As designers, working in the fast-paced marketing agency world, web design and graphic design is our passion. We love to get our hands “dirty” being creative. What we don’t love so much is the daily struggle saving our work at a reasonable file size. We’ve put together a list of the 12 online tools that help us with the less glam design tasks.
1. File Optimization
This is our favourite image compression site. It truly gives you compression without having to sacrifice on quality. There are other compression sites that can reduce files more than TinyPNG, but there is a visible quality loss. TinyPNG also has a free WordPress plugin that can automatically compress the images you uploaded to the server. The only downsides are that the free version limits you to 20 images (max 5 MB each) and you have to be connected to the internet for it to work.
Use this tool when you need to upload photos to your blog post or when you are designing a new website and need to shrink lots of photos.
The good thing about compressor.io compared to TinyPNG is that it supports GIF and SVG. If you need to compress those file types, Compressor.io is the way to go. You can choose between lossy and lossless compression when you compress JPG and PNG. It gives you 10MB size limit. The downside of Compressor.io is that you can only upload one image at a time.
Smallpdf is the swiss army knife of PDF editing. Whether you want to compress PDFs, convert PDFs to Word or merge multiple PDFs, everything you possibly need is here. It’s very simple to use and the UI is much better than other PDF editing website.
2. Free Resources
Flaticon has over 500000 vector-based icons. They are great for websites, apps or even posters. Everything here is free as long as you credit the author. A premium plan is available if you want to access their premium icons and macOS app. Attribution is also not required for the premium user. Flaticon also has a new feature called Pattern which easily allows creating a patterned background. It’s great for making website backgrounds or wallpapers.
Noun Project is similar to Flaticon. Noun project has more icon collections and the style is a bit different to Flaticon. If you pay for premium, you can get apps for macOS, Adobe CC, and Microsoft Office. It will allow you to easily drag and drop any icons to your design software.
Freepiks is the go-to place for graphic resources. It has vectors, stock photos, icons, PSDs. They are all free to use with attribution. The premium plan will offer you more high-quality exclusive resources.
Coolors is the best colour scheme generator according to our designer. It takes zero effort to generate a colour scheme. All you need to do is to press space button. If you see a colour from a scheme that you like, you can lock that colour and generate new colour schemes based on it.
Paletton is for those designers who have strong knowledge of colour theory and like to hand pick colours. The colour picker in your design software isn’t great for picking a colour scheme at once. This is where Paletton shines. It makes picking and matching colour a lot easier, and fun!
Lolcolors is another colour scheme website that gives you lots of pre-chosen colour schemes. It’s definitely a good resource for colour palette inspiration.
4. Design Inspiration
Designspiration is usually our first choice for design inspiration. Pinterest is good, but Designspiration is specifically design focused. Many of the works are conceptual or experimental. Sure to leave you feeling inspired.
Awwwards is not a typical inspiration site. It is a place for people to submit their websites and let professionals critique it. What’s good about Awwwards is that you can see a lot of current trends on web design and development. Because the websites submitted here are all live, you can go on to the website and see it yourself. Which is great if you love being a little big nosy!
Little Big Details
You can probably guess what this site is about. This is a Tumblr site that gathers smart design details from different websites and apps. Those details are not always obvious when you use the websites or apps, but once you see it here, you will feel the difference next time you use the services.
If you are looking for some web design advice, why not submit your website for a free audit. Each Wednesday throughout October we are reviewing websites that have been submitted to us for free, live on Facebook. You can find out more about it in our latest blog. Or if you’d like to discuss website design or digital marketing away from our Facebook Live audience, give us a shout or stop by our marketing agency in Vancouver -we always have chocolate.