Nifty Services We’re Too Proud To Use

We’re all designers, right? We look at the current trends, break them when we can, and we try our best to make our work look great. In the backdraft of this are the would be designers that just don’t cut it. The ones that can’t do a gradient logo with reflection in Photoshop. That’s fine, not all need to be able to do that.

Web 2.0 Spyre Mag LogoWhat gets me off is when they use a web 2.0 logo parody service to create their logo. Not so common anymore, I’m happy to say, but I saw it in a Swedish blog recently, which I won’t link to since I already told the writer what I thought about it, with the best intentions of course.

Making Your Life Easier?

That got me thinking. There’s a lot of online services out there that can make your life as a designer a bit easier. Most of them are more a novelty than an actual option when doing a design, but they might save you some time when playing around with different styles, elements, and backgrounds. In fact, you might end up using a slightly revamped version of an online generated graphic, although I bet you won’t tell anyone since you’re too proud to admit it.

Striped backgrounds to boxes, full pages, or whatnot is probably the most common ‘web 2.0‘ service available online. The best I’ve seen is the Stripe Generator, which actually can come in handy if you need a quick simple striped background and just don’t have time to fiddle in Photoshop. At times I use it when doing mockups, although most final designs won’t use it.

Stripes are general enough for you to get away with using an online service like this. Services like Tartan Maker, from the same developer, is not as useful, actually more of a novelty. One tiled background service I have actually used is BgPatterns. It comes in handy in mockups, especially when showing various ways to do backgrounds to clients that are completely web-unsavvy. You know the ones, when you say background they’ll say wallpaper or window or something completely unrelated that makes sure that you’ll misunderstand each other!

The problem with tiled patterns mimicking a tapestry is that the amount of images that can be used are limited, which means that some people will know where you made the background (you lazy bugger). That’s a bit embarrassing as a designer, right?

TinyTags - SpyreMagYes, it is, I admit it. It shouldn’t be, perhaps, but it is. I have yet to use a BgPattern background in a design, even when it might actually be good enough with it. Pride is a silly thing sometimes, I guess.

Finally, I found Tinytags yesterday, and completely love it! In a way it is the ideal designer online app because you can use it to just spice up an image. It’s not the eye-catcher, like the tiled background, so it is almost OK to use.

Almost. That pride thing, you know.

Your Turn To Talk

What do you think? Can you use online generated graphics like this in designs? Would you do it? Do you have any sites that are essential to your design work? Share them in the comments!


  1. says

    One of my buddies is always talking about your blog at work – finally came and checked it out today, nice work! I’m subscribing to your rss feed – keep on posting!

  2. says

    nice tools, but i agree with using these. i think i wont use them exept for some style testing to the custommer. thanks for posting

  3. says

    Yip maybe it is a pride thing, but these services just freak me out. They never really give me what I want – so creating it from scratch is usually the case.

  4. says

    The stripe generator is actually quite awesome. I create quite a few striped bg’s in Photoshop, but with a simple task like this, it’s just so quick to make subtle changes.

    I think most of these resources can be very helpful, especially when creating wireframes and mockups for clients. You can quickly generate something just for the illustration purposes.

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