We’re so, so happy to bring you another roundup of free resources. We love free things. Free clip art and icons are a terrific way to find the perfect accent for your collage, breathe new life into your brand, and kick your inspiration into high gear.
However, just like democracy, this particular brand of freedom comes with a few responsibilities. Recite our handy Pledge of Free Icons and Clip Art, preferably while a noble bald eagle perches atop your shoulder, and learn how to make the most of your liberty:
“I, [YOUR NAME], do solemnly swear to check the license on any free assets I download from the internet. I also swear to always check the file extension, selecting only PNG, JPEG, or GIF files for an awesome PicMonkey experience. Cowabunga.”
That was beautiful. On to the free stuff!
Free clip art and icons
Unless otherwise noted, the following resources provide images that are free for commercial and personal use with formal credit to the creator. That typically means attribution that includes a direct link to the source, the creator’s name, and a statement of what kind of license it is. However! In the case of many of these resources, that license does not allow you to create logos, watermarks, and other assets used for trademarking.
Basically: run wild with these guys for social media images, site graphics, gigantic posters, whatever—but provide formal attribution, and be double-plus-careful before you use an icon you do not own to make a logo or watermark.
Remember the noble eagle? This stuff is complicated.
Scroll away through Smashing Magazine’s running list of freebies for a little-but-lovely selection of professionally vetted graphics. (Also nice: the titles of many posts let you know whether the goodies are available as PNG files.) We have a hard time picking favorites, so maybe you should head over there and decide for yourself.
As a bonus, although there’s a lot of variety among the licenses for Smashing Magazine’s free resources, the two collections linked above are approved for commercial and personal use, and do not require attribution. Score!
The icons tab in Freepik offers images ranging from practical (credit cards, social media icons) to fanciful (cupcakes, paper planes) to just plain funny (dance parties). Each icon features options to change the size and color before you download.
Freepik also makes attribution super-easy: a single button lets you copy the entire attribution tag.
3. Flat Icon
Flat Icon is a brainchild of Freepik, dedicated exclusively to icons. Unlike Freepik, which provides icons a la carte, Freepik’s are organized into packs divided by style and subject matter. With over 1200 icon packs to choose from, Flat Icon is a great way to bring a unified look to your blog or site.
If you think you know clip art, allow us to reintroduce you to our old friend Pixabay. You may remember this site from our roundup of free stock photo resources—but did you know that they also have a selection of Creative Commons Zero graphics?
CC0, the greatest of all licenses in our humble opinion, allows for restriction-free use. Commercial, personal, you name it: no rules, just right. And Pixabay’s got a mouthwatering array of carte blanche graphics you can use for whatever you want, whether you need labels, blog headers, or pictures of dinosaur police officers.
It takes all kinds to make our world, friends.
Before we depart, let’s open up the floor for questions:
Clip art, icons, graphics—what’s the difference?
You may be wondering, “Waitjustaminute: what’s the difference between icons and vectors and clip art? Where are overlays in all this, don’t you guys do overlays?”
Good news! All of these are effectively the same. Icons, overlays, vectors and clip art are all graphics. They can be many file formats, color schemes, and sizes.
As a general rule, icons are intended to point users towards a page or action: a Facebook icon means “Click to visit our Facebook page,” for instance, and a telephone icon usually means “Call us.” As such, icons tend to be streamlined and functional in design.
Vectors are clip art files that are easy to edit and scale because instead of being made of pixels, they’re made of paths, which define shapes by their geometry instead of a finite number of dots. Vectors can look like vintage line drawings, 3D-ified futuristic objects, simple labels, you name it. They are easy to shrink and expand, so they’ll fit easily into whatever you’re working on.
We should also point out that many of PicMonkey’s free overlays are vectors. Whatta coinkydink! They’re right there in the Editor, waiting for you to set them free.
Cool. So what do I do now?
Use your newfound bounty to make your photo projects incroyable. (Tish, that’s French!)
Design the perfect watermark, add vintage graphics to your collage, and best of all, edit your own overlays just as easily as ours, with all the bells and whistles of our Overlay palette. Though be cautious when resizing—unlike our infinitely magnifiable overlays, PNG clip art and icons don’t scale forever.
We hope you enjoy these resources! And we’d love to see what you do with ‘em, so drop us a comment or tag #picmonkey on social to show off your creations.