I've been designing and creating for as long as I can remember. In that time, my work has changed and my skill has increased, but I've also learned that successful design is aided by resources. These are a few of my favorite design resources, most of which I use everyday.
- Adobe Creative Suite: Mostly, I use PhotoShop, Illustrator, and InDesign, but I also use DreamWeaver and other programs on occasion. Even though these can seem expensive when you're on a budget, they are really powerful tools once you've learned to use them. You can try the programs free for 30 days through the Creative Cloud.
- Squarespace: I switched from WordPress to Squarespace for my own website and I use it for all of my clients. Squarespace is great for people who want to have control over their site's look without worrying about the coding behind the scenes. I also love that it's so easy to get set up and for my clients to update without having to pay someone for minor changes. You can build a site during a 14 day free trial to see how you like the platform.
- Coolors: I was only introduced to this recently, but I love it for exploring color schemes. Usually I have a few colors set in place for a new brand, but if I need some other options, I use Coolors to generate different color palettes and see what looks best. Check it out here.
- Pinterest: This is a pretty popular one for many people. I use Pinterest with my clients so that they can create a board with images that reflect their ideal brand. I then use this board for inspiration and guidance as I design.
- DSLR Camera: I have a Nikon, but Canons are great too! I love my DSLR because I can capture images beautifully and I have control over how they look when using Manual mode. Want some tips on using Manual mode on your DSLR? Check out my DIY Stock Images + Graphics course.
- Design Blogs: I love reading other blogs and I find a lot of inspiration from them. While I check out other branding and design experts, I also love looking at home decor, DIY, and fashion blogs. Seeing other people create and design inspires me and often leads to a new idea.
- Target: Okay, sometimes I can spend too much time here, but I love walking around and looking at the office supplies and decor items for on-trend inspiration when I'm feeling stuck and need a break from the computer.
- Wacom Tablet: I have this tablet and I love the freedom it gives me in designing and editting on the computer. It took me a while to get used to, but now I use it for most of my projects. I have much greater control than with a mouse, it's easier to translate my sketches into vector images, and I have less stiffness in my wrist compared to using a computer mouse.
- Skillshare: This education platform is great when I want to learn something new or go into more depth in a skill I already have. They offer tons of different classes (I recently watched one on hand lettering). You can use this link to get a free month (and give me a free month as well!)
- Facebook Groups: I've been learning recently that responding to requests for designers in Facebook groups is draining for me because so many people resond, but I still love them for connecting with people, getting feedback, and for finding areas where people are struggling and I may be able to help.
- Sketchbook and Pens: I learned early in architecture school (like, on the first day) to always carry a sketchbook and a few pens. It's easy to capture inspiration, write down a new idea, or draw something you see. Everything is in one place and it's fun to go back through my old sketchbooks and see how I've improved and get a little inspiration from my past self.
There are always other resources that I'm coming across and trying out, but these are a few of my favorites. Whether you're a designer or not, I recommend that you check these out and see if they might work for you.