The Ultimate List of UI/UX Tools & Resources
Hey, Michael here!
Before we begin, I wanted to thank you for grabbing this resource list. It was created with my past self in mind.
When I first started designing, I had absolutely no idea where to find resources for my designs.
When I needed to find fonts, I’d just use random, bad fonts from random websites.
When I needed to use some icons, I’d just google the name of an icon, with the word “icon” at the end. You can imagine how bad the results were.
When it comes to images, I’d just use random photos from Google Images. I didn’t know any better.
This Vault is the resource that I wish I had when I first got interested in UI and UX Design. It includes all the resources which I use on the daily basis while designing at Wander (the startup at which I’m a Design Lead at), as well as for my freelance clients. If someone had given me this list when I was at my very first stages, I’m confident I’d save long months of time. Make sure to follow me on Twitter if you don’t already! Would love to connect.
A few important disclaimers
This section includes links to my favorite websites with fonts (mostly free).
Color is another area of design that’s absolutely key to get right. Here are some top-tier color-related resources and tools.
I made a separate website with the sole purpose of featuring the best icon packs in the world. It’s called iconism, and it includes a few top-tier packs. But I also included the icon pack which I use 99% of the time.
A bunch of great free & paid illustrations, including 3D. There are countless illustration packs, so I focused on big, versatile ones. I didn’t want to include niche packs, such as the ones that include like 10 or 15 illustrations. If you need help finding an illustration pack for your project, DM me on Twitter 😊
Accessibility is extremely neglected and misunderstood. The reason why is because so many designers start by posting on platforms like Dribbble or Behance, which values subjective beauty over usability and accessibility. So for example, someone can post a beautiful app UI shot that isn’t accessible at all (for example, text too small, tap area too small, etc.), and get praised for making it beautiful.
(BONUS) Tools for Designers
Disclaimer: I’m on macOS, so some of these tools might not be available if you’re using a different OS. You should pick the tools which help you work fast, without any sacrifice on the quality of your work. Below, I listed a few that I use the most. I’m not going to list every single design tool out there (Figma, XD, Sketch, etc.). A quick google search of “ui design tools” will give you these types of results. I want to showcase a few tools that are more-or-less design related, but help me work faster and better. Also I’ll leave tools like Slack or Spotify out of this list, they’re quite obvious.
Finding a job as a designer
Getting a job as a designer isn’t all about design. You’ll have to nail the interview, pass the challenges, answer recruiter’s questions in a specific manner, and more. If this is something you want to develop your skillset at, I recommend you find a mentor / coach that has been through all that and might share some tips. I work as a freelancer, and my first steps to becoming a Design Lead at Wander were also to create some freelance work for the company. In short, I can’t give any solid tips on finding a job, but I can point you to some great resources and job boards.
(BONUS) 17 Free Typefaces
Arguably the most important principle & skill of interface design. This section includes some great tools for working with type in UI/UX Design.
At first I wanted to put Gradients in the Colors section, but these resources are so cool that they deserve their own section!
Photos & Videos
Chill, you won’t have to run around with a camera. This section includes the best imagery on the internet. It’s time to stop using random, low quality shots from Google Images.
Presenting your work nicely is very important. This is where device mockups come into play. I only use like 1 or 2 products / resources to create mine, but I’ll leave some that might interest you.
Everything is a remix of a remix of a remix. If something seems completely original to you, you likely just don’t know what inspired the author. Regardless what’s your take on creativity and originality, inspiration is crucial in design. Big, leading companies spend huge amounts of money and resources to improve their designs, and you can learn from their lessons. This section includes a few fantastic sources to get inspired as a designer.
I’m writing this in April of 2023. It’s obvious, but I expect that the future will bring more and more great AI-powered tools (not only) for designers. AI has landed early, but it’s growing very fast. A lot of the resources and tools below are still work-in-progress, but chances are that by the time you’re reading this, they’ll already be perfectly functional products (right now they’re labeled as “Beta”). Most of these are freemium products, meaning that you can test them out for free, but the true power is unlocked at their paid tiers.
There’s no real magic behind getting freelance work. You post your work online, for example on Dribbble, and you reach out to people who might potentially need your services. It’s really the hardest to start, because you have no real work. Then you should just create it. Create “fake” projects, for a non-existing client. Re-design a website you like. Design a solution to something that annoys you in your digital life, etc. However, you can also apply to freelance jobs online. Here are some resources: