Images are an ongoing asset required for print design and we are often asked about how to source images that can be used. There are a few key things you want to consider. Firstly, the best image you can use is an original photo you’ve taken. However, the reality where you need an image of snow-capped trees coinciding with a trip to Switzerland is unfortunately not how things work out. So we regularly find ourselves in need of a particular photograph.
At Next State we live by a hard and fast rule: Altering an image is not an acceptable change to avoid copyright infringement. If you don’t know where an image came from and the licensing attached to it, you should not in any way use that image.
There is a large range of paid and subscriber options such as Shutter Stock and iStock, which list different pricing and licencing structures depending on how you plan to use an image.
For the thrifty of us out there a large variety of free images exsist that can be used. However there are a few checklists items to tick off when using a web sourced image. If you are going to be reproducing an image for personal or commercial purposes, you must be sure you have permission to do so.
Check 1: Wording, you need to search out for the following terms.
“Creative Commons Zero” is the “no copyright reserved” option in the Creative Commons toolkit, it effectively means relinquishing all copyright and similar rights that you hold in a work and dedicating those rights to the public domain.
Check 2: Often in free stock image websites they specifically list “Free for personal and commercial re-use” This wording sits along side royalty free image use.
Check 3: Do you need to credit the photographer or image source. If you don’t want or plan to manipulate the photo it’s good to use images that are listed as “no attribution required”
Check 4: Free Stock Image websites may also have there own guidelines of how images can be used so always check first
Our favourite sources for free images to use in commercial work
New York Public Library
A fantastic historical resource of digital images mostly scanned from books and feature both illustrations and photographs.
Yale Centre for British Art
Beautiful collections of original artworks. Not all images are public domain, many are so you need to check what is ok to use. They offer High res downloads.
The Paul J Getty Museum
Open Content Program – A collection of photographs, artworks and book scans that can be downloaded in high resolution for works that exist within the public domain.
Wikipedia has an image library which features images that are creative commons zero.
Free stock images
Free stock images
There are many other free stock image websites but I tend to find the same images reappear and utilising two tends to get the job done.