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Links Every Designer Should Know

The design industry is always evolving, in large part because of how openly creatives in our field collaborate and share knowledge. We look to one another for inspiration, design tips, UX advice, and to connect over our inexplicable passion for ampersands. For this reason, design seems to top other industries in offering a wealth of resources to learn from. At Glantz, we’re constantly researching ways to hone our craft and keep our ideas fresh.

In this light, in 2013, we compiled and shared a list of the top platforms and sites that we turn to for inspiration and industry knowledge. After five years, we figured it was time for a bit of a refresh. Presenting, our new and improved List of Lists: eight collections of our favorite resources we turn to when we need to ignite that creative spark. Whether you’re looking to learn about typography, user experience, or even need a Netflix recommendation we’ve got you covered.

Top 5 for Design Inspiration

Dribbble

A collection of screenshots from web and graphic designers, illustrators, and other artists shared to nurture a community of design creatives.

Why we like it

You have to be invited to post work on Dribbble, so you only see elevated, highly curated work, or post your own and get feedback. And you can follow your favorite designers and companies.

Brand New

Detailed write ups of new and reworked designs and branding for companies and products from across different sectors.

Why we like it

It is a great way to stay on top of current design trends. The reviewer also goes into great detail of what works and what doesn’t, so you can really learn what makes a great identity.

Creative Boom

An online magazine that focuses on everything design–from art to crafts, design, illustration, and photography. Its articles also include smart and thought provoking advice for creatives of all experience levels.

Why we like it

It’s a constant stream of inspirational design. Whenever you need a mental break you can go here and scroll for as long as you need to become refreshed and inspired.

DesignBetter.Co

An online resource for books, podcasts, and workshops. This website offers information in a variety of formats from experts in all aspects of the design field.

Why we like it

Great curated content that tells you all you need to know about product design. And it’s beautifully designed itself!

Design Inspiration

It’s like Pinterest for the design community. Users can create a profile, filter through boards and save their images online.

Why we like it

We like exploring Design Inspiration when collecting images for an online mood board. As designers, this is a great resource in which we can quickly add images and share it with other designers to begin collaborating ideas.

Top 5 for Fonts and Typography

Fonts in Use

Conveniently organized by typeface, format, and industry, this site provides typography free to the public in order to promote typographic literacy and appreciation.

Why we like it

You can see real world examples of how fonts are used in all types of applications and get ideas for how you can apply these ideas to your own work.

Type Wolf

An independent site that displays fonts from a designer’s perspective and allows users to view how fonts might appear on an actual webpage.

Why we like it

This resource contains great educational content all about type and even suggests font pairings with popular typefaces. It also features websites that utilize typography in fun, creative ways, so it’s great for inspiration.

Lost Type

A collaborative font website with a “pay-what-you-want” system. Each typeface is unique and all sales go directly to the respective designer.

Why we like it

Their fonts are well designed and have a lot of personality. The site prices their typefaces based on the amount you are willing to pay for the font family. You can also purchase Lost Type gear or a trendy enamel pin.

Ultimate Google Font Pairings

A Reliable PSD to HTML, CSS, and WordPress conversion service. It’s also a great resource for viewing Google font pairings.

Why we like it

We love using Google Fonts here at Glantz, and this site helps you to create legible font pairings. On top of that, each combination is paired with a classical piece of art and famous design quotes—how cool!

What Font

This plugin helps users identify font types on any site. To do so, users simply hover over the web font they’d like to inspect and—voilà—the name appears. What Font supports Adobe Typekit and Google Fonts API.

Why we like it

Instead of having to inspect the code on a website, the What Font plugin allows us to quickly see the fonts on a page we admire or wish to use.

Top 5 for Print Design/Packaging

Art of the Menu

A curated guide to the art of creating a beautiful menu.

Why we like it

It takes a deep dive into the often undervalued world of menu design and can be a great reference for clean layouts.

Identity Designed

An intimate window into designers at work creating slick and modern branding for everything from breweries to popsicles.

