On this page you will find a carefully curated list of tools and resources, I personally use/have used, or have tested and tried out and decided to recommend it to fellow creative minds. Since I started Creativerly back in January 2019 I have used and tested a lot of different apps, tools, and software. Some of them were super useful and boosted my productivity and creativity, some of them were not really what I was looking for. In this list I have gathered all the tools and resources I really enjoyed using and would therefore recommend to others.
This list of resources will be constantly updated by myself. So, whenever I find a new tool or resource, I would like to recommend to you, you will find it in my newsletter first and after that, it will be displayed here.
Some of those links are affiliate links, which means if you decide to buy a resource or a tool using a link provided by me, I will get a small commission but there will be no extra costs for you. Affiliate links are just a way for me to keep Creativerly a sustainable side-project, and if you decide to use a link provided by me your are supporting Creativerly.
Apps, Tools, Software
Calendar Driven Note Taking
I am following how NotePlan is evolving for quite some time, but I did not yet try it out. NotePlan recently introduced version 3 with a fresh new interface, new features like bi-directional links, a command bar, folders, and a lot more. But, what is NotePlan exactly? Well, NotePlan has a really unique approach to note-taking, there aren't that many tools out there I am aware of, which works the same. So, NotePlan is a calendar-driven note-taking app. It is based on daily notes, that is deeply integrated with your calendar and reminders. But, you do not have to use NotePlan like that, since there are also folders, that let you store and structure your notes, that are not dependable on a specific day. A lot of people like to use NotePlan as a digital Bullet Journal, since every time you open up the app, you will be presented by default with the specific day and can simply start jotting down your notes, thoughts, and tasks. If you want to structure your daily notes beside the date you can use tags. Your notes are based on Markdown and saved in plain text files. This means your data is easily accessible at all times (not locked up in a server) and it's highly portable (you can use any text editor). With NotePlan 3 Eduard Metzger, the one and only developer behind NotePlan, introduced a subscription service for the app, which will cost you $59.99 per year or $6.99 per month. Right now, the app is only available for MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS, with a web version planned. NotePlan 2, the previous version, is available through a Setapp subscription, so if you are using Setapp you can try out NotePlan 2 and decide after that if you want to make the jump to the newer version. Also, Eduard is planning to bring NotePlan 3 to Setapp for both MacOS and iOS, so if there are several apps in Setapp you are interested in and you also plan to use NotePlan 3, a Setapp subscription could be the real deal for you. If you want to learn more about NotePlan, head over to the website and check out the "How does it work?" section. A great tool, I can not wait to try out. On top of that, it is always great to see such a great product by a solo developer.
Overwhelmed? We can help.
Workflowy probably has been my longest companion in my workflow tech stack. Long-time Creativerly readers might already know that I deeply love the app for quick note-taking, outlining projects, and my newsletter, but also sometimes find myself writing quite long texts within Workflowy. It is such an incredible all-rounder. The fact that it is available cross-platform makes it the perfect productivity app for my workflow. Since I started using Workflowy they kept on shipping awesome new features, which turned Workflowy into an incredibly versatile tool, that suits quite a lot of workflows and use-cases. The biggest plus points of Workflowy in my opinion: it is fast, minimal, without any distractions, and fancy UI, straightforward, so you can focus straight on writing and your notes.
More Focus. Less Stress.
I am using Todoist for most of my task management. But sometimes it just feels like a list of to-do's and tasks, and nothing more. I sit down early in the morning and note down the most important tasks for that day, after that the tasks just sit there. I was super excited when I found out about Sorted, a gorgeous-looking productivity app that combines your tasks, calendar events, and notes into a unified timeline so you can hyper-schedule your entire day in one place. I am using Sorted for the last couple of months and extensively test out all the features. With Sorted you do not just create another list full of tasks, you schedule your tasks and events instead, everything in a unified timeline so you can manage your entire day from a single place. I have been a big fan of the effortless scheduling within Sorted, as it boosts my workflow and my productivity. Since I am a product designer myself I appreciate tools with a great UI/UX, and Sorted is a perfect example for a tool that definitely nailed both the interface and the experience. Sorted is available for iOS and macOS (separated purchases), feature-rich, very well-designed, and an incredible workflow- boost. If you need some more information about Sorted you can check out this review by Shu Omi or read through this post by iMore. At this point, the biggest advantage for me personally about Todoist, is the fact that is available cross-platform. Since I am using both mobile systems, Android, and iOS with macOS being my working machine, that is a big selling point for me. Sorted instead, is only available for apple devices, with separate purchases, which means I would need to buy it again if I wanted to use it for my work Laptop too. With Todoist I just have a single login and can use it across all my devices. That is a huge plus. Anyways, Sorted is an incredibly useful tool, with a new approach regarding scheduling tasks, and planning out your day!
