When you are building a website, you are likely to want to add some illustrations to make it look appealing to your visitors. It’s reasonable to expect to have to pay for website graphics as these have been created through the hard work of artists and designers.
Having said that, costs can easily mount up and, like most people, I love a freebie or a bargain! Here are some of my favourite sources of free graphics that can be used on websites.
Unsurprisingly, many of the sites offering free resources, also have items for sale. The freebies are offered in the hope of encouraging you to visit the site where you may find additional items to buy. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links which means that if you do go on to purchase anything after clicking on them, then I may receive commission for referring you.
As with any download from the internet, you should check that you are happy with the source. I have downloaded things from all the websites I mention but I can’t offer a 100% guarantee that they are safe. Please also check the licenses of anything you obtain to ensure that you are allowed to use it on your site.
This well known and established market place offers 6 free items every week and these are changed each Monday morning. The banner below should display the goods which are currently available (this is an affiliate link which updates automatically).
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In the week that I am writing this post, one of the items available is a set of 36 Sprayed Vector Textures by Texture Fabrik.
If I was using these as the background of a website section, I might combine them with another file, such as a gold texture or watercolour effect.
Here’s an example of how this could look, when I use one of the sprayed textures together with a watercolour background that was a freebie from Creative Market in a previous week.
The Design Cuts Facebook page often lists a freebie on a Friday, and this can be downloaded from their market place at any time during the following week. Design Cuts members will also be notified of “Freebie Friday” via email, or you can find the latest free item by visiting the market place and listing the items in ascending order of price.
As at the time of writing, this week’s freebie is a set of polygon abstract backgrounds by BIBI.ARTS.
As well as the weekly freebie, the Design Cuts website has a Freebie section with free sample packs from their current and previous bundles. Unlike the weekly free resource, the items here do not tend to contain a full set of graphics, but the good thing about them is that they stay available for download even when the full bundle they are taken from expires.
The Hungry JPEG
The Hungry JPEG’s freebie of the week is changed every Wednesday.
This week the item being offered is the Hugs & Kisses font by Misti’s Fonts.
The Hungry JPEG website also offers a selection of other free items although some of these have a license that allows personal use only.
One of the free items that does have a commercial license is this Vintage Gold Marble by Paper Farms.
One really nice feature of the Hungry JPEG website is the One Dollar Deals section. Although these items aren’t free, I’ve mentioned them here because they are a real bargain.
It’s worth keeping an eye on Design Bundles’ free design of the week as I’ve picked up some nice items from them in the past.
Toptal appear to have taken over the subtle patterns website, but it still offers some lovely, free seamless patterns and textures. You do have to add a credit to the CSS or HTML of your website, along the lines of “/* Background pattern from Subtle Patterns */” but this is not visible on the front end of your site.
Here’s an example using the Pink Rice pattern. It’s so subtle that you may not even be able to tell that it’s not a solid colour – but it adds just a little bit of texture to the area.
Pixabay is my favourite source of free photographs. The site has hundreds of high quality images. Although they are all free, if you do find one of the photos to be particularly useful, you may want to use the optional button to donate a small amount to the photographer to thank them.
Here’s that footer widget area again, this time using a free photograph by stevepb at Pixabay as the background.
If you are prepared to pay for photographs, then you will find a much bigger selection to choose from and can also be reassured by knowing that the proper model releases have been obtained for photos containing recognisable people.
You should be aware that whereas microstock sites like Adobe Stock, Dreamstime and Bigstock require photographers to obtain model and property releases, and vet images for trademarks, you can’t be confident that some of the sites mentioned above have taken these precautions. It may be better to use the free sites only for photos that don’t include people or private property.
Having said that, I’ve recently come across Rawpixel which offers a selection of free images to members, and which does claim to have model releases for at least some of its photos of people (but you should check each time you download one).
Some microstock sites will allow new customers to download a small number of free photos as an introductory offer. Alternatively, Dreamstime has a free section.
The sites I’ve included in this section provide illustrations as well as photographs.