As a professional designer, trying to find free PSD files that are fresh and high quality among the countless “best of” lists and low quality resource sites often ends up leaving me frustrated and wishing I hadn’t wasted the time. But because a well designed Photoshop file can shave hours of a project, going the route of designing from scratch isn’t always the best option. It’s great not to have to waste budgeted project time re-inventing the wheel and instead benefit from the amazing talents of another designer, especially when it’s an area that they are better in than you are. In the end, making the decision to search for usable PSDs vs just designing from scratch sometimes feels like a complete gamble.
Enter Design Basement, a source of incredible design resources that are 100% free for personal and commercial use. The quality of the work displayed makes it a fun site to browse even when I’m not on a project; sometimes it’s just a great source of inspiration (with stuff I can download if I like it enough!). But because the site is so well organized and easy to use it’s turning out to be a very handy tool to search for free PSD files that relate to a specific project.
And the resources aren’t limited to Photoshop files either. There is a whole range of great resources for web and app designers. I loved the bundle deal revolution when it came along, but I’m finding I don’t actually get that much value out of those purchases unless I use them the first month; after that they have a way of disappearing in a deep folder structure. But of course why buy a bundle when you can get more stuff for free online… and it’s easier to find. My new workflow is to check Design Basement for free PSD files first, and if they don’t have it, it’s probably worth building what I need from scratch.
I love web technology. A few weeks ago I ran across a new product from Microsoft Live Labs called Pivot that makes it easy to interact with large amounts of data. It almost sounds geeky, except when you stop and realize that if you’ve ever used a site like Wikipedia or Craigslist (who hasn’t) that’s exactly what you’re doing—interacting with large amounts of data. And it’s often a clunky process.
Once I got tired of reading the technical details of what Pivot is and how it works (after all of about 15 seconds) I wanted to take a look at some examples that had been embedded in a website using the Silverlight PivotViewer. Surprisingly it took me a while to dig some up, so I wanted to share what I’ve found here:
(As you find/create more great examples, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update this list.)
I used to use Xoops a fair amount several years ago, but eventually settled on Joomla and WordPress as being a better solution for my needs. If you are like me and are thinking about making the switch to another platform, you may be interested to learn of a new service by PixelCliff that can make your move a LOT easier. For a fee, PixelCliff can take either your existing website design or an artwork file (e.g. Photoshop PSD) and convert it to a fully functional Joomla template (or WordPress or Drupal theme for that matter). The ability to take your design with you goes a long way toward making any switch much more feasable.
There are a couple of added bonuses here. The first is that it is fast. From the time you place your order till you get your finished template takes just 5 business days (or 72 hours if you are in a big hurry and willing to fork out the extra cash.) The other bonus is that you get a high-quality product, and that means better SEO, better browser compatibility, and should you ever need to tweak things, more readable code.
You can find PixelCliff at: PixelCliff – Open-Source Template Conversions
Practika is a set of 11 icons at 256×256px, 128x128px, and 64x64px in png format. These icons can be used for a variety of purposes — in particular, in portfolios and in corporate designs.
You can use the set for all of your projects for free and without any restrictions. However, it’s forbidden to sell them.
Function is a set of 128 icons at 48×48px in png format. The author tried to keep a consistent style with quite a glossy look to the icons. Some of the main social media icons have been included, such as: Design Float, Digg, Delicious, Furl, Technorati, Flickr, Stumble Upon, Twitter & Many more…
The author states these icons are free, and may be used anywhere. They do request you share the icons by linking to their blog post with the download. The set may not be redistributed.