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30 Useful Online Resources For Graphic Designers

30 Useful Online Resources For Graphic Designers

How would you like to be able to use the same resources that graphic designers use, so you can create amazing websites and other projects? There are plenty of well-known, and not-so-well-known tools on the Internet that the world’s top designers use for many of their projects, and you can access these same tools for all of your projects. Here are 30 of the best online resources for graphic designers of all levels.

1. UI Cloud

uicloud

    This is the world’s largest user interface design database. You can download more than 46,608 UI elements, such as progress bar, music player, and more.

    2. Free Stock Images

    freestockimages

      You will likely be needing images for websites and documents, and you don’t necessarily want to pay for them.

      3. Kaku

      kaku

        This is a great free tool to use if you deal with clients and associates from other parts of the world. This plugin will let you translate text layers into a variety of different languages, and it is easy to use.

        4. Psddd.co

        pss

          This is a great site to use for PSD files. You will also have access to UI and blurred background elements. Find all kinds of templates and more, for free.

          5. Gridzzly

          griz

            If you need grid paper, don’t bother running to the store, or trying to use a ruler and a pencil to create it. Instead, use Gridzzly to create grid paper you can print out for free and use any time.

            6. Colour Lovers

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            colour

              Sure, you have a decent color pallet on your computer, but you likely only have the basic Pantone color pallet. This website has more than three million free color pallets which you can use to inspire you to create amazing projects.

              7. Subtle Patterns

              subt

                Sometimes, you just want subtle patterns for backgrounds. Find about 400 different patterns here for free. You can even get a Photoshop plugin.

                8. Size Marks

                size

                  This Photoshop scrip will convert rectangular marquee to labeled measurement mark. This is a great free tool for web designers and front-end engineers.

                  9. Webydo

                  web

                    Design a website for free, and you don’t even need to use code, so it is also super easy. You can manage content, and even publish independently using Webydo.

                    10. guideguide

                    guide

                      It can be really hard to use guides when you are creating websites. Guideguide will show you how to easily use guides. You can download this tool for Photoshop 3.1.3. There is no cost to use this site.

                      11. No More Banding

                      nomore

                        Don’t you just hate it when you try to do gradient colors, and they end up banding? Put an end to it with this tool, which is free to use.

                        12. Make App Icon

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                        makeapp

                          Here is a fast way to turn your designs into app icons. Simply drop your files, and your icons will be created for you. It doesn’t get much easier than that, and it’s free.

                          13. Hexy

                          hexy

                            You don’t have to select layers, highlight text, or open the Color Picker to get a hex value of a certain color any longer. Just use the free Hexy eyedropper tool to click on any color on the object, and copy it right to your clipboard.

                            14. Perfect Effects 3

                            perf

                              This is a site for photographers, where you will be able to add effects. The great thing about this site is that it is faster and easier to use than other photo editing software, and it is free.

                              15. Cut & Slice

                              cut

                                Export assets to various devices quickly and easily with Cut & Slice. You can even name layers for a better workflow. This is a free Photoshop plugin.

                                16. Layrs Control 2

                                Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.59.23

                                  Download this Photoshop extension for free, and make doing this tedious job a whole lot quicker and easier. Here you will find seven scripts to make layering actually seem like fun.

                                  17. Prisma

                                  prisma

                                    If you miss those great color swatches from Illustrator in Photoshop, you can find them here for free. Connect layers and then re-color them together using multiple PSD files.

                                    18. CG Textures

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                                    gq

                                      It can be difficult to find the best backgrounds and textures for your graphics. At CG textures, you will find just about any texture you can think of, free of charge. One of the really neat features of this site is that you also can check out tutorials on how to use the textures.

                                      19. Free Behance Presentation Builder

                                      behance

                                        Build presentations for your Behance portfolio in a single click. This free PDS File and Action tool is easy to use, so you can build presentations without worrying about all of the hard stuff.

                                        20. WhattheFont!

                                        myfonts

                                          Sometimes you see a font that you really like, but you don’t know what it’s called so you can’t use it. Now, you can send a screenshot to find the closest match to the fonts you like, at no cost.

                                          21. Fribbble

                                          fribble

                                            When you need icons, you can get them at Fribble for free. Some of the neat tools you can use include a Halftone Pack, an iPhone/iPad PSD Mockup, and a Sketch Icon Set. You even get 50 free icons.

