Ethan Marcotte: The Tools I Use

The latest in our series “The Tools We Use” features Ethan Marcotte, the inventor of responsive web design.

Image: Joyelle West

For design work, Sketch feels how other programs used to: fast, unobtrusive, and easy to work with. I still prefer Illustrator for fine path work, and occasionally dip into Photoshop for raster editing. As for sketching out rough ideas, there's a pile of Pilot G2 pens on my desk that always seems to be rapidly dwindling.

If I'm doing anything remotely code-related, I use TextMate 2 and Tower most heavily. There're plenty of bits and bobs behind the scenes, too: I mean, most of my responsive work is scaffolded by Filament Group's various libraries and patterns. And I couldn't do my job without xScope.

Most of my writing happens in TextMate these days, as I'm mainly writing for my little blog at the moment. Responsive Web Design was mainly written in SimpleNote, as I wrote a good chunk of the book on my phone.

A few honorable mentions:

  • Every presentation I've given—for a client, a conference, or a workshop—has been powered by Keynote—it's a marvelous program. Works a treat for animation prototyping, too. And just to be clear, I'm talking about Keynote 5.
  • I wouldn't say Skype is a favorite tool, but it's one I use. A lot. Every episode of the Responsive Web Design Podcast is run over Skype, with Call Recorder for Skype doing the heavy lifting.
  • Twitterrific. Couldn't use Twitter without it.

Beyond all that, Fantastical and TripIt make sure I show up for things on time, and GitHub, Todoist, and Harvest help me run my business. Rdio used to help me get through the workday; now, I make do with Spotify. And I suppose I'm that person who still uses, and happily so.