All Of The Bookmarks: Design

A quite com­pre­hen­sive list of design resources and tools I use or intend to use, or don’t want to forget in case some­day I might want to think of using… or they just looked nice. Sort-of ordered by rel­e­vance, with my go-to tools at the top. Please note: not list­ing obvi­ous ones – these lists are for things I keep forgetting.

Chapter 1:Making Graphics
Vectornator: a chal­lenger to Illustrator, for free… for Macs.Full desk­top app, free(?!), account required, Mac only.Wait – this app has a built-in time­lapse tool. And you can edit vector nodes of live text? Looks as heavy as Affinity, and it’s free! (For now? They say they are eval­u­at­ing their mar­ket­ing.) Um, Mac only though. How am I only seeing this now, with so much focus on mar­ket­ing (fancy Webflow site, but spelling errors…) I’d try it if I could.
Synthetik Studio Artist – AI-boosted graphicsFull app; free trial; account required.AI-pow­ered art, very sim­i­lar to what Adobe promised with their Sensei engine: mosaics, real­is­tic brushes, etc. Handles video too? This is what the Queen’s Gambit Behance guy uses for his com­plex mosaic art. (Check his work at behance​.net/​t​sevis.) The free trial doesn’t expire, but exported images are watermarked. 
Photility Picture Medley: photo mosaic wizardFree; desk­top app (Windows, Macs need a workaround); no sign-in requiredWeird stand­alone app for large pho­to­mo­saics by Steve Dodge, respect to him. If you need to build a mas­sive photo-mosaic based on a target image, just line up your hun­dreds of photos and throw them at this thing. (Haven’t tried it yet, not sure what to use it on.)
Photopea: free Photoshop alternativeFree, browser-based; no sign-in required.The only real free alter­na­tive to Photoshop, and it’s browser-only. Ah well, won’t com­plain. Handles smart objects / mock­ups, opens any­thing (includ­ing AI), exports with­out fuss. And no sign-in required? God bless them. (Note: the MagicCut tool crops pretty nicely.)
Adobe Comp: like Canva, but Adobe?Free; mobile app; Adobe account requiredFree (well, I thought Spark was free) phone app for quick design, by The People Who Brought You Everything. 
Inkscape: The OG vector alter­na­tive, but supercharged.Free and open (it’s Inkscape); desk­top appInkscape 1.1 is fast! Allows use of Adobe or Corel key­board short­cuts, now sup­ports JPEG export, UI is friend­lier. Mesh fill and Boolean oper­a­tions too! Startup screen has tem­plates for social media and print. Definitely worth a try.
sK1 Vector Graphics Editor: Inkscape Lite, with a few surprises.Free; desk­top app; no sign-in requiredInkscape isn’t libre enough for you? Try sk1, built by the late Ihor Novikov. Claims to run all the pro­pri­etary graph­ics for­mats, includ­ing those by Adobe – and is plan­ning to export to them as well. I thought it only had the Combine path oper­a­tion – it also has Trim, Intersect, Exclude, and Fuse. I keep a portable install, just in case: 130MB for instant vector power, any­where. And the inter­face really makes sense.

BTW, LibreOffice Draw is good enough for most stan­dard logo jobs – speak­ing from expe­ri­ence. Handles 3D objects too. Plus, you won’t owe Microsoft anymore.
Artboard Studio: bespoke prod­uct mock­ups and scenesFree basic pack­age; browser-based; account requiredIf you only needed PhotoShop for mock­ups, now you don’t need Photoshop. Fully ded­i­cated to cus­tomiz­ing prod­uct shots and scenes, with a sen­si­ble Smart Object-style inter­face, and a grow­ing col­lec­tion of tem­plates and objects. (Throw some suc­cu­lents next to your carton, why don’t you.) Free tem­plates also expand­ing, should cover most basic needs. Note though: free exports are only for per­sonal use. Not sure if that covers portfolio? 
Penpot​.app: SVG-based vector graph­ics editorFree; browser-based; account required.Free and open-source alter­na­tive to Sketch, based on SVG only. Collaborative, suited to UX/UI projects – you can anno­tate, con­trol versions, 
Excalidraw: simple graphic design with SVGFree, browser-based; no sign-in required. SVG-based draw­ing tool. Like an Inkscape for begin­ners? Very useful. (Good choice for net­books or sand­boxed machines.)
