100 Websites Every Graphic Designer Should Know

The web is a wonderful realm for graphic designers, as it should be. After all, graphic designers are the driving force behind much of its innovations; not to mention the fact that they’re responsible for skinning every single interface on the web. When people think of Facebook, they think of what they see and how they interact with it. Real images, mental images, brand images, identity: They’re all dictated by graphic designers.

The web is so grateful to graphic designers that it has plenty to give back. There are probably millions of websites and resources dedicated to graphic designers. Admittedly, most are the brainchildren of graphic designers, but that’s for the best. When other graphic designers create resources you can use to learn and experiment with new designs, increase productivity and make more money, everyone wins. You’ll win, too, when you use the resources available to you at the following 100 websites every graphic designer should know.

Blogs and Magazines

Read these graphic design blogs and magazines, and you’ll become an expert in no time.

1. How Design

The award-wining print magazine’s version is its own animal, with excellent tips, thoughtful articles and resources for graphic designers at all levels.

2. Core77

Core77 is focused on industrial design and goes above and beyond being a simple magazine with an interactive community and engaging events.

3. Design Is Kinky

This Australian-based blog showcases a lot of contemporary design work, perfect for discussion and debate among graphic designers.

4. Smashing Magazine

A hugely popular graphic design magazine with a diverse array of features and resources.

5. The Dieline

If your specialty is package design, you don’t want to miss this showcase of before and after photos, brand spotlights and studio spotlights.

6. Think Design

An excellent all-around blog complete with articles, resources and freebies you can use on the job.

7. Dexigner

Keep up on graphic design industry news with this website that has enjoyed longstanding popularity.

8. Ad Goodness

Review and comment on the latest advertising designs on this fun and addictive blog.

9. Print Magazine

The name says Print, but this well-established magazine covers everything having to do with communication, including excellent pieces on design.

10. Graphic Design Blog

This blog is a never-ending source of interesting discussions surrounding the topic of design.

11. Speckyboy Design Magazine

Favored by many graphic designers, Speckyboy covers a versatile range of design topics, including productivity and freebies.

12. Inspiredology

Touted as a design inspiration lab, Inspiredology features some of the coolest graphic design work you’ll find anywhere.

13. David Airey

David Airey is perhaps the most visible designer online. When someone’s identity is that well established, you tend to listen to his advice on identity design.

14. Seth Godin’s Blog

Though not a blog focused on graphic design, if you’re in business as a firm or freelancer – or just in the business of making more money – then it literally pays to read Seth Godin’s blog.

Education

Want to develop mad skills? The following websites offer both free and paid graphic design tutorials and education. Note: These are website courses, not online universities, which you can find via an online search.

15. Adobe Learning Center

A complete training and certification resource for the Adobe suite of products, the most popular graphic design software on the planet.

16. Lynda

Lynda is one of the best-marketed paid learning websites online, and has a robust design course section for beginners and advanced designers who want to hone their skills.

17. Loon Design

Not strictly a design course or tutorial website, but has some excellent tutorials on graphic design that are worth a look.

18. Alison Visual and Graphic Design Course

Gain an understanding of graphic design standards and expectations in this free course.

19. PSD Tuts+

Looking for a wide range of expert – and awesome – Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials? You’ll find them here.

20. Net Tuts+

Just like PSD Tuts+, but geared for web design.

21. W3Schools

If you’re a web designer and want to learn more about CSS3 and HTML5, among other coding and design overlaps, the free lessons offered here are perhaps the best you’ll find.

22. Marketing 101 Course

Part of a suite of free courses offered by the Small Business Development Center at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. As a graphic designer, a solid grasp of marketing strategies will help you land – and keep – clients.

23. The Open University

Featuring free courses on everything on a vast variety of topics, graphic designers will love courses that focus on specific and theoretical aspects of design, such as how to design a user interface.

24. Creative Pro

Creative Pro boasts a helpful community to go along with its graphic design tutorials.

