Creativity doesn’t happen in a bubble. This is particularly true with graphic design: Even the most accomplished graphic designers rely on typography websites, color theory tutorials, and other creative resources to inspire, expand, and help polish their professional work. Whether you want to learn graphic design or are already an advanced professional, bookmarking quality graphic design websites can save you valuable time, energy, and effort when you hit a wall in a project.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as searching for stock phrases and seeing what comes up. “Graphic designer” or its related general terms will give you more results than you can read in a lifetime. Here, we’ve compiled a list of websites to keep you from getting lost in a sea of bad advice and amateur creative projects. To keep it easy, we’ve organized the websites we love into two categories: those that offer tools, and those that offer inspiration, advice, or employment opportunities. Whether you are an old pro or a beginner looking for ways to get started, read on to find a handy roundup of online resources to help you take your design projects to the next level.
A graphic designer is only as good as their tools. Whether you’re looking for new typefaces, better color schemes, or cleaner, clearer icons, we’ve got you covered. The following websites can offer assistance at any point in your creative process: You might even find yourself building them into your regular workflow.
Adobe Color CC
Adobe Color CC, formerly known as Adobe Kuler, is a free online color tool to help you create distinct and harmonious color palettes, develop color themes, and share your ideas with others. You can create color relationships with Adobe Color on your browser or in the iPhone app in two different ways. First, you can use the color wheel on the homepage to find fun new color combinations and to save different schemes. Adjust the color picker to fit your needs by selecting different search parameters (such as analogous, monochromatic, complementary, or triad) or by adjusting hex values to custom create themes.
As a second option, you can work with Color’s camera function to identify color schemes in your everyday life. The program’s mobile application has a camera function that picks out colors in real-time as you point the lens at the world around you. If you prefer to snap first and ask questions later, the same function can also pick out colors in photographs that you upload from your phone’s image library.
No matter how you use it, Color is an incredible tool for graphic designers and other creative professionals who work with colors every day. Find it here.
Explore Color in Design
Learn new ways to apply color schemes in your work—including tips for Adobe Color CC—in Faye Brown’s Skillshare class.
Type Detail annotates a different web-based typeface or font every day. The project, a free resource by Adobe UX designer Wenting Zhang, aims to point out the details of each typeface to increase and enhance user appreciation. Zhang notes the designer, foundry, release year, country of origin, and classification for every type that he features. He also delves into every font’s weights, styles, and legibility—and even includes a list of similar typefaces for reference. Zhang dives deep into the irregular or unorthodox details of each typeface he discusses, noting any strengths or weaknesses and detailing the context in which it might best be used.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to broaden your library of fonts and expand your appreciation of them, Type Detail is a fast and easy daily resource. Find it here.
Font Shop allows designers to browse and license thousands of free and premium fonts. The 30-year-old independent digital type retailer highlights new and beautiful typefaces, offering tips and tricks on how to use different types alone and in pairs. The site also keeps readers up to date on typeface news, spotlighting type designers that deserve recognition along the way. Use Font Shop to find tools and services that will help you identify potential new types and “test drive” them on projects before you decide to buy them.
Font Shop is responsible for developing the FontBook and the online FontBook iOS App, two typographic reference tools that document the font libraries of more than 130 type foundries. If you find that a project needs a more visually interesting font—or you want to make sure to stay on the cutting-edge of typeface design—this is the website for you. Find it here.
The Noun Project
The Noun Project features more than one million curated icons from designers all over the world—and many of them available to use royalty-free. Their stated mission is to “create, share and celebrate the world’s visual language” by providing access to a library of diverse, easy-to-understand icons. Use the site’s search function to find new icons, then change their color and save them as SVG or PNG files.
To help integrate icons into your workflow, the Noun Project allows users to insert packs into Apple products, Adobe and Microsoft suites, and Google slides and document programs. You can download single-use icons on a case-by-case basis or build a central library of icons that are relevant to the work that you do. If you work with icons in any capacity, you’ll appreciate The Noun Project for its database of simple, relevant images that you can use in your work or reference for inspiration. Find it here.
Creating Your Own Icons
Gain a greater understanding of the power of visual communications with The Noun Project co-founder Edward Boatman.
If you need dependable icon graphics, Flaticon provides a free and low-cost solution. Founded in 2013, Flaticon is now one of the largest icon search engines on the internet, offering access to high-quality, editable vector graphics that you can use with attribution for free or without attribution for a small fee. Search icons by keyword, filter by monochrome or multicolor images, browse by category, or download packs of icons such as “social network logos,” the “young avatar collection” or the “business and teamwork” set. Find it here.
No matter how innovative they might seem, even graphic designers need fresh ideas sometimes. The following websites will introduce you to new artists, share emerging ideas, help you hone new skills, and deepen your appreciation for the graphic design field. If you ever feel stuck on a project, keep these resources on deck.
