Image websites

When  you need images for a design project where do you look? The easiest thing to do is search Google Images and take whatever you find; but what about copyright and the original artist? As an aspiring designer I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due so hopefully others will give me the same respect. So here are the sites I like best for free images:

Open Clip Art Library

All images uploaded to the Open Clip Art Library are released to the public domain, so they are free for personal or commercial use. All images can be downloaded in .png or .svg format, so they are easily scalable to any size you might need. The quality is somewhat variable since it’s all volunteer contributions, but a lot of the images are incredible.

Free source of volunteer-contributed photography, released to the public domain so you can use it for any of your projects. You can’t redistribute the images, but they are free for use.

Flickr: Creative Commons

Flickr provides a way to easily browse images based on the Creative Commons license they were released under. They explain what the different licenses mean, so you can find attribution only images for all your projects, or some of the more restrictive licenses, like attribution, no derivatives, non-commercial. There are millions of images available, although the quality does vary somewhat since they are user-contributed. If you have some patience for browsing and trying a variety of keywords, you can typically find images that will work for your needs.

Icon Archive

I absolutely love icons and iconography. I think there’s genius in taking a complex idea and distilling it down to the simplest representation. I use icons any time I’m trying to convey a complex or abstract idea, but I’ll probably devote a whole post (or several) to this subject. Icon Archive has some wonderful, high quality icon sets, typically available in .png format. You should look closely at the icon set for the licensing though, as it varies depending on what the artist has specified. All images are free to download, but you should still check the licensing to make sure you’re respecting the rights of the creator.

I admit I’m not totally versed in intellectual copyright law, do any of you know some good resources to learn more? What are your favorite sites for images? I highlighted free sites here since I’m mostly a hobbyist, if you frequently use commercial stock images, what are the best sites for that?


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