The Site Slinger Blog

Web Development, Design, and everything PSD to HTML
By Jeremy H.

Top 35 Free Web Design Resources

Here at The Site Slinger, we help talented web designers like you turn your gorgeous concepts and layouts into fully functional websites. This gives you more time to do the work you’re best at – web design, of course! – by handling the coding for you.

We love working with web designers, and we know that you can never have enough free web design resources. Today we’re sharing a list of 35 of the best resources on the web for design freebies. Whether you’re looking for “plug and play” visual content, a beautiful new font, or some design inspiration, you’re bound to find new favorite free web design resources on our list.

Free Web Design Resources

Inspiration

Let’s face it – even the most talented among us get creatively stuck from time to time. So when it comes to sources of quick visual stimulation and idea generation, the more you know about, the better. Here are seven of our favorites.

  1. Designspiration is a visual smorgasbord of high-quality designs. There’s an awesome little search-by-color feature worth trying out, too.
  2. Pinterest Design Board is a nearly endless source of inspiration. This is the Design-specific board which is especially helpful.
  3. COLOURLovers Web Color Trends presents the hottest new hues and color palettes in web design.
  4. WebDesign Inspiration is a collection of beautiful web designs from around the world. Search by industry, type, style, color, and more.
  5. The Best Designs gallery displays the best of designer-submitted websites.
  6. Style Inspiration features a large database of attractive and innovative web designs. A new site is published to the database every single day.
  7. We Love Typography is an excellent source of typographic inspiration.

Stock Photography

Choosing quality stock photos can make your designs come alive – but you already knew that, didn’t you? Make sure you get to know these six places to find great free images.

  1. CompFight is a fast, easy way to search the Flickr image pool. The user-friendly interface clearly presents each image’s license agreement, available sizes, and a ready-mage HTML photo credit that you can copy and paste right into your site code.
  2. Unsplash offers beautiful photos, free for use without restrictions. The site’s slogan is “10 new photos every 10 days.”
  3. Foter makes it easy for you to search for, manage, and add photos to your online projects. The site includes useful search options for commercial and non-commercial use.
  4. FreeStockPhotos.biz has a collection of free stock photography with more than 16,700 images from a range of sources.
  5. stock.xchng is a free membership site with a gallery of close to 400,000 stock photos.
  6. The U.S. Government Photos and Images database includes photos that are in the public domain or U.S. government works and may be used without permission or fee.

BONUS! Wikimedia Commons is a resource I came across recently (so I’ve updated this list!). An easily searchable database with familiar Wikipedia-esque format, you’ll find this site to be valuable, with its use of categories and filters for free images.

BONUS #2! Getty Images (yes, Getty) recently opened up the majority of their collection in exchange for an open-embed program that lets users drop in any image, and they get to append a byline at the bottom of the picture with a credit and link to the licensing page. A great, and somewhat surprising, alternative to the usual free stock house options!

Free Stock Photo

PSD Elements, Icons, & Vectors

Sometimes you just don’t have time to create every visual element from scratch – and really, you shouldn’t have to. These five sources for non-photo design assets will help you when you’re short on time.

  1. Web Designer Depot’s freebies section offers a variety of free visual elements. It’s a great site to bookmark and check from time to time.
  2. Pixels Daily hosts a collection of free (via Creative Commons attribution license) and commercial (available for purchase through the Envato marketplace) design resources.
  3. 365psd makes a new, free PSD available for download every day.
  4. Premium Pixels is a collection of free design resources curated by UK-based web designer Orman Clark.
  5. psdGraphics is a graphic design library featuring fully editable Photoshop PSD files and high resolution graphics including abstract backgrounds, textures and patterns, and icons.

Fonts

They say “design is 95% typography!” Fonts can completely change the overall impression of your website. They can also be really expensive! That makes free fonts practically invaluable as design assets. Here are four places where you can stock up.

  1. Font Squirrel features hand-picked fonts that are 100% free for commercial use. The site also includes a webfont generator.
  2. Google Fonts has a collection of more than 600 open source fonts made specifically for the web.
  3. Creative Bloq recently shared a curated collection of 110 free fonts.
  4. FontSpace has great search matching – try ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’, for example – and a pleasing displayof their 21,000+ free fonts.

Video Tutorials

No matter how top-notch your design skills are, there’s always more to learn. Here are three of the best free tutorial resources to learn web design, particularly through videos.

  1. TutVid offers a large database of Photoshop tutorials created by designer and photographer Nathanial Dodson.
  2. Nettuts+ is dedicated to tutorials, videos, and articles on web design and development.
  3. Team Treehouse’s Become a Web Designer Library allows you to watch, but not download, some videos for free.

Free Video Tutorials

Social Networks

Social networks are a fantastic place for web designers to meet new colleagues and potential clients, share work and get feedback, and learn about the latest design trends. Some social media platforms, however, can be a waste of time for designers. These four social networks will bring you the best return on your time investment.

  1. Dribbble is a community of designers sharing screenshots of their work, process, and projects. It’s kind of like Twitter, but full of gifted artists and a lot nicer to look at.
  2. Behance is a public portfolio site for designers, illustrators, and other creative professionals.
  3. Twitter is a real-time information network that can connect designers and potential clients. Share/read interesting and relevant stories, ideas, images and news. Find, follow, and engage with your peers using this powerful micro-blog platform.
  4. Google+ offers a Communities feature that helps you find groups of people who love web design, web development, etc… as much as you do.

Blogs

We know you spend the majority of your time doing actual design work, but it’s also important to stay on top of the latest news in the design industry. You can’t beat blogs for the latest in free design news, information, and links to other excellent resources. Here are six to check out.

  1. Smashing Magazine’s mission is to educate readers on the latest trends and techniques in web design and development.
  2. Hey, Designer! curates and shares resources for web designers and developers that you won’t see everywhere else.
  3. Alltop Web Design aggregates the latest posts from popular web design sites around the web, including A List Apart, Logo Design Love, and Design Shack.
  4. Blog.SpoonGraphics shares design tutorials, articles, and downloadable free resources.
  5. Awwwards is both a web design blog and an opportunity for talented designers to submit their websites for recognition as Site of the Day, Site of the Month, and Site of the Year.
  6. Hongkiat is focused on sharing tools, freebies, and articles that designers and bloggers want to read. Many articles from the site have been picked up by bigger platforms including Lifehacker and Gizmodo.

And last but most definitely not least, we share freebies, tutorials, and advice here on The Site Slinger blog and on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles. Come join us – we’d love to talk web design and development with you.

Your Turn!

What do you think of our list? What did we miss? Contact us to let us know, or ask us about how we can help you turn your designs into code.

Additional Freebies

Check out these other lists of free web design resources we’ve shared on our blog!

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