Are you looking for the ultimate list for design resources online?
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect pattern, the finest font, and the coolest color combo. What if you could bookmark one page that contained all of the design resources and references you’ll need?
That’s this page. Don’t worry, Princess, you won’t have to kiss any frogs here. On this page, you’ll find the best resources on the web (and we’ll continue to update this list and keep it fresh). Whether you’re looking for podcasts or image inspiration, YouTube videos or design communities, we’ve got you covered. We scoured the ‘net to find the best and brightest resources available.
And, this is an active conversation. If you know of a resource that must be added to this list, let us know in the comments below! Be sure to bookmark this list and share it on your social media communities.
Or, quick jump to each section:
Color Inspiration Image Inspiration Icons Textures & Patterns Backgrounds Vectors & Illustrations Fonts Design Podcasts Youtube Design Tutorials Design Education Design Communities Project Management Tools Image Formatting
01. Color Inspiration
Finding the perfect color can be maddening. There are so many different shades and so many different color combos. We recently shared 100 brilliant color combinations here, but if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these resources:
- Flat UI Color Picker – For flat design, this resource can’t be beat. Easily make a selection by color category.
- ColourLovers – ColourLovers is an active community of color enthusiasts. Browse the community to find fresh and exciting color combos.
- Material Palette – Beautiful interface and winning color choices that help bring your next material design concept to life.
- Color By Hailpixel – Dead simple and so wonderful. Simply hover left and right across the screen to find the right hue. Hover up and down for lightness. Scroll up and down to set your saturation.
- Coolors – An automatic color generator that allows you to refine temperature, color, brightness, and saturation at the click of a button. It’s speedy and easy to use.
- ColRD – Go here to grab quick visual inspiration for your upcoming project. Search by color, gradient, palette, pattern, or image to find the piece that excites you. ColRD is like a cross between Pinterest and Coolors.
- Color Hunter – Want to make a color palette from your image? Use Color Hunter to find the top five colors inside your image.
- BrandColors – Do you admire a brand’s color scheme? Use this site to hunt down the exact colors of the brands you love.
- ColorKit – ColorKit makes it easy to change colors with one click. It’s an awesome way to organize your projects and simplify your workflow.
- TinEye Labs – Have you ever come across the perfect color combo and wanted to find an image to match? TinEye searches 20 million Creative Commons images from Flickr to find free photos that perfectly match your color scheme.
02. Image Inspiration
No one designs by themselves. As creatives, we’re constantly referring to others– it’s how we progress the art. Take a look at these sites, featuring designs that are absolutely beautiful to behold:
- Awwwards – This site showcases and awards the most innovative and talented web designers in the industry.
- Favourite Website Awards (FWA) – Similar to Awwwards, FWA is a collection of amazing website designs.
- Dribbble – Branded with the tagline “show and tell for designers,” Dribbble is where creatives can find quick hits of inspiration from fellow graphic designers, illustrators, and many more.
- Behance – Being a portfolio site that’s open to all, Behance has lot of accessible inspiration creatives can search and explore.
- Typespiration – If you love typography as much as I do, you’ll find yourself right at home on this site. Come here for inspirational font combos and web safe font families.
- Niice.co – Simply search for your design muse or be inspired by curated images on the front page.
- DesignTAXI – Looking for the latest news in design? Find your way to DesignTAXI for current trends in product design, video, and more.
- Twibfy – Just start typing to locate the ideas that excite you. Find something you want to investigate further? View the source with one click.
- Logopond – A showcase of some of the best logo designs you’ll ever see (except for the ones you create yourself).
- Designspiration – A cleanly designed and addictive resource where you simply start typing to narrow your results.
- Captain Icon – Over 350 vector icons ready for the downloading. Use them in your personal and commercial projects, just be sure to credit.
- Canva – Did you know that we offer a huge library of free icons for your design projects? Oh, and no attribution needed.
- NounProject – Slick interface, high quality icons, and affordable prices make NounProject a must-click choice. If the budget’s tight, just pay with attribution.
- Medialoot – Thousands of icons and many are free. Sort by type or keywords.
- GraphicBurger – At GraphicBurger, you’ll find unique and colorful icons from around the web.
- Psddd.co – Go here for a wide selection of icons you can’t find anywhere else, including animated icons.
- Dbfreebies.co – Here, you’ll find the best freebie icon sets from Dribbble and Behance.
- Iconfinder – Browse through over half a million icons.
- Flaticon – From the makers of Freepik, Flaticon provides free, beautifully done flat icons. Attribution is required.
- Iconmonstr – Looking for no-attribution flat icons? Check out the smaller, but still high quality, offerings from Iconmonstr.
04. Textures & Patterns
Nothing adds dimension to a design quite like textures and patterns. We’ve showcased 50 gorgeous geometric patterns that you should definitely check out, and here’s a collection of awesome patterns for you to use:
- Squidfingers – With over 150 different patterns, Squidfingers offers an impressive array of repeating patterns.
- Brusheezy – Textures and patterns that are free to download. Link back with use.
