The biggest roadblocks that prevent people from getting started with building an app business is that they think that they need to know how to code and design graphics. As other app entrepreneurs have demonstrated, you don’t need to know how to make graphics for games.
These resources will get you up and running with high-quality graphics, so you can focus on making your app the best it can be. There are both free and paid resources on this list, so there is something for every budget.
Outsource Graphic Design
If you need something super custom, then outsourcing your app’s visual assets is the way to go. Here are a few places that you can look. The one that works best for you will depend on your needs and budget.
This is one of the first places to look for outsourced graphics talent. Get designs done for as little as $5.
Since the cost is so low, there are certainly varying degrees of quality. Just be sure to check on a designer’s rating before engaging them for a project.
Formerly oDesk and Elance, Upwork is a great place to find designers for your app project. I have been using the site for years and it can be a great resource, but you also need to spend some time interviewing candidates.
There is such a wide range of skills on the site that you need to examine their portfolios and find if they have the skills that you need.
There is a special section of their website that is dedicated to app graphic design. If you don’t know about 99 Designs, here is how it works…
You submit a project to the website and designers from all over the world submit designs. Then you choose the best one.
If you don’t like any of them, you get your money back.
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Sometimes you don’t need anything too fancy. That is when stock images are perfect for the job.
A great place to find free stock photography. They have a great search function that makes it super easy to find what you are looking for. Great for app splash screens or your app website.
This site makes promo photos easy. Check out these great iPhone photos. Just add your screenshot and go!
If you are looking for great iPhone templates, this is the place to get them. Also get fancy mockups and app demo videos.
I’m a big fan of Envato’s family of websites. Graphicriver is a great site for getting graphics that you need for your apps. Their prices strike a great balance between quality and value.
Justin (a member of Bluecloud Select) mentions this is his favorite resources for graphics.
Another great graphics resource is Shutterstock. Tasnim mentioned in his blog post that subscribing to Shutterstock was one of the turning points in his business. We’ve had a lot of success with Shutterstock both on Bluecloud and on some of our other projects.
It isn’t cheap, but the graphics are high quality and they have an extensive library.
This is a great little resource for getting free vector graphics. Get icons, patterns and much more.
They also have premium vectors if you are willing to pay a little more.
Really cool stuff!
This site provides both free and premium graphics for websites, print and of course, mobile apps. Their mobile app icon gallery is a great place to start.
Unity Asset Store
The Asset Store is a tremendous resource for Unity developers. There is a huge library of assets, including: 3D models, shaders, audio and much more. They also feature entire themed graphics packages so you have everything you need to create your next game.
Online Graphics Tools
Here are handy tools that you can use make your job easier. This stuff used to be really hard to do in the past, but now it is a snap.
App Icon Template
The best place to design icons with Photoshop and export to all required icon sizes. They have templates for OSX, Apple Watch and more.
This site is a timesaver when you need to make your PNG files as small as they can be, without losing quality. Just drag, drop and go!
Really important for keeping the total size of your app down to a minimum. It also gets my vote for the best homepage design on this list.
Do-It-Yourself App Graphics
After all this, if you insist on wanting to learn how to do graphics yourself, then there are some great resources for that too. Here are a couple of places where you can learn graphic design for apps.
It’s ridiculous, you can learn so many different skills on Lynda. Education on any part of app development is on the site. The prices are very reasonable too.
There are so many courses on Udemy that it can get a little confusing. Just choose one that meets your needs and budget and get started.
So those are the best resources for helping you high quality, yet affordable graphics for your next app. Also be sure to check out the UI Galleries and Design section on our Resources page.
Did we miss anything? What is your favorite site for getting app graphics? Let us know in the comments below…
A Bluecloud Select member mentioned a great resource that we thought should be added: https://creativemarket.com/blog/2015/02/16/25-photoshop-plugins-that-will-blow-your-mind
Great post Hugh!
As someone with minimal design skills (a bit of Photoshop and Illustrator), I’ve been able to save A TON of money by purchasing templates and modifying them as needed. Secondly, I frequently create, edit and resize my own icons with the App Icon Template you mentioned. Great tool for DIY instead of paying coder/designer to do this. I’ve also talked to dozens of Unity 3D developers who buy CRAZY 3D templates for under $30 with the http://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/ you mentioned. Their quality and prices are unbeatable!
Finally, Shutterstock is CRAZY expensive (I think around $240/month for unlimited downloads), but if you can find 2-3 friends/peers who also need the service, the resources are top quality. I’ve done this in the past, and it has been a huge cost saver. Thanks again!
There is not doubt that game graphics always take longer than the coding. Game developers can get free game graphics at game assets stores to make their game development easier and quicker.