I get it: when you’re working on a project you want to do everything yourself. From making sure the photographer shoots the most exquisite photos for your client to designing a versatile and on-brand set of icons: having full control is best.
However, sometimes there’s just not enough time or money to do so. Fortunately there are many great free and affordable resources for your design projects. Today I want to share some of my current favorites with you, hope you’ll find them useful.
Ah, stock-photos: a thing designers love to hate. While I get the issues people have with over-the-top stock photography (I love Dark Stock Photos on Twitter, it’s hilarious) I also understand you don’t always have the right photo material you need for a project. I prefer to use photography provided by my clients, I can even help making a brief for a photographer, but sometimes there’s no time or budget that allows you to do this.
Welcome: Unsplash. Unsplash is my favorite free photo resource today: it has such a great collection of work! If you’re looking for something really specific – let’s say a couple kissing in a rubber-duck decorated room, broccoli in a bow-tie or a dog relaxing with some sparkling water – you might have a hard time finding it. If you’re looking for something a bit more common: a beautiful landscape, textures or lifestyle images: Unsplash is your friend.
Pro-tip: If you create an account you can start collections. I have several collections I like to use: from textures, colors and landscapes to specific folders that fit the aesthetic of clients.
Ah, fonts… Do you ever have enough? I remember back in the days always having to work with the standard fonts on your computer: glad those days are over!* Today there are so many fonts available it’s often hard to choose – these are my favorite places to shop.
*Unless you are designing newsletters, unfortunately.
Google Fonts is a great resource, especially when you are designing a digital product. The library is huge and has some amazing font families: some odd or quirky enough for large headers, others rich and versatile for body fonts. All fonts are free to use: you can download them on your computer, or link them when you use them on a website.
Looking for something special? Try Behance! Many designers who create a font will share it there, and you’ll be able to buy or license it from them directly. Always good to support your community!
This is a tough one: as a designer who loves to make illustrations I prefer to do all icon and illustrative work myself. However: from time to time you quickly need something for a sketch or wireframe, or you need some inspiration for the ones you will design yourself.
The Noun Project and Flaticon are my favorite resources when it comes to icons. From convenient sets of social media icons to full ranges of interface elements: you’ll find ‘em there. Make sure to credit the author if you don’t pay for ‘em though.
Pro-tip: help the community by designing and uploading your own icons. You can even make some money if you do it well! You can find my icons on The Noun Project here.
Don’t you just love those colorful start-up design projects on Dribbble? I sure do! Want to build one yourself but have no time (or interest) in creating your own illustrations? Try Humaaans! A great resource for the well-known start-up-style illustrations, and a fun resource to play around with.
Pro-tip: Want to learn to make illustrations like this? Use Humaaans as an inspiration to draw people yourself: you can start with copying (always credit when you copy and share!) or build your own missing character with elements from the resource.
I’m a big fan of Creative Market: a community where creators can sell their work to clients and other creators. Looking for a nice font, textures, a great mock-up to present your design in or maybe even a template for a Powerpoint presentation? Creative Market got you covered!
Pro-tip: when you sign up they’ll send you six free resources each week, recommended!
That about sums it up – hope this helps you! Got a resource you’d think I love? Please share it with me on Instagram!