Metaflop: play with set­tings, down­load your orig­i­nal fontFree; browser-based; no sign-in.Create a font with just vari­able slid­ers, fully own the result. (You always start from a meta­font.) Free, open-source, exports simply, no code. 
Metapolator: rev­o­lu­tion­ary font editor, work-in-progessFree; browser-based; no sign-in. (Firefox preferred?)(Built with the same engine that runs MetaFlop.) This free font editor wants to dis­rupt the tra­di­tions of dig­i­tal type design. Idea is, edit fonts as a col­lec­tion, not as glyphs – aiming for cohe­sion across the whole type­face. Even more inter­est­ing – instead of draw­ing closed shapes with your vector paths, each simple curve can define a com­plete stroke: the letter ‘I’ would have six nodes in total. Early days for the project, may never be begin­ner-friendly. But very cool.
AndRepeat Type Generator: abstract exper­i­men­tal font generatorFree, browser-based; no sign-in requiredEvery letter is a colour­ful abstract shape. Lovely sam­ples, nice UI – more vari­able set­tings to choose from that you get with actual font gen­er­a­tors, actu­ally. David Carson prob­a­bly lives on this site. Good for pack­ag­ing and pat­terns, maybe? (Check out the main web­site though: AndRepeat is unpack­ing some inter­est­ing visual concepts.)
Chapter 2:Processing Graphics
Cyan : CMYK – RGB con­ver­sion for image filesFree; desk­top app; no account requiredHaven’t found any­thing else like this – con­vert RGB images to CMYK, or vice-versa, with min­i­mal shifts in per­ceived colour. Processor heavy, because of course it is. But it works. Amazing utility.
VTracer: free raster to vector tool that actu­ally worksFree; browser-based; no account required.(Developed by VisionCortex.) Free con­verter sites (where ‘free’ also include you down­load­ing your con­verted file) often have this shear­ing / feath­er­ing prob­lem with their vector output, espe­cially with low-res source files. This one lets you con­trol how the engine works, with simple slid­ers. Check the sam­ples at the bottom of the page to see how it works.

Aspose Vectorizer is the straight­foward choice for high-res flat illus­tra­tions, but watch out for the feath­er­ing thing.

There’s also TraceSVG​.com – very simple, quite accu­rate, but only out­puts in black and white. Best suited to logos?
PngQuant: Batch image com­pres­sion for power-usersCommand-line tool, check page for plugins.Quality PNG com­pres­sion util­ity, but uses com­mand-line. The page does list dif­fer­ent places you can get their tool with a UI, includ­ing a Google Play app.
Squoosh​.app: image compressorFree; browser-based; no sign-in.Image com­pres­sion / opti­miza­tion. No batch pro­cess­ing though. First drag-and-drop step looks intu­itive, but it took me a bit of time to figure out the actual pro­cess­ing inter­face. And where to export? You get three guesses – I needed all of them. 
PhotoMosh​.com: Glitch your photos and videos, why don’t you.Free ver­sion; browser-based; no sign-in required(Built by Joseph Turner, aka Airtight – ver­sa­tile artist.) Anything from the pho­to­copier style to more advanced dis­tor­tion tech­niques. (Videos are processed in a stream, which you can record and down­load. 4‑second max­i­mum.) Also accepts webcam footage. 
Chapter 3:Stock Assets
Pexels​.com: my go-to stock image libraryFree for com­mer­cial use; account not required; Home away from home. Not sure why I use this more than Unsplash, maybe it’s just famil­iar­ity. (Unsplash has a cre­ator account on Pexels though.) Lazy-load­ing infi­nite scroll, so watch your data. Or is it just me who has to worry about that?
