10 FREE Website Gems You Need If You Work In Design, Advertising, Marketing Or Social Media

Free Gifts in Red and Black Gift Boxes

Working in Design, Advertising, Marketing or Social Media can be pretty full on. Time is not always on your side. It’s not always possible to find exactly what you need, when you need it, all in one place. For FREE!

Luckily, I’ve put together this list of websites to do just that!

This is your one-stop shop for online freebies to make your work that little bit easier.

1) Free Stock Images

There is always a need for stock images. Blogs, tweets, posts, ads, marketing materials; they all rely on high quality images to grab the audience’s attention.

Getty Images and iStock are the big hitters in the stock image game, but not everyone can afford to pay the subscription fees. Especially if you’re posting frequently.

The websites below provide equally high quality images for FREE (although their libraries are nowhere near as full and diverse as the paid-for sites).

PEXELS Free Stock Photos

PEXELS and PIXABAY are the go-to sites for bloggers the world over and my top picks.

You’ll soon see why.

2) Free Mockups

So you’ve got your stock images. You’re ready to create your design/advertising/social media/marketing masterpiece. Wouldn’t it be handy if there was a mockup available for you to just edit and modify?

There are plenty of mockups available online. Many are paid-for. Others are free. But it’s not always easy finding the right mockup to suit your needs. Searching can be time consuming.

Free Mockups from Mockup World

That’s where MOCKUP WORLD comes in. Offering an extensive library of FREE photoshop mockups, you are likely to find whatever design you need to give your work a professional finish.

Alternatively, you could pay a visit to MOCKUPTIME or GRAPHIC BURGER.

Time to call off the search!

3) Free Stock Footage

It’s no secret that video improves click-through rates on social media posts. If you haven’t got the time to create original video content why not use some stock footage instead? Or you could give your original video content an extra professional edge by adding some stock footage!

It all serves to improve the quality of the content you are posting.

Videezy Free HD Stock Footage

As with stock images, you can access an extensive range of stock footage online, at a cost. However, VIDEEZY offers a healthy library of FREE stock video for you to use.

VIDEVO also provides a substantial catalogue of FREE stock footage for you to download under both Creative Commons licensing (crediting the original creator) or under the Videvo Standard License (free to use, so long as you don’t make the clips available to download anywhere else).

4) Free Font Identifiers

“I really liked the font they used in that ad. What is it? Where can I find it?”

I’m no typography connoisseur, but I do like a good font.

Font Spring Font Matcherator

If you want a quick and easy way to identify and find fonts used in design pieces or ads head over to FONTSPRING or WHAT THE FONT. Simply upload an image to the site, or input the image’s URL, and let the identifier work its magic.

You’ll soon find that font you’ve been fawning over. If not, you’ll be offered something pretty close.

5) Free Vintage Posters

This one’s just for fun.Free Vintage PostersIf you love design, you’ll appreciate the extensive library of classic posters at FREE VINTAGE POSTERS. All are available to download. Completely GRATIS.

All you have to do is figure out how to use them creatively!

6) BOOKMARK THIS POST!

So. There you have it.

10 Website Gems You Need If You Work In Design, Advertising, Marketing Or Social Media.

And it only took FIVE headings! (This last one doesn’t count. I just thought I’d make my use of numbers in this post even more confusing. Not your average listicle!)

Anyway…

Go!

Be creative.

 

Gareth

 

 

 

Secret 7) Royalty Free Music

The importance of sound is underrated. Music adds atmosphere, creates mood and can turn into a motif that is associated with your work – especially if you’re into podcasting!

Bensound Royalty Free Music

For royalty free music look no further than Bensound.

There is a substantial library of tracks available under a whole range of different genres. The music is covered by the Creative Commons License, so make sure you credit Bensound and add a link back to his website.

Alternatively, you can browse YouTube Audio Library.

There are a range of tracks available to download for a whole host of moods and styles, including sound effects! Just make sure you check the licensing for each track as some require credit under Creative Commons.

