Show Me the Resources

Where can I find help with design?

Show Me the Resources

Design resources are everywhere - but only if your eyes and ears are open to receive them. When I was a student of design I was always amazed when my fellow students would remark on my ability to find ideas in the smallest detail of other products, find articles about design from the most obscure resource. When asked how I did it, my reply was always, persistence and perception.

As a teacher of design, whether visual communication, materials or even food, I am continually amazed by students who study the discipline of design but remain closed to the world of possibilities around them. So, before I continue to preach to an audience who is thoughtfully reading a blog to help them open their eyes, here is my advice to help you open your eyes to design.

The first and most obvious thing to do is, open your eyes to design. Be objective and analyse everything you see, touch, taste and smell. Look and note everything - the style of the street signs and light posts, the tram or bus stop design, the layout and flow of room, the fine lines on cars and motorbikes, the typography or logos used by corporate advertising and publications and the sense of fashion people wear including the colours, lines, patterns, expense and quality of the fabrics. Take everything in and compare everything to anything. Be a sponge!

Next, document and annotate all of your observations. When I was a student of design, this meant carrying around a camera and sketchbook and either photographing or sketching what I saw and writing quick notes about my observations. Now, before I comment on how technology has changed this this process, let me highlight how the 'traditional' way of doing things can help you as a designer.

Having to sketch everything with a pencil or better yet a pen (helps you commit to strokes and draw with a single line of intent instead of drawing short sketchy lines that make the drawing look 'fury' ) in a traditional cartridge paper sketch book enhances the designer's ability to draw using a variety of drawing systems with speed and confidence. This is a fundamental requirement of any professional designer and a quality many consultancies are again looking forward in design graduates. Remember, quick, accurate and detail freehand sketching and rendering skills always trumps computer aided design skills in idea conceptualisation and development

Nonetheless, even if you avoid the 'traditional' techniques, the huge array of 21st century recording methods now makes it inexcusable for a student of design to record and be influenced by the world around them. Today, one only needs to own a smart phone, tablet or hybrid laptop to be able to record and comment on everything around them. Each of these devices offers access to apps that allow you to sketch, capture, log, record, annotate, and most importantly document and share your thoughts and observations. Here is but a sample of useful apps and their author's descriptions;

Apps for Sketching

Adobe Ideas

Adobe® Ideas gives you the ability to draw freeform vector illustrations wherever you are. Replace your pen and paper with a huge virtual canvas, customizable brushes, and pressure sensitive stylus support. With a Creative Cloud membership, easily sync Adobe Ideas projects to Creative Cloud and open them for refinement in Illustrator. With Ideas, it's easy to take your initial concept to finished design. You can also share your designs to other applications such as Behance and Photoshop Touch.


Graphite Lite allows 2 drawings at a time and exports files with a small watermark.Trace your photos or draw freehand! Capture form, light and shadow with Graphite's simple interface and expressive tools.


Make professional quality designs, illustrations and technical drawings on the move using your fingers at last! iDesign has unique features and offset controls which allows you to draw accurately with your finger not getting in the way or blocking your view.

Check out the iDesign Product Tour and also the New Features video on YouTube - link available on developer website at www.touchaware.com. User Guide in PDF & A full set of video tutorials available on the developer website.

Ideas Flux

Ideas Flux is all you need to have an ever growing source of ideas and creativity at your fingertips. New ideas will keep flowing your way through this simple yet powerful and practical app.

Ideas Flux is a free ideas platform, with lots of free creative ideas, and more ideas available through in-app purchases. The App comes with several pre-installed idea lists, and you can unlock and download more idea list on a variety of topics.


Pencilicious is an intuitive and powerful drawing, sketching and note-taking app for your iPad. Pencil, pen and calligraphy brushes look like real ink on paper, but strokes can be easily manipulated and modified.


The most natural digital handwriting experience on iPad, Penultimate gives you the convenience and feel of writing on paper with the added power and availability of Evernote. Take notes in class or a meeting, journal your thoughts, or outline your next big idea -- in the office, on the go, or at home on the sofa.

