What’s In Your Design Toolbox? Part 4: Jeff Finley

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What's In Your Design Toolbox? Part 4: Jeff Finley

This is part 4 of the Design Toolbox Series where I interview top designers about what tools they use to help them create their art. This series was largely inspired by Grace Smith’s “Show Me Your Dock Series.” It’s my hope that you can gain insight into what other designer’s are using, and hopefully find some new apps/tools to check out.

About Jeff Finley

Jeff Finley is an artist, designer, and creative entrepreneur. He is part owner of the creative agency Go Media and lives in Cleveland, OH with his wife Kim and their bunny Cocoa. He plays drums in Parachute Journalists with Adam Wagner, also of Go Media. He’s also founder of the art, film, and music festival Weapons of Mass Creation Fest taking place in Cleveland this year on May 22 and 23.

Jeff Finley

Jeff Finley – Design Toolbox


Windows XP, but I’ve been using Windows 7 and I love it. Once I can, I plan to switch all my machines over to Windows 7. People might be surprised I don’t use a Mac, and frankly I don’t have a very good reason other than they cost a lot and I already get my work accomplished on a PC. I don’t really care for the whole debate, I’ll work on whatever!

Xerox Phaser 7750Printer

Xerox Phaser 7750 is our big color printer at Go Media. We also use a few Brother laser printers for black and white documents.


Firefox, but lately I’ve been using Google Chrome a lot more mostly because it’s just faster. My firefox has too many addons going on and I like the simplicity of Chrome.

DreamweaverCode Editor

Notepad2 and Dreamweaver. I like using Dreamweaver because of the shortcuts and it’s faster to write HTML and CSS. But Notepad2 is better when I don’t feel like opening up yet another bulky Adobe app.

Outlook 2007Mail Client

Microsoft Exchange. I use Outlook 2007, but will be delighted when I can use 2010. I like Exchange because I can easily access all my emails from anywhere. I used to use Thunderbird with POP3/Imap years ago and I would have issues when working at the office and then at home. Exchange makes this easier, and it works on my PalmPre.

QuickBooksBilling App

We use Quickbooks Pro 2009, although I personally don’t work in it. My wife Kim does Go Media’s bookkeeping and our project manager Heather uses it for invoicing clients.

FilezillaFTP Client

Filezilla and/or WinSCP. I actually used FireFTP quite a bit, but I’ve found these other two are much faster. WinSCP is kinda old school, but it’s great for editing files directly on the server w/ Notepad 2.

HootSuiteTwitter App

I’ve been using HootSuite quite a bit lately, but I’m still a fan of DestroyTwitter. I love the DT interface, but lately I’ve been managing quite a bit of Twitter Accounts and Facebook Pages. I love how HootSuite lets me do all of that. I’ve got Facebook pages for Go Media, The Arsenal, ShirtMockup, Parachute Journalists, Myself, and a few random others. Same with Twitter. It gets overwhelming, HootSuite is the only way to keep it organized.

Google ReaderRSS Reader

Google Reader. I used to subscribe via email, but my inbox just would get cluttered and overloaded and I spent more time deleting posts than reading them. Google Reader is much nicer for this. However, I find myself not logging in and honestly it’s been like a month since I last logged in. I’ve been swamped so it’s easy to forget about keeping up with your favorite sites.

BasecampTask Organizer

We’ve got an in-house project management app called Prooflab that we built to run the ins and outs of Go Media. We’re actually working on a complete overhaul and will release it to the general public. But I also use Basecamp, Highrise, and somtimes Outlook for task management.

PhotoshopPhoto/Design Editor

Photoshop, it’s just the standard. I’m good at it and wouldn’t use anything else.

IllustratorVector/Illustration Program

Illustrator. Same as above.

Any Other Apps You’d Like to Share?

