How to Get Free Images and Make Your Content Shine

It’s not a secret that people perceive images faster than words and get the first impression by visuals. With the increasing pace of information load and consumption today due to media and the Internet, this factor, as well as many other benefits of visuals, have a big impact on both user experience and business goals. Regarding the experience of Icons8, a team of the one-stop resource providing various design assets for creators, today we offer you to discuss the following points:

  • Why it’s important to get quality images and solve the problem of boring content
  • How to get free images in case you are limited in the budget (we will share 4 helpful tools).
Illustration from Ouch
Illustration from Ouch

Why Images Are Important for Your Content

In both physical and digital worlds, visual elements present a multifunctional tool in all kinds of creative fields. Be it a website, blog, mobile application, email, slides of PowerPoint presentation or printouts on the lessons, newspaper or leaflet, and so on, and so forth – consuming information from different sources and solving their problems with different products, people expect images in them by default. There are several major reasons why visuals are necessary, for example:

  • Images are noticed and decoded faster than text so the key message is transferred quickly
  • They effectively strengthen a visual hierarchy of a page or screen
  • They activate the psychology of color, shapes and visual metaphors
  • It can be used to amplify the emotional and aesthetic appeal; they are a good way to add humor and fun
  • They are eye-catchy and draw users’ attention to the necessary details
  • In user experience design, pictures are supportive in building up usability and scannability
  • Without images, the content looks boring, unemotional and tiring

Still, it doesn’t mean you have to overload your article, interface or presentation with images of all kinds. The factors you’d better consider, choosing images, are the following:

  • Images should work and contribute to achieving the goal, not just decorate
  • Poor-quality visuals spoil the general impression from the product, even if it’s useful and functions properly
  • The choice of visuals should be based on the analysis of the target audience
  • Too many visual elements distract users’ attention, so use them moderately and select them carefully.
Photo from moose
Photo from Moose

Popular Types of Images

There are three popular types of images, used by modern creators for a variety of goals.

  1. Photos: as the type of visuals that accompanies people much longer than the Internet, photos feel natural in many contexts and present one of the easiest and quickest tools of setting realistic and emotional associations with the real world.
  2. Illustrations: both traditional and digital illustrations are trendy now as they are effective in adding creativity and visual originality to digital and print products.
  3. Icons: this type of graphics presents concise and meaningful symbols for a variety of needs, such as navigation and content classification.

In case, you have in-house designers, illustrators, and photographers, perhaps you will create all the visual content for your product with them. However, many businesses and individual creators don’t have such an opportunity: they either outsource the task of pictures production or search for relevant images in stock websites, resources, and tools.

Here we’ll tell you about some of them, created and shared by Icons8.

Tools to Get Free Images of High Quality

Ouch! Vector Illustrations

Ouch Vector Illustrations

Let’s start with digital illustrations that have grown into a hot design trend recently. In case you have no illustrators onboard but need cool graphics, Ouch is the resource where you can get them. It is the growing library of free vector illustrations for creators that don’t draw.

Ouch provides a variety of graphics and clipart images in different design styles, so you have a choice of illustrations that won’t leave your content boring. This way the resource helps creators to make their products look eye-pleasing and professional.

Vectors from the Fogg pack
“No connection” screens with vectors from the Fogg pack

At the moment, the library shares the sets of free vector illustrations in 19 styles, and the collection is growing all the time. Some illustrations are just cut out for screens of user interfaces or can be used as clip art for slides and handouts while the others got extremely popular as blog illustrations and visuals for emails.

  • The Abstract pack is often seen in blogs as well as emails
  • Pablo pack of vectors is now popular for landing pages and blog articles
  • App screens designed with illustrations from Pluto pack

All the vector illustrations can be downloaded and used free for a link. Or users can pay for even more. With the license, users can:

  • Use images without credits
  • Get source files for vectors and edit them
  • In addition, get full access to icons, photos, and music.

