As designers we’re always up against it with time limits, especially when starting from scratch. Below is a list of my top 5 hacks and shortcuts to create better designs faster.

1. Choosing your colours

Best ways to choose colour palettes and combinations

Choosing colours combos from scratch? Ain’t nobody got time for that. There’s a number of awesome tools to select brilliant colour combinations in seconds. Head on over to the below site to get your kickarse, ready made colour palettes – complete with hex codes and downloadable swatches for your apps.

Adobe Colours ( good colour palettes for print & screen )

Material Palette ( especially good for UI design )

Colour Hunt ( lovely colours for web / UI design )

2. Choosing font pairings

Best tools to find font combinations

Choosing font pairings sort of sucks – but hey with this tool you’re good to go. Simply select the font you want to start with, and hey presto you get a perfect match – complete with a little previews of the font pairings.

Type Genius

3. Selecting a typeface for a logo

Best ways to use premium fonts for logos

You want a hot premium font for a logo design but you can’t pay. No worries!  The website MyFonts.com has a really good preview tool. Simply head on over, type in the wording of your logo, hit preview and when you’ve found the perfect font – enlarge the preview and download the image file. It gives you a transparent PNG which you can use in your layouts as a placeholder or even trace it in Illustrator to make a vector. Thank me later.

My Fonts

4. Sourcing Icons

Best sites to find and download free icons

If you’re working on something that needs icons, don’t mess about designing your own. Head on over to The Noun Project to search and download some awesome icons super fast. Their catalogue is incredible and they have mostly anything you’re after -in multiple variations too which is great. You can signup with Facebook and download an SVG file which open fine in Illustrator.

The Noun Project

5. Stock imagery selection

Good site for non cheesy stock photos

Stock imagery can make or break a design, skip past the cheesy crap that’s out there and go straight for the good stuff. When I really want to impress a client with how hipster I can go with the photography I go straight to Stocksy.com. The site is jammed with really sweet, beautifully shot imagery that you can download as a comp for your designs. If the client goes for it the stock is only $10 to buy which is great. Check out Stocksy, you won’t regret it.

Stocksy

There you have it, a list of my top 5 sure fire ways to whip up awesome designs in half the time. Now go grab a coffee and put those headphones on.