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Time-Saving And Educational Resources For Web Designers

Web design community is strong and hard-working. We have plenty of useful resources, tools and services created, developed and released every single day: apart from goodies such as free fonts or icons, there are also many educational resources and little time-savers that can significantly improve designer’s workflow. We permanently look out for the new projects and support them by presenting them on Twitter1, Facebook2, in our e-mail newsletter3 and, evidently, in Smashing Magazine’s posts.

Today we are glad to present one of such posts: an overview of handy new resources for web designers; most of them were released recently, but some of them are a bit older. Still, they were included to supplement the overview, making the post more comprehensive and complete. Please feel free to discuss the featured resources in the comments to this post. And, of course, thank you guys for creating and maintaining all these useful resources. Your efforts are deeply appreciated.

Useful Resources for Web Designers Link

Fonts in Use4
This site presents a catalogue for real-world typography samples and innovations in branding, advertising, signage and publishing. The regularly updated collection of trends and case studies is commented on by typography experts and gurus from around the world. The sharp, interesting comments and discussions will keep you engaged, all backed up by real examples.

Screenshot5

Note and Point: Keynote and PowerPoint Gallery6
Note and Point highlights the most beautiful Keynote, PDF and PowerPoint work on the Web, which happens to be mostly Web design-related, although various topics are covered. No doubt these presentations — which really do look that much better — might surprise you by the attention given to color, illustrations and typography.

Screenshot7

Free High-Quality HTML Email Templates8
The page presents 38 free HTML email templates (including PSD and HTML files), created by talented professional designers. Every template has been tested in more that 20 popular email clients, including Outlook 2010, Gmail, Lotus Notes, Apple Mail and the iPhone. All of the Photoshop documents are layered and ready to be tweaked. You can download all of the templates for free (320 MB) and use them for any private or commercial project. In case you use Campaign Monitor to send out newsletters, you’ll also get Campaign Monitor’s templates as an extra goodie. Mailchimp users can choose from the professional templates for Mailchimp9.

HTML Email Newsletter10

The Grammar Cheat Sheet11
Never mix up your dashes again, learn how to set quotations marks and remind yourself to keep paragraphs short and topical. Overall, this article is a nice little overview of suggestions that would help you improve the quailty of your copy. For a closer examination of what else might go wrong, check out “The Trouble With EM ‘n EN (and Other Shady Characters)12” by Peter K Sheerin.

The Grammar cheat sheet13

FPO: For Print Only14
For Print Only is a blog that is dedicated to everything related to print design. FPO celebrates that print is not dead by showcasing the most compelling printed projects. Print is alive and well as witnessed by this well organized and inspirational resource.

FPO: For Print Only15

Graphic Atlas: History of Printing16
The site is a virtual study collection that showcases printing processes from early woodcuts to modern digital print. The print-identification tool guides you through a number of explorations that replicate the experience of identifying prints using common tools. Among other things, you’ll learn about such printing techniques as relief, letterpress, gravure, silver-dye bleach, dye sublimation and direct thermal. The object explorer allows you to view two images side by side to compare traits across processes. Characteristics such as size, format, color, texture, sheen and layer structure are explained as well.

Screenshot17

Smarthistory
Smarthistory.org is a free and open, not-for-profit art history textbook. The website covers a wide variety of the artwork usually found in art history classes, ranging from ancient cultures to post-colonialism. In addition to the audio and video, Smarthistory contains articles and images organized by style and chronology. As a bonus, the user interface itself is worth looking at. The appealing design and intuitive navigation (which allows you to browse by era, style, artist and theme) makes this experience not only educational but enjoyable. A comprehensive overview of the seeds that helped sew the graphic design field.

Screenshot

The Photoshop Etiquette Manifesto for Web Designers18
This site lays out a number of guidelines for creating Photoshop files and workflows that are conducive to productivity and team collaboration. By following these guidelines, you make it easier for others to work with your files, and more likely that your project will go smoothly. Some of the things included are common-sense (proofread before exporting), but others aren’t necessarily something you’d think of if you’re not used to collaborating or working on big projects (use folders, keep logos as vector smart objects). It also includes helpful illustrations for each example, so there’s no confusion.

