Finding innovative ways to get your work done isn’t always easy. The only true way to find your groove is to start doing things and refine your solution. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.
One of the biggest advantages a designer can have is access to the right resources. No matter how good you are, you can’t do it all alone. For beginners and experienced web designers alike it’s important to always look for better tools to develop your craft.
Fortunately there are tons of free online resources to help web designers to get inspired and boost productivity. We have selected 21 of our favorite FREE online resources that help designers be their best. I like to use these resources to make good use of Multi-Purpose WordPress Themes and get ideas for my own templates.
General Design Resources
It’s important to understand every line of code if you want to be a decent developer, but it isn’t practical to go through thousands of lines of code every time you build a site. Once you realize you need something you will often find better ways to get things done.
WordPress is so popular with designers because it saves time and money. Even if you are the living breathing embodiment of proficiency and inspiration, sometimes we all get stuck.
Instead of reinventing the wheel and spending 3 months coding a responsive site from scratch, you can use all the powerful resources to design sites that are just as good if not better than one built from the ground up.
Freebbble – There are tons of free UI’s, PSD files, Icon sets backgrounds, mockups and more here. As I am writing this there are over 240 pages of freebies for you to checkout to help you build cool sites and add to your templates.
Graphicburger – Another very cool site that offers some delicious treats for all you designers and would be developers. Get some really professional mockups, photos, font bundles, icons and more.
Freepik – This search engine fetches you free vectors, PSD files, Icons, photos and more. This is great for making 2D animations and building infographics.
Dribbble – Designers love Dribbble and it’s growing in popularity every day. Type in “freebie” in the search box and you can browse through a ton of free design resources. This is also a great place share and learn with other designers.
Inspiration is often the difference between something acceptable and something amazing. Even the most inexperienced website visitors can see the difference between something inspired and something that was put together with no care at all. After all, everybody’s a critic right? Getting motivated means that you are excited about what you do.
One of the most important parts of my creative process involves finding new and interesting content that peak my interest. I feed off of this and once again get excited about what I am doing. Getting started and planning out your work is often the hardest part of any project.
After this everything sort of falls into place. This gives me the energy and drive to push through those times when I get writer’s block or I just can’t look at another layered PSD file to save my life.
Codecanyon – Browse from nearly 14,000 scripts and snippets. Checkout themes and purchase plugins on one of the biggest markets around.
Themeforest – You can easily get lost in this forest. With over 20,000 templates to look at, you can see the latest trends in the market and apply those ideas to your WordPress website.
Gomoodboard – Get in the mood to create here. You can share and view different designers’ favorite logo designs from freelancers around the world.
Behance – Here you can get tons of ideas for digital design. Checkout other people’s illustrations, branding ideas, digital art and more. There is a lot of really creative stuff to look at here.
Photographs are obviously one of the most integral parts of web design today. Finding and purchasing quality stock photos can come at a hefty price, especially for those newer to the business like myself. I’m guilty of putting up some pretty poor images on some of my sites, mostly due to time constraints or lack of capitol. Many times I get stuck using Google or Flickr images that are free to reuse and modify.
I’m happy to say that thanks to the growing number of free stock photography sites I no longer have to settle for crappy images. There are lots of great sites popping up to help people find hi quality photographs to add to their sites absolutely free.
AllTheFreeStock – Get plenty of free photos to build websites, brand products and advertising ideas.
Pexels – Get some really stunning photographs from pexels. There are plenty of wonderful photos of nature, technology, people and more.
Lifeofpix – These hi quality, hi resolution photos are free and great for background images.
DeathtoStock – Besides having an ominous name, this site provides a wide variety of hi res images to choose from. Go premium and get even more.
Having a nice library of icons to draw from is always a great way to make your website standout. Often times you can look at a web designer’s portfolio and you will see the same icons used over and over for every site they built.
If you find that you are having this problem, it’s time to add some variety to the mix. You should create your own icons whenever possible, but there’s not always time to do so. Checkout the following sites to find some appealing icons that can make your site stand out. You can also use these sites to learn how to make your own icons.
Flat Icon – Get from a very large database of flat icons to use on your site.
Endless Icons – Browse this site to find hundreds of basic icons to use for any purpose.
GlyphSearch – Search from a huge selection of vectors to use on your website.
When communicating with text it’s important to put things in context. Typography encompasses more than just typography. It is text and space around it, symbols and the alignment of the characters. No matter what kind of site you are building, typography makes a big difference in user experience. You don’t have to dive too deep into the world of graphic design to find some really cool fonts to make your typography fit the content.
If you are putting up a magazine site or a blogging site, consider checking out the free sites below to get some ideas to bring out your text. You’d be surprised how big of a difference typography you can makes. It can aid in telling your stories and add some more personality to your posts. We have a few awesome sites for all you font freaks to checkout.
FontFaceNinja – This handy web browser extension lets you find out what fonts are used on the page you are viewing. Download and try your favorites, then if you are happy purchase them.
1001freefonts – This is your one stop shop for free fonts. I love using this site to get new fonts for photoshop. For only 20 bucks you can download 10,000 free fonts! Definitely worth it.
Dafont – This one has been around for quite some time and is an ever growing resource to find great fonts. Search by look to add the right personality to your project.
The internet is a constant source of distraction. I know some people have separate machines only for working just for this reason, which is a great idea. The party never ends on social media sites and it can be easy to get stuck down the rabbit hole browsing the latest news, checking your Instagram page or just surfing clickbait.
This is especially hard after you have been working long hours and haven’t slept, when your willpower is at an all-time low. While it’s best to discipline yourself without any crutches, here are a couple tools to keep you on track.
21 Habit – This one may be a little harsh, but if you have the extra cash it may be worth it. This app helps you keep good habits within a $21 and 21 day time limit. You can use this for something like not checking Facebook while you are working. Check in once a day and forfeit $1 to charity every day you fail. This works really well if you pick a charity you don’t really want to donate to.
StayFocused – If you use Chrome a lot (I do), you can use this add on to turn off time wasting websites. Restrict certain sites or only allow certain sites for the allotted time period you choose.
I hope you enjoy this list of free tools. Don’t forget to share them with your friends and let us know your favorite resources and web design tools. You can really trick out any WordPress Theme or website with these handy, free resources. Have fun and get inspired!