Design Resources Library

This is a vetted list of design resources that I personally use. This resource list will continually be updated.

Welcome to the Design Resources Library. This resource library will be continually updated as I get more exposure and time with each resource. I only list services that I either personally pay or would pay. I'm putting an * over any service where I have an affiliate program in place. These links give me a small kickback, but I only use affiliates for programs where I have paid for services with my own funds currently or in the past.

Images

There are industry-leading stock photography sites like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock. My favorite method is to shoot my own photos and keep a library of commonly used images. Given the number of high quality free sites, there's little reason to pay unless you have a very specific need.

  • Unsplash is by far my favorite stock photography site. Images are copyright free for personal and commercial usage, and attribution is only suggested but not required.
  • Reshot is new to me but seems like another great source. The licensing is same as Unsplash. I especially like the "packs" where they bundle a theme of images.

Icons

When in doubt, throw in a couple of icons to add a bit of splash. Just be careful not to overdo it, or you'll go down the path of clip art. Are you using clip art? If you still are, please stop. See illustrations below.

  • The Noun Project started as a small project to curate icons. They've grown to a massive library of icons. Most are free, but some cost money. I use this often when I'm looking for inspiration by keyword searching.
  • DrawKit appears to be a startup that's building credibility. They're launching a paid service soon under a different banner, but in the interim, this is a good resource to download packs of icons.
  • Picons has a bit of nostalgia for me. They might seem dated, but this pack got me through nearly a decade of design work.
  • Streamline Icons offers 30,000 free icons and a set of paid services. I haven't used them personally, but it's on my radar for considation.

Illustrations

Illustrations are the new clip art. A well-designed illustration can really add a big splash to your project. Custom illustrations are next level but take time and money. The services below are either collections of illustrations, or platforms that customize your illustrations.

  • UnDraw is an open-source project and includes a keyword search for illustrations. If you need something fast, this is the source. There's an option to specify an accent color to customize your illustration to your brand.
  • Blush is a collection of illustration packs. Their free tier gives you medium-sized exports which is good enough for most of us. A paid tier gives you editable vector files.
  • Drawkit like in the icons above, this same service offers free illustrations and will soon offer a higher-end custom illustration service.
  • Black Illustrations is amazing. Period. Buy the sets. Add diversity to your projects.
  • Craftwork Design is a paid service and will give you access to graphics and illustrations for startups.

Marketplaces

You can also shop at marketplaces to get your design resources. There are many models out there ranging from buy per asset, or buy a subscription for unlimited downloads.

  • Creative Market* is my go-to source for everything digital. They have high quality and vetted designers who create everything from icons to illustrations to PowerPoint templates.
  • Storyblocks is built around stock videos. If you do video work, this is an excellent resource to subscribe to, including images and graphics. If you're not doing video, I'd pass on this.

Outsource Design

  • Design Pickle offers you a designer at a monthly fee. It ranges from $400 for an off-shore designer and $1000 for a stateside designer. I've used the off-shore model for a quarter once. It's a great service, but I found it tough to relay your specs to the designer and work the back and forth. Maybe I'm just difficult because I do design work myself.
  • Fiverr has been a great source for me when I need to outsource my work. They have a marketplace of designers and creators that can pretty much do anything.

Do you have a resource that you like? Let me know so I can add it to this resource list.

Key takeaways

  • Use free design resources to get your project to 80%.
  • Consider using a design service, or working with a designer to get you to 100% only if you need it.
  • Avoid mixing too many different sources.

Similar videos