25 resources for graphic designers
Whether you’re still cutting your design teeth or have years of expertise behind you, here are 25 resources that will help you take your creativity, strategic thinking and design skills to the next level.
The graphic design podcasts we can’t get enough of
Host Chris Do holds candid conversations with inspirational people from the worlds of design, technology, marketing, business, philosophy, and personal development.
Why we like it: This show goes deep. Highly inspiring and engaging, Chris and his team impart their vast expertise on how to release your creative juices and build a career in design.
Four successful designers give an under-the-hood look at how to land more clients, find your style, successfully brand yourself, and ultimately find satisfaction in freelance design work.
Why we like it: They get down to the nitty-gritty details on how to get clients and manage the rarely-glamorous but often-fulfilling aspects of your career.
3. Design Matters
The world's first podcast about design is an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, and other luminaries of contemporary thought.
Why we like it: Debbie Millman is an engaging and thoughtful interviewer who connects the world of design to other topics—writing, fighting poverty, relationships and more—in a thought-provoking way.
Host Ian Paget finds out what it takes to design logos by interviewing successful graphic designers and entrepreneurs around the world.
Why we like it: If you’re looking for a deep dive into the world of logo design—everything from creative to business operations—this podcast is for you. It’s great for designers, entrepreneurs, and any professionals looking for actionable tips and advice.
The graphic design books we can’t put down
1. Graphic Design Play Book: An Exploration Of Visual Thinking (Logo, Typography, Website, Poster, Web, And Creative Design)
By Sophie Cure and Barbara Seggio
The Graphic Design Play Book uses puzzles and visual challenges to demonstrate how typography, signage, logo design, posters, and branding work.
Why we like it: Traditional guides can be dull and overdone. This book presents information in a fun, interactive way. It truly is a “play” book.
2. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide For The Whole Branding Team
By Alina Wheeler
From research to brand strategy to design execution, launch, and governance, Designing Brand Identity is a compendium of branding tools and best practices.
Why we like it: This book promises to be a reference for the whole branding team and it more than delivers on that promise. Everyone from designers to strategists to project managers will benefit from its play-by-play approach as well as the case studies at the end.
3. Signs and Symbols: Their Design and Meaning
By Adrian Frutiger
This seminal work by Swiss typeface pioneer Adrian Frutiger delves deep into the relationship between symbols and psychology, providing fascinating theories on why certain shapes and patterns have endured in the human mind throughout history.
Why we like it: This is the bible of shapes and symbols, and deserves a spot on every designer’s shelf, from experienced pros to up-and-comers.
By Scott Berkun
Scott Berkun takes readers on a journey exploring how designers of all kinds, from software engineers to urban planners, have both succeeded and failed us.
Why we like it: We love the sheer power of this book, how it makes you look at the world and wonder what it would look like if it were designed differently.
The graphic design sites we have bookmarked
Like it's magazine, novum – World of Graphic Design, this site features the best in contemporary graphic design, illustration, photo design, corporate design, and typography in both English and German.
Why we like it: Spending time on this website is like being in a beautifully designed room—everywhere you look you’re amazed by its sheer artistry.
Created in 1984, Juxtapoz Magazine celebrates urban alternative and underground contemporary art.
Why we like it: Juxtapoz takes inspiration from the art world and curates it in a way that makes it relevant to graphic design. The Holiday Gift Guide is our go-to for gift ideas for fellow design enthusiasts.
3. Color Hunt
Color Hunt is a free and open platform with thousands of trendy hand-picked color palettes.
Why we like it: You can use this site regularly when you’re looking for inspiration or searching for broad color palettes that will allow you to tie different brand elements together.
Unsplash is another free graphic design tool, dedicated to sharing stock photography with over 2,000,000 free high-resolution images brought to you by 207,000 contributing photographers.
Why we like it: This free site runs the gamut with high-res photos from every category under the stars.