25. Photo Lesa

Photo editing tutorials for graphic designers and creative photographers.

26. Ideabook

Tons of how-to tutorials plus an inspirational blog with even more great ideas.

Typography

Savvy graphic designers know that great typography is essential to compelling design. Your typography will be out of this world when you take advantage of these websites.

27. I Love Typography

An informative blog about typography with lots of useful information, tutorials, resources and links.

28. Type Kit

An Adobe service that allows you to use “real” fonts on your websites by adding a line of code.

29. Google Web Fonts

Google’s free service allows you to add a line of code to your websites so you can use a whole suite of professional fonts. Very much like Type Kit.

30. What The Font

Not sure what font you’re looking at? Take a screenshot and upload it to What The Font, which will guide you to the answer – then give you a link to download the font and use it yourself!

31. Typetester

As the name implies, this free tool allows you to test several fonts in various styles against one another to select the best for your project.

32. CSS txt

Set your font style, and this free tool generates the appropriate CSS code to reproduce your style on the web.

33. Identifont

A very popular free service that help you pick the perfect font for your project as well as identify any fonts you’ve seen online or in print.

34. Fontstruct

Make your own custom fonts with this easy-to-use GUI. Even novices can craft their own fonts – it’s that easy.

35. DaFont

Thousands of free fonts for download can be found on this website. You can even input your own text to compare fonts – perfect for deciding on logo and headline fonts.

36. 1001 Free Fonts

The name says it all; another excellent resource for free fonts you can use in your own designs.

Inspiration

Have a nasty case of designer’s block? Be inspired with these showcase websites that allow you to preview the work of other designers.

37. Logo Moose

Keep up with the latest logo design trends by browsing this website, updated daily with new logos.

38. Logo Fury

Similar to Logo Moose, but with different logos. There is some overlap, of course, but you won’t cross the same logo too often when browsing the two different websites.

39. Design Snack

Self-billed as the ultimate inspiration tool for web designers, but even print designers will find inspiration from this website.

40. CSS Beauty

Learn to harness the true power of CSS with the gallery that proves the incredible is possible when you know what you are doing.

41. Inspired Mag

Get your daily dose of graphic design inspiration every time you browse to Inspired Mag.

42. Creative Paths

Much more than a creative showcase, Creative Path offers resources, freebies and tutorials in addition to amazing inspirational designs.

43. DeviantArt

A designer’s showcase site with thousands of designs in different types of media. Search or browse and be inspired.

44. Coroflot

Part job search, part portfolio showcase, many of the most talented graphic designers are listed on this website. You can peruse portfolios to find inspiration, then toss your own name in the hat!

45. Behance

Behance is another portfolio showcase network that’s easier to browse than most. If you’re seeking brochure design inspiration, for example, you’ll find it in a few clicks or with a single search.

46. Ads of the World

A showcase of thousands of advertisements in every medium from all over the world. You can filter and search your results by type, keyword and location.

47. Brands of the World

Like Ads of the World, but focused on logos and identity.

Social

Want to interact with other graphic designers and related industries? Try the following social websites.

48. UCreative

Calls itself the social network for creative professionals and has plenty of dynamic discussions to keep you busy spouting your opinion, learning new tricks and helping others.

49. All Graphic Design Forum

A robust forum with thousands of active users and discussion threads that you can use to learn, be inspired or weigh in with your own ideas.

50. Graphic Design Forum

An active community with tens of thousands of posts you can search, browse and join.

51. Ffffound!

Image bookmarking you can share with friends, family, colleagues and prospective employers/clients.

52. Shadowness

Browse works for inspiration, and rate them for a social environment.

53. Colourlovers

Discover, create and share color palettes for a variety of projects.

54. Facebook

Share artwork, browse other designers’ pages and join groups pertaining to graphic design on Facebook.

55. Twitter

Follow other graphic designers and blast relevant content to increase your online clout as a graphic designer.

