It’s always fun to find high quality design resources for a good price. Even better than that? High quality, commercial use design assets for free. Who doesn’t like free goods? Sure, you can find lots of free fonts, vectors, and photos online. However, many of those resources are either low-quality or only for personal or demo use. Personal use is just fine for many folks, but for creative professionals who do work for clients, it’s nice to have a full library of goods with a commercial license. I believe it’s important to follow the letter of the law- especially with free goods- when it comes to licensing, because someone out there used their talent and took the time to create something high quality. That’s why I always enjoy finding high-quality resources that are also good for commercial or client work.
I’ve found several sources of free goods that are particularly useful. Whether you’re looking for new wallpaper for your desktop or designing for a client, I hope these will be helpful to you, too:
iStockphoto – Free stock photos, illustrations, audio clips, video clips
I consider iStockphoto one of the best sources of high-quality stock photos, illustrations, audio, and video. They are a bit pricey, in my opinion, but their library has something for everyone. Happily, iStockphoto also offers weekly free photos and monthly free illustrations, audio clips, and video clips. Free stock resources are covered by the iStockphoto Standard license, free for commercial use. A free account is required, but no purchase is necessary.
Shutterstock – Weekly free stock photo and illustration
Shutterstock is another great microstock source. I’ve shopped there in the past because they seem to offer a good value and good quality. Shutterstock also offers one weekly free stock photo and one weekly free illustration. Free stock resources are covered by the Shutterstock Standard license, free for commercial use. A free account is required, but no purchase is necessary.
Creative Market – Weekly Free Goods
My personal favorite, Creative Market is the source for all digital, mousemade goods. Their library contains an ever-growing selection of illustrations, clipart, add-ons, textures, fonts, and now photos. Creative Market offers 3 weekly free goods to everyone with a free account and 3 more if you like them on Facebook. Free goods vary from week to week, and may include fonts, vectors, actions, or other goods from gracious shop owners in the marketplace. Free resources are covered by the Creative Market SimpleLicense, free for commercial use.
Death to the Stock Photo – Free monthly photos, delivered to your inbox
Despite the somewhat gloomy title, here’s a fresh source for unique photos you can use freely for your projects, delivered right to your inbox. The name comes from the founders’ mission to free creative pros from the financial burden of pricey stock art, while still providing the quality photos. Photos are themed with every delivery and so far, I’ve been happy with these unique, high-quality photos. Photos are for free for commercial use. Email sign-up is required to access the photos.
Unsplash – 10 free photos every 10 days, delivered to your inbox
Unsplash is similar to Death to Stock Photo in that I can get a series of free stock photos, free to use however I want, delivered to my inbox. Unsplash offers 10 high-quality, creative user-submitted photos every 10 days. Photos on Unsplash have been dedicated to the Public Domain, and are free to use however you want. No account is needed to download the photos, but it’s nice to have signed up to have them delivered to my inbox.
MyFonts – Free weights of some fonts
MyFonts is my favorite place to buy fonts (well, besides Creative Market) and really has a great platform for selling fonts of all kinds. Hidden in MyFonts’ vast library are many free fonts. Some font authors offer free weights of certain font families. For example, a family may have 10 weights, and one is offered for free. I think this is a great way to offer customers the opportunity to try out the font and get a good idea of how the font works before buying the entire family. Licensing varies between fonts, but most are for commercial use. A free account at MyFonts is required to download free weights. I also like to check their Specials page for discounts and intro offers.
Vectorian – Free Vintage Vectors
Vectorian is the place to buy all vectors vintage. I can personally recommend Vincent Le Moign’s amazing, high-quality illustrative work. I own the Vectorian Essential pack, and I’ve been super pleased with the quality of the ornaments and the amount of use I’ve gotten out of the collection. It’s been great for wedding invitations, menus, and much more. If you do a lot of vintage style design, be sure to check out Vectorian. New free vectors come out every 1-2 months, and if you sign up, they will be delivered to your inbox. Not to mention the free sample pack to get you started…
Psssst… Here’s a wedding invitation I recently did (names have been changed) that uses the Vectorian Essential Pack:
(I apologize for any anachronisms, literary or otherwise.)
While my own selection of free goodies doesn’t include much yet, I also hope to give away some high-quality design goods every once in a while!
Thanks for following along! I do hope these resources are helpful to you and your designs. Where have you gotten free design resources? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
As free goods typically change from week to week, the ones represented above may or may not be still offered for free. Due to the wide variety of free goods that come from sites I’ve showcased in this post- and unknown future goods that may be offered- I do not guarantee that all goods downloaded via these sites represent my personal preferences, beliefs, or views. Not everything is for everyone. I personally don’t use everything offered, but I’ve been helped by some resources in the past.