The product designer’s toolbox – UX Collective

When every question has countless different answers, things get confusing. Fast.


Carpenters use their favorite hammers. Developers use their favorite IDEs. Doctors use their favorite… stethoscopes?

What do product designers use?

As a relatively new designer myself, I get overwhelmed when searching for the right tool for a specific task. When there’s multiple answers for every question, things get confusing. Fast. Until I ventured into the wonderful world of product design, my main tools were as followed:

  • Pen and paper
  • Box cutter
  • InDesign
  • Illustrator

Granted, I was using these tools primarily for my coursework in college, which was geared towards physical craft. I pulled my fair share of all-nighters measuring, cutting and re-cutting. Gluing, peeling apart, and re-gluing. It was a painful, repetitive process, but worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong, I love print design, and I love crafting a design from real, physical objects. I’m not trying to knock designers that work that way, but I‘ve fallen in love with product and *~digital~* design. Unfortunately, my school didn’t have a curriculum focused on web/mobile design apart from one course (User Interface Design…with Photoshop ?).

So, to reach the title of Product Designer, I had to fully immerse myself and teach myself the basics. As I mentioned earlier, this is a daunting task, especially to a new designer — but also a fun one. Hopefully this article answers some of the questions new designers may have about product design and the tools that come with it.

Disclaimer: There won’t be any definitive choices in this article. Every designer works differently, and the tools I recommend may not be the best for you. This article is only meant to help you find the right tool for the right job in your workflow.

Author: Cameron Getty

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