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As we’ve covered here before, images are what drives engagement and EdgeRank on Facebook. But beyond that general strategy, there is the actual work that goes into creating rich-media graphics that people want to view and share. Finding that right mix of efficient and quality is key for designers.

I think we can all agree there is an exhausting amount of free design resources on the Web, most of which can be categorized as “time you’ll never get back.” Let’s cut through the fat and explore some sites worth bookmarking for return visits:

1. Lost Type Co-op
We’ve all been to the free font sites that leave you feeling less than inspired. Lost Type has made high-end typography accessible to the Average Joe. Just name your price (zero to infinity) and access some drool-worthy typefaces.
Honorable mentions: Font Squirrel, What the Font

2. Creative Commons
In 2011, more than 4.5 million photos were uploaded to Flickr a day. So, it makes sense that we should be able to utilize those images in our own work. Creative Commons makes it easier for people to share the vast array of creative work we find online. Try an advanced search under Flickr’s Creative Commons-licensed work, and you’ll find photographs that can be used commercially, modified, adapted or built upon.

3. Subtle Patterns
Every design is one simple texture away from perfection. Choose from hundreds of seamless patterns to elevate your project to the next level.
Honorable mention: Lost & Taken

4. The Noun Project
Sometimes you need a few simple icons to fill in the gaps. The Noun Project houses a free catalog of searchable icons. Anyone can submit their designs to the growing collection, so it’s a Utopian collective of creativity.
Honorable mention: Designmoo

5. Dribbble
When all else fails, get lost in good design. Dribbble is an online community for designers to share their work and get feedback from other artists. When you’re feeling creatively stifled and need some inspiration to kickstart your right brain, this is the place to go.

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