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Design & Development Setup

I always love knowing what setups and software other people are using. Maybe there is something new or unknown to me that will help improve my own process and workflow, or maybe I'm just nosey.

Either way, I decided to share with you what I currently use on a day-to-day basis for my design and development work.

My mac app bar


Most of my design work starts in my trusty Nuuna notebook, and from there I usually jump in to Sketch.

It's my go-to tool for creating static visuals. Whether it be creating hi-fi wireframes, plotting out user journeys, or crafting beautiful user interfaces it's the best tool I've found so far.

Illustrator CC

Recently I've been learning icon design, so for this I use Illustrator and a Wacom graphics tablet.

VS Code

Initially I thought the internet was trolling me when I seen that a bunch of people on my Twitter timeline saying that they had switched to Visual Studio Code as their main editor, but turns out they weren't so I'm giving it a shot.

I only just switched over from Atom and while I like some of the features, it's hard for me to say (as someone who isn't a hardcode developer) that it's better or worse - it works and I'm happy with it. I think I need a little more time to form a more rounded opinion about it though.


For all my new projects I create a private repo over on GitLab, it keeps all my code in one place and allows me to have access to it from any machine, anywhere.

My gitlab commits

My favourite thing about GitLab is that you can get private repos for free as standard 🙌 It's why I switched from GitHub earlier this year.


When building personal projects that need some kind of backend I'll tend to use PHP. MAMP let's me quickly fire up a Apache, MySQL, PHP stack to run locally and hit the ground running.


Managing databases from the command line is a little bit of a stretch for me, so I like to use SequelPro - it allows me to manage local and remote databases from an easy interface - this helps speed up development and it's free too.


Apart from SQL, I do most other things from the termingal. From pushing code to GitLab to deploying my websites to their servers. The standard mac terminal app is fine, but iTerm is really easy to customise which helps me be more productive.

iTerm with Oh My ZSH

I have Oh My ZSH installed (with the Agnoster Theme which you can see above) and iTerm is using the Solarized Dark theme with the Source Code Pro font.


Having tried everything from reseller accounts to private VPS's I finally settled on DigitalOcean for building servers and keeping my websites on the interwebs. It's super easy to fire up a server with any tech stack I need. I get full control of the server and it allows me to easily deploy my software from GitLab.

I actually found out about them from Joel when he shared post on how he got hired there - I really recommend you read it if you are currently looking to get a design gig you really want.

That's about everything from me, if you share your setup or if you have tips on things I may be missing out on - please let me know on Twitter.