Look into the best source for free images. Make your designs complete, attractive, and purposeful.
People can comprehend information in a lot of ways but images prove to be the most effective tool in explaining anything. A lot of information can be processed from a picture in seconds. Reading about the same amount of information can take longer. Aside from saying a lot for less, images are also more memorable compared to plain text.
In this post, you will find out why images are important in design, what are the things to consider when choosing images, and where you can find free images for any design project.
Images and Design
Those who are in the creative industry, such as graphic designers, work with a lot of images. There are many reasons why images are used in a design, including how it helps people to understand better. Infographics, images, and icons are examples of images that can demonstrate how something works. They make each step clearer than explaining in words alone.
Images also create an emotional connection whereas it would be difficult when using just words. They make any message look more personal and allow the designer to reach people on an emotional level. This is why they are added to different promotional campaigns. People tend to follow the intended action from the connection they felt with a certain design that has touching imagery.
Among those who heavily rely on images for design are social media content creators. Social media posts need images to make them more engaging. Images also encourage more likes and shares so posts get to have more attention able to reach more people.
Finally, images can help create a brand statement. It leaves a positive impression that makes a brand look compassionate and reliable to the audience.
What Makes a Good Image?
When people do not have the time to read, they are most likely to choose an image that can explain better than the text. In the design realm, however, you cannot just simply pick out any image. There are many considerations that you have to keep in mind so that you will have the most impact on your design projects when using images.
It is a must to understand the purpose of having an image in a design. It has to help achieve the ultimate goal of making the audience understand the context at a glance. When searching for free images, it would help to ask yourself if it is relevant to the purpose, the message you want to come across, and the demographics of your chosen audience. These are important because they will make the design more understandable and relatable at the same time.
The internet is loaded with millions of free images. One of the key considerations in choosing an image is style. Image style may refer to a lot of parameters like the technical features. Is it in black and white, sepia, or full color? Is the temperature cold or warm? Is it comical or serious? There are many styles but only one thing should be kept in mind. And it is that the style must be in line with the tone of the message that you are trying to imply in your design. If it is for a brand, the image style must be in line with the current branding style. Although you can have customized images for this purpose, there’s no reason why you can’t have free images too, especially if they do fit in the style that you are going for.
Upon looking for free images, you have to always check for both copyright and licensing aspects. Just because it shows up in a Google search does not mean that you can freely use the pictures. The images may be copyrighted so you cannot legally use them unless you purchase a license or at least obtain written permission from the rightful owner. Otherwise, you expose yourself to potential legal issues.
Aside from the aforementioned considerations, you have to also look into the technical aspects, such as the resolution, clarity, adjustments, crop, and size. The image must be in high resolution so that it will look good whether on print or web use. It must be crystal clear and not blurry, especially when adjusted to fit the design. There must also be enough space to work around the image so that you can add other elements, like text. Lastly, you have to check whether there is a need to adjust the temperature, and brightness or you need to remove any distractions.
Where to Find Free Images
Now that you are aware of what to look for when searching for free images, the next question is where to find them? You have plenty of options but the most obvious choice is stock images.
Here are over 25 sites that you can turn to when you need awesome images for any design projects:
Although it is mainly a premium site for royalty-free images, audio, videos, and vector files, 123RF also offers plenty of free images for its members. Signing up for an account is free and you only need to pay for the premium files. As for the free stuff, you can download them but they almost always come in low-quality resolutions. Attribution is also required and you need to download the images that you like right away. The free inventory constantly shifts so you have to be quick at downloading the image before it is gone.
This site is like a community of generous artists and photographers that offers beautiful images for free. What makes Unsplash special is that all images are licensed to be used freely. With an Unsplash license, you can use downloaded images for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. They do not require permission but would appreciate attribution. The catch is that you cannot sell the images as is or make a website that is similar to Unsplash and with photos downloaded from their library.
Unlike common stock photography sites, Death to Stock Photo sends out images by email to its members once a month. You need to supply an email address but what is nice about it is that you are guaranteed to have high-quality photos that you can use to create whatever project you want. A photo pack is sent out right away after signing up. You are not required to add attributes when using the images that you received.
Most newbie entrepreneurs struggle to create their materials for marketing purposes. Especially now that social media marketing is on the rise, it is essential to have high-quality images to go along with awesome content. Burst is a free stock photo site that is specifically made by Shopify for entrepreneurs. Not only do you get to have your hands on high-quality images, but you will also have access to business tips and ideas that will be useful in growing your own business.
This site has a gigantic collection of royalty-free stock photos but they do have free stuff for its members. There is a captcha for every image download but is worth your time since they are stunning. You only need to put attributes when using the downloaded images as payment. There are over 10,000 free images up for grabs in their gallery and some of it is in high-quality resolution.
If you are wondering if there is a website where you can find all stock images that are available on the internet, Every Stock Photo claims that it is it. Images from other stock photo sites, like Flickr and Wikimedia Commons, are available here. There is no payment required to be a member and only attribution is required for most of the images. Since it has a humungous library, except for the search function to be a little wonky. Some members also complain about how small the thumbnails are. These are minor issues though as you will have access to some high-resolution images without paying for anything.
There are over 200 million images on Foter so it is acceptable to say that it has all types of images that you can need for any of your projects. Most of the downloads require attribution and a link back. Those who are using WordPress will find it extremely easy to use since it has a built-in plugin for it. Aside from a seamless search, the site also offers stunning high-resolution images in its library.
Most problems of using free images from the internet stem from the fact that they can be copyrighted. This is why Pexels is a go-to stock site for many designers because it uses Pexels License and Creative Commons license for all of its photos. These licenses ensure that there will be no copyright conflicts that would arise when using the images from their site. All downloaded images can be edited and used in any way, even for commercial purposes.
