Image: Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

As with just about everything, the internet has completely skewed the world of graphic design. No more working in silos! We are part of a global community that can provide critique, support, or inspiration; in no time at all. In this ever changing landscape, there are resources becoming available that were unheard of even a few years ago. Here are some of my favourites that really help with my workflow.


black camera symbol used by Unsplash.com

Unsplash

Photography
unsplash.com

Began in 2013, this is probably my favourite online resource. As of 2018, there are more than 300,000 photographs on the site, provided by a community of over 50,000 contributors. The images are free, and can be used for anything you like. You don’t even have to credit the author – although sending a tweet to say thanks is appreciated!

And above all of that, because the collection is curated by people with great taste, the images are quality. Seriously. Top notch. It’s unbelievably hard to find a ‘bad’ picture on there.

example images from unsplash.com. On the left, a group of friends embrace; in the middle, a mountain scene; and on the right a female drinks a shake

Images by Becca Tapert on Unsplash.com

Most Unsplash images have a dreamy retro camera ‘look’ to them. Although this is visually appealing, they’re not going to be appropriate for everything you ever work on. However, if you quickly need to add images to a presentation or a blog post, this is a tremendous website that can save you the expense of turning to stock every time.


circle, cross, square - the noun project logo

The Noun Project

Symbols
thenounproject.com

The Noun Project is a comprehensive library of over 1 million well designed symbols. You can freely download anything you like, but must either credit the designer, or sign up to the paid NounPro scheme.

The quality of the symbols within are ensured by design guidelines, and have to be signed off by a curator before they become available for download.

sport icons from the noun project. These take the form of simple monoweight line drawings of, from left-to-right, a bicycle, a skittle, a bowling ball, a yacht, a chess pawn, and playing cards

Example icons by Vitaly Gorbachev

I find The Noun Project to be an excellent aid in the early stages of any project. You can search for just about any term, and immediately be presented with a range of visual interpretations of that word or phrase. A brainstormer’s dream!


graphic burger mark

Graphic Burger

Graphic Assets
graphicburger.com

GraphicBurger is a website by Romanian designer Raul Taciu, and hosts a collection of free, premium quality design resources. These take the form of mockups, icons, and effects.

an example of a mockup found on graphic burger

A shopfront Photoshop mockup found on Graphic Burger

The mockups — files that help you to comp your work onto photographs of physical applications (eg: wine bottles, or a billboard) — in particular, are of a very high quality.


the pinterest logo presented in red

Pinterest

Inspiration
pinterest.com

Before Pinterest, I used to gather examples of cool graphics work I’d seen, document the author, and then compile it all into a PDF ‘scrapbook’ that I could refer to on my phone.

Now it just all goes straight onto Pinterest.

A site which laughs in the face of my primitive method, by being searchable, and suggesting a multitude of similar pins and boards to follow. Check out NStudio on Pinterest.

This is often one of the first places I come to at the start of a project… Follow the right people and it can be easy to end up spending a long time browsing! Upon tackling a brief, Pinterest is great for developing mood boards – relevant visuals that you can refer back to throughout the project, ensuring that your response is appropriate.