Whether you’re working on a side project and are short on funds, or have been handed a tight budget by a cash-strapped client, there are many free design resources that can help you out. But using free images, fonts, tools and other assets can often come at a price. They may be low on quality. Or even worse, on disreputable sites they may have been stolen from their rightful creators… who never intended them to be free.
So our designers and teachers at Shillington have put their heads together to make things easier for you.
On these sites, you’ll find free design resources that are reliably high-quality and legitimately free to download. Whether you’re after images or videos, fonts or design tools, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
E-commerce platform Shopify has created a site where anyone can download stock images for free, whether or not you’re a Shopify user. You can use them for both non-commercial and commercial purposes without attribution. Images are available in low or high resolution, and the quality is very high throughout.
FreePhotos.cc is another place where you can find free Creative Commons photos for your design projects. A new photo is uploaded every day, and you can use them in both your personal or commercial projects without attribution. Just be aware that the images in the far right-hand column are not free, but link through to paid-for images from iStock.
Landing Stock is a niche site providing free stock photos that are suitable for your website landing page. Created by London-based product designer Craig Barber, it features only high-quality, clean and minimalistic photos, that crop well and provide space for copy.
Looking for a copyright-free vintage photo from the public archives? Cole Townsend, a product designer in Boston, has compiled a ton of them via Flickr that can be used for personal and non-commercial use.
Want a photo for your site that no one else has? Photo Creator from Icons8 allows you to combine different stock photos to create your own unique image. Combine objects, people, backgrounds and even images of your own using a browser-based drag-and-drop interface that’s very quick and easy to use.
DrawKit is a collection of free, beautiful, customisable MIT licensed SVG illustrations in two styles, to use on your next website, app, or project.
In Humaaans, Pablo Stanley has created something quite special: modular, vector illustrations of humans that you can mix, match, rotate and position to create your own designs. Whatever you make is free for both commercial and personal use.
Joe Schmoe is an illustrated collection of avatars for web designers to use in their projects. Designed by Silicon Valley studio Jon&Jess, they’re great for using as profile picture placeholders for live websites or design mockups.
Ouch.pics is a selection of free vector illustrations from Icons8. Clean, colourful and trendy, these are perfect for any web or app user interface.
Lukasz Adam is an Independent web designer who’s made a bunch of high-quality vector art illustrations and icons available for free. They can be used for personal and commercial projects.
Co-founded by Sofya Polyakov, Edward Boatman and Scott Thomas, The Noun Project brings together over two million curated icons, created by a global community and available for use by designers for free.
Ionicons are premium icons for use by designers in web, iOS, Android and desktop apps. Built by the Ionic Framework team, they’re all free and open source.
Started by Dan Leech, Simple Icons makes free SVG icons for popular brands available to download for free.
Streamline Emoji is a free collection of cute emoji, designed by Vincent Le Moign and made available to download for free under the Creative Common Attribution licence.
Animaticons is a set of high-resolution animated GIFs that you can customise. They are small in file size, compatible with all major browsers, emails, and smartphones and don’t require any special plugins or libraries.
An intuitive and robust directory of open source web fonts for designers to use how they wish. All created to the high standards you’d expect from a web giant like Google.
Emotype is a curated collection of free fonts that allows you to search based on the emotions you want to convey on your website.
A good collection of free fonts, including display, script and symbol fonts, as well as blackletter, retro and non-Western styles.
An enormous archive of freely downloadable fonts. Browse by alphabetical listing, by style, by author or by popularity.
Another extensive archive of free fonts, all free for commercial use.
Coverr is a source of beautifully shot stock videos that are free to download for commercial and non-commercial use, no attribution required.
Brought to you by Envato, Mixkit is a curated gallery of high-quality videos and animation, made by some of the world’s most talented creators, with all content licensed for free.
Motion Places provides creatives with high quality and free HD stock footage from around the world. They film, edit, and curate everything in the collection. There are no ads, no affiliate links, and no sign-up requirements.
Life of Vids offers free videos for web designers, filmmakers, advertisers, agencies, or anyone else who can make use of them. You can create infinite loops with most of them, and they’re all available to download for both personal and commercial use.