Keyboard-centric application and window switcher for your Mac
My general workflow on my MacBook is very Keyboard-centric. I love keyboard shortcuts. I am a big fan of tools that support a wide range of different shortcuts, so you as the user do not need to take off your hands of the keyboard. Command-Tab Plus is a keyboard-centric application and window switcher for your Mac. When you work with a lot of programs that are loaded, switching between them makes a problem because it often takes a long time. Command-Tab Plus gives you many improvements in working with multiple applications and designed to be an alternative to the native Apple's App-Switcher. It boosts your productivity and your workflow by giving you the possibility to quickly switch between apps, cycle through open windows, hides not used applications, use isolated workplaces, and customize the whole appearance. Super handy and super useful.
Taiga is the project management tool for multi-functional agile teams. It has a rich feature set and at the same time it is very simple to start with through its intuitive user interface.
When we talk about traditional project management we mean to define a target, aim at it, launch, and hope, that the target does not move. Agile project management, on the other hand, defines a vision, you do not focus on one target, instead, you start working in broad directions, you learn and adapt to conditions, and home in on the target incrementally. Well, there is no right or wrong when it comes down to those two project management techniques. Everyone and every team need to find out what suits them best. But I am thankful for tools like Taiga, that makes it easy to implement agile project management into the workflow of your team. With Taiga, you can boost your productivity by helping you get organized, communicate effectively, stay on track, start easy, and evolve. What is also great about it, you do not have to worry about your data. Why? Because Taiga is an open-source project, that gets developed in the open and with the complicity of a vibrant international community. There are already quite a few tools supporting agile project management, with Asana being the corporate giant. But if you are feeling overwhelmed by Asana, and want to support open-source software, then do not look any further then Taiga.
Your Photography. Elevated.
Luminar takes your photo-editing skills to a whole other level by using revolutionary tools and AI technologies. A lot of creatives working in the field of photo editing rely on Adobe Lightroom as their preferred tool. But, it is pricey, tied to a subscription, and certainly has a specifc learning curve, to fully use the potential of the tool. During my studies we were informed that there are basically no comparable alternatives to Adobe Lightroom. Well, they were wrong. Luminar by Skylum is one of the most advanced tool when it comes down to professional photo editing. Why should you consider buying Luminar instead of Lightroom? Luminar contains exclusive tools for you to create unbelievable masterpieces in Travel, Landscape, Portrait, or other genres of photography. On top of that, there is no need to spend years learning. Everything in Luminar was designed to make it as flawless as possible. Ultimately, Luminar also is not tied to a subscription, just pay once and enjoy it forever, no restrictions, you will still get 24/7 support and future maintenance updates. Luminar is incredible powerful, versatile, and easy-to use. It is available as standalone software for both MacOS and Windows, or you can also use the power of Luminar's AI technologies as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom.
Your website analytics should be simple, fast and privacy-focused
When people want to simply get some insights regarding the traffic happening on their websites, the first thing most of them do straight away, is searching for "How to set up Google Analytics". Let me tell you one important thing straight away: You do not need Google Analytics. There are incredible alternatives to Google Analytics build by Indie Hackers, Solo Developers, Makers, and Privacy Advocates. Most of them are not free and that is good. Google is free because you will pay with your data. You will hand it all over to Google. Please do me a favor, and do not use Google Analytics. Instead you could check out Fathom Analytics, one of the most popular Google Analytics alternative, but it was built with a privacy-first approach in mind, respecting its user's data. Fathom is a simple, light-weight, privacy-first alternative to Google Analytics. You can use Fathom Analytics on unlimited websites, using just a single plan. You will get a gorgeous dashboard, with simple website analytics. Everything you need is on a single screen.
Special: When you use the link provided by Creativerly to sign up for the Fathom Analytics subscription you will receive a $10 discount on your first invoice.