So…

Why not turn a blog post into a podcast?

Or add some backing music to a slideshow?

You might even turn your creative portfolio into a short film reel with its own banging score!

You never know.

 

 

I think that makes 12 Website Gems now…

You’re certainly getting value here!

 

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Slow Down! Why busy people need to stop and disconnect.

Slow down and watch the world fly past - Train rushing past long exposure

Have you noticed how push notifications actually SHOVE their way loudly into your day? How instant messaging requires INSTANT REPLIES? Otherwise you end up having to scroll through a whole list of posts in the group chat to find out what the hell is going on! If you recognise these tell-tale signs you need to slow down. Breathe. Disconnect. Gain some perspective.

When Push Turns To Shove

Likes, shares and retweets are the new currency of approval and measures of success. We’re infinitely more connected, globally. Everything and everyone is pushing its way onto our phones and into our lives. Notifying us that we are indeed connected. And reminding us that we need to remain connected.

Yet, we’ve become totally disconnected. From real life.

We’re so busy chasing after faster broadband or super fast fibre optic connections. Moaning that 3G is too slow. Groaning because 4G just about manages to buffer a feature length film in full HD.

When are we getting 5G?

Everything is speeding up.

We need to slow it down. Stop. Disconnect. Unplug.

And let our natural creativity flow.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ~ Ferris Bueller

Speed Limit

Here’s an interesting anecdote from someone I know who had to go to Speed School:

“If you drive above the speed limit you might arrive a few minutes earlier at your destination. But you greatly increase your chances of not getting there at all.”

This isn’t exactly revelatory.

Better late than never?

Life’s a marathon, not a sprint?

Slow and steady wins the race?

We’ve all heard these idioms, or variants of them, more often than we’d care to mention. Usually delivered with the gravitas of a sage by a parent. Or grandparent!

Beautifully cliché. Eye-roll inducing. Yet with their basis in a very simple truth.

As old and wrinkly as they may sound (not your parents/grandparents), there’s wisdom behind these idioms.

What’s the big rush?

Stop And Look Around

You only get to appreciate the pace, and fleetingness, of life once you’ve experienced enough of it to look back and wonder where it all went.

So, yes. What’s the big rush?

It’s amazing what you miss when you’re not looking. Ever bumped into someone or something whilst staring at your phone as you walk through town?

Look around you.

Children (especially children who cannot yet read) are highly observant. They don’t miss a thing.

They’re not distracted by the words and symbols that bombard us daily. These things hold no meaning for them. So they take in their surroundings. Completely.

Young children will notice the smallest detail.

Something that may have been there all along. Staring you in the face. But, as a busy adult, you fail to see. Overlook it because there are so many other things drawing your attention. Too much on your mind. Far too many distractions.

All too often, you can find yourself looking at the wrong thing.

Disconnect. Stop viewing the world through a phone.

And these things are getting in the way.

Reducing your productivity. Curtailing your creativity.

This Is Your Life

Rob Dial offers an interesting assessment of our Life Timeline.

With the best years of our life spent as a working adult it’s probably wise to seek enjoyment in what we do. But more importantly is to take time to actually live.

Nobody on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” ~ Senator Paul Tsongas

Shove those push notifications away!

They can wait.

Disconnect To Reconnect

We may all be infinitely more connected. So civilised and modern. Extremely knowledgeable and advanced. Yet detached from reality and our surroundings.

Everyone is always busy.

It’s as if we need to fill our lives with things to keep us occupied.

But actually, it’s ok to do nothing.

It’s ok to be bored.

And it’s perfectly fine to allow yourself to look out the window and daydream.

Disconnect. Then reconnect. With reality.

Take Time

You can’t make time.

Don’t try to find time.

Take your time instead.

Slow it all down. Take a good look around. Don’t just hear, actually listen.

Observe the world and all its subtleties.

Notice things.

Your capacity for creative thinking will increase.

As will your productivity.