56. Pinterest

Pin-up boards related to specific aspects of graphic to help you attract a following and customers.

57. LinkedIn

Network with the people you know plus the people they know to grow your potential client base.

58. Branch Out

A professional network created just for Facebook.

Productivity

Want to work smarter and faster? Try these productivity tools for graphic designers, entrepreneurs, business and professionals in general.

59. PsPrint

Download free professional templates to cut out prep time before you begin your designs, learn tips and tricks and be inspired by the PsPrint Blog and Resource articles, get instant prices for clients and sign up to be a reseller so you can make money printing business cards, brochures, postcards, banners, letterhead, magnets, flyers, posters and more for your clients.

60. Wave Accounting

I’ve written about this 100 percent free online accounting software before. If Quickbooks sounds as fun to you as putting your head under a jackhammer, this platform is a godsend. Simple and easy to use, yet a full-featured accounting application, Wave Accounting was built with the entrepreneur in mind. Handles both personal and business acounting.

61. Mindmeister

A mind-mapping tool that you’ll probably find is a bit more intuitive than most. The GUI is excellent.

62. Resize My Browser

If you design for the web, you might know how frustrating it can be to create the perfect design, only to find out later it looks terrible on a different-sized browser. It’s a pain to keep resizing your own browsers, so try this free tool to see what your designs look like in seconds.

63. Shoeboxed

Keep all your important client files, business documents and tax-deductible receipts in an easy-to-use, digital filing cabinet that makes tax time a breeze.

64. Trello

If you manage teams or collaborate with other designers, Trello can keep you abreast of who is doing what and when they’re doing it so you can manage any project at a glance.

65. MockFlow

As their website says, super-easy wireframing. Outline your websites before you commit to a mockup, and use free templates to help you stay within easy-to-follow design standards.

66. Join.me

Want to discuss your latest design with clients? Show them how to use the Drupal admin? Join.me saves time and money by eliminating the need for face-to-face meetings.

67. Action Method

The Behance Network’s answer to productivity. A full suite of tools: online, mobile and paper. All are bred from a method that eliminates wasted time and increases efficiency.

68. Coolendar

A calendar and planning tool that integrates with other calendars (such as Google Calendar). My favorite feature is the ability to write a single string of text, such as “meet bob 5pm tuesday,” and the app automatically detects the details and schedules the event.

69. Zoho

A full suite of productivity tools. Hey, 5 million users can’t be wrong.

70. Highrise

Productivity tools should be simple to use. Otherwise, how would they increase productivity? If you’re looking for an inexpensive CRM that will actually help you make more money, this is the software for you. It’s from 37Signals, which has several other applications worth checking out as well.

71. Dropbox

Cloud storage and backup, plus file sharing. It’s one of many services that do this (including the recently-released Google Drive). I’ve tried several, and Dropbox remains my favorite.

72. Toggl

Toggl is time tracking software you can use to make sure you’re billing for every minute you work. It has a free version and paid pro version.

73. Rescue Time

A time management app of a different sort. You download a lightweight application that runs in the background and tracks how you spend your time. Set goals and review your performance. The tool will help you determine how you’re spending your time and identify areas in which efficiency can improve.

Jobs

If you’re on the prowl for clients these websites will help you find work and get paid.

74. Authentic Jobs

A good place to find good-paying graphic design jobs. You’ll have to use the tools to filter out jobs that suit your expertise and location, but there are plenty of U.S.-based jobs that pay appropriately so it’s worth the search.

75. AIGA Design Jobs

The AIGA’s reputation speaks for itself, and its job board is one of the best in terms of quality work.

76. Elance

Sure, there’s a ton of overseas competition that undercuts stateside designers, but it’s one of the best-marketed job boards out there. Stick to your guns on pricing, and though you won’t win them all, the few you will win will likely turn out to be high-quality, long-term clients.

77. Freelance Switch

A total resource for all freelancers that includes a paid job board with excellent opportunities for graphic designers.