The only VPN you’ll ever need
There are quite a lot of VPN Apps out there, with NordVPN being one of the biggest players, since they are pretty actively sponsoring big Youtubers and Content Creators. Fair enough since they build a product loved by millions, available on pretty much every single platform. But, I recently found out about a new VPN app by MacPaw, software creators known for CleanMyMac or CleanMyPC, Setapp, and The Unarchiver. I am a huge fan of MacPaw, since they create simply gorgeous software. And that is the exact reason why ClearVPN, the newest addition to the MacPaw software universe, caught my attention immediately, it is simply a beautiful piece of software. ClearVPN is available cross-platform, on iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android. It has a strict no-logs policy, which means they don’t store, share, or even collect your online activity, personal info, IP address, etc. Also, ClearVPN features top-tier encryption. What I really love about ClearVPN are their shortcuts. Unlike other apps that leave you agonizingly choosing the server for your particular need — ClearVPN easily and effectively gives you a solution with a personalized touch. For example actions like changing location, browsing securely & privately, or unlock streaming & entertainment, are all just one click away. If you are a Mac user and using the Setapp subscription you can install ClearVPN right away. Other than that, ClearVPN will cost you €10.95 for 1 month and €78.95 for 1 year. Check it out!
Streamline, centralize, and modernize work operations.
Working across several projects often involves switching back and forth between different tools for tasks, notes, chats, docs, calendar, and so on. While the bundling and unbundling of software has been discussed a lot, and both ways seem to be legitimate, since it always comes down to personal preference, I have the feeling that we kind of move towards the bundling of software once again, when looking at recent tools entering the productivity niche. Nifty operates already quite some time in that space and has attracted teams from Apple, Verizon, IBM, and more. If you want to stop switching between Chats, Tasks, Docs, Calendar, & Meeting tools and straight want to automate your team & client work in one simple, yet powerful app, Nifty could be your tool of choice.
Everything you need to run your freelance business.
Do you ever come across a specific tool and feel like "how did I miss this?". I had this feeling when I stumbled across Bonsai earlier this week. I am pretty sure I already shared Bonsai in one of the first issues of Creativerly, without knowing how powerful it is. Bonsai is everything you need to run your freelance business. Basically, Bonsai is an all-in-one production suite. With Bonsai you get access to some basic features that every Freelancer needs, like Time Tracking, Task Tracking, Invoices, and Client CRM. What makes Bonsai so unique and powerful are automations. Bonsai integrates and automates every step of your business so it runs seamlessly - from proposal to tax season. So you can craft structured proposals with clear estimates to close your deals faster, with just a few clicks. Or, simply answer a few questions to generate an already vetted contract template. Once you hit send, the contract can be e-signed in minutes. Bonsai is extremely powerful, and everything you need to manage and push your freelance business.
The ultimate vector graphics software for Mac
We often get told that Adobe with its Creative Suite is the leading software solution in the creative field, and somehow you "have" to use it. Beside, the fact that you should use the software you feel comfortable with, there are severall apps and tools, that are great alternatives to Adobe CC. If you are struggling to find a great alternative for MacOS here is a great suggestion: Amadine. No matter if you are an amateur or professional designer/illustrator, Amadine is an incredible solution for vector graphic design. Illustrator by Adobe is slow regarding performance, has a steep learning-curve for tasks and functions which should be fairly easy, and it is tied to subscription which will cost you at least €23,19 per month. Amadine delivers user friendliness together with the cutting edge vector drawing tools, which guarantees a smooth learning curve. On top of that, Amadine is ready for macOS, iPadOS and iOS. So, if you are looking for an intuitive user interface, advanced functionality, distinct effects, and a lot more, Amadine might be worth to check out.
The modern way to build for the web
Webflow quickly turned itself into the number one tool to create professional, custom websites in a completely visual canvas, loved by designers and creative minds. Webflow is one of the initializers of the whole no-code movement, since it gave designers the possibility and skills, which only have been accessable by developers until that time: create modern, responsive, creative websites. Although, Webflow still has a certain kind of learning curve to it, I can highly recommend checking out their tutorials, as they will walk you through all the important steps to get ready with Webflow. Nevertheless, Webflow will give you one of the greatest out-of-the box experience, so you can focus on building, launching, and growing your next project.
Setapp is a cross-platform suite of apps, solving your daily tasks.
If you are deep integrated into the apple ecosystem, you will love Setapp. Setapp grants you full access to loads of flagship utilities, at a single cost. With Setapp you will be able to boost your creativity, productivity, and your whole workflow, by giving you access to apps and tools like CleanMyMac, Bartender, Ulysses, CleanShotX, and a lot more (really, a lot more). All and everything available through a single subscription. Setapp is not only available on MacOS, they are also expanding their suite of apps to iOS, with more and more apps coming in.
Everything youneed to grow online.
