Graphic Designers do not always have the time to build everything from scratch. Yes, we have the abilities to do so, but often times the deadline, or budget for that matter, is too tight to take our own photographs, or create a unique font and background. When under a time crunch, a graphic designer must have “go-to” resources to get the job done fast!
The following are great FREE (yes, I said free) websites to use while under a time crunch . . . or for everyday use 🙂
All-free-download.com is my go-to website for finding free vector graphics. Vector images are made up of many individual, scalable objects defined by mathematical equations rather than pixels, so they always render at the highest quality. All-free-download has a great selection of everything from animals to backgrounds to people to shapes. The zip files contain a JPG for quick viewing and usually include an editable .EPS or .AI file.
Dafont.com is a great website to find any type of font imaginable. Some clients demand unique fonts which can be a nightmare and expensive to create from scratch. Being able to type in a phrase, then scroll through hundreds of fonts using that phrase, makes it incredibly easy to find what you are looking for. Once downloaded, make sure to right click and install the font onto the computer.
In my opinion, Flickr.com is the best resource for free stock photos. Not all photos are for commercial use however. To ensure the police will not be knocking at your door for copyright infringement, visit the advance search portion of the website first. (http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced) At the bottom, the check boxes must be clicked to only allow you to search for content that can be used commercially or content that can be modified, adapted or built upon. There is nothing worse than to find the perfect picture and then notice it is copyrighted!
When in need of a grunge, brick, wood or nature background, cgtextures.com is the place to go. This website offers thousands of free textured backgrounds with a high quality resolution. Although not the prettiest website out there, it is an extremely easy and straight forward website to use.
PSDTUTS.com, standing for Photoshop Tutorials, has a wide variety of tutorials to expand your Photoshop skills. They offer “Speed Art” YouTube videos which are a great way to quickly show what the tutorial is showcasing. It goes through the actions at high speed from beginning to end. They are accompanied with written step-by-step instructions with screen shots. The website also offers in-depth YouTube videos without written instructions and acknowledges all learning styles.
There are many “free” websites out there for graphic designers. Once the small print is read, free becomes “not-so-free” with deceptive annual dues or start up fees. The above websites are really 100% free – all the time. They are top notch websites to help graphic designers construct high quality designs in a timely and economical manner.