When building out your website, your social media presence, or other content for your brand, don’t overlook the visual appeal! Design is a crucial element of how your brand is perceived.
You may have your own photography or design resources, either in-house or outsourced. But having a go-to website for stock photos, illustrations, and icons is helpful as a backup option.
Here are several of our favorites below.
Unsplash is our favorite place to look for beautifully shot, high resolution stock photos. The website has over two million photos taken by their community of photographers. Unlike some traditional stock imagery, their images don’t come across as cheesy or staged.
- All photos can be downloaded and used for free (!)
- Commercial and non-commercial purposes
- No permission needed (though attribution is appreciated)
- Read full licensing details: https://unsplash.com/license
Nappy’s mission is to help brands be purposeful about representation in their marketing, branding, and design. Their website showcases high quality photography of Black and Brown people that you can use for your marketing.
- All photos posted on nappy are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license
- Download, modify them, share them, distribute them, or use them for whatever you want for free
- You do not need permission nor do you need to give photo cred when using these photos. However, we strongly recommend it. Use the format below to give photo cred:
- i.e. Photo by @username from nappy.co (replace @username with the photographer’s username found on the photo page)
- Read full licensing details: https://www.nappy.co/license/
Shutterstock is the best known website for stock photos, illustrations, and graphic designs. If you are unable to find the right picture on Unsplash or Nappy, it’s likely Shutterstock will have something you can use.
When using imagery from Shutterstock, choose the options that fit best with your brand. With over a billion images in their library, the quality can vary widely.
- Choose between standard or enhanced licensing, starting at $29 for 2 photos.
- Compare plans: https://www.shutterstock.com/license-comparison
- Read full licensing agreement, Part 1.1.a. Visual Content Licenses, Standard Image License. https://www.shutterstock.com/license
Illustrations & icons
FREE & PAID: Font Awesome
Font Awesome provides vector icons for your website, logo, mobile apps, or other content. They have over 7,000 icons to choose from, and you can customize them as needed.
- Get access to over 1,000 icons for unlimited, free use
- OR pay for the Pro plan ($99 per year) to choose from their entire library of icons and additional customization options. You also get access to their support team.
FREE & PAID: Black Illustrations
If you prefer an illustrative aesthetic for your brand, Black Illustrations’ website has over a thousand illustrations to choose from on their website — all of which feature Black people. Like Nappy, their mission is to make it easier for brands to include diversity in their design.
- Use for personal or commercial projects
- Modify and manipulate the images and combine them with other works
- Illustrations are sold in themed packs, with some free packages available
- OR pay $89/quarter for access to all of their illustrations
- Submit a request for custom illustrations if you can’t find what you need
- Read their full licensing agreement here
When using stock imagery, be sure to review the website’s licensing policies and provide attribution where relevant.