 

Gareth

 

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What A Load Of Rubbish… We Found On Our Impromptu Family Beach Clean.

Bag full of rubbish collected on our Croyde beach clean.

A visit to the beach is always fun, and educational. Tides, waves, limpets, sea snails, anemones, crabs, rock formations, sand structures, rubbish and plastic waste; it’s all an opportunity for discovery and learning. And an open invitation to do a little beach clean in an attempt to preserve the beauty of our wonderful coastline.

I visited Croyde and all I got was this lousy bag full of rubbish!

I’m really lucky to live by some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Britain. The beaches here are stunning. Huge expanses of sand. Great rocky outcrops, perfect for rock-pooling. Rolling sand dunes. Amazing surf. Perfect.

Not quite.

A Saturday visit to the beach with my family, being chased by waves, splashing in rock pools, running up sand dunes and sliding down on our bums, quickly turned from enjoying the beautiful setting to a realisation that it wasn’t as idyllic as we first thought.

Moody Croyde

We didn’t even need to scratch beneath the surface. It was staring us in the face. Rubbish.

So our beach day out quickly became a family beach clean. A daddy. A mummy. A granny. A 5-year old. A 2-year old. A determination to do our little bit.

We’ve previously joined in with Surfers Against Sewage  (@sascampaigns) on beach organised cleans. But today was impromptu.

Surfers Against Sewage Logo

We simply didn’t like what we were seeing on our beach!

45min later we had a bag full of bits of fishing net, fishing ropes, plastic wrappers, plastic bottle tops, glass bottles, mermaid’s tears (little plastic pellets), plastic straws, bits of sanitary towels, crisp packets, cigarette packets, cigarette butts, amongst other bits miscellaneous bits of broken plastic. We had barely moved 10m up the sand dune.

Close up of the bag full of rubbish collected on our Croyde beach clean.

Now imagine if everyone who ever visited the beach spent half an hour of their visit collecting bits of rubbish. 

Now imagine if everyone who ever visited the beach took their rubbish with them and disposed of (recycled) it correctly.

Now imagine if everyone who ever visited the beach tried to reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging they used.

Now imagine what our beaches, coasts, seas and oceans might look like as a result.

This is definitely something we should all be saying “yes” to doing. And regularly!

I’m no eco-evangelist. It just struck me how much rubbish we found on a small patch of what is a very ‘clean’ beach.

If we all do our bit, the collective outcome will be greater than the sum of its parts.

And we’ll have coastlines, beaches, seas and oceans to enjoy forever.

Moody Croyde Panoramic

I’ve previously created One Minute Briefs ads on the subject of recycling and reducing plastic usage, for initiatives such as City to Sea (@CitytoSeaBrist)

City To Sea Logo

Creating an advert and driving up awareness is one thing. Practising what you preach is something else altogether.

I’m not satisfied with simply creating awareness. I want my kids to see me picking up rubbish. I want my kids to join me in cleaning up our beaches. I want other people to see us choosing to make this a part of our family day out. Looking after our environment together.

A beach clean. As a family.

The kids loved it! It was like a treasure hunt to them. They busily searched through the sand looking for bits of plastic they could contribute to the haul. We talked about what we found. Discussed the impact on the environment. And had fun doing it. Just as we’d had fun running away from the waves. Scrambling on rocks. Splashing in pools. Running up sand dunes and sliding back down again.

Collecting the detritus around us became another integral part of our beach trip.

Next time we hit the beach we’ll definitely get another bag of lousy rubbish!

You?

Gareth

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The Reason You Haven’t Done It Is Because No One Told You To: The Secret To Becoming Immediately More Creative And Productive.

Cardboard robot thinking about how to become more creative and productive

You have lived on a conveyor belt most of your life. It’s time to jump off and be more productive.

Some Assembly Required

The success behind mass production factory lines is they offer consistency. Sameness. A standardised product.

The raw materials are shaped and moulded as per a preconceived design. They are then sent along a conveyor belt and pieced together. By the end of the line you have your product. Fully assembled. And looking the same as every other product on the line.