78. Style Apple

A graphic design job board with social media and portfolios built into one.

79. Krop

The cream of the, uh, crop. Includes job listings from private parties as well as agencies.

80. Guru

Like Elance, you’ll have to compete with overseas designers. However, I feel that many of the clients on Guru value quality at a fair price, so there are plenty of opportunities there.

81. ODesk

More undercutters than I’d like; however, it is an excellent resource for outsourcing simple tasks you don’t have time to handle yourself.

82. The Ladders

All I could remember about The Ladders is the $100K+ advertisements, but they’ve made some interesting additions to their service offering since those came out. I’m glad I took a look. You will be, too.

Freebies

What’s better than great design? Free stuff. Even better? Free stuff you can use to make great designs.

83. GoMediaZine

A blog-style archive of all sorts of free stuff you can use for graphic design.

84. MorgueFile

I use this stock image site all the time because it’s royalty-free, no attribution license makes it easy, fast and totally free.

85. StockXChange

Perhaps the most comprehensive collection of free, high-quality, true stock images you’ll find online.

86. CG Textures

Need textures? They’ve got ‘em… thousands of ‘em.

87. Brush King

The only way this Photoshop brushes resource could be better is if it installed the brushes for you!

88. Designmoo

Discover and share free graphic design resources for a variety of software and applications with this innovative website.

89. Vecteezy

Tons of free vector art you can download, manipulate and deploy in your own graphic designs.

90. Brusheezy

Vecteezy’s sibling, with free Photoshop brushes you can download and use in your designs.

91. DesignModo

A popular website with graphic design resources for print, the web, mobile and more.

92. Brush Lovers

Another free Photoshop brush site, but can you really ever get enough?

93. PS Brushes

 

Yep, more Photoshop brushes. If you haven’t found what you needed by now, you’ll probably have to make your own.

94. Find Icons

Search for free icons you can download and use in your own designs.

95. Design Freebies

The name says it all … from templates to vectors to photos, this site has a little bit of everything free a graphic design could want.

96. Bittbox

A popular, well-established graphic design resource that promises to offer high-quality freebies.

97. PixEden

More premium design resources available for download at a not-so-premium price: free.

98. Freebies Booth

Features many modern freebies that crossover graphic/web designers will love.

99. Design Kindle

Free textures, styles, patterns, templates, graphics, vectors and more can be found at Design Kindle.

100. Lord of Design

Download free templates, scrap kits, logos, brushes, styes and more from this website.

There are so many great graphic design resources on the web, I could easily double or triple this list. Many of these websites could fit in multiple categories. For example, a site I’ve bookmarked for inspiration might have an active job board as well. Put these resources to work to help you be a better graphic designer, and post your favorite graphic design websites I’ve missed in the comments.

About the Author:

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. His previous roles included managing editor for a hometown newspaper and club bartender for a group of quasi-alcoholics. When he’s not writing, he’s usually counting lost follicles and wondering what he ever did with his time before his two children were born.

  • http://www.nakedbinder.com Ken James

    Hi Brian,

    Nice list but your links are not working. May want to check those.

    Ken

  • Brian Morris

    Ken – thanks for the head’s up – they should all be working correctly now! – Brian

  • Jerad Macauley

    Great list! As a novice I really appreciate all of the tutorial and freebie sites.

    Cheers!

  • http://blog.psprint.com Sonia Mansfield

    Super thorough, super helpful list. Nicely done, Brian!

  • Brian Morris

    Jerad and Sonia, thank you for the kudos! I hope you were able to identify at least a few resources that will make life easier, more productive, and more profitable!

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  • http://replicon.com Time Sheet

    This is actually a huge list of resources for graphic and web designers. I had been a regular visitor of Smashingmag, Noupe, Tutplus, hongkiat and abduzeedo.

  • Brian Morris

    Glad you like the list, and thanks for mentioning a few more to add to it!