Sometimes the summer months can feel like a dead time for new design tools, but not this year. There are plenty of new elements out there to make your life (and projects) that much easier. Plus, almost everything on the list this month is free, except for a couple of tools. They’re sure to be useful to designers and developers, from beginners to experts.
If we’ve missed something that you think should have been on the list, let us know in the comments. And if you know of a new app or resource that should be featured next month, tweet it to @carriecousins to be considered!
Chain is a Sketch plugin that will help you maintain dynamic color relations. Just select layers to chain, the color referenced, and transformations you want to apply. There are plenty of combinations to choose from and the project is completely open source.
Still in beta, Abstract is a platform to help teams collaborate with a secure, version-controlled environment for design files. It builds on and extends the stable technology of Git to host and manage work.
React Simple Chatbot
This simple component for chatbots comes packed with examples to help you envision how your chatbot might work and has a clean, easy to use design.
Muskicube is a fully-functional terminal-based music player, library, and streaming server that runs natively on Windows, MacOS and Linux. There’s also a native Android app version and cross-platform C++ library that drives things.
Make sure users know about new features, latest releases and relevant news with this easy changelog tool.
Random Material Palette Generator
This game-style tool automatically generates a palette of three-color Material Design-inspired color schemes with a click. It’s a fun twist on creating color combinations.
Mailit is a tiny drop-in microservice for sending emails over a REST API. It just requires a tiny bit of code and you are ready to go.
Chrome Platform Status
What new features are coming in Chrome? When will the release happen? All of the upcoming features and more are listed in this new schedule page with updates on the stable version and next two releases.
SEO Audit takes some of the manual labor out of conducting a search engine optimization audit for your website. The tool will check the site against an agenda and give a recommendation of what needs to be fixed.
GridBugs is a curated list of Grid interop issues, incomplete implementations and CSS grid layout bugs. The concept is based on the Flexbox Bugs list and you can add your gridbugs as well.
Vue SVG Maker
This tool shows you how to form bindings in Vue and pair them with generative SVG for fun effects that you can download and use in projects.
Build a Tiny Blockchain
Blockchain is a public database where data is stored in a container (block) and additional bits are added (chain). It’s the basis for Bitcoin and creating a stir in technology circles. Here’s how you can create a simple blockchain with less than 50 lines of code in Python 2.
45 Geometric Vector Shapes
Geometric shapes are one of the big design trends of the year and this freebie contains plenty of fun options to work with in vector format. Each of the mandala-inspired shapes can be used in a variety of ways.
Fitty scales text up or down so that it perfectly fits its parent container. It is an ideal solution for flexible and responsive websites with no dependencies and an easy setup.
Split iOS UI Kit
This starter user interface elements kit includes elegant details that match the iOS design. Use symbols, layer and text styles and the flexible parts in Sketch to jumpstart design projects.
Rounded Mobile UI Kit
Maybe a more rounded style appeals to you. Then the Rounded Mobile UI Kit might be the preferred option with lots of parts to start a mobile interface, such as screen templates for a menu, chat, a cart, camera and more. All the elements are packed in a Sketch file.
Grabient is a fun gradient grabber tool that’s packed with modern color combinations that you can as is or add options, such as additional color or adjust the angle of the fade. Gradient color files are available as a Sketch download.
STYLY is a platform that helps you create virtual reality spaces without code. The drag and drop interface also allows you to import assets from other platforms and you can edit and view in a snap. The app, which is still in beta, is available for multiple devices.
With just one line of code, you can add fun Snapchat-style face filters to your mobile app. This is a paid tool, starting at $5 per month. It is available for iOS with an Android version on the way.
Street Life Social Media Templates
Figuring out the right sizes for social media posts can be a hassle, but this little kit contains 15 flexible templates for Instagram and Facebook to make creating posts easier. The templates are fully customizable as well in Sketch, Illustrator or Photoshop.
Supernova turns Sketch designs into native mobile apps in minutes. The tool automates tedious tasks and exports resources, writes navigation, connects components, applies styles and maintains information for you, no hand-coding required. Plus, you can preview it right away in an interactive format.
Coco is a free experimental display typeface inspired by classic styles.
Vhiena is a layered, vintage-style typeface that is inspired by old serifs. It comes with several layers to create impactful display type options.
Zin Sans is a contemporary san serif typeface for display use. It has a large x-height and dynamic open forms.