10 Useful Resources For Infographic Designers
When you spend as much time creating (what is hopefully) high-quality content as our team does, then you’re quickly going to build up a library of useful online resources to help with content creation – whether it be places to find suitable fonts, image libraries, brand logos or anything else you might need during the course of putting your content together. Realising that everyone on the team has their own favourite tools and resources, I thought it might be useful to our readers to collect the ten most-used sites around the Designbysoap office and put together a list of our top 10 useful resources for infographic designers and content production specialists:
This is one of my personal favourites and it’s actually a resource I’ve spoken about before on the blog, but I thought it was well worth including again on this particular list. Adobe Kuler is an online resource that helps with picking colour schemes and finding colours that compliment one another. Not only does the site give you pre-made colour schemes (made and submitted by other users), it allows you to create your own colour scheme by picking a base colour and then changing the colours around it, using set ‘rules’ (such as Complimentary, Monotone, etc). Once you’ve picked your colours, the site then gives you Hexadecimal, RGB and CMYK codes so you can ensure you get exactly the right colours in your editing software.
Kuler is also available as a tool for Adobe software suites like Photoshop and Illustrator, making it a perfect addition for designers who want to be able to utilise these resources without having to navigate away from their project (although admittedly that’s less of a problem if you have two screens like our designers do).
This is a plugin for Chrome (although I’m sure it’s available for other browsers), that’s extremely useful when you come across a font you like online and you’re not sure what it is. Simply turn on the plugin, hover over the text you like and it will suggest the name of the font you’re looking at (with a surprising level of accuracy). It’s worth noting that the font needs to be selectable (i.e. it can’t be an image), and it does occasionally get it wrong, but it’s right often enough to make it a valuable addition to your tools arsenal and well worth installing to your browser.
FONTS IN USE
It’s all very well having a massive library of fonts installed to your computer, but sometimes it’s hard to know how those fonts will look when they’re being used as part of a design. As a result, many designers end up sticking to the same small library of fonts they know work well, simply rotating between them as they move from design to design. Fonts In Use helps you break that monotony of font-usage, by showing you not only a selection of new and interesting fonts, but demonstrating examples of them being used in real-life designs. We’ve found scores of fonts we might not otherwise have considered using this site, as seeing them actually in use demonstrates the impact of a font in a way that your computer preview simply can’t.
Once you’ve found fonts you want (using resources like WhatFont and Fonts In Use), then it’s time to go and download them. Unfortunately not every designer has a ‘font budget’ (yes they do exist!), meaning they can’t afford to shell out fairly substantial amounts of money everytime they want to download a new font family. This is where sites like DaFont come in – the site hosts thousands of fonts, which a huge level of variety, all of which are completely free to download. The site also offers a preview function that allows you to type in whatever you like and see it displayed in your selected font, which is great when you want to make sure it’s the one you’re after.
The Noun Project is an online community aiming to build a global visual language; trying to produce an icon for every noun in existence (as well as other word types) to allow their users to visually communicate anything they want to anyone they want, regardless of any spoken language barriers. It’s a clever idea and the icons they produce are really well designed and in vector format, making them perfect to use for infographics. If you’re not a talented illustrator or you simply don’t have time to hand illustrate your own icons and characters for your designs, then thenounproject.com is somewhere you should be visiting.
Jing is a screen capture program from TechSmith that allows you to easily capture images or record videos from your screen. It’s great for blog posts (I used Jing to take the screen captures used as images in this post), client feedback on infographics and for getting exact hexadecimal codes for colours. For example if you need a specific brand colour but your client doesn’t know the hex code, you can quickly use jing to take a screenshot, paste it into Photoshop and use the eye dropper tool to find the hex code. We also use it to take video captures when we’re doing tutorials, or want to demonstrate something specific to a client. Very versatile and it’s free, so well worth installing.
A fantastic resource for infographic backgrounds, Subtle Patterns is a free-to-use site offering user-submitted patterns for design use. You can use them in any kind of graphic or web design, but we often visit this site to source nice, complimentary background patterns for our infographics.
Shutterstock is a fantastic resource if you’re looking for commercially cleared images (great for ‘real-life’ infographics), and it’s also useful for vector-format icons and illustrations, with a huge database of vectors to choose from. The downside to Shutterstock is it’s expensive, costing around £150 per month for a limit of 25 images per day. You can however pay ‘by the image’, although it’s not especially cheap. Perhaps not a regular resource unless you’ve got a decent resource budget, but certainly worth keeping in mind for the odd image or vector illustration.
I love this site, as it’s saved me and the team a phenomenal amount of time and effort over the last few months (since we discovered it). One of my pet hates when designing an infographic that requires using lots of logos is sourcing decent images of the logos required, and often having to cut them from a white background (which can be a nightmare if they’ve got drop shadows or other effects). I was fairly pleased then to stumble across LogoEPS, which has thousands of brand logos in EPS (vector) format, all completely free to download.
Do you have an infographic design tool or resource that you feel should be included in this list? Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments below and get involved in the discussion.
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