This was originally a post on my blog but has enough lasting value to be it’s own page.
Here is a loose library of sites, books, courses, people, and companies I’ve found to be extraordinarily helpful, inspiring, and worthwhile for freelance web design. This is only meant to be a starting point for you, not an authoritative, complete font of knowledge. I tried to avoid posting redundant links; for instance there are literally dozens of articles from A List Apart I reference often but I trust you can find the ones that suit you best on their site. I anticipate this to be updated frequently, so I hope you bookmark this or check back often. Enjoy these freelance web design resources!
This random guy from Sweden found my site, read this page, and wanted to contribute his own work. I checked him out and not only was he legitimate, but the information is spot on and clear. Thank you, @robertmening for giving my site a perusal and thanks for adding to the collection!
Here’s some of Robert’s articles, which are excellent for first time would be clients.
- Comparing 10 of the most common Site Builder platforms (i.e. Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc). http://websitesetup.org/website-builders/
- If you really “could do it yourself”, and want to his guide to setting up a WP self hosted site is great http://websitesetup.org/ (although, FWIW I prefer Flywheel for my WordPress hosting)
- His CMS comparison is a good beginner introduction http://websitesetup.org/cms-comparison-wordpress-vs-joomla-drupal/
We don’t agree 100%, but this is excellent information and I admire the initiative of a guy half way around the world finding me to talk shop, so I thought that merited a mention!
UPDATE: There’s a link below but a special shout out to Flywheel wheel, whom I proud to recommend for any and all WordPress hosting needs. As I write more about maintenance, repair and overhaul plans as part of a smart web design strategy, the need for a partner like Flywheel is even more pronounced. If you are launching a WordPress site, do yourself a favor and pony up to Flywheel.
- A List Apart Really, if you go nowhere else, read through a bunch of these articles and you’ll get a great idea about how the best in the world think about how to build things for the web. Not surprisingly, a lot of what I think is the best way to go about things I can trace back to articles here.
- Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of Good Design
- Design is Not Veneer
- The NYC Transit Authority Brand Standards Manual
- Design Principles from Tim Berners Lee, Bert Bos, and more.
- Without Design Methods, I Feel Like I’m Cheating
- Designing Digital Technology for the Elderly
- Principles of User Interface Design
Web & Design:
- Web Field Manual
- Slides and links from Lara Hogan’s Designing for Performance (you should also purchase her book Designing for Performance, because proceeds from the book benefit STEM education for girls and women and it’s awesome).
- 24 Ways: an Advent Calendar for Web Geeks
- Dotfiles, Installer Scripts, and Deployment tips
- The Manual, that’s a journal
- Helen Holmes has a similar project that is way better organized than this. Great Resource!
Freelancing: Tools, Advice, & More
- Free Invoice Generator
- A great argument for small projects
- How much should a custom website cost?
- Beanstalk: One-Click Deployment and Version Control
- Freshbooks: simple online accounting for small businesses
- Toggl: simple time-tracking
- Basecamp: simple project management software
- Flywheel: hands down the best managed WordPress hosting service
- Financial Planning tools for Freelance Businesses via Heather Acton
- Becoming A Design Leader
- How They Got There
- Dear Design Student
- Professional Web Type by Danny Troung
- Adobe Typekit
- Type Pairing Recommendations
- Practical Typography
- Usability.gov. Yes, The US government has set up an amazing library of great UX information
- Usability Counts
- The Hipper Element
- 52 Weeks of UX
- UX Apprentice
- Nielson Norman Group
- Tim Kadlec
- The Filament Group
- Trevan Hetzel
- How to Make a Performance Budget
- Need for Speed. Under the hood for building a blazing fast site
- Style Guides resources: What they are, why we do them, & how to make them
- Jeffrey Zeldman
- Brad Frost
- Karen McGrane
- Lee Munroe
- Elyse Holladay
- Frank Chimero
- Yesenia Perez Cruz
- Una Kravets
- Abby Covert
- Aaron Draplin
- Jessica Hische
- The Amigos of Paravel
- Happy Cog
- U I E
- Mule Design
Content, Copy, and Information Architecture
- MailChimp’s Voice and Tone
- The Economist’s Style Guide
- When Information Design is a matter of life and death
- Because they literally wrote the book on IA
- Thomas Byttebier
- Good Work
- Steph Hay on Content-First UX
Content Management Systems
Training and Education
- ZURB University
- Five Simple Steps
- A Book Apart
- An Event Apart
- O Reily Media
- Drupalize Me
Business & Philosophy
- Ben Horowitz. See also:
- Ryan Holiday
- Seth Godin
- How the ‘Failure’ Culture of Startups is Killing Innovationby Erika Hall
- David Heinemeier Hansson at Startup School ’08
- 37 Signal’s Original site + Manifesto
- Getting Real: 37 Signals on Software Development
- The Pastry Box Project
- The Distance: a longform blog dedicated to businesses that go the distance
- Building Businesses that last
Amazing Side Projects people make:
- Justin Aguilar’s Animation cheatsheet
- Nick Williams’ Headroom.js
- Forty Days of Dating
- “Seventeen People”, a tribute to and deconstruction of The West Wing season 2, episode 18.
Saint Louis and Amazing
Fun, Worth your time, but at most tangentially related:
- Why Neville Longbottom is the most important character in Harry Potter
In a world of leaders and followers, there are some who don’t attempt to fit either mold, and it is those distinct few who really determine the future of us all.