Skillshare is an online learning community where industry experts and professionals teach business, technology, creative and lifestyle classes. It’s an excellent place to network with other creatives and learn new skills. Sign up for the monthly service, and you’ll have access to classes taught by graphic designers from around the world. Learn new ways of working, from designing better and more balanced icons to creating beautiful fonts or better understanding color theory. You can also take classes on how to more effectively use digital graphic design programs like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, or you can develop your analog techniques with watercolor, sketching, and painting lessons.
With thousands of fun and interesting online lessons to choose from, you’ll deepen your understanding of graphic design, develop cutting-edge creative skills, and learn new ways to grow your personal brand and business. Plus, because it’s an open platform, you can sign up to share your expertise on the site, too. Find it here.
Bookcover Archive’s online catalog of book cover designs from the top designers in the world is a dream come true for print design enthusiasts. The site features more than twenty pages of book covers, each organized on a basic 5×15 grid, with important information on every book’s author, ISBN, genre, cover designer, art director, and photographer (if applicable). Bookcover Archive also features an overview of other websites about book cover design and font identification information, with a short list of book designers’ portfolio websites, too. If you are a book lover—or just a book cover lover—this website is sure to give you hours of inspirational material. Find it here.
Try Your Hand at Book Cover Design
Join renowned designer Chip Kidd for an imaginative journey through your favorite books in his Skillshare Original.
Design Matters with Debbie Millman
Design Matters with Debbie Millman is a podcast and website that focuses on graphic design and creative culture. On the show, Millman interviews a variety of thought leaders—graphic designers, writers, artists, curators, and musicians—giving listeners insight into their creative processes, industry concerns, and plans for future work. On the website, you’ll find an archive of podcasts available for online streaming as well as information about Millman, the history of her show, and more.
Design Matters with Debbie Millman has been running since 2015, winning multiple awards and accolades along the way. The show now boasts hundreds of episodes of inspirational and informative content. Millman has recorded conversations with such luminaries as artist Marina Abramovic, designer Jonathan Adler, publisher, design consultant Mike Rigby, marketing expert Seth Godin, and digital strategist Anil Dash If you’re interested in the inspirations and motivations of the best and brightest graphic designers in the business, this show will give you plenty to chew on. Find it here.
Built by Adobe, Behance is an online platform for some of the most beautiful design work in the world. It’s a unique catalog of talented people in the graphic design industry and an opportunity for them to share their work, network, and connect with potential clients. In the beginning stages of your graphic design career, you can use the Behance website to find inspiration and insights into other people’s creative paths. The site features a blog that provides creative career tips and articles for when you need advice or an extra push to take your work in a new direction. Filter and search creative fields to discover award-winning photographers, illustrators, animators, font creators, or UI, UX, and web graphic design professionals. You can also browse curated galleries, schools, or the “Best of Behance” menu for an in-depth look at what top talent is doing today.
If you’re creating advanced graphic design projects and need help developing new client relationships, keep an eye on the jobs section of Behance for the latest creative employment opportunities. No matter what your level of professional skill, it’s a great resource to have at your disposal. Find it here.
Get Results with a Great Portfolio
Follow along as Sarah Rapp, head of community management at Behance, breaks down how to show off your work.
Founded in 2009, Dribbble is an online community where designers seek feedback, find inspiration, and network with like-minded creatives by sharing their projects—both completed works and those still in progress. Anyone can sign up and follow designers on the site, but for your posts to be visible to the whole community, you’ll need to be “drafted,” or invited, by a member. To score an invitation, upload work to Dribbble’s draft page, share details about your work in your bio, and interact with the community as much as you can. Dribbble doesn’t just connect you with other designers, either: Companies can use the platform to post job openings and freelance projects, and many hiring managers look at the site when they’re looking for new talent. Find it here.
Awwwards showcases top creative web design work from design professionals and agencies around the world. Every year, creative professionals submit their work for judging and a jury of specialists selects the best entries for award categories such as “Site of the Year” and “Mobile Excellence,” among others. All of the winners, honorable mentions, and nominee submissions are published online, so the Awwwards website is a great place to browse beautiful web design and see what’s working in the marketplace. Beginners can use the Awwwards to see new and innovative digital designs for everything from architecture, art, and illustration to business and corporate events. If you’re more advanced professionally, you can join the platform’s directory to connect with new clients, recruit top talent and advertise your latest and greatest work. Find it here.
Remember: even the very best graphic designers need a little help sometimes. With these internet resources, inspirational websites, and online toolkits, you’ll be able to tackle anything that comes your way. Join an online community, build your portfolio, and enroll in online classes: All of these practices will allow you to push your career to new heights.