9. Free Images
This site has its license for all images on the website. They can be used for both commercial and personal use. Although you can use its images in an unlimited number of projects, the team clearly expresses on their terms of an agreement that you will not have exclusive rights to the photos. Other users may also use the same content for their projects. You can easily work around this clause by modifying the images that you download. This is even better since you can edit the photos to better fit your style and design.
Being around for so many years, Pixabay is quite a popular choice among stock image libraries. All photos are licensed under Creative Commons Zero so you can use downloaded images without permission from the artists. No attribution is also required but it would be much appreciated if you give credit to the owner. Since it has a huge library, the site reminds every user to be responsible for checking if the content is suitable to use and does not violate any rights.
If you are looking for generic stock images, you can check out this site. It is not required to sign up for a membership to download any of the stock images. Attribution, however, is required and a lengthy captcha has to be entered before each download. This is fine since you get to search the large gallery for free.
If you are mainly using Flickr, Openclipart, and Pixabay for stock images, you can instead choose FreeImages.Pictures. It has all photos from those sites and more. This will make it a tad easier to search for specific images without having to visit individual sites. There is no need to sign up for membership and not all downloads require attribution when used. It also has Google Custom Search on site but be careful when using it since the results sometimes include images that are not copyright-free.
Are you designing a nature-inspired project? Check out GetRefe for impressive nature-inspired stock images. They are free to download even without signing up for membership. There is also no need to put attributes when using the images. Although it has quite a small collection, it is guaranteed that you will have stunning outdoorsy images that will be great for any design project.
14. Good Free Photos
This site has more than enough free public domain images for everyone. Some of the photos are in high resolution and no membership or attribution is required if you want to download them. Most of the photos are contributed by travelers, both from the US and other countries. You can search by location and type or go straight to the gallery to search for specific images.
Photographer Ryan McGuire offers free high-resolution images from this site. Although it has a smallish library, what makes it great is that the composition is interesting. Some photos have a touch of humor and some are emotional. These will be great for creating one-of-a-kind designs that tug to the heart.
16. Life of Pix
A Canadian-based site, Life of Pix has plenty of public domain images that are free to be used for both personal and commercial projects. There are no copyright restrictions on all photos and you do not have to be a member to download them. You will also not be required to attribute when using downloaded images, although it will be great to credit the Leeroy Advertising Agency all images on the website are donated by them.
17. Little Visuals
If you are feeling adventurous when searching for free images, you can try Little Visuals. The team posts seven high-quality images every seven days. The themes are mostly textures, atmosphere, and moody so you can just imagine how they would be awesome in any design project. You can download all seven images in zip format even if you are not a member.
While it may seem that Magdeleine is just like any other stock photo site, it is better because of its neat search function. Unlike other sites where you usually search using keywords, you can search by color, license, or category on Magdeleine. This is going to be easy for you to search for images that will match your design style. The only downside is that because the images are coming from tons of other sites, you have to be responsible for checking for licenses and copyrights for all downloaded images.
This site is one of the oldest and most-acclaimed image repositories on the internet. Many illustrators, designers, and comic book artists use it to search images for references for their creative pursuits. It is easy to search and download images from the site even without signing up. You also have to check for individual copyright and license agreements when using downloaded images.
The eastern side of the world is full of stunning colors. If you want to be inspired by the richness of the eastern culture for your design project, you must check out the stock images from Moveast. The moving images feature spectacular scenes of the eastern world. There is no attribution required or signing up to download the images. The gallery is not that big but every image is in high-quality resolution.
What makes Canva popular among graphic artists is that it has a lot of free images that you can download and use for your design projects. The advantage of searching the stock image from this site is that you can edit downloaded images in an instant. Canva is mainly a graphic design tool that has everything you need to design and create custom graphics. It is quite handy if you need to have interesting images that are to be used for social media posts, websites, or blog content.
Before the influx of social media platforms, Flickr was the bomb of its era. It is one of the oldest image hosting platforms where you can search and download images for free. Just make sure to filter your search to show photos that allow modifications and commercial use so you will not be facing copyright infringement issues later on.
Variety is what PicJumbo offers to both members and non-members. The free images can be used for any kind of project. Aside from searching on its vast library, you may also subscribe to its newsletter and receive new images straight on your email. Although the free image collection is already great, the premium photos are amazing and are worth shelling out a few bucks for.
24. Photo Everywhere
Travel adventures are one of the most common design inspirations by many creatives. Photo Everyone has a lot of travel stock images that you can download for free. What makes it fun to use is that you can search using keywords or use the map for location-specific photos. No membership or attribution is required but you can purchase the images if you want through ValueStockPhoto. Purchasing may not be necessary since most of the photos are already in high-resolution. It is only encouraged if your project will require higher resolution photos.
Raumrot may have a small gallery of free stock images but it is only because each of the images is hand-picked and in high-quality resolutions. There is no attribution or membership required to search and download their photos.
Membership is required to use RGBStock but it is all worth it because all images on this site are 100% free to download and use for all kinds of creative projects. The images are all in high resolutions so you will have no problem when using them in your design.
27. Skitter Photo
Three Dutch photographers contribute to this site where you can download high-quality images for free. It has a small gallery but everything on it is stunning. The still photos are worth downloading since they will be great for commercial use. No need to sign up or put attributes on downloaded images.
As you can see, there are a lot of resources where you can get high-quality and free images for all your design projects. They are perfect for creating designs for marketing and advertising, publishing, blogs, websites, and other purposes.
Images and design are quite inseparable in this day and age of the internet and social media. From illustrations, infographics, photos, icons, and more, images are important in making a design complete, attractive, and purposeful.
There are all kinds of free images in every topic and style imaginable with all the resources from above. All that you need to do is to discover the most incredible ones for your project.