Why we like it

This site is a great resource to research endless examples of identity and print design. We enjoy the behind-the-scenes perspective of other designers’ process leading up to the final result.

The Dieline

A vast collection of package design, highlighting the importance and value of packaging for brands in today’s world.

Why we like it

This is one of the most prominent blogs featuring packaging design, so you know what they feature is going to be the best of the best.

Inspiration Grid

A daily blog that with an extensive archive of designs from creative talent from around the world.

Why we like it

This is a great reference because they include many images and angles of each product so you can get a full overview of each package design.

The Casual Optimist

A publicity and marketing manager writes and comments on books, book design, book culture, and publishing.

Why we like it

Book covers always need to push the envelope because they are meant to catch your eye on a shelf, so it’s a great place to look for inspiration for any design project.

Top 5 Web Design, UX, and UI

InVision Blog

Part of the InVision app, the Invision Blog is full of articles and posts about careers, design, user experience, technology and design-related resources.

Why we like it

InVision is a thought leader in the UX field, and we use their software in our office to help streamline our workflow. They have lots of insightful knowledge related to UX practices.

UX Design Collective

This site distills what could be an overwhelming number of UX resources into manageable and helpful formats. Get informed with online articles, tutorials, resources and blogs.

Why we like it

This site breaks down sometimes complex UX concepts into digestible chunks and make them easy for beginners to understand.

Awwwards

A hub to discover and read more about the work of award-winning web designers, developers and agencies

Why we like it

This site is a great resource to see trends in user interactions and development. As designers, we can look into pushing ideas further to better understand how the website functions with the user in mind.

Above the Fold

A novelty one page site, informing why ‘above the fold’ is a saying from the past and is a great reference for articles on UX and UI.

Why we like it

This site challenges your assumptions with a variety of articles discussing the “fold” of a webpage. Is it a myth? Read more to see!

Mindsparkle Mag

A selective online magazine that showcases the best work in design, web design and video

Why we like it

Mindsparkle Mag is a great online magazine platform with award-winning work. They filter your search into sections by designer, miscellaneous, product, or service. It is personal and is a great tool to explore web and print inspiration.

Top 5 Videos/Tutorials

Skillshare

A learning goldmine, with online classes in design, business, and technology.

Why we like it

Skillshare is an amazing resource for creatives and non-creatives alike. Its online classes are open to all skill levels and are great for establishing a new skill set.

Creative Boom

A running list of the TED Talks every designer should watch.

Why we like it

TED Talks are very helpful and thought provoking when working on a design project. Learning from experienced designers is a great way to channel new inspiration and boost confidence.

History of Typography – Animated Short

A paper-letter animation about the history of fonts and typography.

Why we like it

We love this five-minute animated film outlining the History of Typography. The use of paper cuts throughout the film tells a compelling visual story.

Hustwit Films

Gary Hustwit is an independent filmmaker who directed the Helvetica (2007) documentary, an iconic film about graphic design and typography. The film is the first of Hustwit’s design film trilogy, followed by Objectified (2009) and Urbanized (2011).

Why we like it

Gary Hustwit’s site is a great resource for designers in all disciplines. The documentary films are a must-see for beginner/students to lifelong creatives. They shed a light on the bigger picture and how design affects our lives.

Abstract

The Netflix series The Art of Design is about innovative designers in a variety of disciplines and how design impacts their everyday life.

Why we like it

From graphic design to architecture, Abstract is a design series showcasing a variety of disciplines. We recommend the graphic design episode with Paula Scher. It discusses the importance of typography, problem-solving and the drive to keep creating.

Top 5 Productivity Boosters

Sketch App Sources

A collection of plug-ins, tutorials, UI kits, icons, and multiple design resources.

Why we like it

We love this deep repository of resources for Sketch, our digital design software of choice. Whether we’re trying to learn how to use a tool within the program or need a template to make wireframing go quicker, Sketch App Sources has a tutorial or download to help.

Unsplash

A stunning collection of high-quality, free photos for commercial and personal use.

