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.
10Steps has put together a list of 40 high-quality layered Photoshop files that you can download from various sources. While all of the files are of stunning quality, the real value in these files is seeing how they’re constructed by looking at all the individual layers & settings. It’s a great way to learn new techniques. I really liked the DVD Plastic Case by Manicho, in particular.
HighResolutionTextures.com has released four free cardboard textures for use in your next personal or commercial project (CreativeCommons Attribution License). There are plenty of other textures available on the site, so be sure you check them out, and subscribe to the RSS feed to be notified when more become available.
I may have mentioned DesignersToolbox before, but I can’t say enough how handy their resources for designers are. In particular, the free envelope size and die line charts. 12 basic envelope styles, with all the different standard sizes for each style listed out – for a total of well over 100 different size envelopes. Along with each size, a link to the .eps die line you can use for your projects is provided.
Free icon collections are nothing new, darn near everyone offers a few icons here and there for download. But rarely does a collection the size of Silk come along, let alone for free. Mark James’ wildly popular Silk icon collection has grown from just over 300 icons in 2005, to over 1,000 now. With the release of version 1.3 of Silk, James is now calling the set “complete.” The Silk icon collection (16×16 pixel, .png format) can be downloaded for free, but comes attached with the CreativeCommons Attribution License, meaning you must credit James with a link on your site if you use them.