The sites we love for fonts
A massive catalogue of symbols created and uploaded by graphic designers around the world, The Noun Project functions as both a deposit of typographic symbols and a history of the genre.
Why we like it: The Noun Project is possibly one of the most inspirational wormholes you can go down on the internet. Just be sure to carve out enough time before you visit – it’s tough to leave.
Fontasy is a free font archive featuring 1,000+ selected fonts for PC and Mac, available for free download.
Why we like it: You can search the fonts alphabetically, by category, or by designer. Alternatively, select “random” when you don’t know what you’re looking for (until you find it.)
Creative Market is an online marketplace for community-generated design assets. The company sells fonts, graphics, WordPress themes, stock photography, and other digital goods for use by web creatives.
Why we like it: Creative Market provides six free digital assets for a limited time each week, which generally includes one high-quality font.
Provides 76,000+ free downloads of legally licensed fonts. Use the font generator to create fonts that are easy to copy and paste into your website, social media profiles, and more.
Why we like it: In addition to the search categories, we like the timeline overview that allows you to see when all the free fonts were created.
The 2021 design conferences we can’t wait to attend (virtually)
1. Trend Hunter’s Future Festival
Trend Hunter’s “Best Innovation Conference” is a free series with five live-streamed events:
- CPG & Food
- Retail & Marketing
- Media & Entertainment
- World Summit
Retail & Marketing March 17-18, 2021
Media & Entertainment: March 22-23, 2021
CPG & Food: March 24-25, 2021
International: April 13-14, 2021
World Summit 2021: September 21-23, 2021
Why: Future Festival is a must-experience event with rapid-fire insights for anyone who is looking to spot and stay ahead of trends.
From UX to accessibility, structure to storytelling, join smart, curious folks from around the world who care about making content more useful and usable for all.
When: May 5-7, 2021
Why: As a designer, you’re also a story-teller. Learn how story-telling can help you connect with your audience, whether you’re designing for print, social media, web or animated graphics.
DesignThinkers is Canada's largest annual graphic design conference, connecting designers from around the world.
When: November 8-19, 2021
Why: Last year’s event featured an impressive line-up of designers and creative directors who shared insight into how graphic designers need to stretch their design practices and tap into the trends that are shaping the industry.
The Graphic Designers we’re following on YouTube
Spencer’s tutorials, covering Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and After Effects, are delivered in a simple, easy-to-follow manner.
Why we like it: His spotlights on free goods available on Creative Market (see above) are a bit outdated, but nonetheless helpful to anyone who is navigating the site for the first time.
UK-based Chris Spooner’s YouTube channel features tutorials on how to achieve cool effects in essential design tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as specific projects like how to create a retro cereal box design and business card print design from start to finish.
Why we like it: Chris’s videos are known for being well-produced, beginner-friendly and distraction-free.
Nicki Hart provides detailed how-to episodes that guide you through real-world design projects such as magazine and book layouts.
Why we like it: Some of Nicki’s classic videos, such as “What’s this thing called white space?”,
provide helpful instruction on decisions behind design composition.
4. Nobu Design
This channel is dedicated to sharing ideas, inspiration, and tutorials on Graphic Design, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop.
Why we like it: Nobu Design’s Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials, which focus primarily on text effects, are thorough, easy-to-follow and, as an extra bonus, set to super chill lounge music.
This Toronto-based channel focuses on graphic design tutorials and resources for both beginners and senior designers. Its speed art videos cover hand lettering, logo design, animation and more.
Why we like it: If you like cool effects, this is your place! We especially love the step-by-step tips on 80’s retro text effects (followed closely by Stranger Things text effects).
This is the invoicing software we use to make sure we get paid
As a graphic designer, you want to spend more time on your work and less time on administrative tasks like creating and sending invoices. Wave’s customizable invoicing software saves you time, makes your small business look professional and most importantly, gets you paid on time.
Whether you’re looking for tips on creativity, freelancing or business strategy, there’s no shortage of inspiration and advice out there. We hope these resources will help guide your search.