A designer’s creativity and imagination are two key ingredients when it comes to making a successful design. But sometimes, even a great designer can use a little boost, whether that’s from an awesome tool that makes your life easier, or a showcase that helps spark a new idea. And so, because sharing is caring, here are a few of my favorite resources for your creative consumption:
Identifont & WhatTheFont
Ever have a font that you just can’t identify? Maybe your client wants to keep the exact font used in their logo, but they have no idea what that font actually is. That’s where Identifont and WhatTheFont come into play.
Identifont has several different ways to search: By appearance, name, similarity, picture, or even designer. The coolest is probably searching by appearance. Identifont will ask you a series of questions about the letters in question, and will make a guess on what the font is based on your answers. If Identifont doesn’t do the trick..
WhatTheFont may just be the answer! With WhatTheFont, all you have to do is upload a clear picture of the font you are trying to identify. If all else fails, they also have a forum of font masters just waiting to solve your mystery.
Google Web Fonts
Google Web Fonts is my favorite font repository. They are all free for your use, and they can be used on your website. You can test the font out, compare it to others, filter by type or size, and so much more. It’s seriously the best.
Color Scheme Designer
One of the first steps in the design process is establishing a color scheme. My personal favorite is Color Scheme Designer. This monster of a color wheel will give you any color combination you can imagine, and make sure the colors work together. You can pick a color combination, and adjust the hue, saturation, contrast, and more, from there. The possibilities are practically endless.
Another great resource for figuring out color schemes is COLOURlovers. COLOURlovers is a community of design-minded individuals who share colors, patterns, and palettes with each other. If nothing else, it is a great place to get ideas and inspiration.
Pattern Tap & CSSbake
Update: CSSbake is no longer online. 🙁
Speaking of inspiration, we could all use it. A designer should constantly be on the look-out for new ideas. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve browsed through showcases of designs or designer blogs. It’s easy for a website design to become stale. That’s why it’s important to add in small details that make it unique and go the extra mile in making the design work. Pattern Tap and CSSbake are awesome places to go to get started.
At Pattern Tap, you can filter designs by style, type, or user tag. Styles are the type of design it is: simple, handmade, rough, realistic, etc. Types are the various parts of a web design: the obvious (footers, headers, navigation, etc), and the not-so-obvious (404 pages, breadcrumbs, signup pages, etc). User tags is simply a listing of tags that users have applied to their submission. I could go on-and-on about Pattern Tap. Just check it out.
CSSbake is another website similar to Pattern Tap. You can browse the whole collection, or sort by, “ingredient”.
DesignSnips is just one of many awesome design showcases out there. Check out what other people have done, and get inspired! Just watch the clock when scrolling through design showcases. Next thing you know, it’s 3 AM, and you’re finally on the last page.
A sort of catch-all design site is Design Float. You can find anything from tutorials, tips, showcases, and more at this giant repository of creativity. I wish you luck on traversing its’ 1000+ pages of content.
Logopond is a gallery of logos that designers from all around the world have done. You can upload your own logo for feedback from other designers, or scroll through the hundreds of other logos on the site. It can also be useful to follow the conversations of designers critiquing others’ work as they talk about what does and does not work with particular logo.
For my last killer resource, I’ve saved my absolute favorite: Subtle Patterns. Sometimes a subtle texture is all you need to finish off a website, and this amazing website has a ton of those. Your search for seamless textures is almost at an end with this great collection.
That’s all for today! I hope this collection of resources has awed and inspired you to create some awesome designs. Have some other great resources that you’d like to share? Let us know what they are with a comment!