By Stephanie Design

9 Essential Design Resources for Creatives

BusinessStephanie Hamilton2 Comments

Graphics are everything! They are the core of your online marketing and how you show off your products in a fun or memorable way. 

They help you get 'likes,' shares, and comments, and play a pivotal role in catching your ideal client's eye and get them interested in learning more. As they say, 'if a picture is worth a thousand words, a graphic is worth a thousand clicks.' 

Every entrepreneur in a creative industry can benefit from having a basic understanding of design principles to help them be as successful as possible. Best of all everyone can really pick up and apply these basics of design to have their goods stand out! 

Today I'm sharing 9 excellent design resources to help you get started!

9 essential design resources for creatives - by stephanie design

1  |  Adobe Photoshop

photographer templates - by stephanie design

I use the Adobe Creative Suite for all my design services and swear by the software program. Here are some reasons why it's stands apart from other programs to me:

Photoshop is mainly used as an image-editing software and can achieve anything from enhancing and manipulating photos to creating original, digital artwork. 

Since many of the templates in my shop are photo-based, many of the text and graphic elements are easily integrated using the application-based text and shape tools. 

2  |  Adobe Illustrator

essential design resources for creatives - by stephanie design

Illustrator is most useful when illustrations, graphics, and other vector-based design elements are needed. It allows so much versatility and customization as the design tools allow you to achieve any kind of clean, extendable graphic, many of which can be easily reused. 

It's vector-based which means you can scale all artwork to infinity without any loss of resolution. Illustrator creates vector images and can also work with raster images, while programs like Photoshop or Canva only work with raster images.

Whichever design challenge I find myself in, both Photoshop and Illustrator are my go-to's for creating beautiful marketing collateral from logos to website graphics, business cards and infographics, these programs have me covered. 

3  |  Adobe Color CC

If you're ever in a color-bind and need a second opinion, check out Adobe Color CC, formerly Adobe Kuler, for some inspiration. It's a handy tool for coming up with distinct color palettes and all value are provided for you. 

adobe color cc - essential resources for creatives - by stephanie design

Color is such an important, noticeable part of a brand and contributes both to it's recognizability and memorability, but many creative struggle with coming up with the 'right' color palette. Once you determine which sort of color palette (monochromatic, analogous, or complimentary) works for your brand, you can use the tool to create/save color palettes, and glance through preexisting color palettes for inspiration. Check out the Most Used and Most Popular categories under the Explore tab to get your creative juices flowing. 

4  |  Design Inspiration 

Design is a great site for both color and design inspiration. Filter the designs that include certain colors by clicking 'color' at the top of their website. 

resources for creative entrepreneurs - by stephanie design

5  |  Creative Market

Need a polished, calligraphic font or special design element to add that extra touch to your design project in a pinch? Creative Market is of your service!

essential design resources for creatives - by stephanie design

Need a polished, calligraphic font or special design element to add that extra touch to your design project in a pinch? Creative Market is chock-full of handy design resources from fonts to photos and everything in between. Whether you need to mock-up an image of your products or a brand new piece of marketing collateral this site takes the overwhelm out of creating. Be sure to check out and support creatives from all over the globe in this thriving community!

6  |  Canva

If you're in a design bind and need a quick solution to your marketing needs, Canva has you covered!

resources for creative entreprenuers - canvas - by stephanie design

Whether you need a social media template, infographic, presentation, or more, Canva's selection of pre-designed has many well-designed options and layouts available for perusing. Many of which only require a quick color, text, and photo swap and you're good to go! 

7  |

There are times when a project could call for a special font outside the font library I currently have. In this case is my go-to source for more options. You can use their 'enter you own text' option to get a good preview of what the text will look like before purchasing, which is super helpful if you're creating a logo design. 

resources for creative entrepreneurs - - by stephanie design

I personally like to take peek at the best sellers to see what's hot right now but you can also filter by new fonts and different styles. 

If you're looking for a premium font for your brand won't disappoint. 

8  |  Wordmark

The next resource is huge time-saver and I'd recommend it to anyone looking to compare fonts quickly and efficiently:

essential resources for creatives - by stephanie design


I don't know about you but I tend to get overwhelmed skimming through all of the fonts in my library.  Wordmark is a lifesaver as it gathers all fonts saved to your computer and allows you to view a designated word or phrase in one display before committing. 

It's especially helpful if you want to view how special characters look, such as numbers, punctuation, and other characters. 

You can use it to view fonts for your website, resume, work or school projects. Best of all the website is free and you don't need to register or have an account to use it. Just type in your text to preview fonts from your font library instantly. 

9 | Creativelive

If you want to dip your toes in learning much more about design, take a free course with CreativeLive

resources for creative entreprenuers - continuing education - by stephanie design


Their continuing education courses are ideal for those interested in Photography, but their selection of design and art classes is also on the rise! 

Some topics include Web/UX Design, Design Fundamentals, Typography & Lettering, and more. Many industry experts also teach them so it's a great opportunity to learn from those passionate about sharing their knowledge with you. 

You don't have to be a pro to pick up the essentials of design to excel your online marketing and take your graphics game to the next level. Just peruse the above resources to set the right foundation. 

What are your favorite resources for learning design? Any items not featured on this list you'd love to add?