One Designer’s Top List of Free Images for Websites
A friend and colleague just asked me: “Can you tell me where I can get free (truly free) photos to use on website or graphic design project?”
Yes I can! But why stop with photos? When you’re designing a business website, photos are just one resource you need. You also need social media icons, buttons, form elements, textures, and inspiration!
Here are my #1 sources of free images for web design in each category:
Photos and Theme-Setting Images
From the moment I discovered Stock-Exchange, I knew I found my go-to resource for inspiration to express a main idea. It was originally set up as a community for photographers to exchange images for free. Some artists require name credit and a link – others offer their work with no attribution required. You can choose from hundreds of thousands of high quality images, even for commercial projects, as long as you abide by the Standard Restrictions for use.
Buttons, Background Textures, User Interface Elements
Premium Pixels is the wildly generous gift of insanely talented designer Orman Clark. It began as a way for him to share design tools and images, and resources that took a lot of thought and time to make, just because others might find them attractive and useful. They are! Now it includes hand-selected contributions from other stellar designers. Browse the ever-growing collections of eye-popping, high quality icons, entire site layouts, device representations (smartphones to big screens), textures, buttons, and more. Subscribe for a weekly freebie in your inbox.
See: Premium Pixels
My favorite set of social icons is from Pixden. They’re so well designed; they enhance every site I’ve used them on, like inlaid gems. I use the dark icon set. Take a few minutes to explore the layers in Photoshop. Each icon comes in a uniformly dark version, for the inactive state, and a colored version for the hover and active states. Implement them however you like. All Pixden’s resources are royalty free for personal and commercial projects, without a link or attribution required: Just follow the Terms of Service
Dark Social Icons Set by Pixden
AWeber Signup Forms
Don’t like the Aweber form templates? Personally I often find I need custom styling for clients websites, Derek Halpern’s post on DIYThemes is a quick lesson in creating custom styles for your Aweber forms. He even had a designer create 7 styles you can download, with instructions. You can use them as-is or as a starting off point for customizing your own AWeber signup forms:
See: 7 Custom AWeber Email Signup Forms, by Derek Halpern on DIYThemes.com
My favorite resource for design inspiration and an update on trends isn’t a website. It’s a book: The Web Designer’s IDea Book. Now in Voluem 3, it’s Patrick Neil’s obsssion-driven collection of screenshots of the best websites all over the planet, across industries, applications and agencies. It’s an outgrowth of his ever-evolving blog, Design Meltdown. Between print volumes, you can see what catches Patric’s Eye in the Monster Meltdown collections.
Free is Nice, but Don’t Skimp on Quality
I admit, I love free images for websites, but the quality must be high. If you can’t find something you like for no cost, consider browsing some stock photography sites. These sources of free images are great, but they won’t supply all your needs forever, especially as you grow. Whether your new or a seasoned designer, they’re a great place to start when planning your next project.
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