101 Design resource sites
We love prowling the web for the latest trends and design inspiration. Here we have composed a list of common resources we use. The primary focus of this list is inspiration, it can come from a photograph, font, or a website. The secondary focus is improving your design skills, which can be done by keeping up to date with tutorials and reading other graphic design blogs. We hope you enjoy our personal list of great sites, and we will be adding to this list in the coming weeks and months as there are a lot of great new sites coming online every other day now.
View our latest community site. Ecoki.com
Free Font Downloads
Free Fonts and Other Resources: Web Page Publicity
Huge Collection of Free Fonts: Da Font
Nice Selection of Free Fonts: Urban Fonts
Fonts and Other Freebies: Simply The Best Fonts
1001 Free Fonts for Download: 1001 Free Fonts
Over 9000 Free Fonts: Creamundo
A Small List of Free Fonts: Best Free Fonts
Paid Font Sites
Stock Photos and Vectors
The Best Stock Photo and Vector Website: iStockphoto
Quality Photos for Purchase: Shutterstock
Stock Photos and Other Pay Downloads: Veer
Quality, Affordable Vectors for Purchase: Vector Stock
Stock Photos With a Great Selection: Jupiter Images
Stock Photos and Photography Network: Stock Vault
Quality Stock Photos: Corbis
Free Photos and Vectors
Submit Vectors or Download Others for Free: Open Source Vector Art
Tons of Great Free Vectors and Photos: Deviant Art
59 Pages of Free Vector Art: Free Vectors
Large Gallery of Free Vectors: Vecteezy
Quality Vector Downloads: Vector 4 Free
Neat Collection of Free Photos From Around the World: Free Stock Photos
Great Collection of Free Vectors and Resources: You The Designer
Great Free Stock Photos: Free Foto
A List of Free Downloads: Bittbox
700 Free Stock Photos: Free Picture Click
A Few High Quality WordPress Themes: Evan Eckard
Over 2000 Free Web Templates: OSWD
A Small Selection of Nice Templates: Open Source Templates
A Large List of Free Templates: Free CSS Templates
Nice WordPress Templates for Download: Free CSS Templates
A Combination of Free and Pay Templates: Free Templates Online
Affordable, Quality Templates: Templamatic
Free Blog Templates: Blogging Themes
The Best Sites on the Web: CSS Remix
A Frequently Updated Gallery of Sites: CSS Mania
An Organized List of Nice Sites: Most Inspired
CSS Gallery of Quality Sites: CSS Design Yorkshire
A Selection of Only Nature Based Sites: CSS Nature
A Selective List of Well Designed Sites: Web Creme
High Quality CSS Showcase: CSS Tux
Nice CSS Websites: The Designed Tree
A CSS Collection Organized by Category: CSS Elite
A Great Site About Everything Type: I Love Typography
An Incredible Illustrator: Burst of Beaden
A Great Designer and Illustrator: Fully Illustrated
Customizable List of Design Resources: Cork Dump
The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada: GDC
Freelance Advice Blog and Resources: Freelance Switch
Amazing Collection of Logos: Logopond
Stunning Desktop Wallpapers: Desktopography
A Graphic Design Magazine: Computer Arts
The Best Photoshop Tutorials: PSD Tuts
A Talented Photoshop Designer: Abduzeedo
Photoshop Tutorials and Web Design Resources: Web Design Library
Tutorials for Photoshop, Illustrator and More: Tutorial Vault
A Few Neat Illustrator and Photoshop Tutorials: Design Spice
Great Photoshop Tutorials and Downloads: PS Wish
Tutorials for Every Computer Program: Tutorialing
Free Photoshop Downloads
A Couple Free Patterns for Download: Design Spice
Free Photoshop Brushes: Design Fruit
Free Photoshop Actions: Visual Blast
Tons of Free Photoshop Brushes: Brusheezy
A Few Nice Free Photoshop Brushes: Obsidian Dawn
Great Grunge Brushes and Others: Photoshop Brushes
Free Background Patterns for Photoshop: Free BG
Over 150 Free Background Patterns: Squidfingers
A Frequently Updated Design Blog: Veerle’s Blog
A Design Magazine and Blog: Smashing Magazine
A European Design Blog: Design In Europe
A Unique Nerdy Blog: Design You Trust
The Personal Blog of a Graphic Designer: Larissa Meek
A German Design Blog: David Hellmann
The Blog of a Canadian Geek/Model: Mostly Lisa
A Graphic Design Blog: Bittbox
A Blog About Freelance Graphic Design Advice: Freelance Switch
A Design Blog Full of Resources: You The Designer
A Popular Design Blog: Fazai 38
A Flash Site of User Generated Colour Palettes: Adobe Kuler
Using Colours From Photos: Colr
Colours, Palettes and Patterns: COLOURlovers
A Colour Palette Generated From Your Images: Color Palette Generator
See The Results of Your Palette on a Website: Color Spire
Create and Email Colour Palettes: Color Blender
Tips and Tricks
Designer Geek Merch
Great Nerdy Clothing and Accessories: Veer
Nice T-Shirt Collection: Design Loot
Graphic Design T-Shirts and Accessories: Cafepress
Geek Merchandise For Everyone: Think Geek
Graphic Design T-Shirts: Zazzle
Unique T-Shirt Designs You Can’t Find Anywhere Else: Allmightys
Newly added resources (Thanks everyone for the link suggestions)
A fantastic resource for finding information on corporate brand identity: Brands of the World
You scream Twitter. I scream Twitter. We all scream for Twitter. Cool. So, here’s a question for us: How many Twitter accounts should we have?