ClipArt ETC: aca­d­e­mic image library, nice vin­tage collectionsFree for per­sonal use only; attri­bu­tion requiredInteresting library of cli­part from University of South Florida – mostly vin­tage, with some orig­i­nal art from Alice in Wonderland. Note: this is intended mainly for edu­ca­tors, so there’s a paid license for com­mer­cial use, and they are big on formal attri­bu­tion. I only use these vin­tage illus­tra­tions for per­sonal work, but it’s some­thing to keep in mind.
OpenClipart​.org: mis­cel­la­neous vec­tor­ized objectsFree for com­mer­cial use; no sign-in or attri­bu­tion required.Weird old-school library, as to be expected by the term ‘cli­part’. But there are Wikipedia-type killers just sit­ting at home vec­tor­iz­ing random public domain images, so when I need an old-school drop cap­i­tal or a non­de­script dog, I check here first. (Shoutout to this one artist with the weird­est com­plex compositions)
Iwaria​.com: free image library by Africans, for Africa. Amen.Free for com­mer­cial use; no-sign-in required; attri­bu­tion optional(FYI: Iwari means ‘dis­cover’ in Yoruba, accord­ing to the About page.) Nice site, quite sim­i­lar to Unsplash / Pexels. Very authen­tic images, healthy per­cent­age of hob­by­ist or jour­nail­stic candid shots. Incredibly vital idea, and they are han­dling it pretty well. (Scanned through their Terms of Use – not very reader-friendly – but I’m assum­ing the pos­si­ble con­fu­sion about copy­right and intel­lec­tual prop­erty is from my end.)
Nappy​.co: BIPOC stock imagesFree for com­mer­cial use; attri­bu­tion not required; no sign-in requiredGreat inter­face, very nec­es­sary resource. You can actu­ally search images by com­plex­ion? Interesting. A bit urban / lifestyle-focused though. Used to be 0 results for ‘Agriculture’; now there’s 3; ‘farm­ing’ has 8 images. 
OpenDoodles​.com: nice set of casual vector illustrationsFree for com­mer­cial use; No sign-in required; attri­bu­tion not requiredBrush-heavy series of illus­tra­tions, free to use. All one illus­tra­tion style, black line with accent fills. Download as SVG. (BTW: by Pablo Stanley of blush​.design, which has more col­lec­tions and a scene design inter­face – free lim­ited account avail­able, team is recruit­ing illustrators.)
Unblast​.com: Stock asset roundupsCheck indi­vid­ual licenses; attri­bu­tion not required; no sign-in requiredVery well-sorted tem­plates, mock­ups, stock assets – but it’s a show­case site. It’s easy to browse their cat­e­gories, orga­nized file format and con­tent type, but down­loads are linked off-site. (Just noticed, they show­case 3d models too? Interesting.) They wel­come sub­mis­sions too, note that. (I can see how this helps cre­ators… does make asset man­age­ment quite com­pli­cated for down­load­ers.) Opportunity: they’re recruit­ing design­ers for an in-house cre­ators unit.
Nounproject​.comFree for per­sonal use; attri­bu­tion required for free down­loads; sign-in requiredI used to love The Noun Project. I still love the Noun Project, I guess? Started from a dig­i­tized and open library for the International Typographic Symbols set, quickly became a Wikipedia-style mis­sion to host icons for every cul­ture, every topic. When I found it, you could­n’t down­load with­out cre­at­ing a free account. Now those free down­loads can’t be edited (that includes chang­ing the color) and attri­bu­tion is a must. Still a great site, mil­lions of useful icons, grow­ing list of great ser­vices, I just prefer ‘Free as in Free’, even as a cre­ator. (Shout-out to Amos Commey, seri­ous contributor.)
Getloaf​.io: ani­mated SVG icons, with pro­pri­etary edit­ing appDesktop app; free pack includes com­mer­cial use; Animated svg icons, editable. Free pack only comes with 74 icons though, and you can’t use the editor to create your own. Too bad. (Found on ProductHunt​.com, which is dan­ger­ously fun to browse. )
Robbiepearce​.com/​s​o​f​ties/: nice SVG pack (400+ icons)Free for com­mer­cial use; no sign-in required;Quality SVG icon pack, very nice site. But only viable if you need a hand­ful of free icons for your project to down­load one at a time – the full pack costs $5, com­pris­ing “over 400 SVGs, three sizes of PNGs, an IconJar file and the Sketch source file.” Hopefully I can build some­thing as func­tional for the Adinkra pack, some­day soon.
