5 Great Ways to Improve Your Designs

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Going in to the holiday weekend, I know I’m going to be spending at least some of my vacation trying to catch up on some of the many side projects I’ve got going on. So, I thought that I would leave you with some of the design-related links that I use everyday to help me to do my work more efficiently and professionally.

1. Get some great stock photos

Stock imagery used to cost hundreds of dollars. Now thanks to these sites you can pick up a great looking stock photo for less than ten bucks. Both sites have a fully searchable database that lets you pull up pictures from any keyword search.

iStockphoto.com

stock.xchng

Read my take on iStockphoto in “Finding the perfect picture”.

2. Find inspiration for your logo

Regular readers of the blog will remember I’m not that big a fan of most real estate logos (Why Do All Real Estate Logos Suck So Bad?) but these sites can help.

Brandsoftheworld.com – Downloadable vector art of all major brands. Great inspiration from some famous logos.

Bonus! Opinions on Corporate and Brand Identity

3. Develop a great color scheme

Poor use of color can sink even the most creative design. Learn how to avoid eye-searingly bad color combinations.

Daily Color Scheme – a new color scheme every day. Download and load the scheme into Photoshop or Illustrator.

Color Palette Generator – upload a photo and this site generates a whole color scheme based on that photo. Very helpful for designing eye catching flyers.

A crash course in color theory

4. Find some great fonts

Typography is one of the most challenging elements of design to get right, but the resources can put you on the right track.

Thinking With Type – Great site to get the basics down.

Typetester – This great site allows you to compare fonts for the screen

Looking for new fonts? Try these sites:

SearchFreeFonts.com

Better fonts

Bonus! Need some dummy text for your design? check out the Lorem Ipsum Generator

5. Get some great design tips

Before & After magazine – great advice on some of the basics of good design. Lots of examples – check out some of their free samples and consider a subscription.

This should give more than enough resources to explore over the long weekend… Have a great Thanksgiving!