I asked this question on Twitter earlier this week and got many responses. Several of the people who replied said they had more than one Twitter account. A few said only one. One person asked, “How many do we need?”
I personally have five Twitter accounts. Of course, my primary one is for myself, @davidrisley. But, I have some for other purposes. I have @tampatweets and that’s for a local project I may or may not do at some point. I’ve got @pcmech for my tech blog, although I really don’t use it much. I’ve got my daughter on Twitter (@elyanarisley). And I’ve got @blogmasters for an upcoming program you’re sure to hear about soon.
With that, you can probably tell where I’m going with this question. The answer is: Have as many Twitter accounts as you need!
Realize that Twitter is growing quickly. Twitter usernames are quickly becoming as valuable as domain names. Just as there was a gold rush for dot-com’s and now we hear “many of the good ones are taken”, the same goes for Twitter. Everybody should have their own name on Twitter, but you may want to reserve others for branding purposes down the road.
Here are a few of my recommendations:
- If you don’t have your own name registered on Twitter, go get it. There is a chance that somebody else with your same name has it already, but if not, you’ve GOT to reserve it.
- If you are building a brand for your blog, register the name of your blog on Twitter as well. In fact, anything you wish to brand and hopefully build up into something that people recognize should have a Twitter account.
- Use multiple Twitter accounts to keep brand consistency. For example, right now I’ve got posts from PCMech sent to my main Twitter account even though it is a different market. My primary push these days is problogging and that is the brand concept behind my name. Having tech posts in the same Twitter stream is admittedly a bit off message and that is exactly why I have @pcmech registered on Twitter. At some point, I’m probably going to reroute PCMech post notifications onto the @pcmech channel and get it off my own channel @davidrisley.
What about you? How many Twitter accounts do you have? And why?
Isn’t branding for companies or products? Why would anyone want a personal brand anyway?
Nowadays people prefer to connect with other people rather than with a corporate brand. Whether you are a company or individual, branding is a way to make yourself memorable.
Yes, personal branding is about making yourself memorable.
Examples of Personal Brand
Donald Trump is known as a dealmaker. That is his brand. As someone who knows Mr. Trump only from television — in The Apprentice TV series — I also tend to think of ‘Trump’ as quality and luxury.
That’s what I see from my perspective. I believe that is also the message that he put out consistently. Although both his personal brand and product brand are two separate entities, at the first glance they are one.
Although I read that his corporations have filed for bankruptcy recently, it didn’t change my perception about his brand too much. After all, everyone is going through hard times right now. If he is able to make it, perhaps his brand will grow even stronger.
Well, Donald Trump is Donald Trump. How could personal brand be important to an individual offering bookkeeping service?
Personal branding is still important for everyone because it is about perception, i.e. what people are going to associate you with. There are certainly more facets to it, but that explains it quite well, I think.
Chris Brogan is known as a helpful bloggers. His participation in Twitter, for instance, helps shape our thoughts about social media and how to use it for our business. With that association, I automatically spend more time reading his tweets than other people’s, if I only have a short break at lunch.
