Incredibly valuable resources for injecting creativity into your projects
Hands up who loves free stuff! 🙋🏻♀️Heck yeah!
And when it’s free stuff to use for your business, then it’s a double yeah!
Spending all of my time working on the computer means that I look for the most useful and cost effective ways to do things. The following links are all sites that I keep in my bookmarks to access easily when I need specific resources. Some I use more regularly than others, but they are all incredibly useful in their own right. And they are free!
Although Google makes it simple to search for specific images, you cannot just use any image that you find on the internet due to copyright infringments, and this is especially important for commercial projects. Below I have listed a bunch of sites offering free royalty-free stock images to be able to use for your commercial or personal project. You will still need to double check as some sites still require author attribution for specific uses.
Generally, fonts only come with a single license. That means that they cannot be distributed with artwork. To be able to edit a file that you download or receive from a designer, you will need to purchase your own license for any fonts used. I use the below sites regularly for some of the artwork that I create so that I can supply a link to the font for my customer to download their own version. These sites are also great to browse through for funky alternative fonts, typography inspiration and school projects.
An absolutely fundamental part of a designers life is colour. I use these sites regularly for specific colour information.
- type “color picker” in your google search bar – this is a great tool for finding colour values.
- Pantone color-finder – look for specific PMS codes
- coolors.co – explore and discover amazing new colour palettes
- uigradients – Beautiful randomly generated gradients to browse and be inspired by.
- Canva Colour Generator – A free resource to generate colour palettes from a photo, explore colour palette collections and incorporate them into your Canva designs.
As a primarily online business, I find that I regularly need a bit of online inspiration for a new project or even just to perk up the creative juices.
- typespiration – Finding the right typeface for a project is just as integral as choosing the right colours and getting the layout right. This site gives some great examples and combos to see what looks good and works well.
- designspiration – a very cool and modern collection of inspiring designs
- behance– ideal for Adobe- based artwork inspiration.
- deviantart – I check this one out mostly for illustration inspiration, but there are tonnes of gorgeous artwork and designs.
- dribbble – a great modern showcase of creative work.
- creativemarket – although this is a premium marketplace of images, graphic resources and templates for purchasing, I also find this can be a great place to just look around at what is popular in terms of fonts, styles, illustrations etc.
Useful tools to increase your productivity.
- trello – a great collaboration and organisation tool (also available as an app)
- surveymonkey – the basic plan is free and may be enough to get a basic survey conducted to find out the needs of your customers, or a feedback form.
- mailchimp – get started on your next email burst for free, or use mailchimp to collect email addresses for your next mailout.
- Dropbox – I use the paid monthly subscription for this service, but even the free version is so useful. Store files which you can access from any computer. Transfer large files too big for email,
- calendly – Free appointment setting program. Great for setting and scheduling video or conference calls.
I use Chrome as my main browser and have discovered some great extensions to use for productivity.
- LASTPASS – absolutely a life saver and essential for my online sanity – this extension stores all of my login details for all of the secure sites I access (and I can tell you, it’s a bunch!)
- LOOM – record your screen, with or without your gorgeous face inset. Ideal for recording how-to videos, or maybe record a scroll-through explaining features of a particular design, website or document you are working on.
- NIMBUS SCREENSHOT – found a web page you like but you want to see the whole page, not just the bit in your screen? This features can take a screenshot of the whole page, and download it as an image to your computer. There are tonnes of other uses and features, but this is the one I find useful.
- FONTS NINJA – helps me to find out what fonts a particular website is using.
- COLORPICK EYEDROPPER – OMG, that colour of that header in that website is stunning – now you can find out what it is!
Take the time to check out some great extensions in your browser that could make your online life so much easier.
Although Creative Market sells premium items (which by the way, are often so valuable and worthy for the small price they charge) – when you create your free account, they give you access to 6 different resources EVERY WEEK, including fonts, templates, images, brushes etc.