10 Essential Web Resources for Graphic Designers

I know I talk about graphic design a lot as if I actually know what I’m doing. And I do to a certain extent, but I wouldn’t be doing anything productive if it weren’t for my little collection of online help sites for graphic designers. I figured I’d share my treasure trove because I’m just that committed to helping people make the world a less ugly pace.

Also, I realize I always mention these resources randomly in other posts and I wanted one collective place for them to live happily together. (Pictures are screenshots from the site; you can click them to get to these sites or just use the links.)

1. COLOR: Adobe Kuler 
Really fun to use, comprehensive website dedicated to the formation of color palettes. User generated palettes (you can make your own!) that you can rate, comment on, etc. Marry me, adobe?


2. FONT: Lost Type Co-op
Essential site filled with beautiful BREATHTAKING fonts. The best part is: all of them cost as much as you’re willing to pay (co-ops rock/hippies unite/whatever). Seriously, whenever I need a font for a project or am feeling uninspired by my current collection I’ll visit Lost Type. Warning: font junkies may need to check into rehab after using this site.


3. TUTORIAL: psd tuts+ (for photoshop) and vector tuts+ (for illustrator)
Some of the tutorials are weird/ funny but most are useful in some way. Use the search function if you’re looking for something specific but I often just browse through these ‘tuts’ just to build my creative repertoire.


I don’t know why this blog isn’t more popular. There is NO BETTER RESOURCE for high-resolution background images or textures for your projects. Most (if not all?) are free to use. Hit the gallery link on the menu and prepare to spend hours and hours honing in on your favorite textures.


5. IMAGES: Flickr Creative Commons
Flickr’s Creative Commons is a brilliant tool for photographers and designers to share images without requiring royalty fees. This is a good resource for people like me who love design but are clueless when it comes to photographs (Instagram, y’all). No but seriously, I encourage creation of all your own images but sometimes it is just physically/mechanically impossible. That’s what makes this site wonderful. Just make sure to check the attribution requirements for each individual images.


6. TEXT FILLER: Hipster Ipsum
I got so bored and uninspired using a typical ipsum text generator (for those of you who don’t know, text generators are good for placeholders when creating wireframes and rough outlines of projects). Hipster ipsum changed my life in this regard. It works just as great, but it’s much more entertaining.


7. INSPIRATION: Visual.ly
I talk a lot about inspiration, and this is my personal favorite. I obsess over information graphics of all types and this is like the magical fairytale land mecca of infographics. Not all of them are great, but most of them are fun and interesting to look at. Visual.ly also has tons of innovative breakthrough projects of their own. I would talk more about it, but seriously I can’t say enough amazing fantastic things about this site. The best. Ever.


A good resources for adventurous types (I know you exist) who like to play around in the photoshop sandbox. If used correctly, the photoshop brush can be a powerful thing to have in your tool belt. Sites like this have both really stupid and really amazingly fun brushes to enhance or ruin your projects.


9. HELP AND DISCUSSION: Graphic Design Forum (GDF)
Simple, easy to use typical forum website that caters to graphic designers of all shapes and sizes. Read discussions, laugh at funny responses, ask dumb questions, etc etc. This is one of my favorite forums because it has so many active users who want nothing more than to read / respond to what you have to say.


10. SEO HELP: Wordtracker
Extremely useful site. Like, if you don’t know much about search engine optimization, go here and learn. I promise it’s worth your time if you ever want to have any sort of internet presence for your website/ blog. Honestly, I should use this tool more than I do.


And while there are 1.5 million more resources you could use, I thought 10 is a nice easy number to digest (for all my ADD readers).

Let me know if there are any other tools you guys are using/think should be on this list. I’m always open to new helpful thingys.