I have made a collection of the best and useful online tools & resources for industrial designers, most of them picked from different threads from the forums.
Textures are basically pictures of materials that can be projected on a model to stimulate the visual characteristics of the real material.
Free Stock Images
Beautiful stock images for your presentations, mood boards and persona collages. Always check the terms & conditions before you use the images.
Persona Collage Creator
Polyvore – A quick and easy tool to create collages for persona
Color Inspiration & Tools
Adobe Kuler – Application for generating color themes that can inspire any project
COLOURlovers – A resource that monitors and influences color trends. COLOURlovers gives the people who use color – whether for ad campaigns, product design, or in architectural specification – a place to check out a world of color, compare color palettes, submit news and comments, and read color related articles and interviews.
Color Blender - Tool for color matching and palette design
You should know the following portfolio hosting tools
Image Hosting & Sharing
Pict.com – Fast and easy to use image hosting tool, without registration, crowded ads and bandwidth limitations. You can upload as many images (JPG, GIF and PNG) as you want at the same time and they are stored for life time if you follow their terms and conditions. Only JPG, GIF and PNG image file types can be uploaded. You can even save your favorite images from the web by uploading from the URL of the image.
All images are saved on your personal album page and can be bookmarked and images from the album can be emailed to your friends or posed on blogs and forums. Of course all images can be deleted with just one click. You can also use the Firefox add-on which allows you to easily make screenshots and right-click web images and upload them to Pict.com.
Salary/Hour Rate Indicators
AIGA Salary Calculator - Based on US surveys
Freelanceswitch Hourly Rate Calculator – Based on your costs, number of billable hours and desired profit.
PayScale – Salary Comparison, Salary Survey, Wages
FreshBooks – Invoicing application for freelancers and small business owners. You can easily create professional looking invoices and you can make use of a time tracking tool to bill your clients by hour. The free membership allows you to manage unlimited invoices for a maximum of 3 clients.
Blinksale is similar to FreshBooks, but it is more simpler in functions, as it has no time tracking tool. The free membership allows you to send 3 invoices per month.
Search for patents to check if your idea is new or done before like 10 years ago, before applying for your patent to protect your innovative design to prevent unnecessary costs.
IdeMat – A tool for material selections in the design process, provides a database with technical information about materials, processes and components.
MatWeb - Searchable database of material properties includes data sheets of thermoplastic and thermoset polymers
The A to Z of Materials – Material database
Ecolect – Discover green materials
IDES – The Plastics Web
Always useful to get your design research insights with surveys
These online brainstorming tools are quite useful when you are brainstorming on remote distance