Non-designer software/tool used

Hey fellow designers! I’m Emmanuel Katto.

I wanted to know Have you ever used a non-designer software or tool in your design work? If so, what was it, and how did you use it? Did you stumble upon any creative solutions or workarounds that others might find useful?

Please share!

Emmanuel Katto

Are you by chance related to emmanuelkatto23 ?


I don’t stumble onto creative solutions or workarounds. I have to actively seek them out. Designers are forever finding ways to do things with software that require either a creative solution to make them print, or an applied workaround that is or isn’t well established – or both.

As for non-design software, I regularly use GraphicConverter (I call that my Can-Opener, which used to be the name of a similar software.) And The Unarchiver which opens ornery Stuffit files. And Excel, a lot, for bidding purposes and quotes. And maybe the Music program, if I’m doing mindless retouching and need something loud to keep me awake. :slight_smile:


@emmanuelkatto, you created two accounts: emmanuelkatto and emmanuelkatto23. Forum members are only allowed to have one account, so I’ve merged your two accounts. If you have any questions, please send me a note. Thanks.


I’ve had jobs where I needed to work with and format large passages of text (tens of thousands of words in thousands of files). I’ve used AppleScript and RegEx (a pattern search-and-replacement language) in a code editor (BBEdit) to make bulk formatting and editing changes in minutes that would otherwise have taken weeks or months. I’ve also found this useful for conditional search-and-replace statements in much smaller text files.

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To get a distorted / aged / grunge effect, I once:

  • Set type on the computer
  • Printed the type on a laser printer
  • Folded, crumpled, wrinkled, and flattened out
  • Made a photocopy of the page
  • Folded, crumpled, wrinkled, and flattened out
  • Scanned the text back into the computer

I’d post the results, but I can’t remember the name of the job, so I would not be able to find it in my archivces.


I’ve aged single sheets of paper with tea and dried them in a plant drying press (very low tech)

Then it gets printed then artistically distressed.
Then it gets scanned or photographed, or used as is.
One very artistic display we did used the distressed paper as ID labels for some pottery.
Never a dull day here. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing the tools @PrintDriver

Great @Steve_O

  • HelioViewer to create images from NASA solar data for a biotech website
  • Quake-Engine for 3D floor-wall projection in a virtual walk-in paper mill
  • Gas torch for burned stationery
  • Flip-Dots for a wall installation in a foyer
    I probably forgot some

Joe, you’re my kind of person!
We’ve done a lot of stuff here that would be considered ‘off label.’
It’s what makes the job fun!

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