Great design resource websites for budget designing

chasteauneuf's picture

Aside from working at the perfect agency, where the tea and coffee flow like wine and clients never EVER want to change anything in your beautiful designs, the reality of design is often that it must be done quickly and to a strict budget. Clients are ever demanding and want good professional designs quickly, they don’t want to hire that great freelance photographer you know of, or splash out on a custom font. Educating people as to what is possible and how much it will cost is something all designers could probably do more of, but what about until then?

Yes designing with restrictions is probably something we must all learn to do, so here are a couple of the resources I reguarly use for the quick jobs. YES I would rather spend the hours and money doing something much nicer, and NO, you probably won’t find this in my portfolio section, but at least the job got done and the client was happy. Hope you find them useful...

www.istock.com
This is one we have probably all used at some point. It offers large images at about £20 each and cheaper if they are for web or smaller print. Your client can probably just about cope with those kind of figures. A lot of them are a bit tacky, ut there is the odd gem in there too.

www.shutterstock.com
In the same mould as istock really, but works with a different pay scheme. Think it works out about £350 a month. But for that, you can download up to 25 images a day. We keep this at all times and it can be really useful for putting together quick new business documents. It has a much larger database than istock, and also offers you the chance to download eps files which can be used directly in illustrator. The chances are that most of them won’t be beautiful, but with your acute designers eye, you van pull elements from several and put them together to create a master piece. The chances are that if you want to create a victorian style ‘twirly’ pattern, you will be able to find something here that helps you. The bad news in this site is that the search function is pretty poor and it can be hard to find the right image because of the sheer quantity there are on there. Again like i-stock most of the images are not great, but you can find something useful.

sxc.hu
As far as I am aware, this is a rarity. A website that offers free large scale images for download. Thats right, they will not cost anything. It is pretty much amateur-ish photography, but I have found the odd OK one. And hey, who can argue at that price.

www.flickr.com/photos/tags/commercial/
OK, bit of a cheating one here as I am not quite sure what the rights are as to using these images. But for quick mockups or new business presentations you can get away with it. There are a great selection here. If you ever want images of a sports crowd, or something quite real, but fresh, this is a cool place. The searching is pretty cool, and most images come in a decent size.

FONTS

www.dafont.com
This is a great resource for designing logos and branding and can be great for making something look that little bit different. Its got some really cool and original fonts up there and the great news is its all pretty much open source. The search and classification options are really easy to use as well. I think they suit logo design the best; All the minute details of spacing are not always perfect, but with some slight adjusting can look really good.

What the font
This is a good resource for identifying fonts. All you do is upload a black and white image of the font and hit the search button. Fingers crossed and it will identify your font. Its by no means 100%, and really bespoke fonts will probably not show up, but for those normal ones that you cant quite place, its pretty useful. You need a fairly good quality image or scan of the font though, so this can sometimes be a stumbling block.

These are just some of the resources I use. Do you have any good shortcuts you want to share?

Any opinions welcome...

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