Squarespace has been of the most popular website builder for over a decade. Starting and turning your ideas into reality is incredibly easy. Select from a variety of industry-leading website templates, explore the tools and add those you need to create your online experience, and finally, reach your audience, stand out, and grow. Squarespace is a great solution if you are planning to create a portfolio, a blog, a personal website, or even an online store, Squarespace has all the needed features and tools ready. You might ask yourself what the differences are between Squarespace and Webflow, since both are pretty popular. Well, if you are looking for a more versatile solution, with more freedom regarding design and code, you should definitely go with Webflow, since Squarespace is template-based. Therefore, Squarespace is limited in customizeability, also regarding animations and interactions your tied up to what the templates are already have integrated. Nevertheless, Squarespace's template-based approach lets everyone start straight away, which makes it a really user-friendly product. So, you would have to ask yourself what you are looking for regarding the website builder, do you need all kinds of customization-features, or do you want an out-of-the-box experience with nice templates, which will give you a head-start? Anyways, both Squarespace and Webflow are great products.
Desktop Publishing Software for Mac
If you would ask myself what tool to use for editorial design and layouting I would have probably suggest you InDesign by Adobe. Why? Because there are literally no other option. Until now, at least for Mac Users. Swift Publisher is a great alternative to Adobe InDesign. It comes with over 500 professional templates including bi-fold and tri-fold brochures, catalogs, business cards, social media, disc labels and covers, address labels and much more. No matter if you need to design business cards, brochures, flyers, or anything else, Swift Publisher is a great tool to help you create awesome print projects. Swift Publisher also has a rich set of extensive design tools, like drawing tools, gradient fills, shadows, image tiling, and much more, you'll find that the design solutions are endless. If you want to get an overwie of the whole feature set of Swift Publisher head over to their website. The biggest plus of Swift Publisher compared to Adobe InDesign might be the pricing. With Adobe InDesign you will get locked into a subscription, which will cost you at least €23.99 per month. Swift Publisher instead, will cost you €19.99 one-time and you will own the software forever. So, if you are looking for an alternative to Adobe InDesign, make sure to check out Swift Publisher. Another great option comes from Serif, and their Affinity Suite, which also includes Affinity Publisher.
Manage, personalize, automate, optimize, conquer, create, email marketing your way
When I started out with Creativerly I was using Mailchimp as my ESP. Why? Because it was the most popular option, and as a beginner it gets suggested to you a lot. But, I quickly got forced to search for a Mailchimp alternative, because my account got closed without any warning, and no further information on why it actually got closed. I got no answers from support, whatsoever. Therefore, I did some research and finally settled with Mailerlite, since it has great features, a solid free plan (up to 1000 subscribers and 1200 emails per month), their email builder is great, and their support always responded just within a few hours. The only reason I switched from Mailerlite to Substack (and now to Ghost) is the fact, that I was done with heavily designed emails, I wanted something straightforward, professional-looking, minimal, and get rid of all those design elements, which generally come when you use an ESP like Mailerlite. But, that is just total personal preference. Mailerlite is a great product, a great ESP, and a great solution if you want to start your newsletter publication.
Your Mac. As good as new.
My main workstation is a MacBook Pro from 2015, and guess what, in five years using it on a daily basis, the storage got filled up with loads of files and junk I do not even know were there. Every now and then I sat down for quite a few hours to clean up old files from my MacBook. Besides being an incredibly time-consuming task, it is also annoying, since there are still files, which are not visible at first sight or have super strange names, which leaves the user with the question if you are safe to delete them or not. CleanMyMac has been one of the most helpful apps for that use-case. It has never been that easy to clean of junk from your Mac (or PC, since there is also a Windows version called CleanMyPC). CleanMyMac X is all-in-one package to awesomize your Mac. It cleans megatons of junk and makes your computer run faster. It became one of my absolute favorite apps, since it saves so much time, and keeps my MacBook clean and fast. But CleanMyMac is so much more: a macOS cleaner, a performance monitor, a malware remover, and well, a life saver. Besides all of that, CleanMyMac also looks just gorgeous, I love the UI, and it makes it just a joy to use it!
A comprehensive Dashboard that helps you launch, manage & grow your newsletter
If you are a newsletter creator yourself, Newsletter OS by Janel (who is writing and curating BrainPint) is the one and only product you need to boost your productivity and workflow. Newsletter OS is a super useful Notion Dashboard that will help you to curate, write, and grow your newsletter. Why do I love this so much? Well, in the first place I always love to see when Creators help out creators by launching such useful products. On top of that, Janel put 150+ hours into this resource, she is using it herself obviously, and it helped her grow her newsletter BrainPint to over 1000 subscribers within 6 months, crazy growth, but if you create awesome content consistently just like Janel does, you will build an audience! Here is what you will get with Newsletter OS: 120+ Tools To Help You Write & Grow Your Newsletter, Growth & Distribution Tips, 20+ Ideas on how to Monetize, and a lot more. Newsletter OS is available $49, which is an incredible value! If you are already operating a newsletter as a side-hustle and you are already using Notion for it, but you feel stuck within Notion, Newsletter OS will give you a super structured Dashboard, so you can organize everything from writing to curating and monetization with ease. To summarize, if you are looking for the last part of your workflow, which will boost your productivity, Newsletter OS is everything you need.
