As glad as we are to put 2020 behind us, many of us might be feeling daunted by the prospect of a new year dawning. Rather than letting the coming year intimidate you, though, consider this a new opportunity to try out emerging technologies and tools that can enhance your design practice. To help, we’ve put together a list of 4 powerful tools that could change the way you work in 2021. 

Make the perfect pitch from anywhere.

While most of us have adjusted to remote work after a year of being stuck at home, there are still elements of our face-to-face life that we miss. One of the most important aspects of in-person interaction is the ability to pitch new ideas and creative concepts to clients and colleagues. While we still can’t safely meet in conference rooms and boardrooms, we can use technology such as Pitch to work together on a creative pitch, add interactive elements, and even deliver the presentation over video conferencing platforms like Zoom. 

Save time with AI-aided design.

For years, designers and other professionals have worried that emerging AI technologies could render their roles obsolete. So far, at least, AI hasn’t replaced human intuition and know-how. Instead, designers have used AI tools to handle some of the repetitive or low-value tasks in their workflow so they can concentrate on the creative process. Find out more about how AI can help your design work with this handy guide from designer Yury Vetrov

Stay consistent with your color palette.

Every designer knows the importance of sticking closely to brand standards, including appropriate color schemes, as well as colors that are web-friendly and accessible. Yet managing so-called “safe” colors has sometimes been a challenge over multiple different projects and teams. Increasingly, design tools are including “color safe” technology to help designers stay on track. This includes the new Color Variables functionality within popular design tool Sketch and the always-useful Color Safe website

Dabble with 3D design more easily than ever before.

As web browsers become more powerful and better able to run complex site designs, designers are experimenting with new forms of online visuals, including 3D graphics. While there was a time when working with 3D graphics required powerful computer systems, now designers can use tools like Spline to make web-friendly graphics with less overhead. 

Experiment with the power of the human voice.

If you’ve ever used a voice-based help program like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google’s Assistant, you’re already familiar with the power of voice commands. While UX designers have traditionally worked in the visual realm, a growing number of designers are tackling human speech as a form of user interaction. Luckily, the major players like Apple and Google make this process relatively easy through developer-friendly “kits” that allow developers and designers to work together on new interfaces. Check out what you can do with the powerful back end of Apple’s SiriKit and Google’s Voice Actions

Let’s make 2021 a more forward-looking, successful year than 2020. Try out some of the tools above and let us know what’s working for you!