With the end of the year approaching fast, it’s a good time to think about all the great current resources and capabilities that we, as designers, have at our disposal. Of course there are a multitude of websites, assets and tools that make our lives better, but here are 10 that helped me make this year rich with creativity:
- Portfolio: Dribbble (dribbble.com)
This is a great website for designers around the world to “show and tell” their work, and for anyone to get inspiration. Like Pinterest, it allows you to save designs for later reference and share with others.
- Portfolio: Behance (www.behance.net)
Behance is a well-known portfolio website for designers. You can display your work for free and search for inspiration in a variety of categories. The website also allows you to link to other sites, like LinkedIn, giving any projects you upload more exposure and making them easy to share.
- Inspiration: Pinterest (pinterest.com)
This is easily my favorite place to go to find inspiration, and is also probably the most well known website on this list. Pinterest’s popularity stems not just from the vast resources and people contributing, but from the ease of use and organization it allows every user.
- Inspiration: Logo Pond (logopond.com)
This site is exclusive to logos and branding. It focuses on what makes a strong design. Logo Pond allows you to search by terms, browse randomly or upload your own experimental and client work, making it useful in a variety of ways.
- Blog/Resources: Web Design Ledger (webdesignledger.com)
Web Design Ledger is a good resource for both web and graphic design articles and tutorials. It has a wide range of material in every category, covering everything from how to create new effects in Photoshop to UI trends to “3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Hate Comic Sans.”
- Blog/Resources: WebdesignerDepot (webdesignerdepot.com)
This is another great inspiration site with a great blog. One of the unique features of WebdesignerDepot is the “freebie” offers, ranging from fonts and templates to deals on purchasable materials, as well as the latest news from other sources.
- Tool: Content Aware Tool
With the advances Adobe Photoshop has made in recent versions, the Content Aware tool is better than ever. Simply put, this tool allows you to delete or move parts of an image and the program will blend neighboring content to fill the gaps and complete the existing image.
- Tool: Tablet
For those of us that feel more comfortable with a stylus than a mouse, having a tablet option makes things like selections and illustration a lot more fluid, and allows for a totally different style. For example, a stylus can detect the pressure and angle in which you’re drawing, which can mimic how a brush or pen is used in real life. I prefer Wacom, but there are a variety of brands and styles on the market to meet your specific needs.
- Application: Coolors (coolors.co)
This free website helps to create color palettes. Key features include generating random palettes, suggesting complementary colors in an image, allowing you to adjust the hues and saturations … and it saves all of your favorites for later, so you can always go back to a favorite creation.
- Application: Project Naptha (projectnaptha.com)
Typically, the only text that can be selected and copied is that which has been programmed into a site. If the text is part of an image, it is treated like one and can only be saved as a whole image. Project Naptha is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to copy and paste text from any image! Simply highlight the text area and the extension uses an algorithm to determine what the text is so you can copy and paste like you would any text on the web.
It was difficult to choose my favorites, but I hope some of these items help you as much as they have me, and I look forward to what 2017 has to offer!