The web is a veritable wonderland of free design resources that can enrich and improve your designs. This post contains forty sites to bookmark and keep an eye on for a continual stream of amazingly useful resources.
Using the same old fonts with every design is one of the quickest way to reach a stale point in your design career. Keep things fresh and exciting by continually adding to your font library without touching your checking account.
Font Squirrel is by far my favorite resource for free fonts. Though the offering isn’t as large as some of the other sites, the quality of the fonts is usually far beyond what you find anywhere else.
Free textures are a great way to increase the visual interest of your designs. Mix and match textures from the amazing resources below whenever you need a good way to improve a boring design.
Lost and Taken is an excellent resource for high-resolution textures of all kinds. Be sure to make this your first stop in a search for quality textures.
Blogs with Freebie Sections
Obviously, design blogs are an incredible source of free content. However, not all of them create easily browsable sections of free resources. Here’s a short list of some that do.
Smashing Magazine’s freebie section is full of free downloads of the highest quality. Usually, the resources are completely royalty free and can be used with zero attribution.
NetTuts is a great resource for web designers and developers to increase the contents of their bag of tricks. Free downloads and instructional guides abound.
Chris Spooner frequently posts great new artwork he has created in the form of icons, brushes or vector graphics and is nice enough to let you use them on any and all of your design projects.
Need a blasting off point for your next web project? Try grabbing some free PSD, WordPress, CSS and HTML themes to use as a strong foundation and starting point.
An excellent source for completely free and extremely high quality PSD site templates.
OSWD features lots of community submitted web design templates that are free to download. Though the quality is pretty diverse, there are definitely quite a few gems to be found here!
Having a layout crisis? Use the Free CSS templates on this site as a starting point to structure your own design on.
Icons are an excellent way to visually organize content and add impressive artistic flair to your designs. There are tons of great resources online for free icons, here are a few to get you started.
Though Icon Dock sells icons, they also provide great free downloads from time to time and store them all in one convenient place for you to pilfer from.
Icon search engines like Icon Finder are incredibly useful if you have a very specific need in mind. Just watch the usage rights as they tend to vary by file.
The icons here are not always free to use commercially but this can still be a great resource for private projects.
Free Stock Photos/Art
Stock art makes it easy to create stunning designs with very little effort, but can get quite expensive. Always make sure what you’re looking for isn’t available free before you go and blow your budget on iStock.
Flickr creative commons is one of the best resources for free photography. Usually the photographers only ask that you give them credit for the photo (usually in the form of a simple link to the Flickr page).
Stock.Xchng should definitely be one of the first places you look if you need a stock photo. They have a huge collection, ranging in quality from incredibly bad to incredibly amazing. This is another place where you need to keep an eye on the usage rights as some of the photos are not licensed for commercial purposes.
Vecteezy is a really great, though limited, resource for all kinds of vector splats, silhouettes and icon.
Photoshop brushes can vastly improve the intricacy and fullness of your designs. The two resources below contain tons of great free brushes and merely scratch the surface of what you can find online with only a few minutes of searching.
This section contains sites dedicated to one specific type of content, such as jQuery, and sites that are completely dedicated to free design resources of all types. Spending even a few minutes browsing any one of these is sure to yield some outstanding finds.
The Adobe Exchange is a huge marketplace, filled with high quality content that is often completely free of charge. Whether you’re looking for brushes, actions, fonts, or anything other kind of design resource, you can probably find something here that’ll work just fine.
Media Loot is an awesome subscription based design resource site. I definitely recommend considering shelling out the dough for a subscription but in the mean time, check out their blog for some great free stuff.
That should be enough to equip your design arsenal for months on end. Let us know which of these resources you found the most helpful. Also be sure to tell us about any great sites you frequent that we didn’t list here.