                                            22. Velositey Version 2

                                            velo

                                              Using Photoshop, you can design an awesome website in a matter of seconds, for free. Choose from loads of templates and modules, and get the design aspect out of the way so you can get down to the nitty-gritty of creating a website.

                                              23. Liveshare PS

                                              invi

                                                Use this free tool to broadcast any Photoshop document to an unlimited amount of people via a LiveShare meeting. Everything is in real time, so if you make any document changes, they will be seen by everyone instantly.

                                                24.  Instagram Filters

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                                                devian

                                                  This app has 13 filters that are just like the app Instagram for Photoshop, and it is simple to use. You do have to buy the art, and the cost will depend on the work and the artist.

                                                  25. Typewolf

                                                  type

                                                    Choosing the right fonts for your website can be difficult. Typewolf will show you the fonts used on various real websites, so you can see how they look in use. This tool will also recommend fonts for you to use. This tool is free to use.

                                                    26. Free Images

                                                    free

                                                      Any time you need free images, this app has nearly 400,000 for you to choose from. No matter what you need, you are sure to find it here. There are even tutorials on how to use the images to your best advantage.

                                                      27. Free Lorem Ipsum Generator

                                                      layerhero

                                                        This free app will let you see how your design looks with default text or Lorem Ipsum. Customize options for generating words, sentences, and paragraphs in a single click.

                                                        28. FontAwesomePS

                                                        creative

                                                          This tool lets you search for icons, and then click to make a new layer shape that you can edit. There is a huge selection of font icons, and you can download this tool for free.

                                                          29. Photoshop Share Plugin

                                                          lay

                                                            This free tool lets you share your designs instantly. The great thing is that you can do it all from one app, so you no longer have to switch back and forth between apps.

                                                            30. Social Kit

                                                            social kit

                                                              This is from Made by Source, and it covers images, ad banners, and profile photos for social media. This plugin is free to use, and you will find customizable templates for Facebook.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Trapped in Suburbia via flickr.com

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                                                              Last Updated on November 3, 2020

                                                              20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                                                              20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                                                              Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

                                                              There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

                                                              This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

                                                              What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

                                                              Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

                                                              • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
                                                              • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
                                                              • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

                                                              1. Todoist

                                                                Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                                                                Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                                                                If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                                                                Download: Todoist

                                                                2. 1Password

                                                                  You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                                                                  1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                                                                  You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                                                                  Download: 1Password

                                                                  3. Bear

                                                                    Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                                                                    It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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                                                                    Download: Bear

                                                                    4. Hazel

                                                                      Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                                                                      For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                                                                      Download: noodlesoft

                                                                      5. Alfred

                                                                        Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                                                                        For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                                                                        It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                                                                        Download: Alfred

                                                                        6. TextExpander

                                                                          TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                                                                          For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                                                                          An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                                                                          Download: TextExpander

                                                                          7. Backblaze

                                                                            If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                                                                            Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                                                                            Download: Backblaze

                                                                            8. Keyboard Maestro

                                                                              Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                                                                              Download: Keyboard Maestro

                                                                              9. Snagit

                                                                                There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                                                                Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                                                                10. Bartender

                                                                                  Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                                                                  If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                                                                  Download: Bartender

                                                                                  11. Otter

                                                                                  Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                                                                  Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                                                                  Download: Otter

                                                                                  12. Flux

                                                                                    Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                                                                    Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                                                                                    Download: Flux

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                                                                                    13. PDFpen

                                                                                    If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                                                                    PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                                                                    Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                                                                    14. OmniFocus

                                                                                      OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                                                                      It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                                                                      A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                                                                      Download: OmniFocus

                                                                                      15. Franz

                                                                                        It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                                                                        Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                                                                        Download: Franz

                                                                                        16. MindNode

                                                                                          If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                                                                          The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                                                                          Download: MindNode

                                                                                          17. Focus

                                                                                            The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                                                                            This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                                                                            Download: Focus

                                                                                            18. CleanMyMac

                                                                                              Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                                                                              Download: CleanMyMac

                                                                                              19. Grammarly

                                                                                                A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                                                                This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                                                                A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                                                                Download: Grammarly

                                                                                                Focus To Do

                                                                                                  Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                                                                                  There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                                                                                  Download: Focus To Do

                                                                                                  The Bottom Line

                                                                                                  These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                                                                  Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                                                                  More to Boost Productivity

                                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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