Chapter 4:Type
Beautiful Web Type: need free fonts? Start here.Showcase site; free for com­mer­cial use; no sign-in required; Open-source fonts never looked so good. A small, opin­ion­ated, expert cura­tion of free type­faces by Chad Mazzola, with well-coded type spec­i­men pages for each font, and qual­ity sug­ges­tions for use. If I had to, I could live on just this col­lec­tion, even for paid projects.
FontSquirrel: Dependable alter­na­tive to Google FontsIndividual font licenses, (filter for com­mer­cial-use); no sign-in required; no attri­bu­tion requiredDon’t sleep on Font Squirrel. Their tags are very help­ful to me on weird projects, and a lot of free type design­ers think of them first. Couple of fonts I can only ever find on this site. Plus their Webfont Generator allows you to upload com­pat­i­ble web-free fonts to their server, and link your web­site to that. Very useful for web design.)
Fontlibrary​.org: Home of libre fontsFree for com­mer­cial use; no sign-in requiredLegit stan­dard fonts! Specifies that only ‘free and open’ licenses are accepted, but the selec­tion is sur­pris­ingly solid. Personal dig­i­ti­za­tions of clas­sic type­faces: if you need a Garamond or black­let­ter or Didone, just type a key­word, see what you get. Plus – every font is web-embed­d­a­ble from the site’s server; amaz­ing. (Run by the Fabricatorz Foundation, the people behind OpenClipart.) 
UseModify​.com: Modern type library, remixes encouraged.Free for com­mer­cial use; no sign-in requiredA 2020-type of – bru­tal­ist fonts, dark theme, etc… Several qual­ity dis­play fonts, looks like. And mod­i­fi­ca­tion is encour­aged, as the name implies. Nice. 
Velvetyne​.fr: Post-modern type libraryFree for com­mer­cial use; no sign-in requiredOne step fur­ther into the new-school, dis­play-type era. Library founded(?) by Jeremy Landes, very opin­ion­ated typefaces.
Collletttivo​.it – the Italian Velvetyne? Very nice serifs.Free for com­mer­cial use; no sign-inVery very nice serifs. And check Mazius, which is a lovely type­face. The web­site design is some­thing too.
Open​-Foundry​.com – the urban Google FontsFree for com­mer­cial use; no sign-in requiredInteresting big type, big cus­tomized dis­play spec­i­men posters, and black-and-white scheme. A cura­tion of some open-source favourites, with new ones coming in (sub­mis­sions are encour­aged, with an upload call-to-action on the front page).
Fontpair​.com: inspi­ra­tion and type specimensShowcase site; no sign-inGreat typog­ra­phy resource for free web type com­bi­na­tions. Great UI, test the type­set fonts right in the browser, great exam­ples of the pair­ings in the wild.
Fontbrief​.com: project helper, but lim­ited accessShowcase site / gen­er­a­tor, pro­pri­etary fonts; um – newslet­ter sub­scrip­tion required. Should this be under Inspiration? Definitely a useful tool for project type research. Saw this on Stefan Sagmeister’s IG fea­tures – the site sug­gests type­faces based on simple prompts about your clien­t’s indus­try. You can’t use this with­out pro­vid­ing your email address for the newslet­ter though. I might, let’s see.
Chapter 5:Housekeeping
Reverse image search: check your logosArtist​.ninja/​r​e​v​e​r​s​e​-​i​m​a​g​e​-​s​earch – opti­mized for art (to find sim­i­lar­i­ties, copy­cats, unau­tho­rised use, etc). Doesn’t seem very accu­rate.
Try TinEye​.com, which seems to search really specif­i­cally for that image… Still, Google Images ‘Seach by Image’ is prob­a­bly best for avoid­ing acci­den­tal plagiarism.
OpenRGB: Open-source device color managementFree; desk­top app; no sign-in requiredOne system for all your device. Runs only on listed GPUS? Tried it (as admin), didn’t seem to find any device to cal­i­brate. (Also works on lights, BTW.)