Honestly. Honestly. Name one thing that isn't better when it's free!
Apart from a sandwich found on the ground or a vaccine kindly offered by a stranger at the corner of a dark alley, we can't think of anything. Freebies are something we particularly like when we take part in e-commerce. Yes: we are here to make money after all, not to lose it! In this context, there are no small savings... Whether it's saving money or time, which is also valuable when selling on the Web is not our main activity.
Saving money AND time: this winning cocktail, you can sip it by using royalty-free elements for your designs! They will save you from having to pay for the services of a graphic designer or, worse, from having to make your creations yourself when your artistic skills are limited to stick figures and suns on the corner of the page.
"... Ah... Because I can't use all the content I want?"
Well, no! All the content you come across on the Internet has been created by someone, and it is this person who defines who can use his content, on what media, for what amount if he has set one.
Yes: the world of copyrights is complicated. Almost as complicated as a Christopher Nolan movie, that is (did you understand Inception? If the answer is "yes", stop pretending). These rights vary and should therefore be carefully checked each time you find an interesting content... Otherwise, you take the not-so-funny risk of getting into trouble with the law!
It is rare to find free visuals. Rare, yes, but not impossible... Armed with our magnifying glasses and our best spy coats, we set out on a mission to find ten sources where you can find free elements for your designs.
Good news: We've accomplished our mission.
Second good news: You can read all that right below.
10 free design resources
On Unsplash, you'll find photos. A lot of photos: more than five million, to be exact. Not bad, right?
We like it because you can find everything you want! Here's the proof: in a single agile scroll on the homepage, we found respectively pictures of a misty forest, a lion in black and white and a gentleman with a pumpkin used as a mask (the result is nice but good luck to remove it).
In short, whether you already have an idea of what you need or are looking for inspiration, we have no doubt that you will find what you are looking for... Especially thanks to their sophisticated search tool, which even allows you to sort the results by orientation and by color, yes, by color. Fabulous, isn't it?
In Print on Demand, photos are often used to print posters or panoramic mugs with a background, but there should be no limits to your imagination: cut-out photo elements can give a graphic, pop-art look to any visual composition. Just take a look at this example that we prepared with love and a budget of 0 euros.
The media is royalty free, yes, but only if it is modified in a significant way. Let's explain this: no simple resizing or filters of colors on the photos. What is OK, however, is to incorporate an element of the photo into a whole or on the contrary to add graphic objects to the photo (lettering, vector, etc).
On Pexels, there are pictures too. There are videos too but as long as you can't print them like in Harry Potter, it won't be very useful for your products.
We like it because it's an infinitely complete library of content (more than three million media) of impeccable quality. A whole part of the Pexels team is there to control the additions and it shows: the content is aesthetic, clean and varied at the same time. A very special mention for their home page classified by color, which brings great satisfaction to our slightly fussy (not to say maniacal) brains. Just like Unsplash, Pexels presents nice search tools that will help you find your Holy Grail: orientation and color, but with a specificity... The site lets you search for photos matching a particular hexadecimal code. There's no stopping progress.
The media are free of rights, yes, but as long as the image is modified, just like at Unsplash. Again, nothing too subtle: your contribution must add value to the base media!
On Gratisography, you can find free photos, as its name indicates, and some vectors, as its name does not indicate.
We like it because it is a source of free photos, yes, but not just any photos! Gratisography has the reputation of being the most original free stock photo resource and it's a well-deserved title. You only have to look at the first pages of this unique library to understand it: photo of a dinosaur made of modeling clay? Check. Models with crazy poses? Check. Illustration of a flamingo in a tutu? Check.
However, this will not prevent you from finding beautiful pictures of sunset, a nice car or a cute cat, always with a unique artistic fiber that, inevitably, can not leave an entrepreneur in search of inspiration indifferent (yes, we're talking about you). On our side, we can't help but adhere to this breath of acidulous eccentricity!
The media are free of rights, yes, but as long as the photos are modified in a noticeable way. Otherwise, you are free to do what you want! No, especially not to put Nutella in your pasta, we were talking about Gratisography.
On Designbundles, you can find vector packs. Quite a lot of vectors: we don't know how many, but we did 40 pages and still had some left (yes, we have a lot of time on our hands).
We love it because it's a real goldmine for anyone who wants to get into the Print on Demand game without any graphic design or drawing knowledge. Thousands of free downloadable illustration packs, in excellent quality (we particularly recommend the .svg format, the elite of all formats): all this, DesignBundles takes it and distributes it generously to entrepreneurs without asking anything in return, like the beautiful charitable soul that they are... And boy, is it touching.
You'll find a diverse range of styles, from cute seasonal illustrations to inspirational quotes in an atmosphere of slightly toxic positivity. Either way, no matter what's in your sights, DesignBundles will manage to hit the nail on the head, we're sure!
The media is free, yes, but only if you use the "Free designs" category first. You will have to use the downloaded illustration within a set rather than as is. Yes, you have to get your hands dirty, otherwise it would be a bit too easy!
On Pixabay, you can find photos, illustrations, vectors, videos, music, musical effects, sausage, your SpongeBob SquarePants figurine lost in 1998 and our dignity after a night out. Well OK, it's not true for the last three but there is such a quantity of content, it almost could have!
We like it because Pixabay is an extremely rich proposition, overflowing with downloadable content not only in one click but also in HD quality. There's nothing like it to give a professional image to your brand: pixels are definitely better when you can't see them.
