Can Free Design Resources Be Exemplary?

Posted in Freebies, Icons, News, Templates, Web Design3 years ago • Written by 21 Comments

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 Chris-Wallace.com, 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.

iPhone 4 Retina GUI
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.

Iconified

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.

awesome-free-calendar-icon
Julien MartinLe Calendrier 2011

awesome-free-iphone-icons
Pontus JohanssoniPhone Icons

free-bookshelf-icon
Peter BurdetteBookshelf Icon

small-free-glyph-icons
Umar Irshad32px Glyphs

social-media-buttons-icons
Alfred PereiraSocial 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.

free-user-interface-kit
Morgan Allan KnutsonChutzpah User Interface Kit

transparent-dropdown-menu-free
Rich HemsleyTransparent Menu

dark-user-interface-kit
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.

free-argyle-texture-pattern
Hillary HopperArgyle Textures

free-grunge-brushes
Liam McKayFunction Subtle Grunge Brushes

free-bokeh-background
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?

free-font-download
Brian CarrollFolly by Litchytype

free-font-download
Jed Bridges - Cerus Caps

free-font-download
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 365psd.com. 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.

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21 Comments Best Comments First
  • max

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 11:39

    1

    great post Jared, cheers

    0
  • Tim

    Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 22:03

    8

    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?

    0
  • hello

    Thursday, April 7th, 2011 17:35

    9

    site like dribbble.com
    http://pixbal.com/ (:

    0
  • Dan Whitley Bay

    Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 12:15

    10

    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

    0
  • diana

    Thursday, March 31st, 2011 12:58

    7

    I love the icons iphone!! Great ; )

    0
  • Brett Widmann

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 04:43

    6

    This is really interesting! I have never thought of this before. I think I’m going to do some more research.

    0
  • Fredrik

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 13:36

    2

    Sure free can look cheep, but if there is a designer in u, u will only use those that are good and suits your goal.

    0
  • razvan

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 21:25

    3

    designmoo looks nice. I wonder if someone has a similar script with designmoo or insnelyart

    0
  • Alex Patin

    Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 04:48

    4

    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.

    0
  • Bunnygotblog

    Saturday, February 5th, 2011 01:21

    5

    I think designing should be left to the pros.

    0
  • husac

    Friday, May 13th, 2011 17:29

    11

    great list, thanks for sharing

    0
  • jerry

    Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 05:52

    12

    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?

    0
  • Jenny

    Friday, December 2nd, 2011 15:51

    19

    Hi,
    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 !!!

    0
  • Juan

    Friday, January 13th, 2012 09:18

    20

    Cool, I like the list. Thanks for share.

    0
  • Juan

    Friday, March 2nd, 2012 09:47

    21

    I like designmoo. Excellent post.
    Have a nice day

    0
  • Simon W. Jackson

    Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 20:56

    18

    Time is money. Designmoo, PremiumPixels and others have saved me countless hours when prototyping a new website

    0
  • Craig

    Thursday, September 29th, 2011 13:25

    17

    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.

    0
  • Rebecca

    Sunday, June 5th, 2011 19:08

    13

    Another great resource site is http://365psd.com/. Like the domain name suggests, a PSD every day :)

    0
  • Razibul Hassan

    Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 18:40

    14

    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.

    0
  • Rodrigo

    Thursday, July 28th, 2011 12:40

    15

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

    0
  • robert

    Friday, August 26th, 2011 18:46

    16

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

    0
  • Juan

    Friday, March 2nd, 2012 09:47

    21

    I like designmoo. Excellent post.
    Have a nice day

    0
  • Juan

    Friday, January 13th, 2012 09:18

    20

    Cool, I like the list. Thanks for share.

    0
  • Jenny

    Friday, December 2nd, 2011 15:51

    19

    Hi,
    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 !!!

    0
  • Simon W. Jackson

    Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 20:56

    18

    Time is money. Designmoo, PremiumPixels and others have saved me countless hours when prototyping a new website

    0
  • Craig

    Thursday, September 29th, 2011 13:25

    17

    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.

    0
  • robert

    Friday, August 26th, 2011 18:46

    16

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

    0
  • Rodrigo

    Thursday, July 28th, 2011 12:40

    15

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

    0
  • Razibul Hassan

    Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 18:40

    14

    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.

    0
  • Rebecca

    Sunday, June 5th, 2011 19:08

    13

    Another great resource site is http://365psd.com/. Like the domain name suggests, a PSD every day :)

    0
  • jerry

    Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 05:52

    12

    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?

    0
  • husac

    Friday, May 13th, 2011 17:29

    11

    great list, thanks for sharing

    0
  • Dan Whitley Bay

    Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 12:15

    10

    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

    0
  • hello

    Thursday, April 7th, 2011 17:35

    9

    site like dribbble.com
    http://pixbal.com/ (:

    0
  • Tim

    Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 22:03

    8

    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?

    0
  • diana

    Thursday, March 31st, 2011 12:58

    7

    I love the icons iphone!! Great ; )

    0
  • Brett Widmann

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 04:43

    6

    This is really interesting! I have never thought of this before. I think I’m going to do some more research.

    0
  • Bunnygotblog

    Saturday, February 5th, 2011 01:21

    5

    I think designing should be left to the pros.

    0
  • Alex Patin

    Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 04:48

    4

    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.

    0
  • razvan

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 21:25

    3

    designmoo looks nice. I wonder if someone has a similar script with designmoo or insnelyart

    0
  • Fredrik

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 13:36

    2

    Sure free can look cheep, but if there is a designer in u, u will only use those that are good and suits your goal.

    0
  • max

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 11:39

    1

    great post Jared, cheers

    0

Comments are closed.

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