From inspiration, to getting ideas down, working on my design, post-production checking, and even slacking off, there are a few websites and tools I often use for my own designing. Some are applicable to any kind of designing, while others are geared toward specific fields. Here are 10 of the websites I visit for getting down to business (and defeating the Huns):
deviantArt @ http://deviantart.com/ – Everyone knows this one, right? deviantART is a second home for artists sharing and selling their works. It’s a great place to get creative thoughts flowing.
Visual.ly @ http://visual.ly/ – The slogan: “Data, say hello to design.” Infographics are a great way to visualize data and a great way to learn some new facts while enjoying an aesthetic presentation that is sure to rein in inspiration.
MUDCUBE Sketchpad @ http://mudcu.be/sketchpad/ – Doodle ideas on an online drawing application, complete with your common tools such as a text tool and eyedropper, gradients, and a large collection of patterns. You can save, but cannot return to edit. Getting ideas down on paper has always been my preference, but an application is another outlet with its pluses.
COLOURlovers @ http://colourlovers.com/ – Sometimes creating just the right palette for your work is difficult. This website has a growing collection of user-created palettes (and patterns). You can also make your own palettes using their basic tool or COPASO, the latter allowing you to vary the concentration of a certain hue in a single palette.
WhatTheFont @ http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ – Have you ever seen a font and desperately wanted to know what it was? By uploading an image of your text or entering an image URL, WhatTheFont pulls up matching fonts from its database. You can also post an image on their forum for help.
Typedia @ http://typedia.com/ – Basically a type encyclopedia, Typedia offers an extensive gallery of typefaces to explore. You can also learn about type – their backgrounds, the anatomy of a character, designers, and more. There’s also a forum for those who want to ask questions and discuss.
Browsershots @ http://browsershots.org/ – This tool generates screenshots of any URL in all major as well as less-used browsers for you to check for compatibility.
Screenfly @ http://quirktools.com/screenfly/ – Another must for a web designer, Screenfly generates screenshots of a given URL for several resolutions. Common desktop, tablet, mobile, and television resolutions can be generated, and Screenfly will list models and resolutions together for ease of use.
Newgrounds @ http://newgrounds.com/ – Sometimes you just need to take a break from work and relax. Newgrounds is composed of user-generated games, movies, audio, and art. Sit back and play a shooter or watch a weird flash animation, but watch you don’t play for TOO long.
Designers’ List @ http://designerslist.info/ – When all else fails, here’s a large collection of links for inspiration, stock photos, fonts, and grapphics freebies. Seriously, you could be clicking around all the links on this one page all day.