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Free All-in-One Graphic Design Starter Kit

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Graphic design has an amazing community. Comprised of both the vets from the pre-computer era to the newbies who were raised on the internet and computer-editing applications, there is a huge gamut of people sharing their work and expertise online. I know when I was starting out in design, I found tons of inspiration and information from sites like JustCreativeDesign, DesignNewz, and more. If there’s one issue, however, it’s that there’s almost too much great information out there. I know – good problem to have, right?

But for those designers just starting out, or for those designers who are considering getting into design, the amount of information can be a little overwhelming. Couple this with Paper Leaf’s desire to give back to the design community, and this is what you get: the All-in-One Graphic Design Starter’s Kit. The idea behind this kit is for it to be a one-stop shop for those getting into design – and for it to be completely free. It includes free software (for both Mac & Windows – photo/raster editing, vector editing, and HTML/CSS WYSIWYG editing), eBooks, textures, vectors, brushes, and awesome fonts. If you were to have no idea where to start, you could come here, download everything, read the eBooks and corresponding software guides, and have a great starting point.

FreeDesignKit

This “kit” was originally intended to be a zipped file containing all of the links below; however, it clocked in at about half a gigabyte, which I thought most people wouldn’t want to sit and download (plus it would put a strain on our hosting). Thus, I’ve broken down the kit into the elements that made it up, and linked to them all below – and making this All-in-One Graphic Design Starter’s Kit a series of links and downloadable sections, which allows people to pick and choose what elements they want.

All of these items are free, open-source and legal for both me to share & you to download – however, please don’t claim any of them as your own. All of the items in this design kit required a lot of time & effort from their respective creators, so give ‘em some love! Hit the jump for all the amazing links and downloadables that make up the Free All-in-One Graphic Design Starter Kit!

Software

Not everyone can afford the industry-standard design software – that being Adobe’s Creative Suite – so here are three open-source alternatives that will allows you to do virtually the same kind of work.

GIMP (Snow Leopard) (Leopard) (Windows)

GIMP is a free, open-source raster-editing program – like Photoshop.

Inkscape (OSX) (Windows)

Inkscape is a free, open-source vector-editing program – like Illustrator.

Kompozer (OSX) (Windows)

Kompozer is a free, open-source HTML/CSS WYSIWYG editor – like Dreamweaver.

EBooks

You can’t learn everything about design from a few eBooks, but they can sure give you a good launching point! Below is a zipped file with 3 awesome, free design eBooks from Scribd.

Compilation of three great design eBooks!

Textures

(via Bittbox)

Much love to Bittbox, a site that has been around a while and consistently shares great design elements – like these textures, below.

High-res wood textures

High-res grunge textures

High-res paper textures

More textures!

Fonts

There are a ton of free fonts and free font sites out there, but most are garbage. FontSquirrel is the best, in my opinion, and here are some of their top free fonts.

Top Free Serif Fonts

Top Free Sans-Serif Fonts

Top Free Display Fonts

Top Free Hand-drawn Fonts

Top Free Script Fonts

Vectors

No sense reinventing the wheel if you just need some design elements to complement your design. Below is a zip file containing a bunch of free vectors. Most of these come from Vecteezy.

Compilation pack of free vectors!

Brushes

Same as above – a zip file containing a bunch of free raster brushes. Some from Bittbox, some from Brusheezy.

Compilation pack of free brushes!

Keep in mind that no single “kit” or post will ever make you a complete and well-rounded designer. Use this kit as a starting point, but keep learning! Become involved in the design community – both your local one and the web’s – and you’ll grow faster than you ever imagined.

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