My Top Secret List of Design Resources
Okay, I might have fooled you a little with the title, it's not that top secret! There is so much out there in the world wide web these days that sometimes it can be hard to know where to start and when you do, it’s difficult to know what is actually worth your time. Here are a few of my favourite tried and tested resources to help with all of your design tasks!
Icons are one of my favourite things to design at the moment, but there are times when I don’t really know the right thing to use to convey the message, or I just need a little bit of inspiration to get me started, and these are my favourite places to go for those things!
Dribbble is a great website for inspiration in general, but I find it the most useful for browsing icon and digital illustration design. I never leave dribbble feeling uninspired and motivated to create amazing illustrations so it’s generally one of my go-to places, mostly for style inspiration.
The Noun Project
The Noun Project is where I go to find what I should actually design an icon of. If I know I need to design an icon for “process” for example, I can see a whole bunch of examples of existing icons for “process” and be inspired from those! I take inspiration from these and make my own icons, but you can download and use the Noun Project icons for free with credit, or pay to use them without credit!
If you’re designing for Android, chances are you’ll be using Google’s Material Design principles and design aesthetic. Material Design has a particular style of icons and actually has a lot of existing icons for you to use! Just search or browse their list of icons, choose what size and file format and you’re good to go!
My job is as a UX and UI Designer, and often there are things that would just take forever to create, but I have found the solution! If you use Sketch to design websites and/or apps, Sketch App Sources is the place for you! Again, I usually design things by myself to try and be original, but for things like iOS menu bars, or Material Design keyboards, the free downloads here are a lifesaver! Just download, open up and off you go!
I mentioned Google’s Material Design principles earlier, and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry, Google has you covered! Their online guidelines introduce the concept and take you through everything that you need to know. They show you the way to use colour, typefaces, interactions, layouts and heaps more! Obviously you don’t have to stick exactly to these things, but the guidelines give you an amazing framework to get started and familiarise yourself with the principles.
If you’re new to user experience design or just want to keep up with the latest news and trends, UXPin have a great library of original, free eBooks to download. They are easy reads and some are quite quick too. Great for reading on the plane or the bus or on your lunch break!
One of the most frustrating things being a designer is finding good photographs. As I said earlier, (I’m sorry to keep repeating it) I like to create original content as much as possible, but sometimes I don’t have the resources to do that, and I need to find some stock images. Stock images are notoriously cringy or require some payment to find decent ones, but not anymore! Thestocks.im is my go-to place for free, high quality stock images and I use it all the time! It’s a repository of different websites that you can navigate through and find what works for you. My favourite is Unsplash, but you can browse them all and find what you need!
Feeling uninspired? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I get it too and I’m sure other creatives do too! Here are my top places to go for a top up of inspiration!
Some people think pinterest is just for Mums, wedding planners and crafty people, but I am here to tell you that is wrong! Pinterest is actually awesome for design! If you head over to my pinterest account, you can see that I have boards for different aspects of design, as well as some other fun stuff like clothes and food! It’s a great way to find inspiration and gather it into separate places so it’s easy to come back to later when you need some poster design inspo, or business card inspo!
Behance is not only a great place to host your portfolio if you don’t have your own website, but it’s also great for finding great work. Unlike Pinterest where there can be some kind or average stuff, Behance is full of amazing work! Just search for posters, or books, or websites or whatever you’re looking for, and prepare to be amazed! I get inspired and motivated all the time from Behance, and you can also create collections here too, just like the pinterest boards!
Siteinspire is a great place to find inspiration specific to web design. These are some of the best web designs out there so enjoy!
Gridness is awesome for you editorial/typography/book design lovers out there who need some grid inspiration! These works all feature solid, beautiful grid systems and you can see how much it works!
Typographic posters is exactly what the name suggests! Creating a typographic poster and need some inspiration? What better place to go?!
Mockups can be quite time-consuming and complicated to create sometimes, and there are a lot of awesome ones out there already that you can use for free! Graphic Burger has a lot of cool ones that are free to use and ready to go!
Feeling stuck on what colours to use - Adobe Color CC is here to help! It’s a fun tool to create new colour palettes which you can store in your CC Library and use in all your Adobe programmes. There’s also an iOS app so that you can get creative on the go!
There are so many free fonts out there but some of them are just rubbish! These, however, are not! Every year, there is a list of the 100 greatest free fonts, categorised into serif, sans serif, display etc for easy browsing! I have used so many of these typefaces and I can’t wait for the 2016 list!
If it’s motivation you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place! Both Designlife.fm and the Seanwes podcast are my favourite podcasts to listen to to get me super motivated and inspired to do great things! Designlife.fm is presented by two of my favourite people who talk about, you guessed it, design life! Seanwes talks about design in a more business-centred way and if it doesn’t motivate you to dream big and chase your goals, then I don’t know what will!
So that was my quick-fire list of favourite resources that I use the most often and have worked out great for me! I hope that you find them helpful and I’d love to hear of any resources that you have found useful too that I can add to my collection! Enjoy!
Much love, Hollie! :D