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free elearning resources

22 Free e-Learning and Graphic Design Resources

Everyone loves a freebie. The problem with many free resource sites is that you are often inundated with so much unusable garbage that it’s hard not to feel like you are wasting your time. Below is a collection of design resources that I have personally found useful as an e-Learning, web, and graphic designer.

Free Stock Photography Photo Sites

When I say “stock photography” you’re probably picturing a multiethnic  group of models dressed in business casual in a radiant glass-walled office gathering around a laptop laughing at some ambiguous pie chart. If that’s your flavor, then Shutterstock, iStock, Depositphotos will be wonderful for you. Personally, I get a bit bored with the perfection. I look for photos that don’t scream “STOCK.”

With enough digging, you can find some unique and “un-stocky” photography on Shutterstock, but it’s not easy and it’s definitely not free. Here are a few sites that may not be your first choice when looking for a specific subject, but you might find something dynamic that will add real visual appeal to your e-Learning design.

Unsplash.com

unsplash images

This has been my favorite free photography resource find of 2014. I have used images from Unsplash on a wide variety of design projects. Unsplash features high resolution photography with lots of unique cityscapes and nature scenes with a touch of vintage.

Pixabay.com

portrait

Pixabay.com is a curated repository for pictures in the public domain—free from any copyright restrictions. There are a lot of average images on here and a strangely robust selection of insect close-ups. I’d recommend starting with the Editor’s Choice page. I also like that I can click on a photographer that has a unique style so I can view and download more of their work.

Gratisography.com

gratis

This site is the work of one photographer. It has a lot of odd, but interesting images (cows wearing shoes, clowns etc.). The photographer has a real distinct high-saturation style that I find very appealing.

Newoldstock

storm - new old stock

If you really like the vintage look, why not go all the way? New Old Stock is a curated collection of old photographs in the public domain, featuring a mix of black and white and color photographs—all from 1960 or before. There probably isn’t much here for e-Learning purposes, but hey, maybe you’ll find something that fits. I’ve discovered a few interesting images on the site to use in my work.

DeathTotheStockPhoto.com

death to stock photos

High resolution, high quality images emailed to your inbox once a week. I signed up for DeathToStockPhotos.com to give it a try. Essentially, I get one picture a week that I love and 8 others that I’ll never use.

LittleVisuals.co

Free stock photography resources
LittleVisuals.co has nice images, but there’s a lot of nature photography that I, personally, haven’t found much use for yet.

 

PublicDomainArchive.com

publicdomainarchive
A man after my own public-domain-loving heart. He set up the site to help designers find quality free images. You’ll see images from the previously mentioned sites, among some of his own photography.

 

FreeImages.com (formerly www.sxc.hu)

Free eLearning Resources - Stock Photo
If you’re not looking for images that are “unique,” “vintage,” or any of that hipster nonsense, then you can always count on freeimages.com. On a scale of Hideous to Transcendent freeimages.com often comes out with a solid “Functional.”

Flickr Commons

The quantity of unique and high quality photos on Flickr Commons is ridiculous. I just wish there was a way to filter my search more efficiently. I spend most of my time getting excited, then disappointed that I can’t find what I’m looking for. Or I find exactly what I’m looking for, only to find out it is free, but only for “personal use.”

Personally, I haven’t found an efficient way to navigate through the Flickr commons, but I have a feeling that this will be a significant resource in the future. I have started to see Flickr groups that are curated folders of images that can be filtered by licensing restrictions (or lack thereof).

Here are two Free Use Flickr groups:
https://www.flickr.com/groups/freeuse/
https://www.flickr.com/groups/creative_commons-_free_pictures/

Free Fonts:

League of Moveable Type 

Free fonts
A few favorites: League Gothic (probably my all-time most used free font), Ostrich Sans, Chunk

Lost Type


losttype

A few favorites: Wisdom Script, Franchise, Deming EP
*Many Lost Type fonts are free for personal use, but have a small fee attached to commercial use.


Google fonts

google fonts
A few favorites: Lato, Oswald, Nixie One, Montserrat

fontsquirrel.com

100% free for commercial use.

Dafont.com

Huge selection, but check the usage requirements since sometimes the fonts are free only for “personal” use .

 

High Quality Freebie Resource Sites:

Creative Market

This might be the only subscription email that I actually open on a regular basis. The website itself is a design resource shop, but they give away six free resources once a week. It’s always a wide variety of resources (textures, photoshop actions, fonts, etc.) so I often find at least one thing that piques my interest. There is an underlying hipster vintage aesthetic that they gravitate towards. If you like that flavor, then I recommend signing up.

free design resources from Creative Market

Designinstruct.com

Free Design resources

You have to do a bit of searching, but I have found a few valuable freebies here. Creative Market is definitely higher quality, but it is nice that Design Instruct leaves their free resources on the site after the original post.

SubtlePatterns.com

Free Design resources -subtle patterns

God’s gift to web designers.

Icons:

thenounproject.com

noun project icons

Awesome website. Many of these icons are free with attribution, but if they aren’t free, at most, they cost $3. This is my first stop when I need an icon or silhouette-type graphic.

Iconfinder.com

Sets of icons for download–some available for free, some for purchase.

Design Inspiration

Siteinspire.com

siteinspire

There are a TON of web design inspiration sites, but this happens to be the one that I find the most helpful.

 

Land-book.com

land bookLand Book showcases effective landing page design. You’ll find a lot of examples of the recent trend of using a full page background image, which I have incorporated into various e-Learning layouts.

 

Articulate Storyline Community – E-Learning Design Blog

elearning heroes - Design resources

Though this blog is baked into their community forum website and isn’t well packaged, I’ve actually found a lot of legitimate (and more e-Learning specific) inspiration on this site–particularly while clicking through user submitted responses to their e-Learning Challenge posts.

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Hopefully this has not been an inundation and you have found a few new sites that you’ll actually find useful.

What are some sites and resources that you use to help make your e-Learning designs original and unique?

 


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Creative Director at Dashe & Thomson. Has a whiteboard and isn't afraid to use it. Hobbies include guitar, watching Netflix documentaries, and font-snobbery.
  • Kareem

    Great post and lots of awesome resources. I use photopin.com to help navigate the chaos of the flickr creative commons. It does a little bit of filtering by license type and by interestingness vs relevance. Enjoy!

  • Cindy

    Thanks for creating this list! Everyone needs a little focus and direction in this ‘you can get anything you want’ web-world. I use Nattyware “Pixie” to match colors and get color codes for HEX, HTML, RGB, CMYK, and HSV. (http://nattyware.com/pixie.php)