Here’s a weird question for folks wiser than me - I’m working with some colleagues on a project involving online courses for educators. It’s something we’re quite passionate about (as educators ourselves). While creating the curriculum, teaching it, figuring out the website and course hosting isn’t a huge deal, we’ve run into a bit of a wall in regards to graphic design.
Were you doing a project like this, where would you get your images? Is there such a thing as a marketplace for matching sets of images that could be used on slides, web pages, and newsletters? Would it be better to seek out a designer? Work on concocting things ourselves?
In my mind, it seems like there would be some place to buy a big folder of matching images to use for something like this, but I may just be living in another dimension.
If your needs are primarily illustrations that are related, for buttons and such, and you go someplace like DepositPhotos, you can search for what you’re looking for. Frequently you’ll find icon sets and image collections in the images, and you’ll get most of what you need in a bundle. And if you find something you like, you can frequently browse the artist or the collection and find more stuff that’s similar.
For example, I searched for “education”, told it I only wanted illustrations, and I found this:
Below that image I see options that help me find images that might match it.
If what you’re looking for is primarily icons, sites like Dry Icons have complete icon collections built around themes.
Graphic designer here: yes, sets of images do exist and they will be the most cost-effective (assuming you can find a set or two that matches your need). Purchasing will likely be faster, too, than working with a designer. (Side note: what you’re looking for is “digital assets”; “assets” is design-speak for all the bits that go into making up a design layout. More specifically it’s called “stock art” (graphics) and “stock photography”.)
The biggest risk with this is that your stuff will look too similar to others, but honestly, it’s not a huge problem. Unless you’re a big brand with lots of marketing money, fully-custom work like this is not necessary and too expensive. Note: this kind of work is different than logos (I strongly encourage working with a designer if you need a logo). Also, if you’re not careful, you could end up with graphics that aren’t well designed, but that’s usually only a problem if you need to edit them heavily.
Make sure you find something that has the proper licensing! Some licenses are based on type of use, some are the number of views, etc. If you don’t understand licensing, please read up on it before using any type of imagery in something like this. There’s a lot of incorrect information out there, so do your research at legitimate sites.
You probably will have a greater need for graphics than photographs – the market for these is quite different. But of course, many companies that built their reputation on one type of image (photography) are trying to break into the other (graphics), so many of them offer both. You will have better luck looking at sites that were built on graphics, not stock photography.
You may also want to consider something like Canva or PicMonkey. Both are geared to social media, but essentially they are graphic design tools that allow you to quickly alter pre-designed graphics. (Changing color and typeface makes a huge difference and is probably all the customization you need.) All of the work is done in a browser, so you don’t need to buy (and learn) graphics software. Even I use Canva occasionally for preparing web and social media graphics for clients.
The trick with graphics marketplaces is the keywording. A marketplace can have excellent graphics, but if they don’t have excellent keywording, you’ll never find what you need.
Here’s a good overview from a reliable source:
If you need photography or want to use vintage illustrations (my faves), there are several collections out there that have generous licensing policies (read: unrestricted use & no fee). But always check the details! Here are some of my favorites:
Some stock photo company have features that let you browse other sets from the same theme. You can also browse per photographer or illustrator’s work to match the visuals. I’m a designer myself that has two educational websites, sometimes it’s just faster to purchase images that I needed than create it myself. Although I’m also thinking about hiring some illustrators just for specific projects.
Also one of my biggest resources for images. There’s also Unsplash with their creator shared photos for free of use.
This is an amazing and super helpful response! I appreciate it a lot and this totally is helping me get headed in the right direction.
I have SOME skill with image editing and creation, but in the interest in time and consistency (and quality) wanted to find ways to jumpstart so I (we) can focus on creating the actual CONTENT of the course instead of worrying too much about look and feel.
It doesn’t have to be beautiful, just not miserable to look at as folks learn best practices in education. Thank you again!!
also take a look at https://thenounproject.com – they have icons and photography, and you can purchase items individually or in sets.
For icons – you can download for free with a watermark. If you purchase the icon, it’s watermark-free and you can flip it horizontally and vertically and change the color. You can also subscribe for a year of unlimited downloads. The price is quite reasonable, especially with the educator discount.
Note: I have no connection to the company other than being a very satisfied customer!