Not having gone through formal education like most I had to learn on the go. Thus, the internet became one of my main teachers and I stumbled through each project. The net has is limits in what it can teach you, but you will find that it stores a vast amount of information for inspiring graphic designers. Of all the websites I have gone through these are what I recommend checking out if you have not already:
- lynda.com – Though this site will cost you $20 a month it is certainly worth the money as you get full access to the best step by step videos for every major software program out there. They range from beginner to the most advanced users. Certainly cheaper than a college coarse and I would argue more effective.
- psdtuts.com – While Lynda.com will show you how to use each feature a program has to offer it doesn’t quite hit on how to achieve different styles you are currently seeing on your favorite band’s album or magazine cover. This site shows you how to do just that.
While there are thousands of sites out there that have them, only a few are really worth learning from.
Whether that be stock photos, vectors, or photoshop brushes, there are plenty of FREE quality stuff:
bluevertigo.com – This is by far the most comprehensive list of resources I have ever stumbled upon and of the sites listed here the next few are worth a little more attention
- sxc.hu – You won’t find better collection of royalty free images anywhere else and if you do please drop me a link.
- deviantart.com – Though I don’t recommend this site for stock photography, because of the mass amount of sketchy photos, their vault of free photoshop brushes and vector art is worth mentioning.
- vecteezy.com – Though this sites library is still relatively new I have found some quality vectors here on many occasions.
- dafont.com – If there are quality fonts out there, you will find them here.
- colourlovers.com – Free color palettes and patterns.
- color.Adobe.com – More free color palettes.
Not just useful for keeping track of what you like online, but they are a gateway to finding the best of what’s out there. While these are all pretty similar, they vary slightly, so I recommend exploring each one to see what fits you best.
- Delicious.com – This is my favorite for the ability to tag your favorite websites with keywords, making it easier for you to find again.
- Digg.com – This is somewhat more useful for keeping track of popular blog posts, pictures, videos, etc. I recommend subscribing to the technology section RSS feed.
- StumbleUpon.com – I can’t say I can find something StumbleUpon does better than dig.com or delicious.com, but the user interface is preferred more by some, so it is worth mentioning.
You don’t have to learn web design to set up a portfolio online, there a few free options out there as well as slightly better ones that costs a little $$$.
- Coroflot.com – The benefits of this site is the massive amounts of pictures you can upload to it. While the interface is not customizable it is still fairly clean. They do run ads with it, but this is a great option for anybody looking for something FREE! (example)
- Carbonmade.com – This is what I am currently using to host my portfolio. It is somewhat customizable and has a good amount of space you can upload to before you have to pay for it. (example)
- CreativeMYK.com – This is a Christian community for designers to network and host a portfolio. Also free. (example)
- Krop.com – While Krop is comparable to carbonmade.com it is more flexible and easier to manage, however will run you $12 a month.
- Wix.com – A tool I recommend exploring if you want to design basic websites without knowing a line of code (unlike Dreamweaver). This is not bad for hosting a website though I warn you not to go overboard on the flash animations like most do. This too is free unless you want to get rid of the add and/or connect your domain to it.
- Issuu.com – If you have a pdf portfolio you can upload a high resolution copy here to become an interactive book you can plug into your blog, facebook, or just let stand alone itself on Issuu’s website.
Helpful Note – All the above websites all utilize subdomains (example.carbonmade.com) or domain extentions (coroflot.com/example) which doesn’t look to professional on a business card right? So I recommend buying a domain name from somebody like godaddy.com and using your domain to forward people to your portfolio url.
People create blogs for just about everything. Here are a few that inspire me.
- Designsponge.com – Interior Design
- thesatorialist.com – Fashion
- Core77.com – industrial design
- Smashingmagazine.com – Graphic design, photography, web design, and much more
- Ilovetypography.com – Typography
- Creatica.com – Graphic design in general
- Thedieline.com – Package Design
- Frederiksamuel.com – Creative advertising
Personal Blogs I Follow
- Randybohlender.wordpress.com – An intercessory missionary that is the founder of the Zoe Foundation. He is on the edge of the marketing world as well as the spiritual. His witty twitter updates are also worth checking out.
- Jaesonma.com – This guy is crazy about Jesus and has a huge heart for the media.
Other Useful Tools
- Pandora.com – Free streaming radio. A must when you get tired of your iTunes library
One last tool that will make keeping up with many of the websites above is RSS. If you don’t know what RSS is watching this quick video and be amazed by how much time you will save.