As a designer, you’ll always need to stock up on graphics, stock photography and fonts as well as rely on other helpful tools to successfully get your work done. The list might seem daunting and endless, but it doesn’t have to bleed you dry. From choosing the perfect typography and finding the right visual assets to selecting the best colour palette, there is a wealth of free resources out there to make your work shine.
We asked our Shillington teachers, who are all practising designers, to help us put together this fresh list of 30 essential resources for graphic designers. And they won’t cost you a penny!
Free Graphic Resources
How would we survive without having access to those crucial visual assets that help to add polish to our designs? The following resources bring you everything from web icons and templates to vectors and textures—and even better, they’re free. So you can save money while meeting that deadline.
Looking for lots of free graphics and web resources all in one place? Pixeden has a little bit of everything. With plenty of graphic design and web design templates, icons and vectors—you’ll be spoilt for choice. You can join for free but if you want a little extra, you can upgrade to one of their premium plans too.
2. Creative Market
On Creative Market, check out their Get Free Goods section for a line-up of the best free goodies from the past week. To mix things up the website offers a variety of graphics, including vectors, Photoshop packs, fonts and textures.
3. Pixel Buddha
Pixel Buddha offers an endless catalogue of freebies, including icons, templates and vectors, along with some high quality fonts. From time to time the website also hosts limited special offers, giving you access to premium goods for nothing.
4. Endless Icons
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, Endless Icons brings you a wealth of free icons to suit your design projects. From the usual suspects of web, corporate and social to more unusual themes such as beauty, food and fun icons—this is the place to find what you need.
5. Noun Project
Millions use Noun Project to access new icons added daily by its creative community. A free membership is available, giving you access to over 100,000 icons of various themes. There’s also an option to upgrade and get unlimited access to the directory.
Over 130,000 vector icons grouped together in 1,849 packs—that’s the promise from FlatIcon that brings you a ton of free icons to download and keep.
Free Typography Resources
Need some decent typefaces for your print or digital projects? Typography can get expensive rather quickly. So if money’s tight, check out the following leading resources that offer plenty of gorgeous fonts for free.
7. Font Squirrel
Font Squirrel is the king of all font websites, bringing you hundreds of free typefaces that you can use across all your commercial work. Whatever style you’re after, from a more corporate font to softer calligraphic lettering, there is something to suit.
Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just getting started, Fontshop gives a nice digest of design terms relating to fonts in their glossary. It’s also a good place to start if you’re unsure about how to search for the font you want. Here’s the full A-Z of terminology so you can get clued up:
Created with the purpose of gathering together the best typography resources, Typewolf makes finding the perfect font super easy. There are tons of lists summing up certain types of fonts, guides and resources about typography, and other recommendations. The website even has a catalogue of where different fonts are used, so you can get a feel of what they look like in print or online.
A free account on Typecast gives you access to over 3,650 web fonts, including some of the most celebrated and influential typefaces. It also lets you design a working prototype that can be exported ready for production in HTML and CSS. Nice.
11. Open Foundry
Open Foundry is a new platform for open-source fonts in a noise-free environment; to highlight their beauty and encourage further exploration. Founded by Stefan Endress and Alastair O’Shea—the site offers hundreds of free open-source fonts optimised for the web.
12. Handwriting Fonts
Need typography that’s a little more handwritten? These 10 Handwriting Fonts give the impression of being created with pens and pencils, giving a more casual style for less formal website designs. Brought to you free of charge by ByPeople.
Free Stock Photography
A photograph can often complete a design. But because so many stock imagery sites cost a small fortune to purchase from, how can you find copyright-free pictures for free? The following solutions will become essential bookmarks.
13. Death to the Stock Photo
Founded by two rogue photographers Allie and David, Death to the Stock Photo was launched in 2014 to help creatives struggling to find images that fit their “vibe and tribe”. There are plenty of free photos to choose from, but there’s also an option to upgrade and go premium.
Described as the website with the ‘best free stock photos in one place’, Pexels adds five new high quality photos daily—copyright-free and available for commercial use.
Calling itself the number one source for beautiful free stock photos, Stocksnap offers hundreds of high-resolution images, added weekly—and not one would be considered cheesy.
