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Top Resources for Designers

 
 

Originally written for Wake in 2017. See the post on their blog here.


Although we typically don’t write about technical resources for designers, we like to geek out as much as the next guy. But with the amount of resources available out there, it’s hard to keep them straight. So we decided to ask a few of our friends what resources they love to use and compiled a hearty list of the best of the best.

Check them out and let us know on Twitter if you have others you’d suggest!

File Resources

The Noun Project
The Noun Project’s goal is to “simplify communication across borders and around the world,” by making it easier to find exactly the right icon to communicate an idea. If you’re as into the idea of returning to hieroglyphics as we are, you’ll love the Noun Project.

Fribble
Free resources from Dribble. Get it? Cute name aside, this is a great resource with an incredibly deep catalogue. Designing a Taco Tuesday flyer and need a vector file of tacos? Yep, that’s a thing.

Graphic Burger
“Free Mock-ups, UI kits, Icons, Text Effects, Backgrounds, and more!” Sound familiar? Yeah, there are a ton of these sites out there now so it can be hard to tell them all apart. Graphic Burger is cool because their UI is clean and easy to navigate, and they have more exclusive stuff you won’t find on other sites.

Sketch App Sources
If you design in Sketch, put Sketch App Resources in your Fav 5. Seriously, you’re going to spend a lot of time on here. It can help cut a lot of the grunt work out of your process and let you focus on the subtleties that will differentiate your designs. Either that or it’ll do your job for you. Whatever.

Blue Graphic
If you’re looking for graphics, templates, mockups, icons, or fonts erring on the hip/modern/trendy side, this site is awesome. You’ll find some really beautiful designs that will stand out in a crowd.

Pixeden
Resources from free sites are usually pretty good, but quality isn’t a guarantee. With Pixeden it is. Pay between $6 and $10 per month (depending on how long you sign up for) and you’re guaranteed high quality. Their offerings are a bit more limited, but as a paying member, you can actually request designs if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Show it Better
Looking for an Apple device on a rustic wooden table with an espresso somewhere in frame? So is everyone else. Show it Better’s got you covered.

Color

Adobe Color
If you read this blog and haven’t already used and potentially bookmarked Adobe Color, I’d be shocked, but no list like this would be complete without it. Incredible resource for finding just the right color combinations.

Colour Lovers
Excuse their miserable UI because you can actually find some great color inspiration here. Palettes are user submitted and voted on, so you can easily find the cream of the crop.

Flat UI Colors
We all know that feeling when you find a color you love, but it just doesn’t look right when you incorporate it into a design. Sometimes it pays to limit your options from the start and only choose from colors that will look good in a flat UI. Flat UI Colors can help with that. (Fun fact- clicking a color will automatically copy it’s color code to your clipboard!)

Inspiration

Spotify
Is Spotify a design resource? No. But is listening to Anderson .Paak going to help you make some cool stuff? Absolutely.

Brain Pickings
Curated by the total bad a** Maria Popova, Brain Pickings is a must read for any creative professional. Maria gets that inspiration comes from any and everywhere, so this blog is focused on highlighting creative inputs, not just celebrating the outputs.

Awwwards
Awwwards is a great way to keep a pulse on what the leaders of web design are doing. You’ll find the most progressive sites and designers being celebrated here for their incredible work.

Dribbble
Dribbble. Need I say more? While it’s great success may have hindered their original mission to be a place where people feel comfortable sharing work and process, it’s still an incredible place to explore what web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers and logo designers from around the world are doing.

Niice
A design-centric pinterest board you can share with your team. Sounds pretty awesome, right? It is a great resource to keep track of things that inspire you as well as be able to draw from the same resources as your team.

Skills

Skillshare
As designers, we should always to sharpening our skills. Maybe it’s a new tool that’s all the rage, or a process you’re unfamiliar with, chances are, Skillshare has an expert teaching a class on it. From calligraphy to coding, you can find it on Skillshare. At $15 a month (less if you pay for a year upfront), it’s a worthy expense for novice or seasoned designers.

Lynda
Lynda is the OG tutorial site and still one of the best out there. Lynda can teach you InDesign, Flash, coding, layout design, typography, printing techniques, project management, and business solutions, among others. If you’re a manager, look into getting a membership for your whole team- they offer good business deals.

General Assembly
Whether you’re looking to start an entirely new career, brush up on some skills, or just run some elbows, General Assembly is a great resource for designers. Check out their site for full time classes, part time classes, networking events and interesting speaker series. Stay woke y’all.

Stock Images

Unsplash
Unsplash is always my first stop when looking for free stock images. Their selection isn’t the widest out there, but they are very high quality. They also have great curated collections by names like Nasa, Trello, Apple, and InVision. Pretty cool, ehh?

Stock Snap
Another great resource for free images. A lot of the images on Stock Snap have that very staged, stock photo feel, but somehow avoid feeling cheesy.

Pexels
After browsing Pexels, you’ll wonder why anyone pays for stock images anymore. They currently offer over 30,000 free stock photos and add at least 3,000 new high resolution photos every month.

Typography

Fonts in Use
Fonts in Use is an incredible resource for inspiration and education when it comes to typefaces. Users upload images in which a relatively common and identifiable typeface in use, and either they, or the Fonts in Use staff will help identify what the font is. How they sustain this free operation, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s incredible.

Typewolf
Typewolf is great because they highlight beautiful font combinations, not simply individual typeface families. They take a designers perspective to text and communication, not a typography officionado’s.

Font Squirrel
Font Squirrel is the be-all end-all of font sites. They have an incredible breadth of options, all for free. Some more premium typefaces will only have a couple fonts available for free download, but it’s a great place to hunt down that typeface you’re looking for.

Will FletcherComment