No design system should live in a vacuum. Nor should design teams copy other people’s work outright.
When developing a visual language, brand guidelines, or pattern library, designers can seek inspiration both from their personal experiences and that of their peers. Luckily the web is full of inspiring ideas and free resources.
But finding them isn’t always as easy as a quick Google search. So here are 47 great resources, inspirational material, and instructional content to help you design faster and better while improving your digital product design workflow.
- PatternTap: Inspiring examples of UI design, organized by type, color and style.
- UI Patterns: The ideas behind design elements, supported with real-world examples.
- Sketch App Resources: Hundreds of downloadable designs in Sketch format, ready for customization.
- Sketch Apper: Plugins, templates, and other goodies for Sketch.
- Favicon creator/generator: Construct your own image or build upon a template in this web app.
- Pexels.com: Free photos for personal or commercial use.
- Unsplash photos: Even more free photos.
- HOW Design freebies: From ebooks to price sheets to wallpapers to Photoshop color swatches, HOW provides many learning materials and other goodies.
- UX Sketchbook: Paper notebooks that mix device bezels and dot grids.
- Product Tribes: A popular Slack community for UX designers.
- Free UXPin ebooks: Our own collection of learning resources, free to download.
- Career Foundry: Mentorships and 1-on-1 instruction in job hunting and career building.
- Our webinars & master classes: Free, practical advice from industry leaders in video format.
- Atomic Design: Brad Frost’s book as a paid download or a free online read.
- Lynda Groupon codes: Occasional deals on the popular education platform.
- Don’t Make Me Think, revisited: The third edition of this “common-sense approach to web usability.”
- Design Lab: Online classes with mentorship from industry experts, articles, and videos to guide you to success.
- Udemy: Video lectures on topics in UX design.
- Boxes and Arrows: Well-organized articles on the design life.
- UX Myths: Dispelling design misconceptions in UX and UI principles.
- Nielsen Norman Group: Thoroughly researched reports and articles based on real-world experiments.
- Luke W: Digital product design articles and notes from the guy who brought us the “mobile-first” concept.
- Usability Geek: UX, HCI, IA, and other hot digital design topics in easy-to-read blog form.
- r/userexperience: Reddit users’ thoughts on all things UX.
- Presentable podcast: “How we design and build the products that are shaping our digital future.”
- UI Breakfast podcast: “Join us for exciting conversations about UI/UX design, products, marketing, and so much more.”
- Austin Knight podcast: “I welcome a different co-host with every episode, giving you access to unique and fresh perspectives that are designed to challenge the ways you think.”
- Intricate beauty by design by illustrator Marian Bantjes, 16:28 minutes.
- Design and discovery by David Carson, the “grunge typographer” behind Ray Gun Magazine, 22:39 minutes.
- The first secret of design is … noticing by iPod originator Tony Fadell, 16:41 minutes.
- Taking imagination seriously by urban artist Janet Echelman, 9:26 minutes.
Style guides and design systems
- Boldly Facing the Future by DeviantArt.
- Brand Resource Center by Facebook.
- Branding by Dropbox.
- Building a Visual Language by Airbnb.
- Cedar Style Framework by REI.
- Design Language by Microsoft.
- Global Experience Language by the BBC.
- Graphic Standards Manual by NASA.
- Lightning Design System by Salesforce.
- Living Language by IBM.
- macOS Human Interface Guidelines by Apple.
- Material Design by Google.
- Styleguide by Github.
- Styleguide by Mozilla.
- Styleguide by Yelp.
- U.S. Web Design Standards by the GSA.
- UX Patterns by MailChimp.