Let’s be real: we’re not all an endless fount of creativity and brilliant ideas. We need a little inspiration from time to time and some of the best muses are found online. Our team has pulled together some of their favorite web design resources for education, inspiration, and procrastination.
Every web design project needs to be aesthetically pleasing to the visitor. This means nice webfont, clear photography, an appropriate color palette, and corresponding icons. Below, you’ll find the staples that every good web designer has bookmarked.
Google Fonts, the only free web font library, recently redesigned their font website and made it much more user-friendly. Now, it’s a lot easier to explore and compare fonts. They also suggest font pairings, provide a background about the font, and supply some usage statistics. This is all very exciting for type-obsessed designers who love using web-friendly fonts.
Leigh, our art director, swears by it. She says that before she starts a project she spends almost a half hour looking for new fonts to use so she isn’t stuck using the same fonts over and over again. We also really like the fonts offered by Adobe TypeKit for a reasonable annual fee.
High-Quality Free Photos
We like using Pexels, StockSnap, and Unsplash for high-quality free photos. Of course, iStock and Getty are both classics, but when we say free, we really mean FREE. These photos are CC0 licensed, which means they’re for personal and commercial use, no attribution required. Use them for your website, use them for your blog, use them everywhere! The possibilities are unlimited!
These days, any respectable site has at least a few icons. The Noun Project offers a huge library of over one million icons for a low subscription cost. The icons are royalty free, which means you can use them without attribution and they can be downloaded as PNGs or SVGs. This is a great tool for designers who need good looking icons ASAP. New icons are added every day so the selection never gets stale.
Font Awesome gives you scalable vector icons that can be customized: size, color, drop shadow, and anything that can be done with the power of CSS. This site is helpful for standard icons like menus, social icons, and arrows. The icons are a little utilitarian, but also extremely handy. The Raka design and development teams both love Font Awesome.
Design Inspiration is a great resource to help designers discover and share inspiring designs. Some Raka designers refer to it whenever they’re feeling stuck in the brainstorming stage of a project. It allows you to save the designs that you like and organize them according to a genre (such as web design, UX, and typography) or however you like so that you can revisit them later on.
For example, if you find a font that you love, you can save it to your typography collection. If you find a navigation design that you can’t live without, make a UX collection and save it there!
Dribbble is a social network for designs. You can post, share, comment, and interact with other designers about each other’s work. Dribbble only shares a small screenshot of the work, so it’s not the best resource for exploring and finding full websites, but it does offer some of the best inspiration for illustrations, logos, and icons.
99U a design blog for professional development—or, as they put it, “Empowering the Creative Community.” 99U provides insights on productivity, organization, and leadership to help creative people push ideas forward.
In addition to including interviews from experts in different fields, their articles cover topics like brainstorming, idea generation, time management, work-life balance, networking, dealing with failure, and everything else that you should be reading to become a successful and creative leader.
We hope these web design resources supply you with a whole new batch of assets for inspiration and fresh ideas. Have we missed any of your favorites? Reach out to us on Twitter and let us know. We would love to hear your suggestions!