Screenshot19

Desks Near Me20
This site features places all over the world that designers and developers might like to work in, be they offices or cafés. The website provides detailed information, including hours of operation and reviews. Some places charge a small fee for use, and many throw in a few goodies like food, drink and access to equipment.

21

Dark Design Patterns22
Dark Design Patterns aims to expose these black-hat designs whose sole aim is to misdirect and deceive visitors. Anti-usability design patterns that are currently identified on the website include the “Roach Motel,” “Bait and Switch,” “Privacy Zuckering” and “Forced Information Disclosure,” among others. Examples of each are included, and visitors can add their own in the comments on each page. It’s a great website to show clients when they ask you to implement a questionable “feature” on their website.

Screenshot23

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page24
Formstack explains how design translates to users and ten key landing page features that draw them in. A useful breakdown of elements to include in your designs and things to keep in mind during your design-work.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page25

100 Principles for Designing Logos and Building Brands26
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but sometimes the simpler the better. From Brand Identity Essentials, here are some principals for designing logos and building brands. These cover example shapes, consistency, voice, meaning and flexibility.

100 Principles for Designing Logos and Building Brands27

Design Is History28
A wonderful reference site for all designers and provides brief overviews of a wide range of topics — for us, designers, it is improtant to understand where design originates from.

Design Is History29

NounProject30
NounProject provides a huge collection of highly recognizable symbols, available for free download and use. The designers are committed to quality in what they do, and so the icons are indeed designed very well.

NounProject31

Ethics for Web Designers32
Robot Regime is dedicated to ethics and Web design, and it discusses what our ethical obligations are — to ourselves, our colleagues and our clients. The site already features some nice pieces, including posts about fair pricing, misrepresenting yourself as a designer and giving clients what they want.

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OnTwik34
The website brings together lectures, screencasts and conferences from around the world. Both expert and novice developers and designers should be able to find topics of interest, whether it’s CSS and HTML5 or start-ups and creativity. Ontwik is free, and anyone can suggest content for the website; you can even submit your own lectures.

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Design Moo36
“Join together and share valuable free Web design resources.” This could be the slogan of this design community, created and curated by front-end developer Chris Wallace. The project is a network of designers and a high-quality collection of free design resources: fonts, icons, illustrations, patterns, textures and Web layouts. All goodies are tagged for easy navigation, and you can follow new releases on Twitter. You might want to check Boxtuffs37 and Premium Pixels38 as well, another websites featuring free high-quality resources.

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Design Kindle: Free High-Quality Design Files40
This site offers a ton of free high-quality design files that you might actually want to use, all without restrictions on personal or commercial use. Everything from design elements to images to full themes is included. Design Kindle doesn’t have a big library of files just yet, but more are sure to be added soon.

Screenshot41

365psd: A Free PSD Every Day42
Every day, this site offers a free PSD file for you to download. These files are almost all design elements that you can use in Web and application designs, including buttons, progress bars, navigation elements and more, and they are well designed. Currently, there are more than 300 days worth of freebies, all tagged, browsable and searchable.

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Guidelines for Mobile Web App Design44
This article presents a comprehensive list of links to official user interface and user experience guidelines from various manufacturers. The guidelines include samples, tips and descriptions of common weaknesses for mobile platforms such as iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, webOS and Mee Go. Many of the guidelines focus on native application development, but they can be applied to design of mobile applications in general, too.

Screenshot45

Secure Password Generator46
The tool lets you enter parameters, including the length of the password, whether to include uppercase and/or lowercase letters or numbers or punctuation and whether to eliminate characters that resemble each other (such as i and l, 1 and I, and o and 0). Then, just select the number of passwords to generate, and it returns a list. It even includes phonetics for each password to make it easier to read out loud (in case you’re giving a password to someone over the phone, for example).

Screenshot47

Keyonary48
This tool is a nice little application for finding shortcuts in Mac OS X, Photoshop and so on. Currently, more than 300 Photoshop shortcuts are available. Simply type the name of application in the search box, and it spits out a long shortcut list.

