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The Complete Graphic and Web Design Stack

Graphic and Web Design Stack - Michael Lutjen

The complete graphic and web design stack is your complete list of essential tools, products, and inspiration for everything design.

A/B Testing & Multivariate Testing

Adobe Target – AI is critical to modern optimization. Test and personalize to every visitor, applying artificial intelligence with a single click.

Convertize – A/B Testing and personalization tools for marketing and product teams. Increase engagement with nudges. AB test any content.

Google Analytics – Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.

Optimizely – Optimizely is the world’s leading progressive delivery and experimentation platform. Empowering engineering, product, and marketing teams to ship high-quality code.

Unbounce – Unbounce is a drag-and-drop builder that lets you create and publish your own landing pages, without needing a developer to code them.

User Testing – Usability testing and research tools to improve your online customer experience from UserTesting, the Human Insight Platform.

VWO – Companies run their marketing and product experiments on VWO because we bring together their entire org to conduct successful A/B tests across the customer lifecycle.


Google Analytics – Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.

Heap – Heap builds infrastructure to automatically capture customer interactions, make sense of them, and make them actionable for anyone.

Kissmetrics – Customer engagement automation by Kissmetrics. Analyze, segment, and engage all in one place with easy to read reports and friendly user interface.

Mixpanel – With Mixpanel, businesses innovate faster by analyzing, measuring, and improving their customer experience — over and over again.


A List Apart – A List Apart explores the design, development, and meaning of web content, with a special focus on web standards and best practices. 

Paul Irish – Paul Irish is an American front-end engineer and a developer advocate for the Google Chrome web browser. He is widely recognized as a thought leader and a leading evangelist in web technologies, including JavaScript and CSS.

Smashing Magazine – Smashing Magazine is a website and eBook publisher that offers editorial content and professional resources for web developers and web designers.

Code Reference Sites

Codepen – Codepen is an online code editor, learning environment, and community for front-end web development using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code snippets, projects, and more.

CSS-Tricks – Daily articles about CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and all things related to web design and development.

JSFiddle – An online playground for JavaScript, HTML, CSS. Useful for sharing code snippets and demos.


Squarespace – Squarespace provides software as a service for website building and hosting. Its customers use pre-built website templates and drag and drop elements to create webpages.

Weebly – Weebly’s free website builder makes it easy to create a website, blog, or online store.

Wix – Ltd. is an Israeli software company, providing cloud-based web development services.

WordPress – WordPress is a free and open-source content management system written in PHP and paired with a MySQL or MariaDB database.

Design Inspiration (Aggregator)

Dribbble – Dribbble is the leading destination to find and showcase creative work and home to the world’s best design professionals.

SiteInspire – A CSS gallery and showcase of the best web design inspiration, featuring over 2500 websites searchable by type, subject, and style.

Awwwards – Web design awards and trends.

Design Inspiration (Companies)

Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv – Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv is the brand design firm behind many of the world’s most recognizable trademarks. Since 1957, the firm has pioneered the modern movement of idea-driven graphic design across every discipline, specializing in brand identities, exhibitions, print and motion graphics, and art in architecture.

Landor – A global leader in brand consulting and design, Landor helps clients create brand-led growth.

Pentagram – Pentagram is the world’s largest independent design consultancy. The firm is owned and run by 25 partners, each of whom are leaders in their individual fields.

Email Marketing

Constant Contact – Easy email marketing that helps your business do more business. Find new customers and keep them coming back for more with segmented and automated emails.

Emma – Design and optimize targeted email marketing campaigns. Emma’s digital marketing platform drives results with personalization, segmentation, and automation.

Hubspot – HubSpot offers a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software — plus the methodology, resources, and support — to help businesses.

Litmus – Email marketing solution that scales with you.

Mailchimp – Mailchimp is the all-in-one integrated marketing platform for small businesses, to grow your business on your terms.

Free Stock Photos

Pexels – Free stock photos you can use everywhere. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

Pixabay – Find your perfect free image or video to download and use for anything. Free for commercial use. No attribution required. High quality images.

Startup Stock Photos – Free photos for startups, bloggers, publishers, websites, designers, developers, creators, and everyone else.

Unsplash – Beautiful, free images and photos that you can download and use for any project. Better than any royalty free or stock photos.

FTP Clients

Cyberduck – Cyberduck is an open-source client for FTP and SFTP, WebDAV, and cloud storage, available for macOS and Windows licensed under the GPL.

Filezilla – The free FTP solution for both client and server. Filezilla is open source software distributed free of charge.

Heatmap and Page Recordings

Crazy Egg – Crazy Egg is an online analytics application that provides you eye-tracking tools. It generates heatmaps based on where people clicked on your website.

Hotjar – Hotjar is a behavior analytics company that analyses website use, providing feedback through tools such as heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys.

