Can Free Design Resources Be Exemplary? : List Of Photoshop Resources


As designers we’re always after some good resources for inspiration and even for design elements to help us when we have a mental block. But the thing is that there’s not very many GREAT resources out there that give FREE stuff away. You have inspiration sites like Dribbble and DeviantArt (deviant does give some things away) but there’s a new community emerging where the resources are not only free, but also outstanding. Let’s take a deeper look into this new community called DesignMoo.

First off, what I’d like to achieve with this article is to get your feedback not only these resources, but also your opinion on how you think these types of sites help or hurt our design community. So keep that in mind as you read through this and browse the site. Also feel free to offer other sites you’ve found that provide outstanding resources such as this one.

DesignMoo, according to their about page, is…

“a community of designers who think it’s best to share our design resources. That means we love to share fonts, brushes, textures, icons, illustrations, and more with anyone that might find them useful.”

And it’s true. It’s all free resources (but they just released a paid account with extras), contributed by some of the best designers around the world. It’s co-owned and operated by Chris Wallace and Rich Hemsley. Chris is owner of LiftUX, runs, tweets as @chriswallace and shoots on Dribbble of course. Rich Hemsley is the awesome community manager, tweets as @richhemsley and Dribbbles as well. The community is currently invite-only but growing very quickly and making a real wake in our design world. Check out some of the resources by a few of these amazing designers.

Rich HemsleyiPhone 4 Retina GUI

vCard Design Resource

Chris WallacevCard PSD

Abstract Tileable Design Patterns

Allison Grayce NoldAbstract Tileable Patterns

Logo Identity Guideline Template

Graham SmithLogo Identity Guideline Template

Clumsy Font Free

Kyle SteedClumsy

Invite Stamp Collection

Hillary HopperInvite Stamp Collection

It’s About Quality

So as you can see, we’re not talking about lame resources here. This isn’t clip art in a glorified form or anything. No, this is real stuff you can actually use and many times it will actually be better than what we ourselves can design. I’ve personally used several of these resources in my client’s work and it not only saves time, but looks awesome. The important thing to remember if you ever get into this community is to keep it awesome. Keep the elements you submit to a spectacular level. Give feedback, utilize what others offer, and contribute when you can.

What DesignMoo Offers

I recognize that there’s a million free resource sites out there. But like I mentioned, there’s none that I know of that provide the quality elements DesignMoo does. Here’s a breakdown of some elements for you to chew on and make a better, more informed opinion about this community.


Sexy icons are always a must for sites these days. It adds personality and enhances the look of the site immensely, if used properly of course. Not everyone can be an icon designer, that’s why I’m very thankful for those people sharing their mad skills with those of us less fortunate in this area of design.


Julien MartinLe Calendrier 2011


Pontus JohanssoniPhone Icons


Peter BurdetteBookshelf Icon


Umar Irshad32px Glyphs


Alfred Pereira – Social Buttons Vol2

UI Elements

And who could turn down some really sweet UI elements? These things are few and far between to look this good and take several hours to create. So I’m game for grabbing some to use that were made by some down right awesome people. Take a look.


Morgan Allan KnutsonChutzpah User Interface Kit


Rich HemsleyTransparent Menu


Josh HemsleyDark Sexy UI Elements

Yummy Textures and Patterns

Ah yes, finally some great textures. I know you can find them lots of places but these are seriously some of the highest quality ones I’ve seen…and they’re more web-related than some other sites out there. Here’s a few pretty sweet ones to chew on.


Hillary HopperArgyle Textures


Liam McKayFunction Subtle Grunge Brushes


David LopezBokeh

Oh Glorious Fonts

We designers love some fonts. Whether we’re great typographers or not, we still like to have a plethora of them to choose from. And with the way CSS3 is breaking into the market and things like CuFon and such, we can utilize more of these fonts on our sites without the old “make an image” method. Here’s some fonts you may never have seen. Pretty nice, eh?


Brian CarrollFolly by Litchytype


Jed Bridges - Cerus Caps


A Visual IdiotNovak

So Does Free Raise Any Issues?

The simple answer is yes, but there’s also a no in there. Free can cause problems. Problems like overuse, looking cheap, and being misused in general. But DesignMoo is doing things a little bit differently. They are adhering to a level of quality that’s unmatched in the marketplace and making sure to keep that level of quality by allowing it to be invite only. It works similar to Dribbble‘s invite system, if you’re familiar with that, in that members get limited invites each month or so and the people they invite appear under them so everyone knows if you’re keeping the quality level up or just inviting your best buds. There’s nothing wrong with inviting friends, but make sure they know what they’re doing and can contribute great stuff.

In saying that, I don’t see problems for DesignMoo at this point, maybe in the future, but that bridge will be crossed when they come to it. Chris and Rich are infatuated with great design so I highly doubt it will ever turn into anything short of extraordinary.

