Whatever area of design you work in, it's always useful to have some free design resources within easy reach. You might have a sizeable collection of all the design assets you need, but access to plenty of great stuff for free can be welcome if an exciting commission comes along that's a little out of your comfort zone, or if you're in the mood to try out some new visual styles or some experimental design.
We've picked out 10 brilliant free design resources online, where you can find all manner of useful assets such as fonts (as great as these free script fonts and these perfect font pairings), icons, backgrounds and more. You might not need them right now, but it would pay to bookmark them today so you can quickly find them again when the need arises.
And, for some great reads on a budget, check out our guide to the best free ebooks for designers.
For a quick and good-looking fix when you're in need of a background for a website, a design for a business card or abstract graphics for any other design projects, Paaatterns from LStore could be a lifesaver. It's a free collection of beautiful patterns, consisting of 22 carefully-crafted designs, ready to customise and edit in Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD or Illustrator. If you like what you see, be sure to check out LS's other design tools.
DesignBundles offers great deals on all manner of design elements, including graphic packs, illustrations, icons, fonts and templates, and as well as its assorted design bargains it also has a huge collection of free design elements to download. You'll need to register for a free account to get your hands on them, but it's worth the effort as not only are these elements available for free, most of them are also licensed for commercial use.
It's always good to have a decent set of icons to hand, and Ionicons, created by the Ionic Framework team, is a particularly useful one to have around. It consists of a sizeable collection of app icons plus a good helping of logos to go with them, in both Material and iOS styles, for web, Android, iOS and desktop apps. They're completely open source and MIT licensed, and come in SVG format so you can be sure they'll scale nicely.
Flat and funky illustrated figures are a current design trend that's not going away, and the perfect way to liven up all manner of designs. And while you could draw your own, find stock art or commission a custom set of illustrations, here's a much easier solution. Pablo Stanley's Humaaans is a ready-made collection of illustrated figures that comes complete with a design library, so you can mix and match them, and rotate and position their elements any way you like.
There are any number of places to find free fonts online, but here's one you might not have seen before. BeFonts features a stack of great-looking fonts for all applications, from basic serifs and sans-serifs through to more decorative display and script fonts, as well as far-out symbols, bitmap and retro fonts. They're all free for personal use, and some can be used on commercial projects too.
Another general design resource with loads of fonts, graphics and templates to download, TheHungryJPEG also has an extensive collection of free resources available. You'll find plenty of background graphics, fonts, clipart and more, and much of it comes with a commercial licence too.
This one does exactly what it says on the tin. FreeDesignResources is just that, an online collection of free design resources including icons, fonts, templates and even UI kits. Most appear to be for personal use only, but if you hunt around you'll find a few free goodies that can be put to commercial use.
A good palette can be hard to find, but here's a free resource that makes it easy to discover colour combinations that are easy on the eye. HueSnap lets you create your own palettes either using a colour picker or by uploading an image and selecting shades from that, and it also features a never-ending collection of user-created palettes that you can scroll through until you find the perfect one for your latest project.
Just as with finding the perfect palette, hitting that ideal font pairing can be a gruelling process of trial and error. But at FontPair you can browse through a vast collection of ready-made font pairings, helpfully organised so that you can quickly find the exact kind of combination – such as serif with sans-serif, or display with serif – that you're after. You can see in-the-wild examples of many pairings, and when you find the perfect mix you can download your chosen duo with a single click.
Finally, an essential free resource to keep bookmarked for whenever you need to design a good-looking mockup. Frrames boasts a collection of fully responsive vector mockup frames for most applications – you'll find mockups for iPhones, iPads and Android devices, as well as frames for various browsers and apps on Windows and iOS. They're ready to edit in Sketch, Photoshop, Adobe XD and Figma, and you can download them individually for free; if you're in a hurry, though, you can grab the entire set in one go for just $9.