Creativerly Special: Use code "creativerly" at checkout which will give you $7 off.
Standing out in 2020: Doing Content Right
Steph Smith's "Doing Content Right" is a gold mine for everyone who wants to start a newsletter, blog, or online publication in 2020. Guess what, it is not too late to start writing or curating content online in 2020, and Steph Smith will tell you why. On top of that, "Doing Content Right" details every single step it needs to kick off your newsletter or blog. Learn why you need to find your personal monopoly first, how to identify your distribution vector, what it takes to build a home for your newsletter, and how to distribute and grow it big. So if you are planning to create a blog, start a newsletter, grow your audience, Steph Smith's "Doing Content Right" is the must-have resource for you. What I love most about Steph's book, it is packed with actionable exercises. Also, if you buy the book you will also get the possibility to discuss and ask questions during live sessions with Steph. If you are now interested in buying the book you can do so here: Steph Smith - Doing Content Right. It will cost you $50, which might sound steep at first, but Steph Smith is delivering incredible value. If you ask yourself now why you should learn from Steph Smith, and why she is telling you how to do content right in 2020, let me give you a quick introduction: Steph Smith works for The Hustle, one of the biggest newsletters out there (they reached 1 million subscribers within 2 years) where she is creating and scaling their premium publication Trends to thousands of subscribers and millions in ARR. Also, her personal blog reached 400k+ page views and thousands of subscribers in its first year. Steph also led a 30-person publications team and operated 6 technical blogs, which reached 600k+ email subscribers and millions of monthly readers. So, if there is one person out there who knows how to do content right in 2020, then it is Steph Smith.
Creativerly Special: If you use the code "philipp20" at checkout, you will receive 20% off your purchase.
Launch like a PRO on Product Hunt
It is not a secret, if you are looking for early users for your new product, one of the best places to launch is without a doubt Product Hunt. No matter if your product is an app, a tool, a gadget, a resource, an ebook, or even a newsletter, there are several examples that show, Product Hunt is an awesome place to bring in some early users and further evaluate your product. In most cases, if you nail your launch, people start engaging with you in the comments and providing great value. But, launching on Product Hunt is not simply done by setting up some graphics and a little bit of text. Launching on Product Hunt and actually succeeding at it, is hard, really hard. Jim Raptis' Product Hunt Launch List is exactly what you are looking for to prepare yourself and your product for an awesome launch on Product Hunt. It includes 80+ actionable tips, find 40+ useful tools and resources which boost your workflow during the preparations for your launch, get lifetime updates, and a lot more. If you plan to launch your product on Product Hunt, just wait a little bit to go through Jim Raptis' Product Hunt Launch List as it will definitely help you to nail your launch. If you ask yourself why you should learn from Jim, here is a little introduction about him: Jim built several SaaS product and resources, and launched successfully on Product Hunt, for example, his product MagicPattern reached over 944 upvotes, skyrocketing his sales and signups. He has done it, and now you can do it too.
Creativerly Special: Jim was kind enough to provide Creativerly readers with a special 30% discount which will automatically be applied when you use the link provided by me. Thank you Jim for that kind offer. As I said, this is a must-buy for everyone planning to launch on Product Hunt!
Easily showcase your iOS products on latest iPhones
If you are done with presenting your app designs with generic smart phone mockups and you are looking for something more unique and flashy, this might be a very interesting resource for you. bemore.graphics created a collection of 40 iPhone 3D mockups to showcase your iOS products. Those are the perfect fit if you are looking for creative ways to showcase your iOS products across social media, app store screens, websites, newsletters, etc. People will definitely recognize them first. The iPhone 3D mockups are available for both Sketch and Figma, so you can kickstart your next project. Super useful resource, very well-designed, and available for a reliable price.
A superb set of 93 colourful 3D app icons, perfect for iOS 14.
With the release of iOS 14 my timeline on Twitter was full of screenshots from people showcasing their customized app icons. Designers and creators quickly jumped in and started creating custom icon sets for those who really want to customize their iPhone home screen experiences. One of the more unique icon sets I found is this one by Frankly Land, a glossy 3D icon set that comes in four different color schemes. On top of that, it also includes some wallpapers to round everything up. I love the look of the icons, as they have a very vibrant feeling to it. I am absolutely sure that those icons will be an absolute eye-catcher on your iPhone.