A picture is worth a thousand words. Apart from the title and subtitle of your article, the next thing your readers notice is the featured image. So you want to use every advantage you can get to capture your potential reader’s attention to click and then hopefully keep scrolling down to read the rest of your article.
So how do you find a unique and creative image to make your article stand out from the rest? This is particularly challenging if your topic is related to the topics of business, technology, money or writing.
For example, a photo of US$100 Benjamin Franklin notes, or a person sitting in front of their monitor at a desk, or typing on a laptop, or sitting with their laptop in a cafe, on the beach, or on top of a mountain in some National Park somewhere gets boring real quick.
But I get it. I’m definitely guilty of this and find myself constantly struggling to think of search terms that will return ‘interesting’ images to go with my articles too.
But when you go to the popular stock image sites like Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay and you start typing in the words: business, money or writer, you’ll get pages upon pages of similar kinds of photos.
So in an attempt to find more creative and unique images, I thought I’d approach it from another angle. I looked up stock websites that had interesting illustrations, vector and isometric images.
I ended up finding some great sites with fresh, creative, colorful, bold, and imaginative illustrations in the process. These images may just be the element that adds an extra dimension to your article and help your article stand out from the crowd.
The resources chosen will at least have a subset of illustrations available for free. Please check the websites for their current free license use terms and conditions, how to attribute an image (if required) and other information.
The 9 stock illustration websites are:
Storyset offers 5 contemporary and creative illustration styles to choose from. These range from clean flat styled illustrations, to isometric illustrations, to more casual, fresh or bold and cheerful type illustrations.
The greatest feature of Storyset is the ability to customize various elements of the illustrations to suit your brand’s colours or your story’s vibe. For example, you can edit the illustration’s colour, animate certain elements of the image or take away some of the elements too.
You can download the files as an SVG or PNG image. If you decide to animate elements of the illustration, you can export these to HTML, GIF or MP4 video formats. Images are free for personal and commercial purposes with attribution.
2. Adobe Stock
Adobe has over 200 million assets in their Adobe Stock collection which includes photos, illustrations, vectors, videos, audio, templates, fonts, plugins and 3D assets.
They also offer over 7000 illustrations and over 18,000 vector images in their free collection. Typing in the keyword ‘business’ within the ‘Free’ collection, returned 542 illustrations and 4043 vector images (just select the ‘Illustrations’ or the ‘Vectors’ check box under ‘Subcategory’ in the left column menu).
When you click on an image that’s available for free download, you’ll be prompted to log in to your Adobe account or to create a new account first. Then when you click on the image, you’ll see more details of the image including the license type associated with the image, for example ‘Standard’. You can then click on the license type to read Adobe’s Stock licensing information for that image or asset.
Freepik was started in 2010 by brothers Alenjandro and Pablo Blanes and friend Joaquín Cuenca with the mission to create a platform for designers to find free graphic resources.
Freepik has over 19.4 million resources categorised under 1712 collections. Typing in the keyword ‘business’ and selecting the ‘vectors’ category and the ‘free’ license items, will still return an impressive subset of over 165k free vector resources in 71 collections.
Under the free usage limits, you can download up to 10 images per day from the free license collection. Attributon is required.
Manypixels is a fully remote graphic design service company started in 2018 by Quentin Gilon. They operate on a monthly subscription-based model. They offer design services including social media graphics, display ads, logos, illustrations, infographics, icons, website design, landing pages and more.
The site also offers over 2000 editable and royalty-free illustrations you can use for free on your commercial or personal projects without attribution. You can search for an illustration in the search bar or browse through their image categories which include: tech, finance, science, environment and marketing.
There is also a range of illustration types available. These are outline, monochromatic, isometric, flatline and two-color. You can also change the hex color of the image to suit your article or project’s style guide.
Iconscout has more than 3.8 million design assets available including curated SVGs, vector icons, illustrations, 3D graphics and Lottie Animations. They also add over 4000 new assets to the collection every day.
You can hover over the ‘Explore’ menu and select Free 3Ds, Lottie, Illustrations or Icons to see what’s available for free. Or you can type in a keyword like ‘Business’ in the search bar, and then select ‘Illustrations’ for example and then select the ‘Free’ option under the ‘Price’ filter in the left column. This search returned 478 illustrations. You can download the illustrations for free with attribution.
Vecteezy has millions of photo, vector and video assets on its website. They have over 504k vectors available under the keyword ‘Business’ with over 226k vectors available under the ‘Free License’ option. Free downloads require attribution. The image is downloaded as a zip file with html, ai, eps, and jpg file versions included.
Some of the suggested terms you can type in include: Work From Home, Business, Social Media, E-Commerce, Shopping, Website, Food, Website, Medical and Technology.
Ouch! is a side project from the team at Icon8. It’s a collection of free vector illustrations from top Dribbble artists. The illustrations are bold and contemporary. There are 80 illustration styles including Business 3D, Space, Urban Line, and Abstract. There are also categories you can click on including Business (2010 illustrations), and Technologies (1961 illustrations) to view the illustrations under those topics.
There is a small selection of images available for free in both high and low-resolution png and svg file formats. The rest of the images are available for download as a low-resolution png file for free. Attribution is required when the images are used with a free license.
DrawKit offers hand-drawn vector illustration and icon assets as themed illustration packs. There are 37 free packs available. These include ‘Digital Marketing Illustrations’, ‘Online Shopping Illustrations’, ‘E-commerce Ilustrations & Icons Kit’ and many more.
Drawkit is a designstripe project. The idea is that you can take these illustrations into designstripe and customise the illustrations to suit your requirements. You can change elements of the illustration such as add or remove objects, swap and change elements and characters, change and combine different colors and create new color palettes, and select the illustration stroke style from linear to outline to full color. Attribution is not required but always appreciated.
So next time you’re looking for an interesting and unique illustration to help make your article stand out from the sea of others on a platform’s homepage, these stock illustration sites may give you just the ‘right’ image to help you capture your reader’s attention.