Top 10 FREE design resource and inspiration sites!
My own personal list of favorite design sites.
The combination of these sites will offer designers a world of knowledge, inspiration, and resource.
My absolute favorite design resource site. This site has been around for many years now, so it has amassed a wealth of “freebie” materials. It provides blogs, fonts, design inspiration, tutorials, vector stuff, Photoshop brushes, Flash… you name it, it has it! The quality of their resources is also really high.
I know enough HTML and CSS to get by. However, I freely admit to being a print guy. When it comes to web design, I need all the help I can get. That’s why I’ve found oswd an invaluable resource as a practical and inspirational resource (Don’t be put-off by the ‘minimalist’ look of the site.)
If you’ve ever designed a logo then I’m almost certain that you will have visited this site from time-to-time. It has such a huge catalogue of logo designs to be inspired by. It’s also a great site to promote your logo designs to the world.
Now, there are many font resource sites that will provide you with an array of modern fonts. We have already made reference to Dafont on this blog site – probably the best free font resource site on the web. However, my favorite site for “all things typographical” is, I love typography. It’s really well written and the contributors are often freakishly obsessed by the intricate nuances of type.
This is not a font resource site but it will certainly show you how to design your own text and how to use fonts effectively.
Of the many sites devoted to vector resources, Vecteezy is probably the most popular. It’s been around for quite a while now, so it’s been able to build quite an extensive library of free vector resources. It’s kind of a mish-mash of vector stuff – skulls, web buttons, patterns, etc, but I have found it really useful for vector shapes and objects (there is also a Brusheezy – free brushes for Photoshop users.)
Truly awesome site for Photoshop users.If you want to improve your Photoshop techniques and learn some insane Photoshop skills, then this is the site for you. I consider myself a pretty advanced Photoshop designer, but my skills often pale in comparison with the genius Photoshop artists who post tutorials on this site.
If you love Photoshop then you’ll love this site!
I couldn’t create a list of my favorite design sites without mentioning Deviant Art! Saying that I “love deviant art” is a slightly controversial statement within the design community because of its “open door” nature –anyone can join the site and display their work to a massive audience. It represents the “scribbles” and “scratchings” of very poor artists as well as the most amazing feats of design brilliance from some of the planets most talented artists. It is both awful and inspirational at the same time – that’s what makes it so good!
With Deviant Art, artists and designers have found a place where they can gain recognition from their peers. Designers love nothing more than for other artists to tell them how great their artwork is…this is the place to do it. This is not so much a portfolio site as a “look how great I am” site.
It also has resources; stock photos, brushes, blogs, vector files, etc. However, it’s all a crapshoot! The quality of resource materials often reflects the fact that anyone can join and distribute material!
This is the best free stock site out there! It searches the free stock contents from multiple stock sites, such as, Flckr and Stock Xchng. Because it’s free stock, the content is often a little “amateurish”, but overall it’s a brilliant resource. If only for the sheer volume of search results that it provides. It’s no Getty images, but what do you want for free!!?
This is a great portfolio site for college leavers and other freelance print designers to display their work in a really professional way without having to possess any HTML coding experience. It gives you a choice of different portfolio views and colors and you can even build your own custom portfolio (here is a link to my own custom gallery of design and artwork)
Ever considered putting your work on a t-shirt and trying to flog it? There are so many t-shirt sites that will give you money for your designs but they are nearly all trashy, money-grabbing outfits! Threadless, however, is a seriously cool site that sells seriously good t-shirts! If you think that you have a great t-shirt idea, then you can earn up to $22,500 for it!
The only problem is that the standard of design is ludicrously high. I’ve had quite a few designs rejected before they even got to the voting stage! If the webmasters at Threadless like your design, it will be displayed in the judging area and given marks out of 5 by the rest of the Threadless community. Trust me, it’s really hard to get a score of over 2! The judging is fierce! Even if you get a lot of high votes, it’s not certain that your t-shirt will be sold on the site! (Why do you reject me so, Threadless? Curse you! I love you Threadless…but I hate you too!)
Whether you submit a design to Threadless or not, it is still a great site for design inspiration.
This concludes my design site list. Feel free to send us your own list if you would like to share your own favorite sites.