On Pixabay you can find and share images free of all copyrights, as they’re released under Creative Commons CC0 into the public domain. You can copy, modify, distribute, and use the images even for commercial purposes—all without asking permission and without paying attribution. Add this essential site to your list.
Need a moving image instead? Check out Mazwai—a website with lots of free videos that you can access for free. From short snippets to longer engaging films—this collection will help to bring your web design alive.
Free Web Design Resources
If web design is your thing, there’s a wealth of helpful assets freely available at your fingertips. From icons and Photoshop freebies to website templates and background textures—the following free suggestions will become an essential part of your daily toolkit.
The WebdesignerDepot covers popular web design trends, with tutorials and free stuff along the way too. There are articles covering all aspects of web design from branding and UX design, right up to marketing and social media, while the WebdesignerDepot freebies include UI kits, WordPress themes, mockups, icons and vectors.
19. Graphic Burger
Looking to experiment with a few mockups? Graphic Burger gives you templates on everything from business cards to street signs. The background textures are also rather useful. Some of the free resources are limited though, with total access to the full pack through a premium account.
Best for Photoshop downloads, Psddd has a variety of icons, UI kits, backgrounds, and mockups too. Their Photoshop elements include textures and brushes to layer onto your design, as well as a few free extensions and tips.
21. UX Design Weekly
Join 14,000+ subscribers and get a handpicked list of the best user experience design links every week. Curated by Kenny Chen and published every Friday. A must, if you’re going to stay on top of all the web design resources out there.
Free Design Inspiration Resources
From mood boards and colour picking tools to helpful how-to sites and palette creator—this selection of free design inspiration resources will help you out when you’re creatively stuck.
The ultimate inspiration boosting tool, Niice let’s you build mood boards to look back on when you’re running low on ideas. There’s even an app available to download so you can access the mood boards when you’re out and about. Simply a private inspiration space, the website is designed to help you spark that next big idea.
23. Graphic Design Blender
The website posts a number of articles each week aimed at people working within the creative industries. From tips on how to succeed as a freelance designer to the biggest mistakes you should avoid making, Graphic Design Blender is your number one source for a lot of questions you need help answering.
24. Flat UI Colours
Just need some gorgeous flat colours for your web design? Flat UI Colours is a simple, straightforward delicious resource that you’ll revisit again and again. Just click to copy the hex colour codes and you’re away.
25. Colour Lovers
Love colour? Colour Lovers is an international community that provides a wealth of user created and shared colour inspiration as well as tools that make the creative process as simple as possible. Whether you need a colour palette to kick-start your next project or want to create a piece of vector art, this website has the tools you need to go from design inspiration to execution.
26. Palette Creator
Do you want to create a colour palette that matches an image you’ve found online? Or maybe you just want to grab some colours for inspiration? Then Palette Creator is the Chrome extension for you. Just right-click on the desired picture, select the ‘Palette Creator’ option, and choose the number of colours you want the palette to have. Simple.
Free Mockup Templates
Once you’ve got your projects successfully launched, you’ll want to show off your design talents to the world via your own online portfolio. This list of free mockup templates will help you showcase your proudest work in style. For even more, check out our list of 50 Free Mock Ups to Bring Your Design to Life.
27. Granite Stationery Bundle
Granite Stationery is a mockup PSD bundle, free to use for commercial and personal use. All of the images were created in Cinema4D and rendered with Octane Render. Brought to you generously by American designer Aaron Covrett.
28. Corner – Free Branding/Identity Mockup
Every designer needs a decent brand identity mockup to play with. This particular one comes via Design Lazy. With a background colour that’s changeable and the opportunity to place your design with one click, it’s a very helpful mockup.
29. Business Card Mockup
If you need a decent business card mockup, designer Alex Andr has offered four such templates for free. Available for both personal and commercial use, these slick cards will really add finesse to showcasing your project.
30. Free iPhone 5 Photo Mockup
Need to display a design on an iPhone? No problem. Here’s another great free resource from Show It Better—a website that offers loads of decent mockups to help you showcase your professional work. Check out its Freebies for more delicious templates.
Do you have a favourite free resource that should be on this list? Comment below or tweet us!
Banner artwork by Shillington Melbourne teacher Wayne Smith.