Web design work is exciting, but can also be time-consuming and frustrating at times. However, resources for web designers can make your job much more manageable. Some of these resources are free, and some require a slight fee, but all will speed up your work or add a new level of skills to your design arsenal.
Since a search for the term “web designer resources” turns up more than 65 million results, it can be challenging to know where to start. There are many different resources for web designers, so we’ve gone through the more popular ones and come up with a list of nine essential ones to check out.
One of the best resources for web designers is the site Canva. Many of the tools on Canva are free to use. You will have to pay for some of the images, but the software makes it clear whether you have to buy an element, and how much each one costs. You can also replace those elements with your images and create designs for free.
Canva works on a drag-and-drop template system. Choose the item you want to create, such as an Instagram post, then select from a variety of templates. You can change elements such as the text, colors and even the images in the design.
The site is easy enough for beginner designers to use, but is advanced enough for experienced designers to appreciate the time-saving aspects of the site. As mentioned, Canva is free, or you can sign up for a subscription.
Canva for work is $12.95 per month, which allows you to store assets, adds team-sharing abilities and gives you more free photos from which to choose. You also gain features such as resizing designs, downloading with a transparent background and exporting as animated GIFs.
Brusheezy is a free designer resource offers free Photoshop brushes, patterns and textures. For a fee, you’ll also find premium graphics on the site. To download premium selections, you use pre-purchased Brusheezy credits. For example, the high-resolution black-and-white grunge textures package requires one credit to download.
You can purchase individual credits in packs of two, five or 15. The rates are $9 for two downloads, $14 for five downloads and $19 for 15 downloads, making the 15-pack the best value. Another option is to take out a subscription for $9 per month for five downloads, $14 per month for 10 downloads or $19 per month for 20 downloads. Finally, you can also sign up for a monthly unlimited downloads plan for only $14 per month. That package includes Vecteezy, which is a massive collection of vector art.
No matter how long you’ve been designing, there are likely some coding specifics you’ve either forgotten or have yet to run into. When you need to brush up on coding or look up a more advanced technique, W3C is an excellent free resource for web designers.
One of the best things about this free resource is you can make sure you’re following web standards. You’ll find web resource tools such as CSS validators and code snippets. You can also join groups and participate in the community by joining W3C’s membership site.
Membership costs vary, depending upon the size of your organization. The least expensive is $2,250, and covers 10 or fewer employees.
4. Colour Lovers
Colour Lovers is a great way to figure out a color scheme for your website designs. The site is made up of a community of designers based all around the globe. They share their palettes and patterns. You’ll also find articles about the latest trends and design tips.
The site separates items into categories, including palettes, patterns and colors. Probably one of the more interesting features of the site is the discussion boards where designers showcase their latest designs and then explain how they achieved that look. If you’re stuck for ideas or want to expand your design skills, there is a ton of material in this thread.
The site is 100 percent free to use. They earn their money through advertising.
The costs of purchasing stock photos and other images really adds up over time. If your client is on a budget, or you wish to keep your costs low, sites that offer free stock photos come in handy. Pixabay offers gorgeous, professional-quality images for free. The site works as a giant image search engine, pulling options from Flickr, for example.
You’ll find both royalty-free and public domain photos and videos. There are more than 1.5 million stock photos and videos to search through, or you can choose from their editor picks in categories such as photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos.
The site and its resources are free to use. Their FAQ states you can do whatever you want with the images, even for commercial sites. Even though the site is free, you can donate if you’d like. Follow specific artists, like images or contact the artist.
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WhatFontis.com is an excellent solution when a client gives you an image and tells you they want that exact font. The problem is that unless the image is in a specific format, it is entirely impossible to determine what font the designer used. Enter WhatFontis.com.
Upload your image, and the tool matches the font used in that image with available fonts. There is a database of 450,000 free and commercial fonts.
You can also browse the fonts on the site, sorting by free or commercial fonts. There are also some fonts that are free for personal use, but not for commercial use. If you’re building a wedding website or something along those lines, the free personal font may be just what you need.
Venngage provides designers with another option for content for their websites — beautiful infographics. Some of the features of the site include templates for infographics, as well as the ability to create logos.
Take data in a spreadsheet and import it into Venngage to create line charts, pie charts, bar graphs and bubble charts. You’ll find hundreds of different infographic templates to personalize and export. You don’t need extensive coding or photo software knowledge to use this software, since it allows you to drag and drop elements into place.
The site features a free plan for students. However, it limits the number of available templates and how many you can create. Individuals should subscribe to the Premium plan, which is $19 per month and includes premium templates. If you want access to everything, sign up for the Business plan for $49 per month. You’ll gain access to even more templates and branding features. You can save 12 percent by paying quarterly, and 20 percent by paying annually in advance.
InVision allows you to create prototypes and share them with your team or clients. Gather feedback so you can make instant changes to your designs. The platform integrates with project management tools such as Slack, Dropbox, Trello and Basecamp.
You can get started with InVision for free by sharing your email. The free plan gives you one active prototype. If you need more than that, you’ll have to subscribe to a paid plan. For three prototypes at a time, pay $15 per month. For unlimited prototypes for an individual, you’ll pay $25 per month. A team of up to five with unlimited prototypes runs $99 per month. The site also offers an Enterprise plan with unlimited prototypes and “advanced features.”
Last but not least, CoffeeCup rounds out this list, and is well worth looking at for a variety of free web designer resources. Choose from a free HTML editor, a free FTP client, shopping cart creator and PixConverter, which allows you to optimize your photos.
CoffeeCup also offers software for purchase, such as their HTML & CSS Code Editor for $49 and the responsive design pack with eight different software choices, including an email designer, for $349.
Best Resources for Designers
Many different types of resources are available for web designers. In addition to the nine listed above, some magazines teach design or offer examples of other people’s designs for inspiration and dozens of other tools. The key to finding the right resources is to try various ones and keep using whatever makes your work easier and more productive.