Graphic Design Resources & Tools

February 4, 2014     / /

Sometimes having a few extra tools or resources in our utility belt is all the difference in spending hours or minutes on a project. Below are just a few of the free graphic design resources and tools I use that help me get the job done. I have left out a few of the obvious items such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Coda, Sketchbook, etc. in favor of more less known items. Take a look and feel free to let me know if you have other suggestions that are not on my list.


Calculators

Inches to Decimal Feet

By far my favorite graphic design resource. This is a tool that I use frequently in my design work, mainly when designing, prepping or printing large format projects. This calculator works really well when designing projects on a 1:1 (1" = 1') scale.

The calculator below calculates either way (feet/inches to decimal feet or vice versa). Inches can have a fraction (3 ¼) or decimal (3.25 or 3,25).

  Feet   Inches        Decimal Feet
    
This script is from & written by Dan Osborne


  Eights of an Inch
1/8 0.125
1/4 0.250
3/8 0.375
1/2 0.500
5/8 0.625
3/4 0.750
7/8 0.875
  Sixteenths of an Inch
1/16 0.0625
3/16 0.1875
5/16 0.3125
7/16 0.4375
9/16 0.5625
11/16 0.6875
13/16 0.8125
15/16 0.9375




Converters

PNG to ICO

Convert a .png file into an .ico, to be used for apps, favicons, desktop icons, etc.

OTF to TTF

Convert a .otf file into an .ttf. This is an online font conversion utility that works through your browser. No additional software is necessary. Select any otf font file to convert to ttf format. The converted ttf font file will be available to save locally on your computer immediately.





File Transfers & Cloud Storage

WeTransfer – File Transfer

One of the best and easy to use file transfer sites out there. No need to sign up, and you can transfer up to 2GB files for free. – They do offer a paid service with added features and storage.

Dropbox – Cloud Storage

Get 2GB of free cloud based storage. Simply save your files into your Dropbox folder and never worry about having to back up again. Plus you can work on your files anywhere without having to carry around a flash drive. They also offer many different ways to gain more free storage space. – They do offer a paid service with added features and storage.

Copy – Cloud Storage

Similar to Dropbox, Copy offers the same features but 15GB of storage rather than 2GB. They also offer an additional 5GB for referring a friend. (use the link below to gain an addition 5GB when signing up.) – They do offer a paid service with added features and storage. This is slowly becoming one of my favorite graphic design resources.





Plugins & Scripts

Autosaviour – Illustrator Plugin

Autosaviour is a free plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that automatically saves your work at regular intervals, giving you a highly desired safety net.

Layrs – Photoshop Plugin

A collection of scripts that make keeping your Photoshop documents organized. All you have to do to get it is simply pay with a tweet.

GuideGuide – Photoshop Plugin

Create pixel accurate columns, rows, midpoints, and baselines based on your document or selection with the click of a button.

Scale Measurements - Illustrator Plugin

This will add measurement marks and dimensions to any selected item.
The download below contains multiple dimensioning scales.

  • 1:1 Scale – 1" = 1"
  • 1:4 Scale – 1" = 4'
  • 1:20 Scale – 1" = 20"
  • 1:1 Scale – 1px = 1px

Where to Install: Applications -> Adobe Illustrator -> Presets -> en_US -> Scripts

Download – Illustrator Dimensioning Scripts
The original unaltered script by Nick Blakey




Colors & Patterns

Brand Colors

Imagine trying to find the exact color of blue Facebook is using. Maybe it's the green that Android uses is what you need. Fear not, Galen Gidman has taken care of that for you. His wonderfully curated site features a collection of major brand color codes.

Colour Lovers

Create and share your own color pallets, and patterns with other color lovers from around the world. This is a great place to go for color inspiration as well as to see what is trending in the work of color.

Subtle Patterns

This is truly an amazing resource for simply, effective, subtle seamless repeating patterns. These work great for web design, or as patterns for Photoshop files. You can also submit your own patterns for others to use.





Generators

Lorem Ipsum - Generator

One of the most simple and effective online Lorem Ipsum, "dummy text" generators available. This generator allows you to generate paragraphs, words, bytes and list of "dummy copy".

Looking for a more humorous take on Lorem Ipsum? Try one of these online generators below.





Stock & Mock-Ups

Unsplash

Free stock photos for designers. 10 new photos every 10 days.


Wikimedia Commons

This database of 20 million plus, freely usable media files is open for anyone to contribute. Most images fall under a creative commons license and can be used freely in designs and mock-ups.


GraphicBurger

A collection of "tasty" free PSD mock-ups to use in your designs.


MediaLoot

Free resources for designers. They also include a series of premium resource too.





Font Identifiers

What They Font

Simply upload an image, or link to an image URL and you are on your way to finding out What The Font is being used in that image.

Identifont

By answering a few questions about the typeface in question, this wonderful online tool will identify and give suggestions of possible font matches.




This is just a few of my favorites and more will undoubtably be coming soon. If you feel like you have a graphic design resource or tool I should check out. Please feel free to post and share it in the comments below.


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