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Digital Resources - 2017

We’ve used a ton of different tools to bring The Throwback Lab from a basement idea to the sticker collective that it is today.  And we've used an even wider variety with some of our other, less (soon to be more) known projects.  When it comes to creating, we’ve found there are a few resources that stand out against the rest.  Whether you’re honing your current UX, working on a new UI, or throwing together a landing page for a local stickerbomb event, we’ve found the resources compiled below to be among our favorites.

Although we got the ball rolling with retro gaming stickers, and a few Simpsons x Pokemon mashup enamel pins, we’ve got our hands in a few other cookie jars too.  Some of these projects are exclusive to The Throwback Lab, and others, not so much.  We hope to bring at least a few of these projects onto the main stage in the coming months.  

One thing is for sure, nothing beats a legit video or photo shoot by you and your crew.  That raw authenticity is passed onto the viewer.  Although shooting it yourself can seem like a mountain of a task, the juice is often worth the squeeze.  Prefab templates and stock photography, if not used properly (and it’s a fine line), can work against you, leaving your projects feeling unauthentic or untrustworthy.  That being said, they definitely do have their place, and can have equally fantastic results when used correctly.  For times like those, this is our list of go-to libraries.  

If you don’t know about Unsplash, go take a peek around.  Like so many other great ideas, it began as a creative side project. They boast an image library made up of twenty five thousand contributing photographers.  With new content popping up daily, and Crew’s compelling startup story, they’re a go to for stock.  Did we mention it’s all free?  Not only free to download, but free to use, even for commercial purposes.  

Although the image and video content from Adobe Stock does require a paid account, we generally find the quality to be quite high, and the options abundant.  From videos to templates, Adobe Stock is a fantastic resource.  Not only is their library full of pixel perfect shots, it’s also a great resource for inspiration of your own photography and design.  

Coverr.co is a stock library of free to use (public domain) looping videos perfect for your masthead or landing page.  The selection is currently a bit limited, but they update their library with 7 new images each Monday so they’re worth keeping an eye on.  

Speaking of landing pages, Carrd.co is definitely a favorite.  It’s an easy to use, drag and drop style one page site builder.  It offers some simple but very sophisticated features.  It actually looks pretty fancy when it’s all done up.  Many of their available templates are set up in a less is more (words to live by) fashion.  If those don’t suit your fancy you can always edit the code directly.  A pretty versatile tool, with many features at a very reasonable rate. 

If you’re creating a landing page, a gradient just might be the perfect mix of sweet and subtle.  When we need a prefab gradient, or maybe just a bit of inspiration Web Gradients is our one stop shop. Their selection isn’t just plentiful, it’s well put together.  You can download the gradient directly as a .psd, or if Photoshop isn’t your style, they’ve also got the HEX code pairs, or the ready to go HTML.  Check out their gradients here

Nothing communicates quite like type.  It’s going to be present in almost every project.  The options will be plentiful, but don’t rush through them, they can affect the character of your project in a big way.  The perfect typeface, or lack thereof can be make or break. Our top three font resources are Adobe Typekit, Google Fonts, and Fonts.com. 

Adobe Typekit is pretty high on our list for fonts and typefaces. It doesn’t have everything, but the selection is decent and the fonts are high quality, usually containing the entire family.  If they don’t have the font you’re looking for Typekit will suggest a few similar fonts it does have.  The fonts can easily be sorted by weight, serif, x height, and more.  The interface is easy to use and is easy to sync up with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Aside from Google Fonts' library being huge, and all of it being free, their ability to be easily plugged in as HTML is a massive advantage.  Not only are there hundreds of different fonts, many of them are translatable into over 135 languages.  Compatibility is key.  Whether you’re writing an essay, or throwing together a full scale website, make Google Fonts one of your first stops.  Google Fonts allows you to get a little further in depth by providing an opportunity to learn more about the font’s designer and what helped inspire them to create it.  

We use Adobe Color CC when looking for new color palettes for our stickers.  You can upload an image you want to use as a starting point and it will give you a five color breakdown of the palette used.  

Material.io is a great, and really well rounded resource made by Google.  There seems to be no limit to the amount of incredibly useful tools they plan on making easily available to everyone.  Material.io has plenty of standards information, along with features that can be used when creating icons, testing different UI color palettes, or running trials on parts of a new application. All those features cater to a wide variety of designers, making Material worth taking a look around.  

We know this doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface.  The list of useful resources out there these days is nearing endless.  With a new tool or product coming out seemingly daily to help you do something better or faster.  We find the key is finding just a handful that work for you, and really honing in on them to ensure you’re using them to their full potential. Hopefully you found some of these resources useful, and maybe you learned about a few new ones too.  

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