- CG Textures – This site is bare bones but easy to find what you’re looking for.
- Subtle Patterns – Subtle Patterns is just that. You may need to squint to see the delicate detail, and that’s what gives your images quiet dimension.
- TextureMate – Featuring bricks, bokeh, bark, and everything you need to create a dynamic background.
- TextureLib – Thousands of images and easy to search.
- The Pattern Library – Simply scroll through to find free patterns to use in your design. Beautiful, colorful, and high quality.
- Pattern Cooler – Need a seamless pattern for your design? This is the place to go.
- DinPattern – Well done and easy to preview your patterns before downloading.
- Pattern8 – Unique patterns that you can sort by color.
Do you know how to make your designs shine? We’ve discussed how to create the perfect background, and here are the top resources to find free and premium backgrounds you’ll love.
- Freepik – Find all the backgrounds your heart desires (over 13,000 and counting) for free.
- Pixabay – Plenty of amazing photographic backgrounds to choose from.
- Free PSD Files – Find brilliant abstract backgrounds along with stunning silhouettes and many more.
- Template.net – This resource has over 100 HD backgrounds, many of which are free.
- Vector.Me – Over 100 pages of free vector backgrounds.
- Vecteezy – Find over 4000 free vector backgrounds.
- Polygons – Looking for the perfect polygon background? Behance to the rescue. Check out these lovely background designs, most of them free for your own use.
- Geometric Backgrounds – Need even more geometric backgrounds? This super pack of 530 backgrounds is available for a commercial license fee of $14. You can also download 100 backgrounds for personal use absolutely free.
- GraphicsFuel – From grunge to watercolor, GraphicsFuel has a wide selection of backgrounds you’ll love.
- Vector BG – Find interesting 3D, abstract, and business backgrounds for your projects.
06. Vectors & Illustrations
Vectors make my heart sing. And illustrations can make my heart leap from my chest, especially these 50 Gorgeously Illustrated Typography Quotes. If you need vectors or illustrations for your design, check out these excellent resources:
- Freepik – Freepik is an exhaustingly huge vector and illustration library, featuring absolutely free graphics (attribution is required). If you can’t find it on Freepik, it can’t be found.
- Canva – Another shoutout to Canva. Our artists have created absolutely unique designs that you won’t see elsewhere.
- Pixel Buddha – Looking for free and premium resources you won’t find anywhere else? Include Pixel Buddha on your loop.
- Free Vector Maps – Eventually, you’ll need a vector map. When that time comes, visit this awesome site.
- FreeVectors.net – A site that loves freebies and curates vectors from all over the net.
- Vector4free – Need backgrounds, icons, or graphic elements? Check out this oldie but goodie.
- GreatVectors – Fantastic resource for all things vectors, including infographics, barcodes, backgrounds, and mockups.
- Vecteezy – Find absolutely free vector art for use in your personal and commercial design. Attribution is required.
- Free Vector Archive – Another fun site for free vector and graphic design elements.
I love fonts the way some people love shoes. We did a guide on font pairing that you can check out here. Also, don’t forget to check out Awwwards for a roundup of the 100 greatest fonts of 2015.
- DaFont – Try out the fonts before you buy with the intuitive preview option.
- Font Squirrel – Fonts here are handpicked and free. Plus, all fonts here are 100% free for commercial use.
- Creative Market – Aside from graphic elements, Creative Market is also a leading fontshop with some of the best typography on the web.
- MediaLoot – Use MediaLoot to find the perfect graphic and font. Find a wide variety of free and premium fonts here.
- FreebiesBug – FreebiesBug offers a curated list of fonts from around the web.
- FontFace Ninja – Ever come across a font on a website and you just had to know the name of it? That’s where FontFace Ninja comes in. Add a bookmarklet or an extension on Chrome and Safari.
- KevinAndAmanda – Looking for cute handwriting or scrapbooking fonts? Kevin and Amanda have you covered.
- FontSpace – Almost 27,000 fonts and growing, FontSpace offers beautiful and free fonts for your projects.
- SimplytheBest Fonts – Search by fun categories, such as crazy, liquid, tv show, and musical.
- Letterhead Fonts – Aptly named, this is a great site to go when you need a lot of personality in your title or headings. Fonts are professionally drawn and exclusive to Letterhead Fonts.
08. Design Podcasts
What are you listening to when you’re jogging or running errands? Consider feeding your brain with these inspirational (and some of them downright hilarious) podcasts about design. Also, be sure to check out these 50 designers you should know about here.
- Design Matters with Debbie Millman – The first podcast on design, and still one of the best.
- Style Guide Podcast – Hosted by Anna Debenham and Brad Frost, this podcast shares interviews with thought leaders in design.
- Adventures in Design – Thoroughly entertaining with lots of useful insight into the design industry.
- The Web Ahead – Not solely about graphic design, but an important podcast to listen to for future trends.
- PageBreak Podcast – Hosted by Liz Andrade and Niki Brown, this podcast focuses on all elements of design, development, freelance, and marketing.
- On the Grid – A weekly podcast that discusses all things design.
