my favorite website to help with design was CSSnewbie.
for a text editor, i used komodo edit.
i made all of my projects withprocessing, which is a relatively easy to use programming language kind of like java, for use by artists and designers.
for the creation of the art, i used a variety of tools:
gimp for general photo editing.
fractal lab,fragmentarium, context free art, structure synth , quadrium 2, and artmatic for fractal rendering and generative art