Screenshot49

Let’s Swap50
A place where artists and designers can swap art for free. The site is an experiment: if you are an artist or designer, you probably have something hanging around and you’ll be willing to swap it for something else. The site gives you the opportunity to do exactly that; just put out an open invitation and see what happens. Very interesting idea.

Let's Swap51

Starting with Git: Cheat Sheet52
After freshening up her git skills, Loma Jane Mitchell shares her ‘cheat sheet’ — the commands that she uses on a day-to-day basis when working with git. Also note that GUI tools and IDE plugins are available for Git, so it is worth taking a look at what is available for the development environment you use.

Starting with Git: Cheat Sheet53

Rails 3 Cheat Sheets54
The site provides Rails 3 Cheat Sheets for Activemodel, Actionmailer and Actioncontroller, XSS protection and UJS, Activerelation, Bundler and Routing API.

Midday Latte55

Bounce Rate Demystified56
If you are doing business on the web and have Google Analytics set up for your website, it’s very likely that you know the bounce rate for your website. But, do you know anything about how it’s calculated, what your industry’s average bounce rate is or even what factors affect your bounce rate? Inspired by common questions, KissMetrics created this infographic to give you answers and some tips to help you improve your bounce rate.

Bounce Rate Demystified57

InspireUX58
User Experience quotes and articles to inspire and connect the UX community.

Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People59

Quotes on Design60
A growing collection of useful quotes by designers for designers and developers.

Screenshot61

IA TV62
Information Architecture Television features a collection of videos from around the Web that all focus on information architecture. Hundreds of videos dating back to 2008 offer a great wealth of information on everything from design thinking to usability.

IA TV63

The Bazaar64
On this site you can create galleries, upload your artworks and specify your products which you would like to sell. Once the buyer has checked out and has made the payment, your artwork is printed, wrapped and delivered.

The Bazaar is a marketplace to buy and sell creative objects.65

A Collection of Materials Related to Interaction Design66
This IxD library provides you with an ultimate collection of posts, articles, PDFs as well as videos related to interaction design for you to read and gain more knowledge and inspiration.

A collection of materials related to Interaction Design67

Pinterest — Catalog the Things You Love68
Pinterest is a social catalog service. Think of it as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can post collections of things you love, and “follow” collections created by people with great taste.

Pinterest / Home69

WordPress Snippets70
WP-Snippets can come in handy when you’re designing a WordPress theme. Rather than start from scratch when building some functionality or another, why not grab a snippet of code that has already been tested? The website includes many useful snippets, from highlighting author comments to listing random posts to filtering the loop. Make sure to read the comments for each snippet because they could contain helpful information on whether the code works in certain WordPress versions.

Screenshot71

CSS Terms and Definitions72
This article discusses the consistency in the use of terms with reagrds to CSS.

CSS Terms and Definitions73

CSS Vocabulary74
“I realized quite late that to say something meaningful about CSS, I would have to know exactly what the terms used means. Often, I have asked for help in forums, and have got stuck wondering how exactly to describe my problem. So I thought it would be a good idea to describe all the common terms of CSS.” A nice overview of common CSS terms and definitions and a good addition to the article “CSS Terms and Definitions” described above..

CSS Vocabulary75

Bagcheck
BagCheck lets you share your personal collections and also lets you browse through other ‘bags’ to find out common hobbies or activities that helps you connect with people and their interests.

Bagcheck | What are you using for your favorite activities?

ManyBooks: Repository of Free E-Books76
This site offers a huge collection of public domain e-books, as well as other newer books that have been released in the public domain or under Creative Commons licenses, in a variety of formats. You can download classics such as Pride and Prejudice77, as well as newer books such as The Gospel of the Knife78, in formats such as ePub, Mobi, PDB and even PDF and plain text. Books are also browsable by genre, author and title. And of course, there is a search function.

79

Last Click Link

Should I Work for Free?80
Who’s ready to stop working for free? Hopefully you are! If you have any doubts, consult this handy chart below. Start in the middle and work your way to your answer.

Should I Work for Free?81

Email Etiquette for the Super-Busy82
In a recent blog post, venture capitalist Fred Wilson talked about his ongoing struggle with email management and the various solutions he’s tried, concluding: “Every time I make a productivity gain, the volume eventually overwhelms me.” It’s a familiar problem. We’re all extremely busy, and we all get too much email. So what to do?

