In marketing and graphic design, we often spend most of our time in the digital realm. A lot of what we do is interfacing with modern devices, apps and software tools. Yes, there are ways to sketch out your ideas or concepts on conventional paper, then scan it into a computer, but few people work that way.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t physical items to help us do our work. Not everything has to be digital or data-oriented. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to get out and interact with the real world every once in awhile.
For that reason, here are some upcoming gadgets and tools that are reliable for designers, marketers, graphic artists and freelancers alike.
Armed with your phone, you likely take photos while you’re out and about, maybe even some that will serve as inspiration later for your designs. While it’s easy to print a digital photo at convenience and department stores, that’s not always ideal. What if you want to get your image on a print as soon as possible? How fantastic would it be to snap a shot, print it out and hang it up in front of you while you work?
Prynt is a unique add-on for mobile devices — Android support coming soon — that allows you to print out Polaroid-like photos instantly. It attaches to the bottom of the phone, and once you capture a shot, it prints the image using a special ink-based device. Pretty cool, right?
It’s easy to imagine the various applications and uses for such a thing in the design world, especially when you need a little inspiration.
Official site: Prynt
2. ASAP Connect
OK, you probably don’t sit down for extended periods of time in front of your mobile device and come up with designs or content. Mobile isn’t conducive to that sort of thing. However, you do probably use your phone a lot throughout the day for work, including to communicate with clients and colleagues, and even to review submissions. Maybe you do research on your phone, or jot down ideas from brainstorm sessions.
Whatever the case, using your phone a lot consumes battery power, which means you’ll need to charge it more often. ASAP Connect is a convenient magnetic charging cable that will allow you to quickly plug in and sync up your phone. It’s designed so you don’t have to fumble around with the charging port or connector on your device. The adapter links up with the cable quickly and efficiently, and with no hassle whatsoever. You can even pick up your phone while it’s charging without ruining the connector or the phone port.
Using ASAP Connect will not only make your life easier, but it will speed your charging sessions up considerably. Not to mention, trying to plug in your phone while it’s dark will be a lot less frustrating.
Official site: ASAP Connect on IndieGoGo
All creatives, from writers to artists, run into a wall sometimes. When you sink, it can be tough to pull yourself out of it and find motivation. If only you had a small tool or system to spark some creativity!
Stormdeck is a tool specifically to help artists and designers overcome creative block and find inspiration. The system can also help you communicate and present ideas to team members or clients before you have anything substantial to share.
How does it work? Well, they’re sort of like flashcards, only they’re not for learning or retaining information, they’re for sparking creativity. They provide an interactive, tactile experience as you come up with or share ideas. The cards include information about design styles, copy, color, textures and even more advanced typography. You lay them out however you prefer, and look for either inspiration or ways to explain a design that you didn’t consider before.
Official site: Stormdeck on Kickstarter
4. Polaroid Advanced 3D Printing Pen
Polaroid designed their Advanced 3D Printing Pen for “artists, designers, engineers and other professionals” that use this sort of thing. It’s a professional-grade item that offers a ton of support, like a built-in fan that will reduce heat and prevent jamming. It also has auto-eject functions, variable printing speeds, precise temperature readings and an OLED screen for notifications.
If you’ve never used a 3D printing pen to realize one of your designs, you should. If you have, you know full well what convenience the added features of Polaroid’s device will offer.
Official site: Advanced 3D Printing Pen on IndieGoGo
5. Intuos Pro Paper Edition
While digital is the most common design method these days, many designers and artists still prefer to create the old-fashioned way, using a simulated pen and paper via a tablet or similar device. But why draw or design on a blank tablet slate when you can do it right on paper?
Wacom’s Intuos Pro Paper Edition is a paper drawing tablet that will sync all your movements via a digital interface. Using a unique fine-tip pen, you can draw on a blank sheet of paper, and the tablet digitizes your design. Wacom claims it has exceptional and improved pressure sensitivity to ensure your creations transition accurately.
Official site: Wacom
6. ODG R-Series Smartglasses
Osterhout Design Group (ODG) recently unveiled state-of-the-art untethered augmented and virtual reality headsets aimed at the “light enterprise” market. In short, that means a variety of industries will be able to take advantage of the technology, including marketers, graphic designers, fashion designers and more.
The R-series comes in three models, including the R-7, R-8 and R-9 headsets. They run on a custom version of the Android OS, with full access to a variety of services and tools. Furthermore, ODG is dedicated to building a supportive and active development community to ensure anyone can benefit from using the headsets. Imagine being able to design, create and manipulate your content in full, 3D-based environments and virtual settings.
Official site: ODG
The Future Is Brighter With These New Tools
Thanks to modern technology, the future is bright for nearly every industry, not just marketing and design. But you can expect to see a lot more gadgets, tools and hardware unveiled over the coming year that will not only make our lives easier, but our work, too! Consider the evolution of design tools from pen and paper to full digital-based tablets and 3D pens. Pretty soon, you may even be creating content in immersive virtual reality experiences. The future has arrived, and it looks promising.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.