Categories / Inspiration

Creative & Useful Resources for Design

Maryam Taheri May 10, 2021 · 16 min read

Finding the right tools and resources to complete your creative projects can often be tedious and taxing. You may just be missing that one little thing that could help you complete your projects faster, with ease, and more creativity. We’ve compiled a multitude of tools and resources to help you complete your creative projects and separated them into helpful categories like web design resources, graphic design tools, and even programs to help you select certain colors for your projects. Let us know your favorites in the comments below.

Web Design

Looking to design a website, learn JavaScript, try your hand at developing a wordpress theme, or just learn new tricks in the web design space? We’ve collected some useful web design resources to help you code faster and more seamlessly. Whether your just getting started, or you’re a web design veteran, you can always learn something new, and hopefully these resources will help.

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  • Learnable: Learnable is a growing library of online books and online courses specifically created for web designers and developers. If you’re looking to learn something new, or looking to get started in the field, this is the perfect site to use.
  • Mockup Designer: This tool is great for web designers to do simple mockups and get ideas flowing. It’s a pretty basic tool, but really handy to quickly draw out ideas.
  • CommandShift3: This site is like a Hot or Not for websites. It’s great to see what’s out there in the world of web design and vote on sites you think have the coolest look.
  • W3Schools: Looking to learn the basics of web design? W3Schools can help you learn everything from HTML to CSS to JavaScript to XML. You’ll be off and designing in absolutely no time at all. 4
  • UxMovement: Need help improving your user interface? UxMovement is a great resource for helping you improve the user interface design on your site.
  • CSS Tricks: This is a must-have for anyone that needs some tips and tricks when working on cascading style sheets.
  • Treehouse: Treehouse has a vast library of videos and tutorials that will help you learn various design and development techniques for the web. Not only do they offer classes to help you learn web design and development, they’ll quiz you to make sure you’re actually paying attention and getting the most out of your experience. A great way to learn and get ahead!
  • Patternizer: Looking to create stripes and patterns for CSS? Here’s a handy tool that will give you the code after you create the pattern of your choice.
  • CSS3 Clickchart: Having trouble remembering what to use in CSS? This handy chart will help you identify attributes and get your projects off the ground faster and easier.

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Graphic Design

Are you a graphic designer, or someone trying to get started in the world of graphic design? Here are some resources to help you letter how to design better and more creatively. In addition, you’ll find tools and websites with tips to help you create beautiful and creative pieces.
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  • You the Designer: Packed with tons of inspiration, resources, and tutorials for graphic design.  This site is jam packed with creative articles, that will keep you up to date on the latest graphic design around the web.
  • Method & Craft: This is a great website dedicated to helping you learn better design techniques. “It’s like looking over the shoulder of your favorite designer.” There are in-depth interview and articles that will teach you the ins and outs of design.
  • Illustration Class: This is an amazing resource filled with design courses, PDF tutorials, step-by-step projects, and handouts to help you learn how to illustrate and get into the graphic design field.
  • Logo Design Love: Want to discover the coolest logo designs and find out whats trending in the logo world? Logo Design Love is a blog dedicated to the design of logos and brand identity.
  • Easel.ly: If you want to create an infographic without fuss or hassle, this tool is super easy to use, and allows you to share your work with other creatives instantly.
  • Fount: Need to figure out font you’re viewing on the web? Use this handy tool to identify font online.
  • Sketchpad: Want an easy online tool that will help you sketch out your design ideas? This sketchpad is super handy and easy to use, allowing you to mock up any designs you are trying to create.Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 11.01.27 AM

General Design News & Information

Looking to discover the latest in design news and information? Here you’ll find some helpful tools for all types of designers:

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  • Designer News: Want to keep up to date on a live feed of the latest design news? Here you can submit articles, find out what’s trending and up-vote interesting articles.
  • Design Float: Find out the latest in design news, and read interesting articles in graphic and web design, programming, photography, and tutorials.
  • Cage: Looking for a collaboration tool specifically engineered for designers?With Cage designers can easily work on projects together no matter where they are.
  • DesignersTalk: A great forum for all of your design queries and questions with people eager to help and lend a hand.
  • HOW Design: HOW offers a multitude of books, magazines, and resources for designers to jumpstart and boost their careers. They even offer workshops to help you get your career off the ground!
  • Adobe Creative Suite: Everyone who is involved in design needs to use these tools to help creative images and projects. These pieces of software are a definite must for any designer.

Showcase Your Work & Find a Job

One of the most difficult parts of being a designer is finding a way to creatively showcase your work. It’s sometimes hard to stand out amongst a vast array of highly creative individuals. If you take the time to craft a highly original portfolio, or just a portfolio that clearly and concisely displays your work, you’re more likely to get those job offers.

