The Ultimate Designer Resource List: Tools, Tips, & Inspiration
Welcome to the Live Large designer's resource list! Ongoing education and tools and the cornerstone to staying current and relevant as a designer :)
- Live Large Collective: Intimate community of designers supporting one another work remotely from around the world through community and online courses.
- Design Better: Best practices for better design
- AIGA: The Professional Association for Design (America)
- AGDA: Australia's association for professional designers
- Giant Thinkers: Advice for Designers and Creatives
- Freelancer's Union: Education and resources for freelancers
- Universal Principles of Design, by Willima Lidwell
Universal Principles of Design is the first comprehensive, cross-disciplinary encyclopedia of design. Richly illustrated and easy to navigate, it pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the concepts applied in practice. From the "80/20" rule to chunking, from baby-face bias to Occam's razor, and from self-similarity to storytelling, every major design concept is defined and illustrated for readers to expand their knowledge.
- Thinking with Type, by by Ellen Lupton
Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication.
- Type Rules The Designer's Guide to Professional Typography
A thorough introduction to the principles and practices of typography
General Design Tools
- Remove Bg: Quickly remove the background to your photographs (free account and unlimited low-resolution downloads)
- Canva: A free-to-use online graphic design tool. Use it to create social media posts, presentations, posters, and more. It's also great for setting up client templates.
- Coolers: Explore color palettes with this easy tool that generates color palettes (free)
- Adobe Color: Explore and create color palettes
- Happy Hues: Play with color in context
- Khroma: AI tool to generate limitless color palettes
- Color Inspo: Color palettes and other color tools
- Pigment: A unique way to generate colors
- Brand Colors: Library of established brand color palettes
- Culrs: Explore complementary, triadic, analogous, triad and monochromatic color palettes
- Stark: The suite of integrated accessibility compliance tools for the visual impaired
Copy Writing Tools
- ChatGPT: An AI chatbot that uses natural language processing to create humanlike conversational dialogue
- Jasper: AI Copywriting That Writes High-Converting Copy
- Typewolf: Typography resources for picking fonts and type combinations
- Typography 101: Learn the basics of setting typography
- What the Font: Search images for font type
- Google Fonts: Free fonts (print/web)
- My Fonts: Largest library of professional fonts
- Font Squirrel: Free high-quality fonts
- Font Fabric: Well made fonts with free demos
- Fonts Arena: Free fonts and alternatives to premium fonts
- Lost Type Foundry: Donation based unique fonts
- Kerning Tool: Practice your kerning ability
- Font Bundles: Save money with this collection of free fonts
Stock Imagery/Video (FREE)
- Unsplash: Royalty-Free Photography
- Pexels: Royalty-Free Photography
- Burst by Shopify: Photography
- UserStock: Royalty-FreeAvatar/People Photography
- Mixkit: Assets for video production
- Covver: Royalty-Free Stock video
- DesignResourc.es: Design resource library
- Draw Kit: Free Vectors and icons
Stock Imagery/Video (PAID)
- Envato Elements: Unlimited graphic templates, photography, video, vector and more ($16/month when billed yearly)
- Vectorstock: Vector image library ($1/download)
- Creative Market: Quality graphics, fonts, and imagery (cost per download)
- Typographic Posters: Poster design inspiration
- Pinterest: High-quality collection of design inspiration
- Milanote: Our favorite tool for client-facing project management and design delivery (and it's FREE)
- 17 Hats: Our favorite tool for contracts, quotes, questionnaires, payment gateways, and light CRM system (it's got it all!)
Money Book List
- Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins
Jeff Goins debunks the myth of the starving artist by unveiling the ideas that created it and replacing them with timeless strategies for thriving.
- You Are A Badass at Making Money, Jen Sincero
This book helped me get out of my own way and put pictures on my website and believe in the success of my business over what people will think. She helped me get over myself, and it's a great book for money mindset.
- The Illusion of Money, Kyle Cease
Kyle Cease is amazing at teaching us to go inward for our "next billionaire idea" versus getting too distracted with our modern world. I love all his materials and he's helped me get back in touch with my innate dreams despite people discouraging me.
- The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed, Denise Kiernan
This book breaks down a comprehensive system for earning, spending, saving, and surviving as an independent worker. From interviews with financial experts to anecdotes from real-life freelancers, plus handy charts and graphs to help you visualize key concepts.
Business Book List
- Building a Story Brand Clarify Your Messages so Customers will Listen, by Donald Miller
Visuals are only as strong as your message. Get clear about what your brand message.
- Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares
Most people try to market through too many outlets. This book teaches a system to narrow in on ONE traction outlet and do it effectively to monetize.
- Built to Sell: Creating a Business that Can Thrive Without You, John Warrillow
This book is a great model of how to build a business to sell and uses a branding agency as an example. It's a quick read and addresses a lot of the challenges we face in the design industry. Much of the challenge is not related to design, but rather the psychology of working with clients.
Mindset Book List
- Daring Greatly, Brene Brown (or anything by her)
Brene Brown is amazing at teaching how to support connection in our environments to promote creativity. All her work is research/science-based, despite being "self-help."
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert
Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
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