Industry at its efficient best.

Unpicking The Metaphor

Now imagine the same scenario, but this time change the factory setting to a classroom. The conveyor belt is your compulsory education. And the different parts added along the production line are your subjects and predefined curriculum.

Everybody gets the same. Expectations are that we all learn exactly the same and need the same content in order to be fully functioning human beings.

We all sit the same exams. Because we all need to be standardised.

And any deviation from the expected norm is seen as a defect and steps are taken to fix it back into the standardised shape.

Square pegs are sanded down to fit into round holes.

Told what to think. How to think. When to think. And even what to do with these thoughts and what the expected outcome should be. Which is why you’re not as productive as you could be.

Education Dumbs You Down

There’s an interesting study by NASA which boldly suggests that “We are born creative geniuses and the education system dumbs us down”.

In this study 98% of children tested, between 4 and 5 years old, fell in the genius category of imagination.

And the adults tested?

Only 2%.

The researchers revisited their subjects every five years and found that at age 10, only 30% remained in the genius category of imagination.

A drop of 68% in only five years!

When tested again at age 15, the figure had dropped even further to 12%.

The outcome?

The longer you receive a conventional education the less likely you are to hold on to the creative problem solving and free thinking skills you had as a child.

Why Haven’t You Done It Yet?

Ask yourself this: “If someone tells me to do something, am I more likely to do it?”

Do you do things independently because you know there’s a value in being proactive?

Or are you more likely to put things off? Usually to the last minute? Until someone comes along and tells you it needs to get done? Urgently!

Sounds like the student approach to homework and revision to me!

Compliance At What Cost?

As much as educational establishments would like to think that they are equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need for the future, they are sadly doing the opposite.

Self-motivated, Resilient, Independent Thinkers with a propensity for creative problem-solving. They are in steady decline from the age of 4 – school age.

Cartoon of a teacher squaring children's thoughts

Instead we find a preconditioned majority.

Spoon fed. Hand held. Dependent. Passive. With a disdain for an education that they don’t value. Only completing tasks they are told to do, because they are told to do them. Not out of any genuine interest.

And as soon as they are no longer told what to do, they find themselves at a loose end. They can’t cope. Without approval and an imposed direction they lack the skills, confidence and motivation to self-start.

They don’t really want to do what they’re being told to do. But they don’t really know what it is they want to do instead.

So they comply.

Because that’s what everyone else is doing. It’s easier than having to figure things out for yourself. And it gets people off your back.

Turning The 2% Back Into The 98%

Recognising that we are all products straight off a factory assembly line, with an inherent fear of failure, is important if we are to rewire our thinking.

“You must do this if you are to be successful in your exams! You want to get good results right? If you don’t do this in exactly the way you’ve been told, you will fail!”

Sound familiar? Near enough?

We need to stop fearing failure and start embracing it. Start by trying some of these creative exercises.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you to do something. Recognise the value in being proactive.

Do it for yourself.

Not for approval.

Certainly not just because there’s an exam at the end!

There are few standardised tests once you leave education.

The most successful people don’t conform. And they certainly don’t wait around for someone to tell them to do something about it.

Five Steps Towards A More Productive And Creative You

These are easier said than done. But they are fundamental to breaking free from the assembly line mentality of passive acceptance and conformity.

  1. Teach yourself to do things. Don’t wait for someone to teach you.
  2. Learn what you want to learn, how you want to learn.
  3. Ask questions. Don’t expect immediate answers.
  4. Don’t seek approval, but also don’t fear disapproval.
  5. Celebrate difference. Embrace divergent thinking. Forget everything you’ve ever been told you can or cannot do.

Throw yourself into everything you do with the same reckless abandon as a five year old.

Who cares what anyone thinks? Who cares whether you succeed or fail? Get out of your own way.

Break the mould.

Free yourself of conventional thinking. Jump off that conveyor belt and be more productive. Not a product.

What are you waiting for?

Gareth

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