Sometimes you need a special font. Sometimes you just need a tutorial. This list is comprised of some of my favorite sites for when I need a little bit of inspiration or an actual download. Best of all: they’re free. Just click on the links below to check out some of the best of the web.
I’ve been using the Lost Type Co-op for many months now, and I’m obsessed. It’s a “pick your price” set up–which makes it very convenient for students. Whether you’re looking for a modern typeface or something a bit old-fashioned, Lost Type’s got you covered. Plus, they have a font named Muncie (an homage to my college town). You’ve got to love it.
Makerbook is described as “a hand-picked directory of the best free resources for creatives.” It directs you to hundreds of websites chock-full of fonts, stock photos and vector illustrations–all for free. It’s even got audio and video sources for designers involved in those fields. My favorite part of the site, of course, is the “fonts” section.
The Department of Design is an aggregation of different client projects created by Under Consideration. They have a laundry list of awesome clients, including AIGA and the NYU School of Law. They do a lot of logo work, but one of my favorite projects of theirs is this fold-out design illustrating growth in a company.
Their “Art of the Menu” design compilation is pretty awesome, too.
One of my favorite resources for vectors and fonts, Graphic Design Junction is great for both design tools and inspiration. They regularly post articles about web and industry-related skills, as well as top ten-style lists about fonts, branding and more.
Designspiration is, hands down, my favorite resource for design inspiration (as the name would suggest). I can scroll through the website for hours at a time, collecting logo, photography, branding, print, illustration, food, cartoon, poster and web design inspiration. You can search for specific things too, like packaging or signage.
One of my most recent finds, Branding, Packaging & Opinion is an amazing source of inspiration and thought. This website leads me to think beyond appearance and helps me understand the “behind the scenes” work of a product’s packaging or branding. The website reviews the branding and packaging of products and companies from around the world–in fact, just a few weeks ago, there was a logo featured from an Indianapolis liquor bar!
Another recent find, the Graphic Design Crash Course is a great tool for any new designer. I love watching her short YouTube videos about branding and design. She has Adobe program tutorials, hand lettering tutorials and more. Her recent video about “tattoo-able logos” is one of my favorites because it really nails down the things that designers need to consider when creating a logo.
Obvious, I know, but Pinterest is one of my best friends when it comes to design inspiration. Clicking on their design tab (or, really, any tab) brings me hours of images to scroll through for inspiration. That marble countertop? The pineapple dress? A sequin-clad model? An old newspaper? Those are just some of the things I’ve encountered on Pinterest that have led to a later design of mine.
It’s not just for fangirls. Tumblr is a fabulous resource for when I’m looking for portfolios to inspire myself. Many students turn to Tumblr for its ease of use, which I, in turn, use for my own purposes. I’ve always found a lot of minimal designs on Tumblr, along with illustrations, but you can find anything you need if you search around. Typographic designs also run rampant on Tumblr.
These websites are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where I find inspiration for my designs. Sometimes, for me, it’s as simple as going on a walk to gain inspiration, but sometimes I have to search for it. These resources definitely make it easier for me to find inspiration. Where do you go for design inspiration?