15 Helpful Resources for Graphic Designers
This is a list of 15 helpful resources for graphic designers, which I use myself, I have been using these over the past few years. In the future this is a list that can easily be added to as more useful stuff is found on the mighty inter-web. I hope the information is helpful and would appreciate your feedback of any tools, advice and useful things you have also found.
First up ‘Montserrat’ – A quality Google font. Whilst building a website last month I came across this font. I found it to be clear and crisp for web pages, its weight is slightly heavier which works well for body text and heading. If you’re needing a website or designing one in WordPress which has options to use Google fonts, which are becoming more available, then I recommend this one. Check it out here. Why else do I pick out this font? well apart from it being free it is a close match to the very popular Gotham font which is used quite widely with designers. Doing a search for similar fonts to Gotham, Montserrat stands up well I think, a great alternative.
Techspot – Discovered this site looking for a particular software. They have lots of resources available including technical forums, feature articles on gaming, hardware and mobile, tips and tricks and more. I have done a bit of research and people give them good reviews. They provide simple downloads which are available without the threat of viruses. Make sure you do a bit of research yourself though and double check.
Goo Create – Are you needing Interactive 3D visuals? Goo Create provides the resources needed for you to put together WebGL games, animations and web apps. You can begin to learn how to do all this for free. They also have various courses available which start at Beginner, intermediate and Expert. Make sure you check out their website as there are some really cool examples of what you could potentially create.
Font Reach – A very simple but insightful tool to use to find the most popular fonts that are used across the web. Any guesses what number 1 is?
BrandColors – This is such a handy online tool, you can pretty much find any brands hex colour. Its an alphabetical resource. If you want to copy the hex just simply highlight the number, copy and away you go. I find this very handy when creating social icons for websites.
Flat Design – A big trend at the moment which is evolving as we speak. But is it all its cracked up to be? This article goes into its advantages but also how it can go to far. It even highlights how Microsoft might have over done flat design simplicity with Windows 8+. I have found this helpful when designing psd’s for websites.
Textures & Patterns – Sometimes you just need I nice simple texture or pattern to use as a background on a website or piece of design, in your colour of choice of course. Transparent textures is a fantastic website where you can pick and choose your design, make it the hex colour you need and then download it or create a wallpaper from it. Brilliant!
PSD Mockups – We all love to use a psd mockup design and even create our own. Trouble is there is so many websites to choose such designs. This one blog post has over 1000 Free Mockups, covering every platform from iphones to billboards, bottles to crisp packets, look no further for PSD mockups.
CMYK ⇢ PANTONE – If you are needing to convert a CMYK colour for printing purposes this website is a useful resource. Just punch in the figures and you will be presented with a list of equivalents for a given CMYK process color.
Text Symbols – Fsymbols is a really handy website that gives you all sorts of social, keyboard, emoji, letter and text symbols to use on your website or printed copy. Just click on what you need and it will copy it for you to paste where you need it. I’m always coming back to this site when adding copyright and trade mark symbols for websites.
Font use in general – I think this is an area that can easily be overlooked. Don’t get caught out when using fonts you may have downloaded from the web from such sites as da.font and font archive. If your using them for personal use then it shouldn’t be a problem but for a website or any other commercial work check the licence. Sometimes a font will be worth buying on behalf of a client as long as you know you can use it again and it’s part of your branding where a commercial licence will certainly be necessary. One free resource I always find myself going back to is font squirrel. They dont have endless amounts of fonts but here you will find quality over quantity.
Colour Palettes – Before starting any branding project you need an appropriate colour palette. Colour Lovers is the perfect place to find what you need. Browse their categories or punch in a hex colour for the website to return lots of results to choose from. If you your stuck for some inspiration this is the place to go.
PSD Repair – A simple piece of software to restore any corrupted psd files that you may have. A recent find which has come in useful. It looks the part as well however not created by Adobe.
Blogging – The more I read successful blogs the more I find that there is one resounding thing they all have in common. They are passionate about what they are writing about. Whether it comes from several individuals or one person writing the blog posts. They are not necessarily trying to sell something but just informing and helping others in whatever their niche is. So if ever you want to start writing a blog then look at your interests and passions then go from there. If your blog isn’t something you’re passionate about then forget it. I have made the mistake of writing about something I had no interest in and it failed. Don’t make that same mistake. By starting from your passion you can then inform and help others whilst also maybe making some cash.
I hope this article was helpful. Please leave comments below of your own discoveries.