Why we like it

Whether we need photography for a new website or inspiration for a moodboard, this collection of beautifully composed images is an invaluable resource.

Noun Project

In need of an icon? Look no further. Due to the generosity of designers around the world, the Noun Project is able to offer more than a million icons, royalty free.

Why we like it

Though they may seem small, icons are their own breed of design, and they’re crucial for bringing some visual excitement and cohesion to any design project. This is a dynamic resource to find inspiration and track trends in iconography.

Psddd

A variety of free mockups for Photoshop and Sketch UI templates.

Why we like it

This is a great resource for beginner designers to gather inspiration and download templates that can serve as a jumping off point for design projects.

Grammarly for Chrome

Rid your writing of all those pesky grammar and spelling errors with this easy-to-use plugin that corrects your punctuation on social posts, documents, and anywhere else you write on the web.

Why we like it

Spelling errors are the demise of us all, but the guidance in writing more effective messaging not only helps you in your writing, but makes you more aware of how you verbally communicate with your team and clients.

Top 5 Color Inspiration

Coolors

Coolers randomly generates color schemes with the press of the spacebar. If you land on one you like, you can adjust any of the hues and get the exact PMS for each color.

Why we like it

This awesome tool provides instant inspiration when it comes to the tricky task of choosing a color scheme.

Adobe Color

Create a color scheme using the color wheel or upload an image to sample colors from.

Why we like it

We like to work with Adobe Color CC to better use swatch libraries. Also, you can explore an endless amount of color themes.

Flat UI Colors

13 different designers from around the world collaborate to create color palettes inspired by their home countries.

Why we like it

It’s always fun to know a designer’s inspiration when looking at a final color scheme. This site’s like the World Cup for color.

Material Palette

Select two color swatches to generate your own color palette and explore its variations and tints.

Why we like it

This color site is a simple tool to create a color scheme. The easy to use system creates a palette that fits your design.

UI Gradients

A color generator specifically for gradients, available to download to your desktop

Why we like it

It is a great tool to bookmark so you can easily filter through color schemes or select a gradient to edit. Plus, the gradients are beautiful!

Top 5 Design for Change

AIGA, Design for Good

AIGA’s Design for Good program works with problem-solving and design thinking in relation to social change. The program umbrellas Design for Democracy, Diversity & Inclusion and Women Lead.

Why we like it

AIGA has a variety of tools for creatives. We like the Design for Good program and the events held discussing current issues in the industry and world. Join your local AIGA chapter to explore the social initiatives.

Design Matters with Debbie Millman

Hosted by Debbie Millman, Design Matters is a podcast about design and culture in the creative community. Millman is an influential designer, working creative, and educator. She is an inspiration to designers and discusses contemporary thought.

Why we like it

Design Matters is a wonderful online radio show-turned-podcast to listen to during the day. Millman dives into discussions with prestigious creatives about the challenges of the design industry. This a great podcast for designers and non-designers who work in the creative industry to listen to at least a few times a month.

IDEO U

A part of IDEO, a global design firm, IDEO U is an online learning space for individuals to develop creative confidence and embrace challenges.

Why we like it

IDEO U offers some great on-demand classes online that explore design and design thinking in-depth.

28

The 28 Days of Black Designers project focuses on projects developed and designed by African American designers. The designers are featured during Black History Month.

Why we like it

It’s important to learn about creatives outside your immediate circle. We love to keep this site bookmarked and check back to read about the featured designers. 28s’ designers share their stories and personal experiences in the creative industry.

UX Design Collective, Diversity and Design

A series of stories related to diversity and design. Many articles discuss the topic of diversity and company culture.

Why we like it

With the need for more conversations around inclusion in design, this is a great site to look further into the creative workplace and community.

Whether you’re a designer, copywriter, or developer, we hope this wealth of resources has provided you with the proper tools to learn a new skill, channel your creativity, and create something magical.

Jen Lemerand is our Creative Director, known for her upside-down glasses. Everyone tilts their head when they first notice, often stopping mid conversation. She likes to take that approach to design, making people pause and reflect in their crazy day.
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