  • Dribbble: Share screen shots of all of your design work with a community of creatives. It’s the ultimate place to promote and discover design.
  • Dunked: Create an online portfolio to showcase your work for free without having to learn code.
  • Behance: Behance is an amazing platform for creatives to come together and share their work. If you’re looking for someone to design, you can also post a job here!
  • Krop: Looking for a full time or free land position? Find a great design job here and create a portfolio to showcase your work.
  • Carbonmade: A free place for creating an oniline porfolios. This site is great and definitely hassle-free. You’ll love discovering amazing creative projects from designers, illustrations, and creatives. Carbonmade also does a great job of showcasing individual portfolios in their community.

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Brainstorming

Brainstorming is one of the most important parts of the creative process. It gives you time to work through different ideas and figure out which direction to take on your project. These tools can help you brainstorm for all of your creative projects, or just help you work through ideas.
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  • Moodstream: This amazing tool is meant to bombard you with creative inspiration and help you think of new and exciting designs. You’ll hear interesting music, see cool pictures, and watch engaging videos. Tailor your experience to the type of inspiration you’re looking for.
  • Mindmeister: Do you work with a team and want to do some collaborative brainstorming? This tool allows multiple people to work on a Mind Map at the same time, that way everyone’s thoughts on a topic will all be in the same place.
  • Bubbl.us: Create a digital mind map with this tool to help you work through your design ideas. Start in one place and then map out all your ideas in one place, save your work, come back to it later, and just take time to work through your ideas.
  • Idea Generator: This website provides you with random ideas that you have to connect using unique thoughts and word associations. It’s an interesting tool that will help you think outside the box, and teaches you to create connections between apparently disconnected ideas.

Useful Tools

Have you ever been looking for that one tool that will help solve all of your design problems, or a tool that will just help you make one aspect of your project a little easier? This section is packed with resources that will help you with the little things. It’s a section of miscellaneous, but helpful, resources.
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  • Lorem Ipsum: Need a copy of the industry standard’s dummy text?
  • Google Tricks: Ever had trouble using Google Docs, or wanted to know how to know search tricks? Here, you will find over 100 Google tips and tricks for using Google Docs, Google search, and other Google products.
  • Skitch: Help get your designs and ideas across using images, sketches, and shapes. This program will help you sketch out everything you need to get your designs off the ground.
  • Evernote: Keep track of meeting notes with clients, write down design ideas, and record audio and video all in one place with Evernote.
  • LightCMS: Need a content management system that is specifically created for designers? This tool will help you manage all of your design and creative projects.
  • Otixo: Manage all of your online files from Dropbox, Google Docs and more in one place. This will really help you keep track of everything from all your projects, all in one place without hassle.
  • DropBox: Need a place to put all of your designs? Here you can store and share all of your designs in one convenient place. Create folders and organize your designs by project or any way you choose.
  • Timetoast: Looking to create a completely interactive timeline that you can share around the web? Timetoast makes it simple and easy to do.
  • Screenr: Easily create and share screencasts with this program. If you’re looking to do a tutorial or show someone something you’re working on this is a great tool to help you broadcast what’s on your desktop with the world or specific individuals.
  • Notes.io: Write a note and share it with anyone.
  • Scribble Maps: Designing a wedding invitation or something else that requires a custom map? Use this to help you create a custom Google Map for any of your design needs.
  • Urban Dictionary: Not sure what someone is talking about? Use Urban Dictionary to figure out whats up and act like you are in the loop.
  • Who is hosting this?: Want some more information about a website? Use this useful site to help you figure out who is hosting any particular website.
  • Telescope: Totally in love with Reddit and Hacker News? This site helps you create your very own social news app.
  • Skype: You’re probably going to have to communicate with clients that aren’t in the same country as yourself, so Skype is the perfect tool that will allow you to communicate with anyone, anywhere.
  • TypeTester: Make informed decisions about the typography you are using for your creative projects by testing fonts out with TypeTester before you use them.
  • Harvest: Working on a project that requires you to log your hours? Harvest makes time tracking simple and easy!
  • PicMarkr: Add a watermark to anything so your work isn’t stolen and you get credit when posting your projects online.

Color Inspiration and Color Palettes

Deciding which particular colors and color combinations you’re going to use for your creative projects can be the most difficult and essential task of all. It’s hard to know which colors and combinations to use, and how to use them in your different projects. These amazing resources can help your designs flourish and look awesome:

  • Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 10.41.11 AMMulticolor Search Lab: This site is highly unique in the fact that it allows you to select up to five colors
  • Color Matters: is a great resource if you’re looking to understand the symbolism and meaning behind different colors.
  • COLOURlovers: is the ultimate site for color inspiration. Here, you’ll find a variety of color palettes to help you with design inspiration, and you can even create palettes of your very own.
  • Adobe Kuler: is a great tool that allows you to play with a color wheel and create a variety of color schemes for your designs and even identifies HEX codes for you.
  • Color Explorer: allows you to instantly upload images and identify the colors featured in them. You can easily export the colors into palettes and start working on creative projects based on colors you’ve seen in photographs or found in the real world.
  • Color Scheme Designer: is a cool tool that lets you play with a color wheel and find coordinating colors in similar shades. It’s a great way to find variations of particular colors.
  • Colrd: is a great site filled with tons of color inspiration. The site features a menagerie of colorful images with accompanying color palettes to help you find interesting and unique color combinations.
  • Pantonism: is an interesting site that allows you to sort images by color to see how certain colors are being used in fashion, print, and other media forms.
  • Colour Contrast Check: Ever wanted to see how two colors compare and contrast? This tool lets you easily check how two colors look together.
  • The Perfect Palette: If you’re looking for color palette inspiration for your wedding, the Perfect Palette is the site for you. This site has a boat load palettes and images to help you pick the perfect colors for your wedding day.

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Get Creative by Listening to Music

Everyone has a certain jam that helps them get focused and down to business. Here at the Creative Market office, you’ll constantly find us playing music that helps us buckle down and get to work. As a designer, or creative it’s important to find the tunes that help you concentrate, be productive, or get creative. If it being creative means sitting in complete silence in a room, then that works too! Simply put on some white noise and get down to business.

  • Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 12.46.13 PMSongza: What’s great about Songza over other music sites is that there are very cool and unique playlists that cater to your specific mood, what you’re doing, or what you need to get done. There are so many awesome playlists for specific feelings, thoughts, and desires, all in one place. They also have a concierge that suggest certain playlists based on what day and time it is and the activities you may be doing at that point.
  • Midomi: Are you distracted at work because you can’t figure out song is stuck in your head. All you have to do is hum or sing the song and this tool will help you identify the track.
  • Pandora: Pandora is a great way to listen to your favorite artists and genres non-stop online. You can easily input a favorite artist and Pandora will play music that caters to your individual music style.
  • Stereomood: Looking to turn your mood into music? Stereomood allows you to listen to music that caters to the way you feel, or the way you want to feel. Are you washing the dishes? Do you want to be on an island? Are you feeling sad? If so, there’s a mix for you!
  • Concert Vault: This site is a great place to listen to live concerts and hear tracks if you need to feel a certain sense of inspiration for your creative projects. Go back in the day with your favorite bands or listen to something that’s going on live while you work.
  • 8tracks: Want a fun way to listen to music? Simply pick two words that represent what you’re feeling, or what you want to listen to and you have tons of music.
  • Daytrotter: Want to discover the best of new emerging bands and be a real hipster? Daytrotter is the perfect way to learn about and listen to new bands and artists. You’ll be the cool one out of your friends for finding the newest, and coolest music.
  • This is My Jam: Have you ever had one song stuck in your head that you’re addicted to? If so, use this site to share it and discover what other people are addicted to as well.
  • Musicovery: This cool website allows you to roll over a mood pad and discover new music that suits your mind set.

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Remove Stress to Increase Your Design Capacity

You’re not going to get any of your design work done if you’re being blocked by stress or anxiety. Some projects can be extremely overwhelming, so it’s important to focus on the tasks that are important, prioritize, and push away anything that causes you stress and prevents you from getting the job done. These tools can help you to step away from your project for a few minutes, or even an hour, take a minute to breathe, and then go back to your project so you can be more productive.

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  • Mind Habits Stress Relief Game: This is a series of games that helps you overcome stress and improve your overall relaxation and mindset.
  • Virtual Bubble Wrap: sometimes you just really need to get anger and aggression out of your system and really boost your mood. What is a better way to do that then popping some bubble wrap?
  • Moodturn: If you’re having trouble relaxing and you want to listen to some soothing nature sounds while looking at peaceful images Moodturn has your back. Pick a serene image and then relaxing sounds to help you chill out.
  • Calm: Need a few minutes to meditate? Visit this site to enjoy a guided relaxation for varying amounts of time. Whether you have two minutes or twenty minutes. Calm can help you reach the point of total relaxation, no matter where you are.
  • Shark Break: Need a moment to relax in the ocean? Shark break lets you create your own relaxing underwater aquarium.
  • Do Nothing for Two Minutes: The goal of this site is simple, to help you literally do nothing but look at and listen to the waves.

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The Final Word: We hope that you’ve found these resources to be helpful for your design and creative work. If you have an additional suggestions to this list, or if there are specific resources you’ve found to be particularly helpful, please tell us about them in the comments below. In the upcoming weeks we will have another post like this, specifically geared toward design inspiration to help you get your creative juices flowing. Happy creating!

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About the Author
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Maryam Taheri

I'm a recent graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Biology and a passion for the creative arts. I love building websites, trying new things, and I have a passion for social media.

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