Email Etiquette for the Super-Busy83

The Future of Advertising84
An article on advertising; stating that advertising is on the cusp of its first creative revolution since the 1960s brings us to a new prespective. This involves the ad industry that just might get left behind. Click here to read and find out more. Very interesting read.

The Future of Advertising85

Why Your Form Buttons Should Never Say ‘Submit’86
When you see a ‘Submit’-button on a form, what comes to your mind? One could easily reason that clicking the button submits the user’s information into the system for processing. A ‘Submit’-button describes what the system does well, but it doesn’t describe what the user does at all. The article suggests to stop using the wording ‘Submit’ on buttons and provide more meaningful, task-specific names instead.

Why Your Form Buttons Should Never Say Submit87

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://twitter.com/smashingmag
  2. 2 http://www.facebook.com/smashmag
  3. 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/the-smashing-newsletter/
  4. 4 http://fontsinuse.com/
  5. 5 http://fontsinuse.com/
  6. 6 http://noteandpoint.com/
  7. 7 http://noteandpoint.com/
  8. 8 http://www.campaignmonitor.com/templates/
  9. 9 http://www.mailchimp.com/features/designer-templates/
  10. 10 http://www.campaignmonitor.com/templates/
  11. 11 http://retinart.net/miscellaneous/grammar
  12. 12 http://www.alistapart.com/stories/emen/
  13. 13 http://retinart.net/miscellaneous/grammar
  14. 14 http://www.underconsideration.com/fpo/
  15. 15 http://www.underconsideration.com/fpo/
  16. 16 http://www.graphicsatlas.org
  17. 17 http://www.graphicsatlas.org/
  18. 18 http://photoshopetiquette.com/
  19. 19 http://photoshopetiquette.com/
  20. 20 http://desksnear.me/
  21. 21 http://desksnear.me/
  22. 22 http://darkpatterns.org/
  23. 23 http://darkpatterns.org/
  24. 24 http://www.formstack.com/the-anatomy-of-a-perfect-landing-page
  25. 25 http://www.formstack.com/the-anatomy-of-a-perfect-landing-page
  26. 26 http://brand-identity-essentials.com/100-principles
  27. 27 http://brand-identity-essentials.com/100-principles
  28. 28 http://www.designishistory.com/
  29. 29 http://www.designishistory.com/
  30. 30 http://thenounproject.com/
  31. 31 http://thenounproject.com/
  32. 32 http://www.robotregime.com/
  33. 33 http://www.robotregime.com/
  34. 34 http://ontwik.com/
  35. 35 http://ontwik.com/
  36. 36 http://www.designmoo.com/
  37. 37 http://boxtuffs.com/
  38. 38 http://www.premiumpixels.com/
  39. 39 http://www.designmoo.com/
  40. 40 http://www.designkindle.com/
  41. 41 http://www.designkindle.com/
  42. 42 http://365psd.com/
  43. 43 http://365psd.com/
  44. 44 http://www.mobilexweb.com/blog/ui-guidelines-mobile-tablet-design
  45. 45 http://www.mobilexweb.com/blog/ui-guidelines-mobile-tablet-design
  46. 46 http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/
  47. 47 http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/
  48. 48 http://keyonary.com/
  49. 49 http://keyonary.com/
  50. 50 http://letsswap.it/
  51. 51 http://letsswap.it/
  52. 52 http://thinkvitamin.com/code/starting-with-git-cheat-sheet/
  53. 53 http://thinkvitamin.com/code/starting-with-git-cheat-sheet/
  54. 54 http://blog.envylabs.com/2010/12/rails-3-cheat-sheets/
  55. 55 http://blog.envylabs.com/2010/12/rails-3-cheat-sheets/
  56. 56 http://blog.kissmetrics.com/bounce-rate/
  57. 57 http://blog.kissmetrics.com/bounce-rate/
  58. 58 http://www.inspireux.com
  59. 59 http://www.inspireux.com
  60. 60 http://quotesondesign.com/
  61. 61 http://quotesondesign.com/
  62. 62 http://iatelevision.blogspot.com/
  63. 63 http://iatelevision.blogspot.com/
  64. 64 http://bza.co/
  65. 65 http://bza.co/
  66. 66 http://theixdlibrary.com/
  67. 67 http://theixdlibrary.com/
  68. 68 http://pinterest.com/
  69. 69 http://pinterest.com/
  70. 70 http://wp-snippets.com/
  71. 71 http://wp-snippets.com/
  72. 72 http://www.impressivewebs.com/css-terms-definitions/
  73. 73 http://www.impressivewebs.com/css-terms-definitions/
  74. 74 http://nimbupani.com/css-vocabulary.html
  75. 75 http://nimbupani.com/css-vocabulary.html
  76. 76 http://manybooks.net/
  77. 77 http://manybooks.net/titles/austenjaetext98pandp12.html
  78. 78 http://manybooks.net/titles/shetterlywother07Gospel_of_the_Knife.html
  79. 79 http://manybooks.net/
  80. 80 http://www.shouldiworkforfree.com/
  81. 81 http://www.shouldiworkforfree.com/
  82. 82 http://the99percent.com/tips/6975/Email-Etiquette-for-the-Super-Busy
  83. 83 http://the99percent.com/tips/6975/Email-Etiquette-for-the-Super-Busy
  84. 84 http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/151/mayhem-on-madison-avenue.html
  85. 85 http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/151/mayhem-on-madison-avenue.html
  86. 86 http://uxmovement.com/forms/why-your-form-buttons-should-never-say-submit
  87. 87 http://uxmovement.com/forms/why-your-form-buttons-should-never-say-submit
SmashingConf New York

Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf Barcelona, on October 25–26, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.

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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    Woow, nice bunch of stuff!

    7
  2. 2

    …and this why I ♥ SM! Thanks for sharing. Really useful post.

    10
  3. 3

    Thank you!

    3
  4. 4

    Great article! I’m currently in a Design History class and I can’t tell you how resourceful designishistory.com was to follow things chronologically – the chapters are broken up into design movements, and many design movements occurred at the same time. Thanks!

    2
  5. 5

    Excellent post –Bookmarked!

    3
  6. 6

    Nicely presented and very useful

    0
  7. 7

    Thanks Smashing for mention about Ontwik
    Be Curious, Be Dangerous & Geek!

    0
  8. 8

    One time-saving application that helps you stay on top of managing projects and invoices is Project Bubble, a great resource for freelancers. They have a free for students plan too. http://projectbubble.com

    2
  9. 9

    awesome post! after a really long time.

    0
  10. 10

    “help you improve the quailty of your copy.”

    You should have read it…

    -1
  11. 11

    ¡¡Gracias, gracias, gracias!! Amazing post.

    0
  12. 12

    Thanks for adding Designmoo to the list! I do want to mention that our community manager is Rich Hemsley, a totally rad guy from Temecula, CA. I mainly design and develop all the rad features. :)

    4
  13. 13

    I found the Dark Patterns to be pretty interesting

    -1
  14. 14

    If you’re in the Chicago area and looking for a co-working space, check out desktimeapp.com as well!

    0
  15. 15

    This is awesome. I have about 15 new tabs ready to be read. =]

    0
  16. 16

    Man, I love a good Web Design resource. Designmoo is amazing. Thankyou for bringing it to my life.

    0
  17. 17

    Incredible list! Wow. I am especially loving The Photoshop Etiquette Manifesto. Really nicely done there.

    0
  18. 18

    I’m in design heaven right now.

    2
  19. 19

    Could someone tell me how you organize all these resources from Smashing Magazine. I’m following it on a daily basis but there is so much stuffs for remember. My bookmarks are full of links that becomes completely useless. Any ideas?

    -1
    • 20

      I was having the same problem. Have been using Evernote for now. Pretty awesome so far. You can save a page as a pdf or just a bookmark, or save just an image.

      0
    • 21

      prince bazawule

      January 18, 2011 7:14 pm

      Another option is ‘Feedly’. I use it to organise my online reading and it’s pretty amazing. Explore it and see how it goes.

      0
  20. 22

    Lukasz Waszczuk

    January 18, 2011 1:24 pm

    Great resources definitely bookmarking a few for future use. Thank you.

    1

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