You can find a variety of useful and creative graphic design resources on the web the offer downloadables such as stock photos, textures/patterns, brushes, icons, and fonts that designers have decided to share with others in the community.
In this article, you’ll find some of the best websites to visit for graphic design resources.
Flickr: Creative Commons
Flickr, the premier site for online photo-sharing and the hangout of many designers and photographers, has a section called Flickr: Creative Commons that allows you to quickly view user-submitted images that have a Creative Commons license.
morguefile contains user-submitted stock photographs contributed by many artists. morguefile has a terrific organization scheme and thumbnail preview for quicker searches. Also check out morguefile’s very active forums to find tutorials and to converse with artists that are members of the site.
stock.xhchng (also known as SXC) is a very popular photo-sharing and stock photography site with over 380,000 stock photos. And if that wasn’t enough for you, they also have a tutorials section that covers photography/graphic design topics.
Stockvault.net is another excellent photo-sharing site for designers and photographers. The community boasts almost 14,000 members and over 3,000 photographers ensuring that you’ll have more than plenty of high-quality stock photos to sift through.
everystockphoto is a search engine for free photos. It currently indexes close to 5 million photos. You can sign up for a free user account so that you can take advantage of nifty site features such as the ability to save collections of photos for future reference.
Textures and Patterns
CG Textures is an excellent texture site created by 3D artist Marcel Vijfwinkel. CG Textures is structured to help you quickly find types of textures such as Grunge and Nature textures, but if you’re looking for something/someone specific, use the Advanced Search for more specific searches.
Squidfingers / Patterns
Squidfingers / Patterns is a collection of useful and intricate patterns that you can use as repeating CSS backgrounds or on print work. Squidfingers / Patterns is the work of graphic designer and programmer extraordinaire, Travis Beckham.
TextureKing is a fast-growing, high-resolution texture repository maintained by creative agency, REH3design. There are currently over 300 stock textures – usually available at 1,600 x 1,200 pixels. TextureKing is currently working on giving users the ability to submit their own textures to share.
Image * After
Image * After is a large collection of free photos and textures. The site provides images and textures that are available for personal, as well as commercial, purposes.
Lost and Taken
Lost and Taken is a blog-style repository of copyright-free stock textures created and maintained by photographer and writer, Caleb Kimbrough. Lost and Taken takes requests and suggestions, so if you can’t find something – try to send in a suggestion.
Brushes and Vectors
BrushKing offers a wide array of Adobe Photoshop brushes, all free for download. The site currently archives over 4,000 brushes and over 200 brush sets.
PS Brushes.net shares beautiful and high-quality brush sets organized in a variety of categories such as the Patterns category and the Drawings category. If you’d like to see the full collection of brushes, check out the All Brushes category.
Vecteezy and Brusheezy
Vecteezy is a site that indexes free vector graphics by some of the top graphic designers in the world. Vecteezy also allows users to submit vectors to be indexed. Vecteezy has a sister site called Brusheezy which indexes free Adobe Photoshop brushes.
QVectors and QBrushes
QVectors shares and showcases free, high-quality vector images and artwork from around the web. QVectors has a sister site called QBrushes which highlights top-notch Adobe Photoshop brushes.
FreeVectors.net is an online gallery that features free vector graphics by talented graphic artists. The vectors showcased on FreeVectors.net are available for personal and commercial use.
Iconfinder is a search engine specifically for icons, developed and maintained by Glassbox. Iconfinder also has a tag cloud page so that you can visually see the most popular keyword tags.
Free Icons Web
Free Icons Web is an index of over 15,000 high-quality and free icons for graphic and web designs, as well as icons for the desktop. If you’re looking exclusively for icons in GIF format, check out the GIF Icons section.
Icon Archive currently hosts 22,000 high-quality desktop and web icons. They have over 800 icon sets from close to 200 icon designers. Some categories on the site include Business Icons, Computer Icons, and Vintage Icons.
IconBuffet Free Delivery
IconBuffet, an icon foundry that sells icon artwork for web designs, has a variety of free icons in the IconBuffet Free Delivery section. Their icon sampling includes sets such as Retro Snow and Tonkawa Tiles.
dafont.com is a repository of public domain, freeware, shareware, and demo fonts from some of the top font designers and foundries. With excellent organization and searchability features, it’s a great resource to visit for free fonts. Check out the Top 100 to see the most popular fonts on the site.
UrbanFonts.com is another excellent resource for top-notch, high-quality free fonts. The site currently indexes over 8,000 freeware fonts. You can find the most popular fonts by going to the Top 100 Free Font Downloads page.
Better Fonts has a large collection of free fonts organized alphabetically and in several categories that include Retro fonts, Graffiti fonts, and Handwritten fonts. The site’s unique feature is that they provide live previews of all the fonts so that you can test the fonts before downloading and installing them.
General Resources – User-submitted, Search, and Blogs
deviantART is the premier community for graphic artists. The downloadable graphic design resources are from community members and you will find absolutely everything in deviantArt, including vectors, brushes, textures, and much more.
Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository that takes user-submitted publicly-available and freely-licensed media content. Wikimedia currently hosts over 3.7 million individual files organized several ways such as by topic (i.e. Art and People) and by type (i.e. Photos, Symbols, and Drawings).
Creative Commons Search
The Creative Commons Search by the Creative Commons organization is a search engine for CC-licensed media files. It allows you to search various sites (such as Flickr and Google) all in one convenient spot.
Freebies from BittBox
Designer Jay Hilgert offers a host of freebies on his design blog, BittBox. He has a regular post series called "Free Texture Tuesday" (here’s one of them) where he shares useful textures every Tuesday.
Freebies from Blog.SpoonGraphics
Graphic and web designer Chris Spooner offers a host of freebies along with useful and informative blog posts on the topic of design. You’ll find a variety of freebies such as the wildly popular Hand Drawn Doodle Icon Set and Wavy Vector Ribbon graphics.
Freebies from PSDTUTS
PSDTUTS, a site that gives Photoshop tutorials and information, has a growing freebie section submitted by a wide variety of designers. Among the things you can find from PSDTUTS are high-res texture packs and Photoshop brushes.
Freebies from Smashing Magazine
Smashing Magazine, a weblog dedicated to designers and developers, has a freebies section that includes a variety of freebies exclusively released for them. You can find icon sets, Photoshop brushes, buttons, and vectors – amongst other things.
Freebies from GoMediaZine
GoMediaZine, a community for designers, has an excellent Freebies section that has vectors and free Photoshop brushes.
Where do you go for freebies?
If your favorite freebie site isn’t on the list or you have opinions on the resources above – why don’t you share it with us in the comments section.
Six Revisions freebies
I’m not vain enough to include (i.e. "to pimp") Six Revisions among those excellent resources above, but in case you were wondering, you can also find a few freebies in the Six Revisions Freebie section.
Additionally, you can check out the Six Revisions Flickr Sets for free high-resolution stock textures and objects.