Qvik Sketch Pro

Qvik Sketch Pro is one those cool things that you just plain need on your iPhone and iPad. Draw sweet looking sketches quickly regardless of your drawing skills. Qvik Sketch Pro makes bad looking pictures look good, and great looking drawings look awesome. Try it, draw it, share it.

Qvik Sketch Pro features technology that will make the simplest of doodles look like nicely sketched or inked images. Select your color and brush of choice and express yourself. Then share your fabulous creations with your Facebook friends or save them on the device. Quick, easy, effortless - the way all apps should be.

Sketchbook Pro

Autodesk SketchBook® Pro for iPad is a professional-grade paint and drawing application. Using the same paint engine as its desktop counterpart, SketchBook Pro delivers a complete set of sketching & painting tools through a streamlined and intuitive user interface designed exclusively for the iPad experience.

Apps for Design Briefs

Brief buddy

An app for breaking the creative block in responding to design briefs.

Apps for Typography

iFontMaker™ is the first font editor exclusive for iPad. With the touch interface, your 100% original hand typeface can be done in 5 minutes¹. You can email the typography or convert it into a TTF file² available in all applications such as Adobe® CreativeSuite™, Microsoft® Office™, and also in your web site as a web font³!


Typefaces is a font viewer for iPhone and iPad. This application shows you all the fonts in your device and all the glyphs included those fonts.


TypeDrawing is super easy and perfect for creating typography art and even unique watermarks on your photos. Type a sentence, then just draw with your finger. Voila! You've now got a one of a kind, totally unique and amazing typographic work of art. If you love typography, or even if you don't know what that means, you can easily create poetic visual art with this fun and easy-to-use app.

Apps for Journals

Daily Notes

Whether you want to take notes in meetings, record key points while reading a book or would like to just jot down your passing thoughts - this app is for you.

Notes Plus

If you have to take notes for many hours a day everyday, if your time is more valuable to you than five dollars saving on the App Store, if personal support within 24 hours is important to you, then you need this high quality note-taking app. Please read other user reviews to find out why it's worth it.


Get the ultimate quick note app for your iOS device! Replace those paper sticky notes with handwritten or text notes on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Pin them to a virtual cork board within the app and set alarms and alerts, or "Stick" your note on your launcher screen for that extra visual reminder!


Notebooks provides you with convenient ways to quickly write down notes, carefully create beautiful documents, manage simple task lists and complex projects, and store and organize your files and records.


Moodboard is the perfect app for creating mood and inspiration boards on your iPad. This latest version features support for the incredible new Retina Display. Collect, organize, and share the things that inspire you!

Apps for Sharing


Twitter is the place to get breaking news, local updates, global events, inspiration and good conversations.


Keeping up with friends is faster than ever.
• See what friends are up to
• Share updates, photos and videos
• Get notified when friends like and comment on your posts
• Text, chat and have group conversations
• Play games and use your favorite apps
Read our Data Use Policy, Terms and other important info in the legal section of our App Store description.


Pinterest is a tool to help you discover and plan things you want to do. When you find something that looks interesting, just Pin it! Pins are visual bookmarks that you organize and share the way you want.


Follow the world's creators.

- Post anything: Share photos, video, quotes, chats, links, and text.
- Multiple blogs: Seamlessly manage all of your blogs.
- Advanced controls: Save drafts, queue posts, and more!
- Messages: View and reply to messages.
- Offline support: Post, like, reply, and reblog even when you're not connected!


Opportunity is always within reach with the LinkedIn app for iPhone and iPad. Build your personal brand, network to create meaningful connections, and engage with professional content – right from your LinkedIn app.

Written by Andrew Nicholls, Posted in Latest News

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About the Author

Andrew Nicholls

Andrew Nicholls

Andrew Nicholls is a qualified Industrial Designer, Educator and OHS specialist. After completing his Bachelor Degree in Design (Industrial Design) in 2001, he worked in a number of Design related industries before returning to University to complete a Post Graduate Diploma of Education. Over the course of his teaching career Andrew has worked for a number of government schools in both rural and urban settings. His understanding and professional educational and design design practices have been utilised to educate students in Art, Visual Communication, History and Occupational Health and Safety. Andrew has also worked on curriculum documentation, examination writing and marking and folio cross-marking.