Let’s face it, no matter how brilliant and outside the box your designs are you can’t possibly create a stand-out web design if you don’t have the right tools and resources. You need the hardware, design software, current e-books, and a few subscriptions to top-notch educational resources in order to make a website and stay current. And let’s not forget stock images, vectors, premium fonts, icons, brushes, and so on.
That can get really expensive, right? The costs for designers to keep the lights on can be staggering and discouraging too.
Well don’t throw in the towel just yet. We’re here to share a handful of the very best free online resources that can make your life easier without breaking the bank or compromising on quality.
1. The Pixel Perfect Precision Handbook The Pixel Perfect Precision Handbook was created by ustwo, a digital design agency. The popular e-book was first published in 2010 and has been updated every year since then. It teaches you all the nitty gritty details of how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as covers pixel perfect design principles, including Users, Motion, and Prototyping.
2. EnvatoTuts+ Envato is a hugely popular educational website for web developers and designers. And for good reason too. You can find everything from video footage to plugins to WordPress themes. They even have a hiring platform for freelance designers. Need a design tutorial? They have more than 21,000 from which to choose!
3. InVision Need a prototyping and collaboration tool? InVision has your back with a powerful commenting system that allows team members, stakeholders, or clients to collaborate more easily using notifications and most importantly, version control.
4. Adobe Edge Web Fonts We are not going to tell you how important good typography is to web designers. That would be preaching to the choir. What we will say is Adobe Edge Web Fonts should be high up on the list of where to get free fonts on the web. With 503 pages of fonts, you are sure to find the one that has just the right mix of personality, alignment, kerning, tracking, size, and more.
5. Pexels In a perfect world every designer would use unique, custom-made images on all their projects. Imagery so stunning that visitors wouldn’t be able to look away. Sadly, we live in the real world where there simply is not always time (or money) to create those images. Enter Pexels, a free stock image site which offers high-quality images with different attribution categories.
6. Unsplash This Montreal-based company started off as a side project that was put together using a cheap Tumblr theme and some extra shots from a photoshoot. However, it quickly grew to becoming one of the most popular sources for high quality, open source photographs available on the web.
7. DryIcons Need to add a unique touch to your call to action or list? You’re going to want to bookmark DryIcons for use on your next project. You will find that it is very easy to use.
8. Brusheezy Before you leave that bookmark menu, don’t forget to add Brusheezy to your list for free Photoshop brushes and PSDs!
9. Awwwards Every designer feels a little creatively tapped out now and again. The best cure for that is to have a place to go for inspiration. You know, to get those creative juices flowing again before your deadline approaches. Awwards regularly showcase some of the most unique and interesting design work you will ever see. They also score highly for creativity, usability, and overall content.
10. Behance No list would be complete without Behance. They have been showcasing creative designers of all fields since 2006. Just like Awwwards, you can share your work with other awesome creative folks, as well as get yourself hired by any number of companies that come there looking for the very best in design. If you want to stand out in the crowd of designers fighting for jobs,
Behance is the place to go to find inspiration.
Not enough for you?
The fine folks at Elegant Themes has compiled a list of the 55 Web Design Blogs to Follow in 2016, which you should totally bookmark if you are looking for a giant list of exquisite design sources to follow. We highly recommend keeping the resource pinned in your bookmarks for easy referencing.
After you have invested in the very best software and hardware, you need to work your creative magic (like Photoshop). There’s no need to spend your hard earned cash on expensive design resources when there are so many free places to choose from.Not all free online resources for designers are worth your time, but these 10 should be an excellent start as you’re building a list of places to mine for good design elements.