Hi Guys! D-Lists has passed the 150,000 views mark while I was away on holiday! So I thought it was time to celebrate and reward/thank everyone who has contributed to that number. I cant say thank you enough.
I’ve done my best to produce what I think is a pretty brilliant prize bundle. One lucky winner will be given a free copy of the fantastic invoicing app, Billings 3. Not only that but that same winner will also get a copy of LittleSnapper the best way to capture and store screen captures on your mac. Oh and it doesn’t stop there, they will also be lucky enough to gain a 6 month subscription to the tuts+ network, giving them access to literally hundreds of wonderful tutorials and source files!
All I ask from you is that you twitter about this post using #dlistsgiveaway and include a link back to this page, very simple and very easy. I’ll pick the lucky winner at random this time next week.
Now just in case you aren’t familiar with what these great prizes can do for you I’ll tell you now.
If you are a freelance designer or have undergone any freelance design work, then you want to focus all of your attention on the ‘design’ work. You don’t want to waste time sorting out estimates and invoices and spend time making them look professional. Well, this is where Billings comes to save the day. Billings is built to make the life of a freelance designer easier by making the estimate, time-tracking and invoicing process a breeze. Not only does Billings make them easy to do but it also makes them look stunning.
Time-tracking is made especially convenient using the icon placed in your menubar. You can begin keeping a note of your working time at the click of a button. I found this an especially nice feature because I have used time-tracking applications before but always forgotten to actually start the timer because they are normally hidden away.
Invoicing couldn’t be easier. Set up your clients profile within billings, then create a job, input the jobs hourly rate or flat fee and it’s ready to be produced and sent off. There is a huge number of very professional and well designed invoice/estimate templates to choose from meaning you will have no trouble finding one to suit your style.
Know who owes you instantly. I used to have problems keeping track of when invoices were sent out and when payments were due. Luckily Billings has a lovely little feature that allows you to set a due date for payment within an invoice, then if a deposit has not been made by the given date Billings will alert you. Since using Billings I have very easily been able to keep track of exactly when clients payments were due and who needs to be reminded. Billings even lets you create and send out statements to clients who have overdue fees to pay.
Recurring invoicing. Billings also has the ability to set up automated invoices, so if you receive a monthly deposit from a client you can set this up using Billings. Billings will then remind you on the day the invoice needs to be sent and with one click it can be e-mailed off.
Keep track of your payments. Finally, Billings makes keeping a tab on your receipts a doddle. When you receive a payment, it is super simple to input into Billings. Billings will then create a receipt for you, meaning that you have a permanent record of your income, making the end of year tax return a much smoother process. Now that feature alone is worth the Billings very reasonable price of $39.99.
Billings is a beautifully designed mac application with a very cleverly created user interface. If you are looking for an application that takes the pain out of the money side of being a freelancer then you should look no further than this.
Be sure to download the demo of Billings and try it out for yourself.
As a designer I am constantly on the lookout for inspiration, however I always used to struggle to find a place to keep the myriad of examples I discovered. This problem was especially apparent with web designs. Taking a screen capture, resizing it, naming it, making a note of exactly where you got it from and finding a logical way to store and view each site I liked was just too much hard work.
Luckily, about a year ago I found a gem of an application called LittleSnapper which promised to make all of these problems go away, and I’m happy to say it delivered!
LittleSnapper allows you to snap, collect and share all of your design inspiration. Firstly, LittleSnapper places a very convenient icon in your menubar which allows you to capture web pages straight from your browser with one click or using your keyboard via shortcuts.
LittleSnapper doesn’t just capture what you see on your screen but it captures the whole page regardless of your browser size. It doesn’t stop there, it also captures the metadata from the site including the URL and also gives you the option to add tags, ensuring you can filter through your inspiration to find exactly what you are looking for.
With LittleSnapper you don’t have to capture the whole page, if you only want to keep a note of a specific element then you can. So if you wanted to, you could keep a range of beautifully designed contact forms allowing you to browse through them when you have to design one yourself.
After storing your snap within LittleSnapper you are then given further options to label them with text, arrows, blurs and many more. This feature comes in very handy if there is a specific client you have in mind and you want to remember exactly why you snapped a specific page.
You aren’t limited to just web snaps with LittleSnapper either. You can also add photos and take screenshots. LittleSnapper then seamlessly displays all of your inspiration and offers you numerous way to filter through them and find exactly what you want.
There is even a number of options to share your LittleSnapper library with others from right inside the application. So if you want to share some inspiration with a client you can upload it to an FTP area. Or if you wanted to share a site with your friends you could upload it to your flickr account with a simple click. Or maybe you just want to share your inspiration with the world then LittleSnapper has created Ember, a web application, that allows you to do just that.
LittleSnapper really changed the way I store and browse my inspiration and has aided me in every design project I’ve had, making the idea stage a pleasure. I can’t recommend LittleSnapper enough.
Head on over to LittleSnapper now and find out for yourself.
In the modern day design world, everyone involved has to keep on their toes and be sure to constantly improve their skill set. If you are not improving you can be sure that all of your competitors are and you will get left behind with no work.
Years ago, this meant paying for expensive training courses or buying masses of books that were often out of date by the time they hit the shelves. Luckily, nowadays the design community has found it’s place on the web. There are a huge number of design blogs fighting for your views, offering up free tutorials, meaning it’s now easier than ever to improve your design knowledge…or does it?
Not every one of these design blogs offers the same quality of tutorial, meaning you could be wasting your time learning a skill that you will never use. The sheer volume of tutorials on offer makes it nearly impossible to be sure that what you are looking at is the best way to learn. However, there is help on hand in the form of the Tuts+ network.
Tuts+ comprises of PSDtuts, NETtuts, FLASHtuts, VECTORtuts, AUDIOtuts, AEtuts, PHOTOtuts and CGtuts. Each of these specialise in different fields within the design world meaning you are sure to find at least one that applies to you. The quality of each and every tutorial on these sites really is outstanding, I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I have spent enjoying going through their tutorials. The Tuts+ network ensured that I had more than just the skills my University course taught me when I graduated.
While there are hundreds of free tutorials for you to enjoy and learn from within the tuts+ network, there is also a vast amount of extra special material that they publish available to subscribers only. This includes the source files to tutorials, making it even easier to follow exactly how something was done. They also publish advanced tutorials that only subscribers can see.
I first subscribed to tuts+ when I noticed there was a tutorial introducing the principles of wordpress design. I had always wanted to learn this but had never found a way that suited me. So I signed up for the $22 quarterly price option, thinking that if I didn’t find anything else I liked I could cancel the subscription. However, not only was the wordpress video tutorial fantastic I discovered so many other tutorials I deciding to keep my subscription and still have it to this day. I would now say that I am very comfortable designing custom wrodpress themes and would put this down to tuts+.
I really do suggest you head over to tuts+ now and have a look at the fabulous things they have to offer.
Anyway I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Marketcircle, Realmac Software and Envato for their generosity in offering these fabulous prizes to give away to you, the amazing readers who keep D-Lists running.
So just to remind you all there is to do to enter and have a chance to win all 3 of the awesome prizes on offer is tweet about this post using the #dlistsgiveaway and include a link back to this post. If you don’t include both then I will have to disregard your entry.
The winner will be announced right here next week on Wednesday 30th of September at 9:00am GMT. Good luck!