His brand gives him a competitive advantage over others who offer similar services. It also helps people to talk about him. Overall, his brand makes him worth talking about.
Hey, it works. At least I’m writing about him.
I bet you’ll agree that with those benefits, everyone can find at least a reason to build his/her personal brand.
Personal Branding Tips for Twitter
Now that I got your full attention, let’s get down to the business. Personal brand is certainly a broad topic. It spans multiple media from blog to microblogging, social networks, virtually all across the board.
But let’s just focus on Twitter in this post. If you’ve ever wondered how to get your message noticed and build your name online and especially on Twitter, you may find these tips helpful.
1. Content Shapes Your Brand
Whatever you tweet can help shape your brand on Twitter. If you mostly help others with business ideas, you will soon be known as the business idea guy or lady.
Tweeple who balance between their family in their tweets convey their brand as family people. Humorous individuals will be known as fun and some people will appreciate the sense of humor. Those without a better agenda and tweet promotional messages all of the time are spammers.
Twitter may bring an impact to your brand on the short term, but also remember that once you tweet, the content will be out there for others to search forever.
2. Expand Visibility
As a Twitterer, you are going to be visible if you consciously make yourself visible to the right group of people and influencers.
As much as I like Twitter, it is only one facet of the social media. If you want to build your brand, it will be far more effective if you expand your visibility across multiple platforms.
Creating a web presence is a good start. Build a blog and update it frequently. Use social networking sites to get in touch with others.
Newsgroup, mailing list and forum users should be familiar with the term lurkers. They are people who wander around reading and paying attention to what’s going on without actually participating in conversations.
In search and social media, ego search is common. It is nothing but searching your own name, company name and brand for your product. Recently, social media users start to add Twitter as part of the site to monitor for brand names.
Both ego search and lurking don’t sound bad at all, if your intention is to tune in and listen to what people have to say about you, your company or your product. In fact, people now expect that you hear their rant and whine if they put it out online.
Just to be fair, they also want you to know if they say positive things about your business.
The listening tools like Twitter Search allow you to distinguish between the signal and the noise. Once you got the signals, they are your opportunities to engage in the conversations.
You can also participate proactively by getting involved with Twitter. Send out interesting content discoveries for the day. Ask questions and answer them. Respond to tweets directed to you. There are limitless ways to get involved.
You will see companies use Twitter to hold contests. That is just another way to participate and encourage participation in this new communication medium.
5. Build Community
Whatever your niche is, chances are your market is already out there on Twitter. They are not part of your community though. Through different ways of participation, you can build your personal brand faster. One way to do this is by going out and become a leader.
Creating community that people want to be part of is a quick way to deliver your message. If your have successfully engaged influencers as part of your community, very likely your message will go viral, assuming that they are worth talking about.
6. Foster Relationships
Twitter as a broadcast tool is awesome for reaching thousands of people in one swoop. But still, the real value of Twitter for business, is to reach people and network with them.
You may know a few individuals who are otherwise shielded from the outside world but suddenly you know they are on the plane to someplace because of their tweets. You also know what projects they are currently on.
Twitter also makes people more reachable.
Sure, people who choose to remain inaccessible will stay so, but if you’ve been on Twitter for some time, you should agree that they are more likely to read what you have to say because there are more opportunities to @reply and respond to their tweets.
The fact that people decide to become more responsive in Twitter will help them build relationships with their prospects and customers too.
7. Go Beyond Twitter
Twitter is now too significant to overlook, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate the power of face-to-face communication.
It is easier to establish trust if you directly meet with an individual rather than online. If your brand visibility is important to you, you may want to go offline and visit industry events. Talk to real people.
This kind of interaction will often lead to many great things in the future.
Your existing influence in Twitter certainly matters. However, if you have to start from scratch, the tips above will give you a head start.
A business owner with a good number of followers may be more successful to get people retweet their message, but if you go out and network with people, join in the conversation and post interesting content, I’m not surprised your tweets will spread further.
I witness it everyday. It’s that powerful.
Personal branding is an interesting topic. Chances are different people have different opinions about it. What do you think about personal branding using Twitter? What have you learned so far? Please share your experience so others can learn from it too.
Hendry Lee helps bloggers overcome strategic and technological challenges in starting and growing their blogs.
