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7 Great Sources of Free Graphics for Web Designers

Posted by ClickHelp TeamClickHelp Teamin Documentation UX on 4/26/2016 — 6 minute read

We are often blogging about technical writing, web development, CSS, software documentation and all the technical stuff. Today, we are going to change the habits and turn from tech to beauty – this is a review of some great web resources with free graphics. You will learn something new about the CC0 license, smoking mantis, and much more.

Each and every designer at least once in their career felt completely cornered by a client’s questions like: Isn’t black too depressing? Can you use more fonts? I want something radical, what about a picture of a smoking mantis? Would it be okay to send you the logo in the word format? Can we just use the image from the internet?

Well… we can’t promise you much. Like, the clients will still occasionally ask you to draw a logo made up of seven perpendicular red lines (check out this hilarious video in case you have no clue how to make seven red lines perpendicular). But, after reading this article, you will be able to answer at least one of these questions without having a twitchy eye. With this list of free image stocks the ClickHelp team has prepared for you, yes, you will be able to just use the image from the internet, indeed.

What is CC0?

CC0 (a Creative Commons Zero license) is good stuff. Let us quote “You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.” Woo-hoo! Right?

This is the most open of all existing license types. In case of CC0, attributions become a purely ethical matter as they are not part of any legal requirements. Sometimes, an author still asks for linking back. This request is based on professional norms and standards that are, without a doubt, to be taken seriously.

In this post, we will provide you with a review of stock image websites that use the CC0 license – save the list, it will save your time! You are welcome 🙂

#1 – Negative Space

Web site:

Nagative Space - Preview

A very nice blend of high-res photos depicting various subjects such as work, architecture, people, and even nature.

The service allows filtering photos by Category, Color and Copy Space Position. The latter can have something to do with either the elements’ positioning in a picture (it should indicate where the image color is more even to place your text over) or your today’s horoscope for all we know – this search parameter is not very precise, most likely, due to how various image compositions are.

Let’s get educational here. Did you know that negative space is a term in art: We’d say that the guys who run this site are living up to their name because most of the photos stored here are real art.

We totally recommend that you check this service out!

License: CC0, no attribution required
Content: Photos

#2 – Unsplash

Web site:

Unsplash - Preview

Another source of free high-quality photos. Although one still can find great shots of high-tech enterprise-like buildings here, the main theme of the website is not quite business-related. This is a vast collection of inspiring imagery of people and nature. Photos that will certainly add a personal touch to a blog or a website. Ah, finally having people to shed a tear because the background is so breathtaking and not because the table layout is so lame! Jk. Though it is kinda lame!

All the images are united into themed collections like “Endless Summer”, ” Roads”, “A Modern Fairytale”, etc. We believe these titles can speak for themselves – these stock photos are made mostly for triggering emotions and some positive vibes!

Once you are on the website, you’ll see how well it is designed and structured. It makes perfect sense since it’s created by these guys – Crew. This is an interesting project totally worthy of paying attention. Different people like web developers, designer, etc. get together to create some awesome things like the Unsplash website.

You can search images with the help of tags, look through photos uploaded by a specific artist, or just browse the collections.

Warning: the Unsplash site can leave a slight vanilla-unicorn aftertaste if overused 🙂

License: CC0, no attribution required
Content: Photos

#3 – Gratisography

Web site:

Unsplash - Preview

Ok, this one is different. Very different.

In need of a picture of a mantis having a smoke? Enjoy! Spent years looking for a photo of a t-rex wearing red lipstick and a suit? You’re welcome! A high res cat nose maybe? No? Okay…

Gratisography is one great photo stock. Provocative, funny, vibrant… These photos really catch the eye. It’s not only about mantises not taking their health seriously. The website will surprise you with some outstanding shots of people and nature, too. The problem here is that there’s only a few categories and simply not enough content.

As it turned out, this controversial but awesome art is done by one person – Ryan McGuire, who wrote in the introduction to his own website the following: “Hello, I’m Ryan McGuire and I am not a ninja.” Seems like the photos describe Ryan precisely – pretty funny and pretty random. Like, he has that online project with portraits of people wearing fake moustache – Might make you smile 🙂

License: CC0, no attribution required
Content: Photos

#4 – Pixabay

Web site:

Pixabay - Preview

This website can offer a very generous CC0-licensed helping hand to designers in almost any field thinkable. More than half a million high quality photos, vector and art illustrations are stored here.

Here are examples of categories present on this website: Education, People, Science/Technology, Emotions, Animals, Food/Drink, and much much more! The site also features a pretty awesome (HD and higher) video collection, again, no attribution required.

The service has a powerful search engine. You can set multiple search filters like Media Type, Orientation, Size, Color, Category and even search user portfolios.

Here’s another cool thing about this website we’ve discovered – the Pixabay Blog. There, you can find guidelines on photography, video making, responsive web design and other related topics.

License: CC0, no attribution required
Content: Photos, illustrations, vector graphics, videos

#5 – Picjumbo

Web site:

Picjumbo - Preview

Picjumbo looks good and does its job well. The photos are varied and carefully tagged. The website offers a lot of technology related content alongside with stunning nature shots.

Premium is going to get you access to unpublished photos and full photo collections. And, Picjumbo even has its own Photoshop plugin!

This website’s signature feature is called Test Drive Image – a number of page layouts with the selected photo are displayed. You can switch between them easily and see for yourself how the image looks with different effects applied, find out where text should be placed, etc. This feature is free of charge and can become a great time saver.

All in all, this is a superb photo stock absolutely worth visiting.

License: CC0, no attribution required
Content: Photos

#6 – Pixeden

Web site:

Pixeden - Preview

The Pixeden website seems to be more professional-oriented aiming straight at web designers.

This service offers both free and premium content still sticking to no royalty for either personal or commercial projects.

Unlike stock websites we have mentioned earlier, this one can provide you with enough content to build a whole website: HTML Website Templates, CSS, Icons (for social media, e-commerce, mobile, etc.), Vector Images (including characters and objects), and more – go see it all for yourself!

These guys also have a blog (, too bad they mostly do self-advertising there. Would be great to see some educational content, we are sure they have a lot of expertise to share.

License: CC0, no attribution required
Content: Photos, icons, HTML templates, CSS samples, vector graphics.

#7 – Subtle Patterns

Web site:

Subtle Patterns - Preview

Please welcome the ultimate source of free patterns –! There’s a reason for them being called “subtle” – this is like a basic collection in a clothing store – nothing too edgy, but almost everything is a “must have”.

This is more than a photo bank, this is a tool to create the background you need within a few minutes. The website has been updated recently, so, now, it features a really fast and cute search panel that you can see on the screenshot (on the left side). When you click on a pattern, it will be applied as the page’s background. A great way to learn how the pattern will actually look! Because you know how things are not what they seem a little too often 🙂

License: CC0, no attribution required
Content: Background patterns

Where is the Mantis?

So, we have analysed several free no royalty image stocks. Now, you have a general idea of their content, topics they cover, and what unique features each site is bringing to the table. Thank you for reading this post, we truly hope that this knowledge will save you the pains in the future, when you need to find that one perfect image that fits.

Smoking Mantis - yes, it exists!

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Good luck with your designs!
ClickHelp Team

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