In terms of aesthetics, pack your bags because Pixabay offers you a real trip through the world of graphic design. Illustrations with childish accents, pure vector images and photos a bit kitschy in the "Windows 98 wallpaper" style, whatever YOUR thing is, we have no doubt that it will be somewhere on Pixabay. Let's also note that the platform has the nice advantage of not requiring any registration to download its resources!
On Vecteezy, you can find vector images. Yes, we know, it doesn't look like it. Note that there are also some photos and videos, for form.
We like it because Vecteezy occupies the very prestigious first place of graphic resources in the world. Such class! While browsing their website, we can't help but have the impression to have discovered a wonderful treasure composed of delicate vectors, practical icons and illustrations with a style reminding us with tenderness the style between 2D and 3D of Adibou. We don't judge, we find it fabulous for a simple and good reason: there is something for everyone, really!
The media are free of rights, yes, but as long as the image displays the mention "Free" in the search. Otherwise, you might get a bad surprise like "Being asked to use your credit card", and clearly, if you wanted to do that, you wouldn't be here! Free resources are in the minority on Vecteezy, so we advise you not to let your guard down during your search phase.
Also note that a free subscription to Vecteezy allows you to use its resources on Print on Demand products under one condition: that the attribution link appears somewhere on your Print on Demand product. And that it is visible... We see you, those who wanted to add it in font size 0.5! You think you're clever and you are.
On Canva, you' ll always find what you're looking for, really: vector graphics, photos, videos... It's the very definition of a Swiss Army knife (after a Swiss Army knife, of course).
We love it because Canva is not only a source where you can find thousands of free quality files, no no, it's also a platform where you can compile these different elements to create your future beauties to print. Full of examples of graphic compositions, Canva is a great source of inspiration as well as a very good online graphic design software. Huge advantage: its amazing simplicity! Most of the beauties published on social networks are designed on Canva. It's beautiful, it's clean and yet your blind grandma could have made it in 2 minutes: that's the magic of this tool.
When it comes to design elements, Canva offers a selection of quality, current and above all ultra-stylish. Canva is the embodiment of the idea that you can create without having to be Picasso or sell an organ, and it's refreshing.
The media is royalty free, yes, but only if you choose from Canva's array of free (not premium) elements. You won't be able to center your design around a single object: it has to be part of a composition. You know the drill, since we've been harping on it!
On PlaceIt, you can find complete designs in addition to its super-strong bank of mockups, which you have probably already heard about thanks to your status as a POD pro.
We like it because unlike the other resources mentioned above, PlaceIt offers you complete designs, almost ready to be printed. At this point, the work isn't just spoon-fed, it's also cooked, seasoned and the leftovers are put in the fridge for us. In short, it's a real pleasure.
The resources of PlaceIt are constantly updated: thanks to daily news, you will be able to find the latest creations for your brand. We say the latest trends, because really, the aesthetic horizon of PlaceIt knows no limits. Between the "Cute lettering for poster to decorate bathroom of a suburban house" style to "year 2000 streetwear style for young people so young that they do not remember the years 2000", there is a chasm but also only a few pixels separate them on the platform.
PlaceIt also marks another good point thanks to the possibility of editing the designs directly on their site: change of colors of the elements, of the font, of the places of the elements, of the font in itself... It's almost like a little integrated editing software!
The media are free of rights, yes, but only if you use the designs classified under "free".
Captain Obvious, at your service.
Old Book Illustrations
On Old Book Illustrations, you can find deliciously vintage and equally deliciously free illustrations.
We like it because Old Book Illustrations offers to the public a nice bunch of illustrations from old books dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Don't be fooled by the very minimalist design of the website, which seems to date from the same periods as its illustrations: Oldbook Illustrations is a precious and extremely rich source. The point to remember is that vintage illustrations of this kind are very, VERY fashionable right now. Creations around animal engravings and other illustrated flora designs in a style of the last century or even the one before, this trend doesn't seem decided to calm down for a while. At the same time, being able to admire the delicacy of these illustrations from a time when we don't have to deal with venereal diseases and serious inequalities... It's a luxury, a real one!
The media are free of rights, yes, and... That's it: the illustrations in this resource are all in the public domain, so really, you can go without fear.
Old Design Shop
On Old Design Shop, you can find vintage illustrations that have fallen into the public domain. Yes, again, but we don't get tired of it (and neither does the public, believe us).
We like it because this bank of illustrations brings us back, here too, to a time that is much better from afar! With one click, we are instantly transported into a hushed boudoir atmosphere, lined with luxurious red velvet, smelling of tea time and little buttery cookies. Julie, the passionate webmaster, has been gathering these beauties for years. Today, with 163 pages of aesthetically pleasing, chic and most importantly FREE resources, Old Design Shop is an ultra-complete vintage image bank for designers who are sensitive to this trend. So, if your thing is beautiful old illustrations that smell like yellowed, dusty vintage books but without the dust... You know what you have to do.
The media are free of rights, yes, and you are free to do what you want with them. Isn't life beautiful? Well no : it's MAGNIFICENT.
This is it. You're here. You're standing at the foot of a mountain of wonderfully free content to use for your Print on Demand designs, a mountain as high as the Himalayas or as your stack of never-read self-help books. All you have to do is put on your best spikes and you're on your way to finding that gem you've always wanted! Let's go, champ!
And if you're not sure you can do it justice, it's simple: we do not allow you to doubt yourself. However, it's normal to need a little help sometimes... For that, we had gathered our best t-shirt design tips, to devour right here :
Enjoy and above all, take care of yourself: you are precious.