Shop Talk

10 Useful Apps & Tools for Freelancers

Cover Image: Forgotten Coffee by Stephen Thomas

If you’re after some great tools to help you more easily manage freelance work, collaborate with others or speed up your workflow, we’ve found the apps for you. Great for both professional and personal projects, these clever and intuitive apps make it easier to track time, share content and work with others.

1. ProofHQ (Website, iPhone & iPad)

This is the perfect app for collaborative photo editing. Your group can upload, share, and use this app as a communal workspace on one image. It’s perks include commenting (for notes, tweaks and suggested changes) and real time discussion threads, plus seriously cool share-editing for perfectionists.

Impressive because: It can preview very large files (up to 2GB) in a few seconds. It also integrates with Basecamp and Central Desktop for projects on the larger side.

Cost: Starts at $17 per month.
Find out more here


2. Klok (Desktop Application)

As a freelancer, invoicing per hour, or sometimes down to the minute is an essential to a job well (and professionally) done. Klok takes billing for your creative time to the next level. Klok shows your time entries as blocks that fill up your days very much like your calendaring application works. For example, if you spend two hours each on two separate projects within a day, it might be useful to know that the time was spent in 16 individual 30 minute entries as you toggled between projects numerous times thoughout the day. This clever app works to ensure you aren’t left putting the ‘free’ in ‘freelancer’.

Impressive because: It identifies exactly how much you bill for and has added features to recognise inefficiencies in your day. It’s smart time management that looks stunning too.

Costs: $19.99
Find out more here


3. Posterous (Website, iPhone & Android)

Posterous kind of hides the fact that it’s a microblogging platform and boasts itself as the the ultimate sharing app. It provides ‘space’ (blog alert) for well, it seems everyone; bloggers, small business, art portfolios and travellers to name a few. It provides a range of customisable themes which you can replace and it automatically re-sizes and optimizes your photos and videos for social media and ‘Public Spaces’ that you can publish to (and set your own ‘who sees what’ settings). What sets this apart (and makes it pretty cool) is it’s sharing capabilities; email, mobile, web or a number of other ‘Spaces’.

Impressive because: It’s super simple to use and manage your online life. Posterous Spaces can also autopost to other popular social media sites.

Cost: Free.
Find out more here


4. Evernote (Website)

Evernote is an exceptional app for capturing anything you see, hear or read that inspires you. And we mean anything. You create an account, so everything you capture will be synced across all devices. Evernote will remember for you; snap a photo, parts of webpages, make notes and lists, PDFs, photos, recipes and post its. Evernote is perfect for that lightbulb moment and it quickly, seamlessly bring yours creative ideas together.

Impressive because: You can search for images by using text in the images as a keyword. So instead of remembering what an image was called, you can remember a feature of it and search that way. Amazing search, seamless design.

Cost: Free, or go pro for $5 a month to boost to your uploads to 1GB.
Find out more here


5. Apollo (Website)

Similar to PHOTOHQ, Apollo is the app for graphic or web designers and digital producers. It promotes collaboration between your clients and effortless communication and tweaks with your colleagues. Working collaboratively has never been easier with this app with unlimited creative workers, to keep the team together and an audit trail to backtrack if required. For big graphic design projects, especially those that will take a lot of time and require email integration, Apollo is a solid app for the job.

Impressive because it: Has an easy overview to keep track of your artworks, and is all web-based which means its easy to use.

Cost: Free.
Find out more here


6. Design Signoff

Design Signoff clearly and elegantly creates an online design portfolio for you. Incredibly minimalist, leaving your design work centre stage to get to the real deal of this app; it’s uniquely synched showing your artwork to and liasing with clients and it has simple editing and collaboration tools to cross-commentate on presented artworks. It’s a clever, professional platform.

Impressive because: It features a killer archive so that everyone can see the progression of your work.

Cost: $12 per month
Find out more here


7. WhatTheFont (Website)

This one is for the typography geeks out there. Ever seen some typography and wondered where it came from? Who designed it? WhatTheFont answers these questions for you. Snap a photo, upload it and see if it matches their staggering database of over 700,000 fonts from about 95,000 foundries that is constantly kept up to date and is ever expanding.

Impressive because: If the app can’t help find your match, they recommend you ‘let cloak-draped font enthusiasts lend a hand’ in the WhatTheFont Forum.

Cost: Free
Find out more here


8. INSPIRO (iPhone & iPad)

Struck creative block? INSPIRO pitches itself as a tool to help get those creative juices thinking laterally again. In short, the app generates ‘dynamic word randomization’ by hitting you with short phrases, or sets of words, to get you thinking, musing and working again in no time. It’s kind of mesmerising to watch and a fun app to mull over, but the customisable vocabulary is great for focusing your creative pursuit.

Impressive because: It isn’t pretentious. It’s tag line is ‘results may vary’.

Cost: $0.99
Find out more here


9. Skitch (Desktop Application, Mobile)

Skitch (now owned by Evernote) makes taking image screenshots an art in itself. The nifty ‘Snap’ feature gives you accurate screenshots down to the pixel, with a ‘zoom’ view for added accuracy. Skitch also has basic but decent annotation and editing and re-sizing features so it makes digital production and image sharing an absolute breeze. It’s simplicity and intuitive design means you can capture and share images faster than you can shout MEGAPIXEL.

Impressive because: It’s just so darn fast and simple to use.

Cost: Free
Find out more


10. Prezi (Website, iPad)

Prezi takes run-of-the-mill presentations to the next level. Import any of your own images and create rotating, interactive, movie-hybird presentations for friends, clients, buyers or curators. You can create your Prezi using provided templates or go free-fall onto a blank void that you can use to build and import YouTube videos, PDFs and photographs. Use ‘frames’ to create a cinematic presentation and share your project online via log in to collaborate with those near and far.

Impressive because: It doesn’t need an internet connection to be presented offline, and presentations can be saved and downloaded offline any way you like.

Costs: Free, or go pro for offline work for $13.25
Find out more


Have you taken any of these for a test drive? Are there any art and design apps you’d recommend? We’d love to hear about these in the comments below.