A Designers Toolbox

Heads up! This post was written when Metric Marketing was known as Canada's Web Shop.

It’s rare that a project passes by my desk at The Web Shop that couldn’t benefit from the use of external resources. Whether that might be inspiration, stock photography, an icon pack, or an interesting color swatch, I’m all for utilizing available resources. In this post I’d like to highlight my top 5, enjoy!

Smashing Magazine

When I can’t remember a process, or need some expert advice my first stop is Smashing Magazine. I use this website like a search engine focused on my industry and it’s perfect! Every article is written with a take-away in mind and helped along with clever and informative illustration or screen captures. Smashing Magazine is an obvious and valuable resource for anyone in the Web Design and Development industry.


deviantART boasts being the largest online art community in the world and is a never-ending source of inspiration. Not only a source for inspiration, deviantART is a huge resource offering tools and source files for a huge array of the industry standard creative desktop software packages. Brushes, Layouts, Patterns, Stock Photography, Vectored Elements, and more reside in this gold mine of a website.


One of my developer co-workers has a mantra when it comes to authoring code: “No need to re-invent the wheel”. 365psd releases a new PSD of top quality icons, UI elements, and buttons every day. I’m a huge fan of downloading a stunning eye-catching button someone spent hours on when the project I’m working on has only a few moments to put a button together for that all-important call to action.

Google Web Fonts

This is Google’s gift to the internet. Although they’ve given many others as well, the gift of broadening the typography capabilities of a text-based technology is huge. The Google Web Font library is constantly being updated; it seems every time I visit there are new fonts of all styles.

Compfight & Stock Exchange

Stock Photography is loved by some and hated by others, love it or hate it there’s a good chance this new roofing company client you landed is better at roofing than taking professional looking photographs of their work. Unless they’ve got a budget for a photographer you’ll probably need to source some stock photography. Compfight.com and sxc.hu are great free alternatives to istockphoto.com.

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