He also writes about social media on his blog Blog Tips for a Better Blog – Blog Building University. While you are there, download your free eBook and subscribe to the blogging e-course where he reveals his blogging and writing secrets!
© 2008 TwiTip Twitter Tips.
- How Your Company Can Build A Community on Twitter
- Do you Converse or Broadcast? How to Build (or Kill) Relationships on Twitter
- 5 Ways I Benefit from Twitter
I have been blogging for a living for many years now. I’ve learned a lot and, today, I wanted to throw out a bunch of quick tips in rapid succession. The goals here are (1) get lots of traffic to your blog and (2) earn money with it.
OK, here we go (in no particular order):
- Use WordPress. No other platform is as flexible with all the plug-ins, in my opinion.
- Post often. I usually default to one post per day, when I’m asked. I try to do at least one per day on this blog, except for weekends.
- Use catchy blog post titles. Put yourself in the shoes of a person who is casually surfing the Internet, seeing your post along with hundreds of others. Will your blog headline stand out? Copyblogger is an awesome source for information on writing.
- Ask open ended questions. One of the best ways to invite commentary on your posts is to ask for it. Ask your readers questions and tell them to answer in the form of a comment.
- Comment on other blogs – often. I actually maintain a separate folder in Google Reader for relevant blogs I want to follow more closely than others. And, on those blogs, I comment regularly whenever I have something to say.
- Use Twitter. You’ve GOT to be out there, being social. Friendfeed, too.
- Use Twitterfeed to pipe your latest posts into Twitter. But, don’t ONLY use Twitterfeed. You’ve got to be a real person on Twitter, first and foremost. Twitter should not replace RSS.
- Make your RSS feed obvious, above the fold, and preferably use the orange RSS icon.
- Provide an RSS-to-Email option so people can subscribe to your latest posts without being forced to use an RSS reader. Many people still don’t use RSS. Feedburner provides a free RSS-to-Email service.
- Use images in your posts. Images communicate on aesthetic wavelengths words cannot.
- Use header tags to separate sections in your blog posts, where applicable. H1, H2, and H3 tags. And use good search engine keywords wherever possible in those headers.
- Structure your blog posts for easy scanning. Use header tags, lists, etc. Avoid long sentences and long paragraphs.
- Avoid Myspace-style blog designs. What I mean by this is super BUSY designs with too much on screen, animated graphics, etc. These things make your blog truly suck and makes your content too hard to pay attention to.
- If possible, use a custom WordPress theme. It is getting to the point where people can recognize cookie-cutter themes. It is OK to use one, but at least modify it so that you have a unique header design.
- Start your blog’s mailing list as early as possible. The sooner you start, the longer you have to grow your list and, trust me, that list can be used to make money later. Jeremy Shoemoney made this mistake. John Reese used to hound him about building a list. When he finally got around to it, he realized how important it was.
- Research and choose your mailing list option correctly the first time. I recommend Aweber. What you choose is up to you, however moving a mailing list later can be a huge pain. I know from experience.
- When choosing a topic to focus your blog on, two things should be considered: (1) Your interest in the topic, (2) How MARKETABLE your topic is.
- Learn to SELL. The way to a full-time income by blogging is to learn how to MARKET and sell things using your blog. Yaro Starak does a good job of selling via his blog, for example.
- Don’t discount Facebook. It is a powerful networking tool and you should take the time to build your network, just as you might on Twitter.
- Create a Facebook page. On Facebook, create a page for your blog or yourself and invite your readers and Facebook friends to become fans. This page can be your blog’s outpost on Facebook. Be sure to import your blog posts as notes.
- Don’t Be a Me-Too Blogger. You don’t want to become a copy-cat news blog, where you type news-style posts about what is happening in a saturated market. In technology, this is common. Offer something unique that cannot be found everywhere else in your market.
- Learn to think about your blog as a business. The blog is a promotional and delivery mechanism to your ultimate product or service.
- When writing your About Page, pay attention to what you write. Don’t just rattle off some dumb, cookie cutter facts. Your About Page should tell a story of who you are and why your blog is worth reading.
- Do lots of videos. Use TubeMogul to publish them in as many places as you can. And make sure your blog URL is not only in the video, but in the text description that accompanies the video.
- When making videos, be REAL and be personable. Your videos are an important component to your blog’s brand. Don’t waste the opportunity.
