getting better every year, so it’s a safe bet that these minor inconveniences will eventually dissipate. If you experience issues with a slow connection, it’s easy to take steps to resolve your issue; just look at a bandwidth guide to learn some quick fixes.
Even though all these tools have made a big difference in the way that most designers work, there’s bound to be even greater innovations in the coming years. With the advent of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, designers are getting closer to creating as well as saving all their work on the cloud. In fact, it’s not unlikely that desktop applications will soon be a thing of the past, replaced entirely by their more powerful and synchronized counterparts on the cloud.