22 free websites that are useful for architects

colour adobe

Originally published in Archdaily 

Being an architect is hard. At times, you’re expected to act as everything from a graphic designer to a handyman (or woman), from a data scientist to a writer, or from a computer programmer to a public speaker. And, you’re expected to do all these things on little to no sleep and for a much lower wage than you’re probably worth. But don’t fear – the internet is here to help (it’s not just a place to procrastinate, you know).

Here are 22 free websites that can help you in the never ending quests for efficiency, knowledge and good taste. Whether you’re selecting the perfect color scheme for a presentation or graph, tracking the price of your next big purchase, solving technical problems or simply trying to balance your sleep and caffeine intake, there’s something in this list to help everyone.


1. https://color.adobe.com/

Are you a big fan of Richard Meier? The type of architect who wears all black, every day? You might need a little help with color. Select from six different methods to create a clor scheme and instantly create a set of five colors to use in your diagrams & presentation boards.

2.  https://www.screenr.com/

Perhaps you’re the resident BIM expert at your practice, or perhaps you’re just good at solving technical problems. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to record a tutorial so you only have to explain things once? With Screenr, you can record your screen to share software tutorials between your friends & colleagues.

3. http://camelcamelcamel.com/

It can be expensive to have nice things. With this website you can track the price of that book, lens, camera or computer you’ve been wanting to buy and get alerted when it drops.

4. http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp

A lot of architects aren’t natural-born writers. Use this tool to find out which words you are over-using in your project descriptions.

5. http://www.caffeineinformer.com/death-by-caffeine

You can’t do work if you’re dead. Make sure that doesn’t happen by checking your caffeine intake with this handy tool.

6. http://www.librivox.org

That complex facade was a great idea – until you had to draw it in CAD. You’ll need something to keep your mind busy – find an audiobook to listen to while you work.

7. http://www.sleepyti.me

Did you know that waking up at the end of a sleep cycle can leave you more refreshed than if you’d slept for a little longer? With Sleepytime, you can optimize your time in the studio and your state of mind by calculating when you should go to bed.

8. http://www.productchart.com/flashdrives/

The world of flash drives can be a minefield. Do you go for the option that gives you the most space for your money, or the one that has the most space, period? Perhaps you don’t care about either of those things but can’t live without a flash drive you can wear as cufflinks (yes, that exists). Find the perfect flash drive out of the 195 most popular on Amazon.

9. http://search.creativecommons.org/?lang=en 

Many websites such as Wikimedia and Flickr offer ways to search creative commons images that you are free to reuse in presentations – but with this search you can check all these libraries at once to find content to use, remix & share.

10. http://tools.medialab.sciences-po.fr/iwanthue/

Another color generating tool, but this time instead of creating a merely attractive color scheme you get one that features visually distinct colors for graphs and charts. Made for data scientists, this is the perfect way to disply information like a pro.

11. http://www.mapchart.net/

Create custom maps of the World, Europe, United States or UK with colors and descriptions of your choice

12. http://www.zamzar.com/

Of course, you do what you can to keep all your files safe and in the right format, but it’s not always enough. Maybe you have a pdf of an old presentation, but now you need one of the jpegs that went into it? Zamzar supports over 1,200 different file conversions, and for large conversions they’ll even email you when it’s ready.

13. http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/

As an architect, you probably spend most of your time among piles of paper up to eye level. But you might not have graph paper. From this site you can download custom, printable graphpaper – because you really don’t need to buy any more.

14. http://bulkresizephotos.com/

Have an album of site photos? You need to resize every single one? With this tool, you can bulk resize photos, without even uploading them – the magic happens right there in your browser.

15. http://thistothat.com/

Adding unusual materials to your model to perfectly reflect a building’s materiality is all well and good, until the glue you’ve chosen melts straight through it. Avoid sticky mishaps with this glue database.

16. http://www.flaticon.com/

An explanatory diagram is often only as good as the icons that go into it. Unleash the potential of your diagrams with the internet’s largest database of free vector icons.

17. https://www.bonanza.com/background_burner

Perfect for creating background-free people and objects to photoshop into your renders, this tool will take any photo and remove that pesky opaque background.

18. http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/

Have you got a key image that is the basis for a presentation? Perhaps you should find a color scheme that perfectly matches it?

19. http://mondrian.io/

Can’t afford  Illustrator? With this online tool you can create vector drawings in your browser and download as png or svg.

20. https://www.draw.io/

Similar to the Mondrian tool, this tool can help you to make flow charts and diagrams, saving them straight to your Dropbox,  Drive or your hard drive.

21. http://ezgif.com/

Just ask the internet: gifs are cool. Ezgif offers a gif maker and toolset to create, resize, crop, reverse, optimize, and apply effects to gifs.


Who knows what strange fact might be the inspiration for your next project. Will it be US overseas loan data? Tourism statistics in Europe? The Australian consumer price index? This tool not only collects information from hundreds of public data providers, but automatically graphs the results.




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