We all love our smartphones, and fill them to the brim with apps. But what about our web browsers? Are they working as hard as they could to improve our workflow and make us more creative?
There are a ton of Chrome extensions that can make your life easier, and nearly all of them are free. But with new ones being released all the time, it’s difficult to keep track. So here we bring you our favourite new, and newly updated, Chrome extensions for 2016.
Of course, we may have missed some hidden gems. So if you’ve discovered a handy new Chrome extension in 2016, please let us know in the comments below!
Updated: June 6, 2016
As designers, we like to think of ourselves as original and inventive. But in truth, we often fall into the habit of using the same tried-and-tested colour combinations.
Chrome extension by Color Hunt is a simple but effective way of sparking ideas for new hues, by bringing a beautiful new palette into your field of view each time you open a tab.
Hovering your mouse over each colour reveals its code, and clicking on the smiley face at the top gives you added options, including the ability to view popular palettes and further, randomly generated ones.
02. Take Four
Updated: 13 April 2016
Another Chrome extension that provides a burst of visual inspiration in your browser is Take Four. This one allows you to discover new artists and photographers to follow on Instagram.
Once it’s installed, each time you open a new tab your window will be filled with a two-by-two collection of carefully curated Instagram art.
If you’re like us, then most of the time you forget it’s coming - and the shot of creative energy it provides can really get your synapses sparking. You can also click through the image to find information about the creator, as well as a link to follow them on Instagram.
Updated: July 16, 2016
Organisation and project management tool Trello has become the go-to app for the creative industry in recent years, and for good reason. It’s a great way for designers, illustrators, photographers, clients, freelancers and more to collaborate on a project, and now Trello has made things even easier for Chrome users.
The headline feature of this new Chrome extension is one-click access to Trello Boards. That might sound like a small thing, but if you’re darting back and forth between creating assets and managing your project, it can really help speed up your workflow.
You can also use a filter to quickly search your boards, and colour coordinate boards and backgrounds. Plus the extension provides a notifications counter, activity indicators and a starred assignments viewer. There’s also a paid-for pro version of the app, with more powerful reminder and search features.
Updated: 3 April 2016
Most web developers are on both Twitter and Github. So this Chrome extension does one thing, and does it well: it displays the Twitter handle of any GitHub user directly on their GitHub profile page.
If you’re wondering why that’s useful, you’ve clearly never spent ages scouring through multiple Twitter profiles trying to find a Github user who has a common name (John Smith, anyone?) and no proper headshot.
But in an industry where networking and collaboration are the norm, there’s sure to be a time when you will. This easy extension will save you the hassle.
05. Save to Google
Updated: 3 April 2016
Launched this April by Google itself, this cool extension lets you save web pages for viewing later.
Once you’ve installed the extension, you just click the button that’s been added to your Chrome toolbar and the web page will be saved. To find it later, go to www.google.com/save/.
It doesn’t actually save the full contents of the page, so it's basically a list of bookmarks. But it’s a searchable list, and that makes keeping track of dozens (or hundreds, or thousands) of web pages a lot more manageable than by traditional bookmarking means.
Updated: May 2, 2016
Here’s one more way to get a hit of inspiration from your Chrome browser. If you’re a regular user of WeTransfer, you’ll be familiar with the incredible art and photography they showcase every time you transfer big files. In fact, it’s enough to make you want to upload data just to see the visuals... so this handy tool saves you the bother.
Once you install WeTransfer Moment, whenever you open a new tab - yes, you guessed it - you’re greeted with a full-screen image, from one of the artworks being featured on WeTransfer.com at the time.
Want to know more about the person who created it? Clicking on the credit line in the bottom right-hand corner will take you to an accompanying article about them.