Something to Recognize

If you’ve thoroughly read this far, you’ll know that I’ve mentioned there are other sites that provide similar services to what DesignMoo does. And I said none compare…and I still believe that. In fact, during my writing of this article, DesignMoo announced they have acquired We’re not sure of the future of the two and how they will combine their resources (or if they will), but this just proves how great and powerful of a resource this site can and will be. You can read the full article on the “merger” over at Jon Notie’s blog.

My Take on This and That

I’m a design lover as well and I get irritated when there’s a site that could be great but has poor design features or usability. I realize that your design program is not everything for a website, but design itself entails a lot. It has a dash of user experience and a hint of personality among many other elements. Design is all around us and there’s nothing wrong with a site that provides resources and elements that can enhance the user experience of a site, especially when they are at no cost to use. Quality elements are great. An outstanding collection of them for us to choose from is even better. So with that, I want to encourage you to comment below and tell me what you think of design resource sites. What do you find helpful about them? Or hurtful about them? Do you have any ones other than DesignMoo? Let’s get conversing.



  1. Jenny

    There was an old saying I always heard “there is no such thing as a free lunch” .
    Well this website gives you full board and accommodation absolutely free :) . i have never come across a site which is such a wealth of knowledge that needs to be mined. I feel like I am digging for gold in every freebie I get.There are gold nuggets for a newbie & oldie waiting in every corner.
    All you authors out there do quite a job on the content publishing and have to say thanks once again :)
    You are going to see my comments all over the place with every new nugget I discover.
    Keep it going. Its No wonder you are such a high ranking site !!!

  2. Craig

    I find alot of the free icons can be used to make a good looking design look alot sharper and polished.

    For the buttons for stores you can always find a good few sets that match the look of your design, it can also save alot of time if the job is on a tight budget.

  3. robert

    For someone like myself who if i am honest is not the most creative this site is a huge inspiration to me

  4. Rodrigo

    We are creating an app for our distributors. I think that will use some of your resources. Thanks a lot Jared!

  5. Razibul Hassan

    Every effort to help the community (net community I mean here) is a giant step in my opinion. Once upon a time when there had been very few big companies dominated the internet and software businesses, is a long gone history. I’d confess even now a large company has it’s profound control of domination and market share; yet open source are rising with it’s own right.
    “designmoo”, in my opinion is an appreciating steps for web designers and the stuffs they offer are mostly professional. I personally get many stuffs from them for free and recommend my friends this site a good resource for FREE.

  6. jerry

    it’s a sham. It narrows creativity, yeah on the other side you can use it to learn if you tinker with someone elses creation. most dont make sense if you have a hardcore graphics person utilizing the fancy options of photoshop it does you no good. You start seeing adjusted curves and peopel with no real knowledge are like what the crap is this? They think they can read a blog and become instant designers and photoshop experts. i personally dont worry too much about it with these fakers. It doesnt matter how tight your bootlegged design is if you dont have the skills to get it in front of the people. Once a company finds out they have bootlegged content on their site, that “designer” is out… you know its like if you use crap tactics to try and be a competitor your gonna get caught and your gonna be made to look like the phoney you are. Once you catch your stuff on another site call the owners of the site and tell them your gonna pursue legal action for the illegal use of your creations on their website. Your other option is to sell them that item or license them to it, if they say no then tell them they stole your property and used it and your gonna sue them for a piece of every sale made since using that graphic, theres always having them pull it off, if your not trying to monetize it. You just gotta start getting involved and shutting people down. The only reason its reasonable is people dont do anything abotu it. If your not stopping them then who do you think is?

  7. I’m not sure whether this is good or not. The quality is high, but it’s depressing that designers are giving this stuff away for free. It sets a precedent IMO. Sure, a few may get work from this, but yet again the majority are just wasting time posting free content

  8. Tim

    People want everything for free nowadays. They don’t expect to pay for anything. Google has contributed to this thinking more than any other company. People go to Google and search for images. They then place whatever photos or artwork they find on their websites, print materials, facebook pages, posters, flyers and elsewhere without asking permission. Because, after all, if it shows up on Google, it must be free, right? People ignore copyright notices. People ignore image resolution. They don’t care.
    Musicians say that Apple destroyed the music industry. That is incorrect, of course. It was more Napster and P2P apps.
    However, I say Google destroyed the art industry. Really, all search engines did, but none so much as Google. I was actually thinking of starting a petition to request all search engines disable their image search. They would never do it of course. But maybe it would make people think a bit before they just go and download something and use it without asking permission from the artist.

    As far as DesignMoo I concerned, perhaps these guys feel the same way I do? That people will steal their stuff anyway, so why not just put it out there for free. I think the main reason for this site is for artists to think that they will be getting publicity from it. If they put their icons and buttons up there, maybe someone will see them and like them and click the link that goes directly to the artist’s website to check out more of their stuff. How many artists really want to give away free work?

  9. Alex Patin

    I’m glad this one follows the standards set by Dribble. In my opinion, the only con would be that people have another place to go to get free icons, rather than paying an experienced icon designer. I guess it all really has to do with personal preference. I, for one, will be visiting here daily to see what can help me in my next design project.