Every time I have checked my email over the last two weeks, it has been full of Black Friday deals. We will get a short respite before the New Year offers start to roll in. I like a bargain as much as anyone, however, I think that plenty of sites will be covering the best offers on electronics and tech.
I thought we would do something different this year at Smashing. I’ve launched a number of independent products over the years — downloadable software, software as a service, self-published books, and a course. I know how difficult it can be to get the word out about your products when self-funding, so I thought we could give a boost to all the indie makers out there and feature some of their products.
We asked the Smashing community for their suggestions, and so here is a list covering pretty much every kind of product you can imagine. I hope you can find something you need in these, and help support these hard-working folks.
Search by category:
A collection of independently published books, and small publishers, with a shoutout to a very special project.
A book project started by the talented Cindy Li, who was a friend to many of us in the web community. After Cindy passed away, her friends got together to finish the book, and all proceeds will go to Cindy’s two young sons.
You don’t need an army of consultants to help you protect your organization from brand degradation and reputational threats. This practical guide by Kristina Podnar will guide you in minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities.
This book details techniques such as raycasting, compiled scalers, deferred rendition, VGA Mode-Y, linear feedback shift register, fixed point arithmetic, and many others tricks. Fabien Sanglar also went into much detail to describe the hardware of 1991, and has released the source code under GPL license.
Our very own Smashing books aim to deliver in-depth knowledge and expertise shared by experts and practitioners from the industry. Our most recent one, Inclusive Components, explores bulletproof solutions for building accessible interfaces.
Gifts, Artwork, And Posters
If you are finding gifts for friends and family for the holidays, why not support these independent makers.
Jessica is a lettering artist who has been creating custom lettering artwork for established brands, classic books and postage stamps for over the past ten years. You’ll find a wonderful collection of prints, cards and pins on her site.
A nice and lovely graphic shop that focuses on handmade, limited, signed, numbered and self-published production. Artists who mainly use screen printing without forgetting other techniques such as risograph printing or letterpress. Graphic work of more than 100 international and local artists. All at affordable and real prices.
Brought to life by Alex Norris, we’re sure that you’ll be all smiles when you check out his prints, pins and more.
Since 2014, Casa Atlântica works to give value to trades that are gradually being lost: their objects are born in villages of Galicia and Portugal from the hands of artisans who, with materials such as ceramics, wicker or wood, give life to their designs.
Established in 2009, this accessories and objects studio creates designs that are inspired from the observation of different cultures and traditions — seeking people and places authenticity through books and travels.
As I know from launching our own print magazine here at Smashing Magazine this year, creating a print magazine requires a huge amount of work. Here are some of your favorites.
Offscreen is an independent print magazine that examines how we shape technology and how technology shapes us. Offscreen Magazine is a favorite of many Smashing readers. Also check out the Dense Discovery email newsletter (I always find something new there).
Zines by Julia Evans that are aimed at working programmers who want to know how to use grep / tcpdump / strace in a fun way. (A lot of them are focused on systems/Linux concepts.)
Courses And Training
If you find yourself wrestling with CSS layout, Every Layout is for you. Through a series of simple, composable layouts, you will learn how to better harness the built-in algorithms that power browsers and CSS.
Working with Terminal can be daunting. This video course wants to cure you from any fear of the terminal. For designers, new developers, UX, UI, product owners, and anyone who’s been asked to “just open the terminal”.
If you’re tired of configuration, build tools, spagetti code and want to focus on building amazing web apps with the latest features, this complete video course will get you fit for building web apps with Next.js for React.
Software And Tools
A whole selection of interesting products and tools. Many of these have free plans. If you love one of these products, however, do consider signing up for the paid version if you can. Bootstrapped products need sales, or they go away!
Built for designers and developers, the browser Polypane lets you create sites and apps that work for everyone. Features include multiple synced viewports for responsive design, visual impairment simulators, built-in accessibility testing tools, live refreshing, layout debugging and screenshotting.
The browser extension wants to bring the benefits of accessbility and customization to everyone, with features such as dyslexia fonts, changing the font and background color, text to speech, overlays, dyslexia rulers and more to make the web accessible to your needs.
No matter where you are in the world, Lunch Money keeps track of every dollar, euro, and yen spent. At the end of the day, they add it all up in your currency of choice so that you stay on top of your spendings without doing the maths.
By combining data from services you already use, Exist can help you understand what makes you more happy, productive, and active. Bring your activity from your phone or fitness tracker and add other services like your calendar for greater context on what you’re up to.
Unsubscribing from the emails you don’t want to receive any longer can be time-consuming. Leave Me Alone shows you all of your subscription emails in one place so that you can unsubscribe from them with a single click.
Stop scrolling through pages of reports and collecting gobs of personal data about your visitors, both of which you probably don’t need. Fathom is a simple and private website analytics platform that lets you focus on what’s important: your business.
Buttondown is a small elegant tool for producing newsletters. The minimalist interface makes it easy to write great emails; the automation acts like the editorial assistant you wish you had; and the portable subscription widget helps grow your audience from anywhere.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest — all of them have different requirements when it comes to social share images. To save you time, Placid creates your social share images automatically. You define a template once, the tool does the rest.
Calibre helps you monitor and audit web performance and make meaningful improvements where it matters. You can simulate real-world conditions to understand what your audience is experiencing, see the impact of third-party code, receive monthly reports on crucial metrics without having to spend hours on distilling performance data, and much more.
Have you ever considered starting your own podcast? Transistor helps you with the rather boring part, storing your MP3 files, generating your RSS feed, hosting your podcast’s website, and distributing your show to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.
A bunch of things that didn’t really fit into any other category.
An online magazine for design students and free design awards, Rookie was born out of the frustration in finding good, free resources for design students. Now, you can find everything you need in one single place.
“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavours & furniture polish is made with real lemons.” The handmade, bootstrapped soda company from Glasgow wants to change that.
With Jack is all about insurance for freelance creatives, giving designers, developers, illustrators, and other web professionals the insurance they need. No endless features or stale service but one solid policy and the personal touch.
Find Support If You Are An Indie Maker
There are some excellent communities that seek to support bootstrapped businesses, sole founders and small teams. Check these out to find interesting products — or to get help in shipping your own.
- IndieHackers: Work together to build profitable online businesses.
- Makerlog: A collaborative task log that helps over 3000+ creators get things done.
- WIP: Maker Community.
Add Your Favorites To The Comments!
Did we miss one of your favorite independent products? If so, please add a link in the comments, and don’t forget to let us know what it is and why you love it, too!