Creative Curation: Graphic Design

In approaching personal, class, and community projects, starting from scratch without any resources can make for a long road. I’ve definitely been there, doing some painful work without much progress. Learning the foundational stuff in Photoshop or exploring social media from a professional perspective is great- but not time effective. Sure, to have a true feel for graphic design it’s essential to put in countless hours of meddling with the boundless features packed into software like Illustrator, but there’s more to design than software proficiency. If you have a creative vision in your mind, don’t let it stay there just because of lacking computer skills!
Let’s skip some of those tireless hours of getting used to a new technology or practice and make something slick. 

Here are some of the best guides and tools that I have found helpful for creating social media content and poster design alike:


Design tools:

Canva: Don’t have the time or hundreds of dollars to get into Photoshop/Illustrator? No problem. Canva is a web-based image creator with tons of pre-made templates, amazing for posters and flyers. Design made super easy!

Inkscape and GimpGet cracking with free, open source, and pretty sophisticated image editing and design software. Inkscape = free Adobe Illustrator and Gimp = free Photoshop. Each is powerful and gets the job done, without dropping hundreds or paying monthly for professional adobe products!

freebie.supply: An almost overwhelming library of tools, from stock images. to color palettes, to business-end stuff.

freepik and flaticon: We don’t have hours to spend making an icon or backbone design, use these huge collections of free designs and icons to build something awesome! Use them in Canva, or free design programs

Coolors: An awesome color palette generator, use it anywhere from print to web design

Pattern Library: Nab some stunning patterns for the perfect popping backdrop to your design

Need more fonts? Search for fonts here! and get the entire Google Fonts library here!

wordmark.it: Preview all of your fonts, and test them out


Guides:

How to design: This two part guide really lays out web and even general design really well. Reading up and staying on-board with design trends, taking some inspiration, and using them to develop your own style is what graphic design is all about.

Fonts: A guide to font families

dribbble: Social networking community spotlighting the best designers out there, and their impressive portfolios. You’ll find everything from UX design to animation on dribbble!

Code Academy: Not everyone has time to learn weird computer science stuff, but if you’re up to learn some web development in a super interactive and approachable way, give it a shot! I learned a great deal about HTML/CSS through CodeAcademy, with lessons ranging from building your own website, mastering a language, or making an animated solar system.

Slack: The best platform for teamwork. A mix of group messaging, integration for countless apps like Google Drive, Github, and Dropbox, file uploads, and organized team collaboration make this great for projects. Either as individual groups or a whole business, Slack is great for sales teams and software engineers alike.


Overall:

Considering the amount of information to fit in to a work and the need to include an artistic touch to a project is important, but by and large don’t break the KISS principle! KISS, meaning Keep It Simple Stupid is very valuable in modern design, because it’s way too easy to screw up a good design by simply doing too much. I hope some of these links and resources are helpful, and if you have anything that you’d like to add, send it my way! In no way do I know everything about graphic design or tech tools, as I am constantly learning and trying new things.

If you want any more tools or ideas, check out my Product Hunt profile and some of the stuff that I’ve discovered!

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