Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned veteran these tools, tutorials, lists and other resources are great sites for any web designer. Organized into helpful categories (design inspiration, CSS resources, web design guides, color tools, free fonts and more) this collection not only has useful resources but also categorized links to other lists with 100s more. If you’re not a designer but still need to create sites you still might be best off spending a few bucks on a web page creation tool with a simple GUI than hiring a designer but can still use the first section below and these great wallpapers to get design inspiration!
General Web Design Inspiration and Useful Design Examples
CSS Beauty is not only an active database for well-designed CSS sites but it is also a way to connect designers with potential clients and a source for web design and general aesthetic inspiration.
Web Design Inspiration is a collection of screenshots showing excellent web designs. It is well worth browsing simply for graphic and web design inspiration.
Web Creme is a very simple site and easy to follow on RSS: screenshots are posted, often more than once per day, of truly impressive web designs.
Unmatched Style is a source for businesses and designers who seek inspiration from particularly attractive, interesting and progressive web designs.
Design Firms is one of many sites on which you can find designers directly but your best bet might be a simple Google search or simply contacting the author of a design found through one of the above-listed design inspiration sites.
25 Beautiful Minimalist Web Designs shows the awesome power of simplicity when it comes to web design – more isn’t necessarily better.
24 Great Niche Galleries has screenshots with descriptions and links to various galleries that you might want to see for more web design inspiration.
10 Great Web [Re]Designs of 2007 features mostly popular and mainstream sites you may already be familiar with but also provides some useful analysis.
Best of CSS 2007 is another great screenshot-packed eye-candy collection of cool web designs from last year – worth bookmarking for future inspiration.
CSS Web Design Examples, Tutorials and Other Resources
CSS Zen Garden allows you to see the full visual potential of CSS designs. You can pick a style sheet and load it onto the page to view the remarkable differences. The goal of the site is to engender new ideas about and discussions around the possibilities inherent in CSS-based design. While underlying code remains the same throughout the visual differences are readily apparent when you switch between views.
CSS2 Specifications is the place to start with CSS (or go back to when you are stuck). Yes, it isn’t trivial, but it is helpful and (despite the ironic lack of good design on the site itself) is something that everyone should have bookmarked if they are still learning CSS.
The CSS Panic Guide is a resource list which, as you might have guessed, is designed for those moments of utter despair and deparation where you are simply stuck. It is fairly well organized and contains links you’ll likely know as well as ones you won’t. This web design link list features everything from validation and text size to accessibility and media types.
The CSS Shark answers some frequently asked questions, explains some of the basics of CSS offers you a tutorial about Positioning with CSS (CSS-P, web design without tables). There is also a page with interesting links to other on- and off-site resources.
CSS Vault is a highly respected (PageRank 8) resource for sharing beautiful CSS designs and layouts that involves (moderated) community communication regarding designs. If you want to get into active CSS discussions this is one place to do that. The content is frequently updated and the user feedback is generally positive. Overall, this is a great place to browse for interesting and well-done CSS web designs and even find designers.
101 more CSS Tips, Tutorials and Examples is what it sounds like: another great resource list if the aforementioned ones don’t fully handle your needs. Unfortunately, the resources aren’t fully described though some descriptive terms are used as part of the link text.
Web Design Guides and Readings on Contemporary Design and Style
Web Design from Scratch is a great resource for a web designer or aspiring designer of websites either just getting started or already experienced. It is designed to show explicit criteria for success and failure as well as step-by-step guides and instructions for improving your designs. Whether you are completely new to web design, working on new design project or simply revisiting and revising an old web design this is well worth checking out and bookmarking for future reference.
Current Style in Web Design Guide takes you through a series of successful and contemporary designs and then parses the various elements that go contribute to the success of these creative designs. From the particular designs, the author of this useful web design guide extracts general principles which can be applied to other designs. For those of us who have difficulty making the jump from principles and examples to actual design practices this is a must-read guide.
Web 2.0 How-To Design Style Guide: This design guide discusses the generally known but rarely articulated styles associated with designing for what is known as “Web 2.0″ by some and cursed as a passing fad by others. Whether or not you buy into the concept of Web 2.0 or consider it overused and outdated this will take you through the parts and pieces of such designs in a way worth at least browsing through if not bookmarking. On a related note, here are 99 Resources for Good Web 2.0 Design.
Color Tools, Ideas, History and Palette Creation Resources
COLOURlovers is probably the web’s top resource for all things color from color inspiration to palette examples, color history and inspiring uses of color. The tricks learned here can be applied to web design as well as other kinds of design work and are designed for both the color-savvy as well as the virtually color-blind designer.
ColorBlender lets you select a preferred color and then creates a palette based on that input. Blends can be saved for future use and tweaked as needed.
4096 Color Wheel is a pretty straightforward and user-friendly tool for creating color palettes and shifting color schemes.
ColorSchemer Studio suggests palette ideas based on initial and changeable inputs and is both fun to play with as well as useful for professionals.
Photo Color Matcher lets you create a color palette from an existing image of your choice. This can be helpful to people who don’t have a natural eye for color and for clients who may wish to have a designer create a color scheme from a photograph or other image.
Web 2.0 Color Palette is organized to help you develop color schemes based on certain criteria that will fit into a so-called Web 2.0-type scheme.
The Meaning of Colors explains the origins of associations we have with colors including cross-cultural analysis of the meanings of colors across ethnic and geographic groups.
Elegant, Obscure, Abstract and Other Free Fonts
Creamundo is a great place to start searching for free fonts organized in useful ways and easy to view custom samples of prior to downloading. These fonts range from simple and refined to complex and unusual with everything in between.
ShowFont has a likewise extensive collection of free fonts of different kinds
Urban Fonts aren’t all necessarily urban in any traditional sense but many of them are quite interesting and out-of-the-ordinary. Some are based on classic fonts while others are quite creative and original, much like those found at Abstract Fonts or at Better Fonts.
SimplyTheBest has a helpful series of categories that are easy to navigate and understand which, despite their somewhat limited selection, makes them worth seeing.