Graphic and Web Designers take and combine resources around them to create original content. Of course, a designer’s magic is in the way that they do just that – synthesize original content from the world around them. That being said, resources certainly do play a big part in a great design and today, more than ever, us designers are surrounded by fantastic free resources thanks to the internet. For this month, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite design-related resources around the web. Here they are:

1. Subtle Patterns – One of our personal favorites and a beautiful piece of web design in its own right, subtle patterns almost always hits the nail on the head. It has many nice and deeply un-offensive patterns to choose from when hunting for a background for a website (or any design project). A neat feature of the website is that you can try any of the patterns on as a background on the site itself instead of waiting to put it up on your own website.

2. FancyCrave – This site offers a daily royalty-free, commercially available photographs on a pretty regular schedule. As the site’s tumblr-theme may imply, the images on Fancy Crave definitely remind one of those populating the site–unique, high-quality, with an emphasis on photographic finesse. This is not the place to get all of your stock photos, but the ones you do find here are bound to make an impression.

3. Tango Icon library – The Tango Icon library contains a bulk of nicely-drawn icons with consistant styling available in vector formats with friendly licensing. For UI elements and icons that you want your user to recognize effortlessly, these provide a fantastic resource or starting-point for further modifications. Though the Tango Project asks that you use GIMP or Inkscape, of course Illustrator can handle the SVG’s as well if you want work with vector files and the Adobe Creative Suite is more your style.

4. Wikimedia Commons – While announcing wikimedia commons on a list of resources for designers and developers may seem like re-inventing the wheel, we think it too often goes forgotten on the search for free or unlicensed images. Wikimedia Commons does a great job at making explicit the licensing of each image you find and at press time contains 27,779,676 searchable pieces of media. When used right, one can turn up a nice picture or two in the common domain of almost any basic subject. Also, wikimedia commons has many vector resources available with similarly friendly licenses.

In addition to sharing the best Web Design resources we find, we took it upon ourselves to create our own, Css Checkbox. It simplifies the process of creating custom CSS checkboxes for any website you may be working on. While we aren’t going to include it on our own top 5 list, we do our best to make a valuable and powerful tool for those coding the web like us, on whatever level.