Since the world of design is about to get quite a bit cloud-ier with the release of Adobe Creative Cloud, we decided to take today's tech roundup to pay homage to 10 websites, apps, and games that help designers become better designers. As purveyors of color, creativity, and tech innovation, our team refers to almost all of these sites on a weekly basis!
First, the world of type.
1. Kern Type: A Kerning Game: This kerning game is great for helping designers practice the art of type kerning. If you don't know what kerning is, it is the art of making sure all the letters in a given word are evenly spaced. And, of course, we love our Learn to Kern tee!
2. Type Connection: It's the Love Connection for type. This game helps you learn how to pair typefaces in the style of a dating website. It features well-known, workhorse typefaces and portrays each as a character searching for love. We were naturally drawn to Archer, a font designed specifically for Martha Stewart Living.
3. LetterMPress: As a designer, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the oldest forms of typesetting and publishing around. LetterMPress is an app that lets you virtually letterpress! You can place and arrange type, mix inks together to find a color that works for you, and even turn a digital hand crank to make a print. Plus, you can export your projects and actually have them printed! Love it.
4. FontStruct: FontStruct is a site that allows you to build, share and download fonts for free. The editing software is straightforward and simple to use, and it's a great way to play around with logos and shapes even if they aren't exactly letters. Browse the gallery for inspiration, and for new fonts to use!
And now, let's tackle color.
5. Online Color Test: Think you're a color genius, even on the computer screen? Put those skills to the test with the online color test! Drag and drop each color tile to arrange it by hue order.
6. Kuler Create: This tool is great for coming up with unusual but aesthetically pleasing color palettes. Whether you're looking for an analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary or compound color scheme, this tool will make the process oodles easier. You can start with a base color, or even a base image. And, of course, you can check out their theme gallery for lots of color inspiration.
7. Color Happy Palettes: If you don't know where to start with color grouping, this section of design blog designworklife is a great place to start. They take photographs, posters, stamps, matchbooks, and just about everything else with color on it and convert them into lovely color themes.
8. 0 to 255: Now that you've figured out your color theme, what about all the shades you need to go with it? 0 to 255 helps you find every shade and variation of a given color, in a simple, visual way.
But what about getting your gorgeously designed websites and apps online?
9. Codeacademy: Yes, we've written about it before, but you can't deny that learning the basics of coding will put you above and beyond as a designer. Even if you can't tackle the fancy stuff, some basic knowledge will make all those long conversations with engineers that much easier. ;)
10. Treehouse: Similar to Codeacademy, Treehouse makes Web Design, Development, and iOS way more accessible. With over 700 training videos, Treehouse's course library covers a wide array of topics as well as projects to help you build real-world apps.
How do you pump up your design skills? Know of any websites, apps or design games we should know about? Leave us a note in the comments below and we'll check 'em out!