With so many WordPress themes, page builders, and other design aids and services on the market, it can be difficult for a web designer to know where to turn when in need of a new tool, an additional resource, or a different design approach. Some of the products and services listed here are ideal for general use. Others are excellent choices for designing websites or apps intended to serve a unique or dedicated purpose.
If you find a product or service here that suits your design needs, you can be assured it is top quality, or it would not be on this list. Browse through this list and find out what are the most essential tools, resources and services to have in your toolbox.
X Theme is exciting. It always has been, but with the release of Version 4 a new level of excitement has been attained. Users of this recently released version are raving about it, with the centre of attention being a new, unique, and innovative page builder – Cornerstone. Cornerstone is highlighted again in this listing, but what it will do for X, the fastest selling of the Themeforest themes, is make it more popular than ever. Cornerstone may have temporarily placed a number of the other X features in the shadows, but they remain as impressive as ever, and everything about using this premier WordPress theme’s features is backed up by a rock-solid, 24/7 user support team, a dynamic community site, and forums offering information, advice, and details of other user’s experiences. With a purchase of X, you are given free access to all Themeco plugins, and you will also receive free updates as they are released.
Visit Enfold’s website, and the first thing you are asked to do is to Choose a Demo. If you do so, your search for a premium website theme will quite possibly come to a halt. This top-rated, multipurpose Themeforest theme’s primary characteristic may well be its extremely user-friendly operation. It may in fact be the easiest to work with website building theme on the market. Start with a blank page and an idea, and you can build any layout you want at warp speed. Enfold is always kept up to date, and you will always receive updates as they are released. You can also expect to receive nothing less than the very finest user support. Read the rest of this entry »
Bonsai is a lightweight graphics library with an intuitive graphics API and an SVG renderer. Bonsai’s main features include: Architecturally separated runner and renderer, iFrame, Worker and Node running contexts, Shapes, Paths, Assets (Videos, Images, Fonts, SubMovies), Keyframe and regular animation (easing functions too), Shape/path morphing and much more…
License: MIT License
Whether you are tech-savvy or just a newbie, you’ll definitely be glad to have a universal theme providing all the essentials in one pack. Well, it appears that such a solution has finally been released for WordPress users. As its name suggests, “Monstroid” is a monstrously powerful WP theme suitable for any type of site, from blogs and news portals to personal & corporate portfolios and e-stores. It is equipped with a rich array of options for the design of your website. They include 145 predefined pages, 120+ PSD files, 50+ licensed images, 500+ fonts, multiple interface elements, styles, skins, child themes – you name it. This is just a modest beginning to the list of features, so read our review to learn about Monstroid in detail.
Get Multiple Child Themes for Free
Monstroid does not only have unlimited design possibilities but also comes with 4 child themes. They embrace the topics enjoying the widest popularity in the web design community, particularly finance & IT for businessmen, art & photography for creative individuals and studios, education for instructors and schools, as well as interior & furniture for decorators and architects. What’s more, the scope of topics will be broadened eventually, and you will receive up to 15 child themes monthly. It means you pay for one theme, but obtain multiple themes for the same amount of money. As you can see, Monstroid allows you to save for a rainy day. Read the rest of this entry »
CSS Plus wants to provide a simple and fast way to make flexible layout based on flexbox modeling. This awesome css feature lets you specify a flexible container which the children can also be flexible and re-sized automatically when the size of the container changed. It supports Chrome 14, Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 6, Safari 4, Opera 12.10.
License: MIT License
Styleguide is a tool to make creating and maintaining styleguides easy. All you need to do is to add the Styleguide to a separate folder in your project. Use it as your CSS. You just need to import the generated file inside your HTML and you are all set! This way the Styleguide will be synced with your project. Isn’t that awesome!?
Just copy your project’s CSS and paste it in the Styleguide CSS file. Now you only need to customize the modules to use the proper classes. You can always create/edit any module when you need. The Styleguide is also a independent project. You can download it and use it in your browser. Then all you need to do is edit it’s CSS and set/customize the modules. When you are finished you can send the files to a server or use the HTML version.
License: License Free
Lotus is Open Source Software, which strives for simplicity, fewer DSLs, minimal conventions, more objects, zero monkey-patching and the separation of concerns between MVC layers. It suggests best practices, but it leaves all the freedom to you, the developer, to build your own architecture, with your own objects. Lotus is made of standalone frameworks (controllers, views, etc.) and each one is shipped as an independent gem to emphasize the separation of concerns.
License: MIT License
Type design is visually complex as well as highly technical – however it is easier to begin making type now than ever, partly because of the availability of free tools like FontForge. FontForge is a free (libre) font editor for Windows, Mac OS X and GNU+Linux. Use it to create, edit and convert fonts in OpenType, TrueType, UFO, CID-keyed, Multiple Master, and many other formats. While being a handy tool with which to begin, FontForge is not just for beginners. It has an advanced toolset and is rapidly improving at the time this book is being written.
FontForge aims to offer technical help and general insight into planning a type design project, and also offers advice about how to make your workflow more efficient. If you wish to help them, you can contribute to making FontForge better by giving feedback or even by contributing content and fixes on GitHub.
License: Creative Commons 3.0 License
Image Blur Plugin is an Ultra small plugin (4kb minified, 1.5kb gzipped) for Blurring images. This plugin utilizes SVG filter to blur the image if SVG is supported by the browser (all except IE), otherwise the plugin creates an IMG tag and applies a special IE-only filter in CSS. If you are using Velocity.js animation library, the plugin will automatically detect its presence and make fade in/fade out animations more performant, especially on mobile. If Velocity is not present on the page, jQuery’s “animate” is used.
License: MIT License
Huginn is a system for building agents that perform automated tasks for you online. They can read the web, watch for events, and take actions on your behalf. Huginn’s Agents create and consume events, propagating them along a directed graph. Think of it as a hackable Yahoo! Pipes plus IFTTT on your own server. You always know who has your data. You do.
License: MIT License
After an amazing response from the web community, “Design Details” and “Developer Tea” have teamed up to create Spec.fm, a resource to help designers and developers to connect with one another. Their podcasts are downloaded more than 60,000 times per week and we’re working to create new shows to provide the most up-to-date resources and information for the design & development community.
Their episodes are quite casual and not necessarily an “interview-style” show. They have guests on each week but we try to blend the personal and professional; the design resources with the personal stories. Over time they have found that the more open a guest can be, the better listeners will respond and connect with that person. One of their main focuses is keeping the show’s content diverse. This means chatting not only with women, people of color and folks outside of San Francisco, but also it means hosting people from startups, agencies and big companies across all job descriptions. This blending of culture and jobs into one show helps provide a more clear picture of what the design industry can actually be like for designers out there listening.