Often times, we aren't given all assets and content needed when beginning a project. Placeholder text like “Lorem Ipsum,” stock photos, and other substitutions are used until final content is provided or created. It can be inconvenient if assets aren’t available and can bring about additional work, but don’t let this hold you back.

With tight deadlines and the need to make progress, I count on a number of great resources for assets and inspiration that provide free or open source typography, photography and more.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Photography: Unsplash

Unsplash is a great resource for free high resolution, large photographs that can be used for personal and commercial use. It’s loaded with a wide range of professional photos from food, cars, nature, architecture, plants and animals, to action photos, cities, people and more. Unlike other free photography websites that are not well regulated or have lower standards, Unsplash selects only the best images for its photography collection.

Design Portfolio, Social Networking, and Inspiration: Dribbble

Dribbble is a terrific place to share work and give insight on what you’re working on. Designers can connect with one another, find inspiration, and explore ideas. Dribbble is great for social networking in the design community and also lists relevant jobs, helping designers all around the globe showcase their design and find work.

Design Assets for Sale and Select Freebies: Creative Market

Creative Market is a great place to find resources from independent creators all over the world. You are able to purchase and sell products such as font bundles, mockups, art sets, templates and more, with select freebies given away from time to time. It’s a great place for finding design assets and where likeminded designers come together.

Design Prototyping, Sharing and Collaboration: InVision

InVision is a fantastic application for communicating with a team while testing and sharing designs, keeping a record of each version as you add revisions. The application is intuitive and useful for prototyping and presenting work. It’s a very helpful tool for designers who are not able to code with the ability to create basic interactive designs quickly and easily. It’s easy to use and great for collaborating. Communication is made simple with email notifications and application integrations. On top of the excellent application features, InVision also shares great design-related information in blog posts and emails.

Fonts: The League of Movable Type, Lost Type, Font Fabric and Google Fonts

Selecting an appropriate font is a very important part of the design process, so finding the right font is key. A few amazing resources for finding beautiful open source fonts include The League of Movable Type, Lost Type, Font Fabric, and Google Fonts. These websites include great collections of open source fonts that can be downloaded to your computer and used in a variety of projects.

Inspiration: Typewolf, The Best Designs, The Best: Network, One Page Love

Whether you’re starting out a project, trying to find a design direction, or stuck and need to find a way to move forward, looking at design inspiration can generate ideas and excitement. While I rely on a number of great design resources for inspiration, I wanted to share a few of my favorite places for finding exceptional inspiration.

Typewolf is an awesome resource for finding great typography combinations and inspiration. It was created in 2013 by Jeremiah Shoaf, a designer with over 16 years of experience. He approaches his website from a designers perspective, providing links to top design examples, showing how real type performs in websites.

The Best Designs is loaded with talent, showcasing innovative and beautifully designed websites. This website includes a great selection of web designs with the latest trends and inspiration from all over the world.

Created by Jeremy Mitchell of Nashville, Tennessee, The Best: Network offers a unique collection of inspiring websites focusing on about pages, product sites and agency sites.

Launched in 2008 by Rob Hope from CapeTown, South Africa, One Page Love is a great resource for browsing one-page website design, templates and more. The single page website style focuses the user's attention on the most essential and significant content without the extra clutter and noise.

Icons: Font Awesome, The Noun Project, Other Icons

Icons are great way to provide a simplified visual that can be identified without language constraints and can be used as a supportive element in communication. Icons are frequently used assets in UI design, infographics, and other designs to reinforce text, add personality, strategically break up information, and more. A few great places to purchase or find free icons include Font Awesome, The Noun Project, and Other Icons.

Image Compression: Tiny PNG (or Tiny JPG) and Compress PNG (or CompressJPG)

We all know that every second counts when loading a website. Make sure you get the best loading time without losing quality by using an intelligent image compressor. Optimize properly and save bandwidth, by using images compressed from Tiny PNG (or Tiny JPG) and Compress PNG (or CompressJPG).

Textures and Patterns: Subtle Patterns and Hero Patterns

Patterns and textures can add interest and warmth to website design. Take a look at Hero Patterns or Subtle Patterns for a variety of useful backgrounds and textures.

Develpment Resources: Codepen, CSS Tricks, Codrops and Codyhouse

For those of you interested in development or are already cross-trained designer/developers, collaboration and finding useful coding resources is always handy.

Codepen is a great place for front-end developers to collaborate, find inspiration, and play. It’s a social development environment where you can follow other developers, experiment, and find code inspiration. With this platform, you can write HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other related languages or test out your code, all in the browser. It’s great for developing quick prototypes and testing out interactive ideas. I love CodePen because you can learn, share, and create with other developers.

CSS Tricks launched in 2007 and is a terrific source for all things web design and development. It showcases posts from a variety of talented designer/developers and features great content on related topics.

Codrops has innovative code inspiration, tutorials, resources, demos, articles, and more. It’s an awesome resource for developers to check out current trends, methods, and techniques, where experts share useful web design and development knowledge.

Codyhouse is an amazing source for finding development courses and has a library of useful code inspiration. Browse through the site and take a look at the variety of tips, tricks and easy-to-learn tutorials.

Next time you find yourself stuck or without all your assets, don’t let that stop you. Now you have a reference, and I hope you find these resources as useful as I do.

What are your favorite websites for design and development resources? Share with us in the comments or on twitter @madebymunsters!

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