Videvo offers a ton of free stock videos which can be used free of charge, in both personal and commercial productions. Video clips that carry the Creative Commons 3.0 license must be attributed to the original author.
Short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP is a completely free image editor that provides all the tools you’ll need to manipulate your images. From retouching to restoring to creative composites, it also hooks up to third-party plugins to boost your workflow.
A free alternative to Adobe XD, Pencil is an open source and powerful tool that allows you to design the prototypes for web, mobile and desktop applications. Available for all platforms. Perfect.
Simple to use in the browser, with no downloads required, Canva is a surprisingly powerful and flexible graphic design tool. It’s no Photoshop, but it can do a lot of basic design tasks quite efficiently using drag and drop.
Created by a non-profit organisation, Inkscape is professional quality vector graphics software that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. It’s open source and free to download.
Gravit Designer is a full-featured vector graphic design app that works on all platforms. The free version comes with 500MB of cloud storage.
Design your own device mockups in seconds with free tool Shotsnapp. Choose a device, add an image of your design or screenshot, make the tweaks you want, then download your mockup image.
Screely enables you to instantly turn a screenshot into a mockup, without the need for Sketch or Photoshop templates. Just upload your image and the app will do the rest.
Copy and paste a URL into Screenpeek and it will generate an attractive mockup in just 10 seconds. Created by Hans Pagel and Philipp Kuhn, this app is free for iPhone mockups only.
With Smartmockups and its ever-growing mockup library, you can create nice looking mockups right inside your browser, both on desktop and mobile devices.
Mockup World claims to be the biggest source of free photorealistic mockups online. It’s packed with free, fully layered, easily customisable photo realistic PSDs from around the world, ready to use in your projects, app showcases, and presentations.
Need to remove the background from a photo? This free tool can do it surprisingly quickly, and it just takes one click.
Created by Peter Assentorp, Social Sizes provides designers with the best sizes to use for image and video content on social media. Templates for Sketch, Adobe XD and Photoshop are all included, and downloadable for free.
Photopea is a free online image editor that allows you to open and edit PSD, XCF, Photoshop, Gimp, Sketch or any other image files. You can also use it to inspect PSD and Sketch files and convert Sketch files to PSD.
Pixel Editor has a long track record as a basic but reliable photo editor that’s free to use within the browser. They’ve just released a new version, Pixel Editor X, which is faster, has more editing tools and integrates with Dropbox.
This web and desktop application enables you to quickly grab screenshots and share the URLs with colleagues, as well as live, multi-person drawing and sketching.
This free Mac app makes it easy to capture parts of your screen and export them as Gifs or MP4 files. Capture GIFs up to 30 seconds long with just a couple of clicks.
This free and open source application for Windows combines a screen, webcam and sketch board recorder with an integrated editor.
A lightweight, free and open source tool for screen capture and file sharing, ShareX has benefited from over 11 years of active development by its community.
Snappy is a workmanlike app for taking and collaborating on snapshots for iPhone, iPad and Mac. (A Windows version is “coming soon”.)
Another free Mac app, Lightshot allows you to capture any part of your screen, upload it to their server and get a nice short link. You can also add lines, arrows and text annotations as soon as you capturing.
Behance, part of the Adobe network, is a popular online platform to showcase and discover creative work, including art, illustration, graphic design, UI design and animation.
Another popular and lively online community for showcasing creative work. While Behance is mainly completed work, Dribbble specialises in smaller snapshots (aka ‘shots’) of in-progress work.
Httpster is an inspiration resource showcasing website designs from all over the world. The emphasis is not on flashy features but a “less is more” approach to design.
Microcopy is often the forgotten element in digital design. So visit this site to find curated examples of excellence in areas such as 404 pages, newsletter text and e-commerce writing.
If you’re waiting for clients to provide real images and text, It’s often difficult to imagine what your font choice will look like on a live website. Ficture shows you examples of what particular fonts look like in the wild.
Good luck using these free resources on your future graphic design projects!
Want to take your design career to the next level? Study design and take the online graphic design course at Shillington!