Designer’s Basic Toolset: 10 Awesome Freebies
Every project is different, yet somehow the same. The latter makes it harder over time to fuel your creativity anew each time a client demands it. Things start to resemble more and more, the longer your designer’s career endures. This is because you are living in the boundaries of your own mindset. Of course you know that and have initiated strategies against it, e.g. surfing other websites for inspiration. Scribbling around on a piece of paper is another alternative. If you are more on the shirtsleeved side of things (read: like me), you will most probably look into collections of freebies. I do frequently, regularly, always…
The following 10 freebies have established themselves as a mandatory part of my basic equipment. Some of these have already come to use at least half a dozen times. Let’s see if you like them too…
1. Flat SEO icons
This is the newest addition to my toolset. These 12 flat SEO icons are perfect for adding a light-hearted and playful tone to sites. The flat aesthetic is set off beautifully by the modern color palette and the addition of the long shadow technique is a sophisticated touch. And hey, iOS 7 will surely propagate the trend of flat into yet unknown dimensions…
2. Colorful Grunge Textures
Also quite fresh in my toolbox are these 25 .jpg textures at 5000 by 5000px, saved at 300ppi. The textures are compatible with all photo editors that support layers (Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, GIMP, Pixelmator etc.) on both PC and Mac.
3. Modus Versus PSD Template
I am fond of Bootstrap. Who isn’t? That’s why I particularly like that template. Modus Versus is a free multi-purpose PSD template, designed on the 1170 grid system. Excellent for use with responsive frameworks (like the popular Twitter Bootstrap), it is able to form the basis of a state-of-the-art site design.
4. Flat UI Kit
Back to iOS, Windows Modern GUI and Android Jellybean: Flat design is the next big thing in web design. This great freebie helps you take the leap into that trend. Though a free flat UI kit is more of a rejection of 3D artifice than it is a style, it fits perfectly into the contemporary landscape.
5. Media Black UI Kit
The Media Black UI Kit sits in my toolbox since about a year and is certainly for special interest. It contains graphic elements suitable for any sort of media elements, such as video and audio players, along typical navigational items. It’s provided as a layered PSD file. The file is free for personal and commercial use.
6. Retro Business Card PSD
This PSD delivers a very attractive business card template with a retro style. It sports the perfect balance between elegance and creativity with a modern twist. The files are provided as two separate PSD files and can be used for both personal and commercial uses.
7. Infographic Vector Kit
Infographics are worth a thousand words and clients quite often approach to create one for them. I usually rely on this infographic vector kit, which contains the most used elements that you may need for your infographic designs. Included in this set is a world map, gender elements, as well as multiple pie and bar charts. You can easily combine and modify all the elements to create a distinctive infographic.
8. Apple Icon Devices
Is there any need to explain these further? This set of icons features some of Apple’s top-selling products, from the iPad to the iPhone 4S.
The set includes a total of 10 exclusive icons designed with exquisite detail and is provided to you as both PNG and Illustrator files. As the set is a little older, the new iPhone 5 is still missing, but – simply scale the 4s up a bit ;-)
9. A Free Social Icon Set
From 2011, yet useful and trendy (read: flat). This cool set of 24 social icons called “Simplito” contains pictograms as JPGs and PNGs, as well as a PSD file for easy editing. You are free to use the icons for personal and commercial projects as per the licensing terms attached in the file.
10. Flowing Borders & Ribbons
I never thought I would have a need for these. Yet, my clientele seems to go retro faster than I could have imagined. And I am glad, I found these borders and ribbons to soothe their needs. This charming set of 46 hand-drawn frame and ribbon vectors has been scribbled onto a page and digitized afterwards. The cartoon-like style has me even feel modern again. Any celebration-oriented design will gain from the use of these elements, if intelligently combined with a great typeface.