Budgets are Cool

Budgets are SO hot right now. And, because I love nothing more than a sweet deal, I’ve rounded up some of my favourite free and almost-free resources for designers and non-designers alike.

Colour Palettes

Adobe Color CC: (formerly known as Kuler… which in my opinion was cooler #seewhatIdidthere?). This ultra breezy colour-palette-creator gives you access to create combinations based on complementary, triad, monochromatic colour rules, etc. There’s also a delish section to look at top rated colour pairings for those that are short on time or inspiration.

Coolors: (probs why Kuler changed its name). I love me a good randomizer. This tool creates 5-colour palettes at the flick of a space bar. You can also browse from previously created palettes. AND… there’s an app for that, if you’re on the go or need to kill some time waiting in line.

Photography

Unsplash: Definitely my favourite go-to for free stock photos. These are both royalty-free and free-free so you can take these gorg pictures for your blogs, websites, or ahem* iphone wallpapers (download this week’s here!). The quality is consistently high.

Death to the Stock Photo: Seriously.. death to em! You’ll find absolutely zero pictures of people laughing while eating a salad, or grinning while flipping through a pie chart here. You can sign up and get a monthly photo package whizzed straight to your inbox.

Graphics

Design Love Fest: These gals have teamed up with really rad artists to bring a collection of iphone/ipad/desktop backgrounds that are updated on the regular. What’s that you say? You’d rather download MY iphone backgrounds? (do that here!)

Creative Market: Sign up and each week there are six new freebies that are downloadable, including stock photography, wordpress themes, icons, typefaces, and more. They often have rad bundle deals of these same types of things if you’d like to spend real-life money too.

The noun project: In case you didn’t know, I have an obsession with icons that runs deep. If you don't have an obsession with icons that runs deep, you can download [some of] these for free for your next design proj.

Graphic Burger: A super robust collection of psd mockups, templates and UI kits so you can see what that billboard will actually look like so client presentations that don’t suck.

Typefaces

Lost Type Co-cop: This is a resource for really cool typefaces on a site built on the honour system. If you’re a jerk who doesn’t want to support artists, you can hit ‘$0’ in the ‘pay what you want’ box OR you can donate directly to the designer. BUT it is a really great way to test drive these cool fonts before purchasing a full license. 

DaFont: A collection of strange and weird free typefaces found on the web, so you nevereverever need to use a built-in typeface evereverever again.

 Inspiration

Dribbble: This is like pinterest on steroids. This invite-only site is for designers, and provides endless hours of inspiration for your next project, or to get feedback from others in the biz by posting WIP’s (works in progress #lingo).

Pinterest: I know zero designers that do not spend hours upon hours on pinterest making inspiration boards. I make sure all of my clients are versed in pinterest before starting their projects with me so they have ample time to brainstorm and find cool things.

Awwwards: Awards for the web, obviously! This is basically dribbble for web designers, and every day has a new site of the day, so you can see what leaders in this industry are up to.

Quora: I’m adding this in here because whenever I need a brain break, this is where I head. You’ll truly learn things you never knew you didn’t know and you never knew you cared about.

Tools

Dropbox: Um email sucks. If you’re not on dropbox, you’re under a rock. Because the Sweatshop Creative team lives around the globe (ok fine, around Canada), this is like having a share-drive that you can access from everywhere. It’s file sharing made SUPER easy with desktop and app versions of this program.

Pocket: This is the antidote to that swirling toilet bowl of a time-suck that is random internet surfing. You can bookmark sites as a ‘read it later’ tool so you can stay on track. As added sweetness, there’s now a firefox plugin, so it’s even easier to stash things in one little digital pocket.

Canva: I’m including this because it’s all anyone is talking about right now. This is a pretty sweet way for designers and non-designers alike to make beautiful things like facebook covers or branded instagram images super quick. Awesome for bloggers, small businesses and other peeps that might not have full working knowledge of the Adobe CS.

Skillshare: Not totally free, but there are a few classes available without signing up, but trust me, you’ll want to sign up. There’s classes taught by experts on anything and everything art and design related.

Visit these sites with haste! Hopefully I've saved you a little time AND money. Tell me your fave freebies so I can include them next time.

Wordscait wharton