Designer Inspiration, Resources and Freebies

There’s a whole world wide web of information, inspiration and free resources available to web designers and developers today. Below are some of my favorite internet watering holes used on a regular basis for inspiration and efficiency of productivity in my work (in other words, I really like these sites).

INSPIRATIONAL BLOGS

http://www.smashingmagazine.com
A good mix of creative and technical articles to equally accommodate both left and right brain thinkers.

http://www.commarts.com
I love reading the mini “interviews” in the Fresh Profiles section. This is where designers share their cultural influences and philosophies, which somehow always seem applicable to both industry and life in general. Premium subscribers (i.e. those who subscribe to Commarts monthly print publication) can also peruse the Feature Profiles of more established designers and agencies alike.

http://www.davidairey.com
Words of industry wisdom from a (seemingly) successful freelance designer based out of Ireland. And I’ll admit it—I had a bit of a crush on his brilliance a few years back. David also runs Logo Design Love, another great blog full of inspiration devoted to logo design.

FREE FONTS

Not all of the fonts offered on these sites fall under GPL, so make sure you look into the license type of each individual font prior to implementing it into your personal or commercial projects.

http://www.dafont.com
http://www.abstractfonts.com
http://www.blambot.com
http://www.urbanfonts.com/

FREE VECTOR ART

The vector artwork offered can be used as a good base for your own unique creations.  Download, dissect them and pull out individual assets for your own personal graphic library.

http://www.freevectors.net/
http://www.vecteezy.com/gallery
http://vector4free.com/
http://www.vectorart.org/
http://www.thepixlpusher.com/category/free-stuff/free-vectors/
http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/category/freebies
http://www.bittbox.com/category/freebies/
http://www.youthedesigner.com/free-vector-graphics/

FREE PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

Because every Photoshopper loves to paint.

http://www.brusheezy.com/brushes
http://myphotoshopbrushes.com/brushes
http://qbrushes.com/
http://www.brushking.eu/

FREE CSS LAYOUTS

Cross browser compatible templates that validate.  What more can you ask for?

http://www.freecsstemplates.org/
http://csscreme.com/freecsstemplates/
http://www.templatemo.com/

FREE FLASH GALLERIES / COMPONENTS

A good knowledge base of flash animation required, although Action scripting experience isn’t necessary.

http://www.flashgallery.org/
http://www.airtightinteractive.com/simpleviewer/
http://www.flshow.net/

FREE ICONS

Massive collections of icons for your web projects.  The famfam icons are my personal favorites.

http://fineicons.com/
http://iconbase.com/
http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/

COLOR SCHEMERS

Not only do I use these online resources for web and print projects, I’ve been known to reference them for my painting projects at home as well.

http://colorblender.com/
http://kuler.adobe.com/
http://www.colorcombos.com/

MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES

Create your own fonts at http://fontstruct.fontshop.com.

Can’t quite put your finger on that font in a graphic? Try What the Font, a free online service where you can upload an image and the system will decipher it.

If you want vector format logos of some of the world’s most recognized brands, check out http://www.brandsoftheworld.com. But keep in mind that copyright is still applicable.

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your own personal favorite online resources!