- 99 Percent Invisible – High quality radio show from thought leader Roman Mars (what a cool name).
- Let’s Make Mistakes – Irreverent, hilarious, and interesting takes on the world of design.
- Young Guns Show – Are you a young designer? You’ll love this “podcast about young people who make the web.”
- Graphic Design Podcast – All about web and graphic design in one informative podcast.
09. YouTube Design Tutorials
YouTube offers so many chances to waste time, but how about redeeming time with these educational resources? There’s plenty of killer videos that explain simple to advanced concepts in design. Here are the best:
- Shawn Barry – Shawn features a huge range of tutorials, from choosing fonts to understanding the rules of composition. A must subscribe.
- TastyTuts – TastyTuts is a friendly place for both beginners and advanced artists.
- Roberto Blake – Learn about graphic design, DSLR photo, highly requested graphic tricks, and many more.
- SpoonGraphics – Well edited and straight to the point tutorials with beautiful results that leap off the page.
- The Skool Network – Learn more about the design industry and how to become a professional designer with this channel.
- Canva – Yep! We’re on YouTube with easily digestible videos to help you create the designs you love.
- Armaganvideos – Lots of fresh tutorials here on graphic design, visual effects, and illustration.
- Stephen Looney – Become a more professional graphic designer with Stephen’s short, highly instructive videos
- Draw with Jazza – This channel lets you pull up a seat to learn how to create beautiful hand-drawn images.
- MarkCrilley – Mark is another amazing artist who has well over 20 million views on one video alone. Check him out for on-point drawing tutorials.
10. Design Education
Want a continuing education in design? Register for one of these courses. Some are free, some require membership.
- Lynda – Online videos and training courses that focuses in on illustration, typography, graphic design, and many more. Over 500 courses (and counting) to choose from.
- Tuts+ – Tuts+ is a well respected site that features free and premium courses in all types of design.
- Skillshare – Self paced and bite sized, Skillshare is accessible for lunch hour learners.
- Canva’s Design School – You’re already here! You know how valuable it is, but be sure to subscribe for more.
- CreativeLive – These online classes featuring slickly produced videos are second to none. You can buy a class anytime or tune into free live showings.
- Udemy – Udemy is awesome for finding highly acclaimed classes in the area you’d like to study.
- Coursera – Want to learn all about design from an highbrow university like Stanford? Check out this site for continuing education.
11. Design Communities
You should be in a community of other designers who help each other grow. Find the hottest trends, discuss the most challenging obstacles, and get feedback on your designs in these communities:
- The Web Blend – Get inspired in all facets of design, including freelancing
- Graphic Design Forum – Join the forum and interact with other designers. Offer and welcome critique, showcase what you’re working on, and find valuable resources from other designers.
- Behance – Whether you’re looking for critique or collaboration, Behance is a great place for conversation.
- DeviantArt – DeviantArt has a highly active community where users liberally offer feedback.
- DreamInCode – Share your graphic designs with other dreamers.
- Newground – Peruse for inspiration and share reviews and comments on artwork. Also, check out the Newground forum.
- Flickr – Flickr is a great place to search for design groups. Share photos and designs, and get inspired by others in your community.
12. Project Management Tools
Do you need help with organization and getting stuff done? Check out these tools that are sure to boost your productivity.
- ProofHQ – Are you working with clients who need to approve of your designs? Streamline the process with ProofHQ.
- Wrike – Wrike is another excellent tool for project management. It features real time workspace collaboration.
- Huddle – Huddle is a cloud based file sharing and collaboration tool that’s great to use with teams. Share files and manage tasks all in the cloud.
- Freedcamp – Looking for a completely free way to stay organized? You can also upload and search your files for easy reference.
- Trello – Trello is a free tool for collaborating or organizing your projects, thoughts, and ideas into boards. Make it completely private or share with other team members.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is fabulous for organization. Find and pin inspirational pieces or your own work. You can also create secret boards if you want to keep your inspiration or works in progress private.
14. Image Formatting
We’re taking a cue from our article on 12 common image formatting mistakes to avoid and giving you a list of tools to help improve your image quality.
- TinyPNG – You have a lovely PNG file, but you need to reduce size for your website performance speed. That said, don’t sacrifice quality for size. Use TinyPNG.
- TinyJPG – Ditto the above, only with JPG files.
- Compressor.io – Here’s another fabulous tool for compressing and optimizing your images by up to 90%.
- Canva – Need to crop your image or add a filter? We’ve got you covered.
- PSD to PNG Converter – Downloaded a PSD graphic but don’t have a copy of Photoshop? Simply convert that file to a usable PNG graphic with this tool.
- Image File Types Explained – Need help deciding which image to choose? This page explains it all.
- Web Image Formats Infographic – This infographic might come in handy if you print it out and display it for easy reference in your office.
And this is where you come in. Did you enjoy this list? Bookmark it! (It’s free.) Share the link with your circle of friends and influence (they’ll be happy you did). And last, but not least, do you know of a design resource that I missed? Don’t be shy– let me know what you think in the comments below. Let’s help each other be awesome.