- Link to other, related blog posts regularly in your own posts. Not only your OWN posts, but the posts of others.
- Remember, blogging is a SOCIAL business. Be accessible to your readers and proactively get out there and talk with other people in your niche.
- If you can afford it, travel to blogging conferences. Not only can you learn a lot, but socializing with successful people often breeds so much motivation and success in yourself that is simply beyond words.
- Write an e-book, create some videos – whatever – but the idea is to create something which is of value to your readers on your subject, and have it available to SELL to them on your blog.
- Get involved as an affiliate and start linking to products relevant to your posts using your affiliate links. You are providing relevant links to your readers (valuable) while potentially making some money.
- Don’t Post Low Feedburner Counts. Do not show your RSS subscriber count unless you have a high enough number (at least a few hundred). A low number acts as social proof that your blog has no readers, and that’s not good.
- Install Popularity Contest or some similar plug-in which ranks your posts based on popularity. Whether you display this information in public on your blog or not, knowing which of your posts are most popular tells you that that particular subject material works and you should probably do more of it.
- Put relevant keywords into your blog’s title. Use All-In-One SEO to have more control over the titles across your blog.
- Use a Photo Gallery. People dig photos, so a photo gallery can be a great component to your blog. If you use Flickr, check out the Flickr Photo Album plug-in for WordPress.
- Create an RSS widget for your blog on WidgetBox and make it available for your readers to embed on their own blogs if they so choose.
- Spend some time creating some killer posts for your blog, the link to them somewhere so that new arrivals can quickly see your best work. It is your best stuff which is going to sell them into becoming a subscriber.
- Make Sharing Easy. Put options on your blog for your readers to share your posts across social media. ShareThis is a great option for this.
- Share and share alike. If you submit your own posts to sites like Digg or StumbleUpon, be sure to also submit other posts. I might even recommend a 10 to 1 ratio of other people’s posts to your own posts. You do not want to develop a reputation on these sites as somebody who only submits their own content.
- When you write a post for your blog, aim to be helpful. You want your visitors to come away with a solution to the problem they arrived with. Chris Brogan does so well because his posts are truly helpful.
- Read other blogs often. When starving for ideas to write about, go to your RSS reader and read related blogs. Often, your own post can be a response to a post on another blog. In fact, this is usually a good idea.
- Train your readers to do what you want, if needed. If you’re in a market where the people will not know how to use social media, RSS and some of these other things that help promote your blog, TRAIN THEM. Write posts or do videos which show your visitors how to Digg a post, use StumbleUpon, how to use RSS, etc. Perhaps you can educate them and they’ll become part of your promotion army for your own blog.
- When starting a blog, decide on it’s mission. Your posts should, for the most part, center around a specific theme if you want your blog to really take off. If you run a personal diary kind of blog, where you write about anything that comes to mind, your blog traffic will always be limited because your blog will never attract any particular segment of people. Stay on topic. If you have no specific topic, that’s fine, but realize your blog is going to be more a hobby than a business at that point.
- Use Analytics. I personally use Google Analytics as well as the WordPress.com Stats plug-in on this blog.
- Use Windows Live Writer. It is the best blogging client program out there. Even though it is a Microsoft product and a Windows-only product, it is also better than any Mac blogging client I have tried. And it’s free.
- Be yourself. I believe it is a good thing to show personality on your blog. Don’t be a fake. People can see right through it. Chris Pirillo draws people to his blog and Ustream feed almost solely on personality alone.
- Don’t write like you’re writing for Britannica. You want your spelling and grammar to be correct, but be colloquial. Talk to people like you would normally talk to people, not as if you’re writing a PH.D. dissertation.
- Link To Your Social Profiles On Your Blog. Link your various social media profiles right on your blog so that your readers can connect with you outside the confines of your blog.
- Go where your readers are. Every market is different. When I blog about blogging, I know most of my readers are pretty adept online and probably hang out in the social media space frequently. If your readers are young, they might be on Myspace. If they’re Linux nerds, they may be in the Ubuntu forums. Regardless, you need to maintain a consistent presence in the spaces your readers congregate. Be an authority and be helpful, and traffic will be drawn over to your blog.
- Equal time reading and writing. You should probably spend just as much time reading and learning as you do writing for your blog. This is how you expand your knowledge, become a better blogger, and get new ideas for your own site. Blogging isn’t all about you. Remember that.