5 Free Chrome Extensions Every Designer Should Know

This blog post accompanies the first video of a brand new series on our YouTube channel. This series is a space for James, our Creative Director, to share the tools he uses every day in his role here at Wilkes Wood, starting off with 5 Free Google Chrome extensions that every designer should know about. 

Our channel is dedicated to sharing useful tools, tips, tutorials and conversations around design, productivity and business. Whilst we may only just be getting started on YouTube, we’ve been designing logos, graphics and websites for our clients for over 4 years and can’t wait to share what we’ve picked up along the way.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in click here to be taken over to YouTube and subscribe!

Without further ado, let’s get stuck into the list.

Tool #1 – WhatFont

WhatFont does what it says on the tin, enabling us to find out exactly what fonts are being utilised on a website. After installing the extension, all you need to do is click once and it will bring up all the information about the font selected.

 

This is a great tool, and as web designers we are always keeping track of great fonts we see elsewhere online to share with our clients.

Tool #2 – Lorem

Next, we have Lorem. Lorem is a placeholder text generator that has a fantastic user-friendly interface and can generate text efficiently with the click of a button. You simply select how many paragraphs and sentences you need and click once to immediately have the text on your clipboard, ready to be pasted in when needed.

 

This extension is essential for us when we are building out wireframes when developing websites or quickly fleshing out text for graphic design concepts – it’s super simple but saves lots of time.

Tool #3 – Color by Fardos

Again, this is a very simple tool that comes in handy to save time, and whilst there are plenty of alternatives out there for this function, this is by far the best we’ve found.

Color by Fardos is a colour picking tool that has a couple of great features. Firstly, the eyedropper tool allows us to click on any colour on a web page and immediately get the information for that colour, as well as save the colours for later.

You can also click once and it will generate a complete list of all hex codes of any colours used on the website, which you can also save to a bank to be referenced later.

In addition to the colour picking tool, Color by Fardos also enables us to search for colours and then provides various shades and tints of that colour, as well as complementary triadic split/complementary colour pairings so it’s a fantastic tool to use for any design work, whether it be web related or graphic design.

Tool #4 – Toggl Track

Whilst Toggl Track is a full feature application, and a pretty good one at that, we’re only discussing its chrome extension in this blog post. Toggl is a really useful time tracking application that makes it incredibly easy to efficiently and accurately track your time between various tasks, jobs and clients.

 

It is as easy as typing in what we’re doing, clicking the start button and then clicking once to stop the timer; we can then tag that tracked time to a project or client or whatever you want to file it as.

We’ve used this to track everything from time spent on internal development projects to tracking billable hours for our client work, and we think it’s just as good for those getting into freelance design work as it is for small agencies.

Tool #5 – Muzli 2

Muzli is an extension that we absolutely love, and also plays a big part in how we are able to come across plenty of useful tools and websites without spending so much time and energy actively seeking them out.

Muzli replaces the Google Chrome home screen with a perfectly curated feed of articles and tools related to design – it’s perfect if you’re seeking out some inspiration or want to engage in the more productive kind of procrastination.

James has found some fantastic apps here over the past couple of years, and we’ll no doubt be covering these in future blog posts and YouTube videos.

Want More?

We’ll be posting new videos on our YouTube channel every week, so keep an eye out and make sure to subscribe if you’re finding the content valuable!

We’re new to YouTube, so please let us know any comments or suggestions for videos you’d like us to make, any feedback at all would be greatly appreciated.

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3 Reasons Why Great Logo Design Matters

All too often overlooked and undervalued, the humble logo has great potential to make a real impact on your business. It speaks volumes without uttering a single word.

Logos are foundationally important elements of your visual identity, allowing consumers to easily recognise your brand in a competitive marketplace. Research suggests that 42% of people believe they can accurately gauge a brand’s personality by their logo alone.

Robert Jones, professor of branding at the University of East Anglia, sees good logos as expressions of a company’s values. In an interview with the BBC, he stressed how logo design informs perception, stating that a logo helps “express how you’re different from your rivals – warmer, greener, stronger, and so on.”

That isn’t to say that logos can magically make your business a trusted and reputable one – no logo can build a respected brand on its own and will only be successful and impactful if the company it represents has put in the hard work to build their brand and reputation.

In short, consumers still very much assess your brand on the quality of the product or service. In Jones’ words, “…all of that real stuff matters more.”

So What Can a Logo do for Me?

To put it bluntly: a lot. In an analysis of the role of logos in brand performance for Entrepreneurial Executive, research concluded that for entrepreneurs with limited resources investment in logo design can yield great results.

By delivering “favourable unique brand associations” through design and combining this with delivering “positive consumer shopping experiences”, entrepreneurs can leverage this combination to create “strong customer preferences for their brand.”

That’s a very academic way of saying that if you combine a recognisable logo with great service, you’re onto a winner…

Here are a few key points that make the right logo such an important asset…

1 – First Impressions Count, Lasting Impressions Count More.

Your logo is, often, the first impression that consumers will have with your business. Like all good first impressions, you want it to be strong and memorable, but what good is an impression if it doesn’t last?

In a study determining the effectiveness of logos published by the Harvard Business review, a well designed logo was not only seen as a tool to “pique the interest of consumers”, but also as an opportunity to influence your audience and their purchasing decisions.

They highlighted that the initial interaction between consumer and logo (more specifically the logo’s design characteristics) can “considerably impact consumer behaviour and brand performance.”

This is a chance for you to immediately communicate ownership over your niche through good design – your logo’s first impression can introduce your business as an authority within the competitive space, and have a lasting, positive impact on the consumer.

Underestimating the importance of this opportunity can be a costly mistake.

2 – Brand Loyalty is Priceless

As touched on in the introduction, there’s somewhat of a formula to getting the most out of your logo. Combining excellent service/product quality with a great purchasing experience and a well-designed logo is a recipe for successfully building brand trust and loyalty.

By enabling your consumers to become attached to your logo mentally and physically, you have the best chance at converting one-time consumers into loyal brand followers that will make repeat purchases, share your brand with their family and friends, and be more inclined to test out other products or services in your range.

This is powerful stuff, and why research from Vengagge revealed that brand loyalty is worth as much as 10x more than a single purchase.

For this all to work, however, your logo must be appealing to your targeted niche, with 60% of consumers avoiding brands that have logos they find ugly or unappealing and 78% of consumers regarding brand logos as art, it is clear how highly consumers hold brand logos when choosing to shop with one company over another.

3 – Your Brand’s Foundation Depends on it

It is a common misconception that creating a logo is the same as creating a brand. “Brand” is a much more holistic term that, at its heart, is about telling stories that successfully influence the emotional responses of consumers.

Having said that, a well designed logo gives you the opportunity to build your brand around a solid foundation and provides the cornerstone of a successful visual identity.

Everything from colours and fonts to brand voice, tone and imagery grow out from your logo, shaped by the narrative that you want to convey to your audience.

Without this key element in place, there is no visual anchor for your brand to develop from; ahead of visual style, colours, voice and other branding elements, logos are proven to be the most recognisable brand identifier for consumers.

I Want to Invest in a Logo, Where Do I Start?

A good logo is one that is unique to your business, represents the quality of your product/service and differentiates your brand from competitors.

Our logo design service is entirely bespoke, so you can be sure it represents what is important to you, your audience and your business.

For more information about logo design and how we can help you create the perfect logo, get in touch today!