I was fortunate enough to be featured on the site PSD to WordPress last week. I was contacted to list what three design tools I use on a daily basis and why. Here was my response:
Adobe Illustrator is probably my most used design program. I use it to create everything from wireframes to site designs to logos, illustrations, and patterns. If needed it is also flexible enough to export site design boards to Photoshop files relatively easily for development. I also can use Illustrator to create Smart Objects in Photoshop where I can then edit the vector artwork in Illustrator even though it is saved within a Photoshop document.
Typography, in my opinion, is the most important design element. You can create an interesting and really well designed piece by just using type if you know how to use it. Typography can create a mood depending on the personality of the typeface you choose. It can draw attention to different areas on the page by using size to create a hierarchy to show what is most important to what is least important. I love type! You can really communicate so much with a great typeface!
Pinterest has become a really great design tool that I use with all of my design projects. I use Pinterest to create mood boards and to gather inspiration that can be used when I start to design a site or new brand for a client. I think it's a great way to stay on top of design trends. You can also create Private Boards for client work so that you can create a vibe for a project and work toward designing that personality into your piece. It also helps you keep track of designs and techniques you really like or might want to try but just don't have a need for them just yet.
Definitely check out the site and all of the other extremely talented designers' responses.