Moose: Free Stock Photos Designed to Work Together

When creators have no budget and skills for custom photo shooting or are limited in time, they usually search for the photos on stock photo websites. There’s a variety of them now, but they all share the same problems: they are either expensive or limited, often both. Picking the good photos, corresponding to your goals and style you strive for, can be a complicated and time-consuming issue. The challenge gets even harder if you need a collection of photos in one style so that they would look consistent together on one page or across one resource. That problem can be solved with Moose photo stock.

Moose is a resource of stock photos made under professional production. Let’s revise some benefits.

  • Photos are made by a movie-scale team: directors, photographers, stylists, makeup artists, prop designers, an architect, a 3D modeler, a post-production team, and two collage artists.
  • Photos present the variety of themes in clean stylish performance.
  • All the images are free for a link.
  • All the pictures can effectively work together and support visual harmony and consistency of the content they are applied to.
  • AI and web developers combine images with backgrounds and 3D-rendered scenes. It makes the library of images more flexible for users’ goals.
  • You can also request a photo or a theme for photos you need.
  • You can mix and recompose your own photo collage in Photo Creator.

Photo Creator: Making Custom Photo Collages for Your Stories

Photo creator

Photo Creator is a free simple tool that lets users quickly create realistic photo collages using a huge Moose photo gallery or adding other images.

Explainer Video https://youtu.be/WC71Rdg_Hng

The major problem of stock photos is that they usually look too generic, while a custom photo shooting is even a bigger issue. The idea that occurred to the team behind Moose and Photo Creator was the following: what about mixing the models, objects, and backgrounds into a single picture? Capturing 1K models, 1K objects, and 1K backgrounds will give 1B combinations. So, the creative experiments started. You can revise the results in Collage category on Moose: the collage photos combine models, objects, animals, and environments shot at a different time, places or even continents.

These are different photos of people, animals, objects and locations, taken in different places and on different days and combined together to make another plot.

Since we launched Moose photo stock, the photos from its gallery have been found in more and more designs and publications; for example, The Next Web that often uses photos and photo collages as title images for their blog articles.

So, the goal of the creative team was to enable creators to compose photos it without wasting hours on Photoshop editing: the task was to let people with no experience in graphics software create the photo collages for their particular projects and stories?
The team masked the photos and built a web tool to make the process of creating a collage quick and easy.

Here is how users can combine photos:

  • Choose the photos from the big Moose photo gallery: it features diverse shots of people of different races, ages, and looks. As well as objects, animals, environments, and even 3D rendered images of aliens, robots and the like.
  • Mix them as you want for your specific goal. Play with sizes and funny combinations.
  • Get a PSD file and edit it further as you want.

All the images may be exported in JPEG and PSD. JPEGs are free for a link. PSDs are $20/month, this way you get all models and objects masked and layered.

Icons8 Web App: Big Library of Icons and Clipart Images

icon8

Icons are another popular way to visualize information. To get the icons that work together effectively for one interface, printout or set of slides, you are welcome to try Icons8. It is a big and constantly growing library of over 90 000 icons in different design styles, formats and on the diversity of themes.

Explainer video https://youtu.be/C4TcBmdaa-Q

You can not only download icons. The app also allows:

  • Recoloring
  • Applying boxes and circles
  • Adding padding
  • Adding text and overlays
  • Downloading in multiple formats (some with a paid license)
  • Resizing
  • Similar icons
  • The same icon in different styles (iOS, Material, etc.)
  • Generating HTML
  • Working with the collections
  • Generating fonts.

One more benefit to mention is that many of the icon styles present graphics that can be successfully used as clip art images for a variety of goals such as PowerPoint or Slideshare presentation, informal document, custom cards, memes, students’ projects and much more. Here is an example of food icons in the Hand-Drawn style:

Food icons

With all the mentioned tools, it seems that making your content eye-catching got much easier than before. Even if you don’t have skills in drawing, graphic design or photography, the set of design assets provided in this article will always be at hand to help you share something cool and attractive.