My fellow Go Media colleague Adam Wagner has turned me onto a few neat apps like YadaByte Subtext for text replacement. For example, I can fill a text block w/ Lorum Ipsum just by typing “lorum2” for two paragraphs. It recognizes what you type and replaces it with whatever text you want. If you say the same things to people in emails, this is handy. He also pointed me to a handy app called “FolderMenu” which adds middle mouse button functionality to access your frequently used folders and files. It has saved me tons of time navigating through client folders and directories. I also like using “FolderSizes” for seeing how much disc space particular projects are taking up on our server. When we’re reaching capacity, this app shows me what clients are the biggest disc space hogs. Like “oh wow, this client is taking up 22% of our entire server, better back it up and delete it). When you have tons of files, this stuff can get out of control.

Connect With Jeff

That’s A Wrap

Feel free to comment and add your tools of choice for any or all of the categories above.

About the Author

Andrew is a primary contributer for MyInkBlog. He is a full time web developer for Niagara University. When he's not working there, he's a blogger, twitter'er, wordpress'er, silverstripe advocate, blessed father and husband.

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  • http://simonh.toile-libre.org Simon H.

    Thanks for sharing these Jeff (and thanks Andrew for the interview).

  • http://www.custompowerdesigns.com Aaron Nichols

    As a web designer just starting a company I use most of what you have said up there. I would add that you need to have a few sites, like psdtuts+, that you can go to for inspiration.

    Also, working with other designers is a must as well. Even if it is just discussing with each other on blogs or having each other on Facebook or Twitter it is so important to the business to talk to as many people as possible!

    Thanks for the interview and post, it was very informative.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff Finley

    Nicely done Andrew, I love the icons and how you took the time to look up and link to the apps I mentioned!

    • http://www.myinkblog.com Andrew Houle

      Thanks man! Glad you like how the post turned out. These are fun to put together, I love learning what tools other designers use.

  • jenny martin

    its nice to know im not the only designer in the world who uses a PC! Great Article…im off to check out those links no ;)

    • http://www.myinkblog.com Andrew Houle

      Yeah, I love the mac, but I want to make sure to showcase great stuff for PC’s too. This is a start anyway.

  • http://www.twitter.com/snarphblat Hillary

    These are great resources, thanks so much!
    I use a Mac at home, but here at work I use a PC. :) Both are great!

  • http://resourcehive.com JC

    Thanks for this…it’s always nice to see what other people are using.

  • http://www.animhut.com/ sriganesh

    good article ! , one doubt andrew !
    i am good at Photoshop and illustrator, but for job requirements they ask mostly coredraw :( , which i never touched ! – i am quite comfortable with these two application. can`t we use these two instead of coredraw ( pen tool make me sick )

  • http://www.addictivehobby.com billy

    Interesting Information about me wee buddy Jeff !
    But you forgot about his drumkit…..

  • http://www.twitter.com/halfmeant Lorelie

    it’s good to know a designer who still likes PCs…im a window 7 user too :)

  • http://www.sjlwebdesign.co.uk SJL Web Design

    Great interview and post!! I’m a big fan of most of the software mentioned, going to check the ones I don’t use.

  • http://www.omerercan.com omer

    great article, i use most of the tools you do but PC:)

    macs ftw:)

  • Morgan

    I like this article and I and I also use most of these tools. That’s good to know.


  • http://www.threepixeldrift.com/ Taylor Frassinell | Web Design


    Nuff Said

  • http://www.threepixeldrift.com/ Taylor Frassinell | Web Design

    But seriously, Nice overview.

    How do you get one of these lists.

    I would really like to do one of these interviews.
    Myinkblog please contact me if you would like to.

  • http://blog.martinvaresio.com.ar Martin

    Time consuming is a great factor here which you might wanna review as well!! Thank you!!

  • http://www.small-business-graphic-design.com Rhonda Brown

    I loving these series of articles you have been putting out lately. It is helpful and interesting to see what other designers are using.

  • http://allbombs.com all bombs

    more of a heads up but all of the images are not displaying on your page

    the logos and header appear, but the images within the post do not