Logo, Web and print designers, as well as Adobe Illustrator users in general, will find the following free vector art sites to be a great resource, and a huge time-saver. Before you start squacking about “real designers don’t use clip-art,” consider that you don’t have to use the artwork as a whole. I often times use small pieces of the artwork found on these sites as logo elements, highlight graphics in brochures, etc. Because they’re vector, they’re easily manipulated and customized. None of these sites actually create the vector art. Instead they simply do the searching for you and put it all into one easy place. Because of that, you’re likely to notice that many of these sites feature the same artwork. Don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re all the same. Most of them feature artwork not found on the other sites listed. Bookmark the sites and check back often, as they’re constantly updated with free vector art. As always, check for a license or other stipulations before using commercially – though most allow it. (more…)
I’m always on the lookout for interesting stock photo sites. Everyone knows about stock.xchng for a huge collection of free photos. But there are other options out there. One of my long-time favorites is the Morgue. MorgueFile has been around for years, and is a great public image archive for creatives, by creatives. MorgueFile offers a massive collection of user-contributed images, free for personal or commercial use. The images are high resolution, and vary greatly in quality and content. It’s a great site to find photos of obscure topics.
BittBox is a great resource for textures, fonts, tutorials and more. Normally I’m really good about checking the site out, but I apparently missed a font post from December of 2008. Shame on me! Baja California is a cool font, available absolutely free. The demo font contains full alphabet characters in upper and lower case. Because it’s a demo font, it doesn’t contain a full character set, but it’s perfect for headlines or highlight text in your designs.
There’s a renewed interest in using vector artwork in print and Web design the last year or so. Many years ago, we had to rely on a monthly subscription to some clip-art service. Thankfully we don’t have to wait any more. There are a plethora of sites dedicated to providing free vector art from talented artists from around the world. VectorValley is the latest site I’ve come across that offers quality vector art files compatible with Adobe Illustrator. The site is fairly new, but is growing. As with all such sites, be sure to check for licensing restrictions before using.
Layers Magazine has posted a great little tutorial for Adobe Illustrator users, showing you one way to create eye-catching text in a comic book style. The technique is simple and uses little more than the Free Transform tool, some strokes and the Pen tool.
I’m not much for gimmicky fonts. Sure, I like them, but I wouldn’t consider using them for anything beyond the family Christmas newsletter. But photo fonts are a different story. If done well, they can be creative, professional, and might be the cure for the creative cold-spell. HandMadeFonts is just what the doctor ordered. The site features over 100 photographic fonts. While some are cheesy at best, many are quite stunning, and might just fit in to your next project. Everything from lego pieces, baloons, and water drops to stitched leather, grass and animal fur. When you purchase these fonts, you’re actually not getting a font, you’re getting PSD files. Single fonts can be purchased using PayPal for as little as $13 each.
DESIGNM.AG has posted a showcase of 50 free fabric textures which can be used in your design projects. Textures can be quite handy for backgrounds or borders in your Photoshop files. Compilations like this I typically keep in a folder on an external hard drive so they’re readily available should the need arise.
Rather than searching far and wide for the right background texture for your next creative project, considering using Photoshop brushes to create your own. DESIGNM.AG has put together a list of 500+ Photoshop brushes for creating textures that make it easy.