HTML and CSS Frameworks

Bootstrap – The most popular HTML, CSS, and JS library in the world.

Semantic UI – Semantic is a development framework that helps create beautiful, responsive layouts using human-friendly HTML.

Icon Fonts

Flaticon – The largest database of free customizable icons in the world.

Font Awesome – Font Awesome is a font and icon toolkit based on CSS and Less.


CorelDraw – CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor developed and marketed by Corel Corporation.

Illustrator – Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor developed and marketed by Adobe Inc.

Sketch – Sketch is a design toolkit built to help you create your best work — from your earliest ideas, through to final artwork.

Image and Graphic Editors

Adobe Photoshop – Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Inc. for Windows and macOS.

Canva – Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, and other visual content.

GIMP – GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image manipulation and image editing, free-form drawing, transcoding between different image file formats, and more specialized tasks.

Image Compressors Optimize and compress your images online. Compressor is a lossy and lossless photo compression tool.

Image Compressor – Optimizilla is the ultimate image optimizer to compress your images in JPEG and PNG formats to the minimum possible size. – Make your website faster and save bandwidth. TinyJPG is the best automatic JPEG optimizer and compresses your JPEG images by 40-60%! – Make your website faster and save bandwidth. TinyPNG optimizes your PNG images by 50-80% while preserving full transparency!

Page Layout

InDesign – Adobe InDesign is the industry-leading layout and page design software for print and digital media.

Microsoft Publisher – Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing application from Microsoft, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing.

Quark Xpress – QuarkXPress is the leading desktop publishing software for creative professionals.

Project Management

Asana – Teamwork without email. Keep teams organized, connected, and focused on results.

Basecamp – The leading project management app that helps teams collaborate from anywhere.

JIRA – Issue and project tracking software that helps teams assign work and follow activity.

Trello – A free, flexible, and visual way to organize anything with anyone.


Alexa – Alexa rank is a measure of website popularity. It ranks millions of websites in order of popularity, with an Alexa Rank of 1 being the most popular.

Moz – Moz is a software as a service company based in Seattle that sells inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions.

Semrush – SEMrush offers solutions for SEO, PPC, content, social media, and competitive research. Trusted by over 6,000,000 marketers worldwide.

Serpstat – Smart and powerful tool for backlinks analysis, rank tracking, keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audit.

Team Communication

HipChat – Group and private chat, file sharing, and integrations.

Skype – Call, message, and share whatever you want for free.

Slack – A platform for team communication where everything in one place and is instantly searchable.

Text Editors

Komodo Edit – Komodo Edit is a free and open source text editor for dynamic programming languages.

Notepad ++ – Notepad++ is a text and source code editor for use with Microsoft Windows. It supports tabbed editing, which allows working with multiple open files in a single window.

Sublime Text – Sublime Text is a shareware cross-platform source code editor with a Python application programming interface. 


Codrops – Extensive collection of tutorials and web news.

SitePoint – Tutorials and other lessons on web design and development.

Tuts+ – Code tutorials and general web design and development news.

Version Control and Collaboration

Bitbucket – Git and Mercurial code management for teams.

Git – A free and open source distributed version control system.

GitHub – Powerful collaboration, code review, and code management. Also offers free Mac or Windows clients.

Web Crawler Tools

Screaming Frog – The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a small desktop program (PC or Mac) which crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script, and apps from an SEO perspective.

Web Fonts

Font Squirrel – Handpicked free fonts with commercial-use licenses

Google Fonts – Google Fonts is a library of 999 free licensed font families, an interactive web directory for browsing the library, and APIs for conveniently using the fonts via CSS and Android.

Hoefler & Co – Expensive, but high quality fonts.

Typekit – Adobe Fonts partners with the world’s leading type foundries to bring thousands of beautiful fonts to designers every day.

Web Hosting

Amazon AWS – A variety of cloud computing services at affordable rates.

GitHub Pages – Host websites directly from your GitHub repository. Just edit, push, and your changes are live.

Rackspace – Reliable, high-end hosting aimed at professional developers.


Adobe xD – Adobe XD is a vector-based user experience design tool for web apps and mobile apps, developed and published by Adobe Inc.

Balsamiq – Balsamiq Wireframes is a graphical user interface website wireframe builder application. It allows the designer to arrange pre-built widgets using a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor.

Figma – Figma is a vector graphics editor and prototyping tool. It is primarily web-based, with additional offline features enabled by desktop applications for macOS and Windows.

InVision – InVision is the digital product design platform used to make the world’s best customer experiences.

Zeplin – Connected space for product teams. Handoff designs and style guides with accurate specs, assets, code snippets—automatically


A good foundation for any designer is crucial to progressing in any career path. Combining the tools in this post with a solid understanding of Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles for Good Design will provide you with indispensable knowledge that will stay with you for years to come.