If you look at the landscape of web design today, it’s evident that visual graphics elements are taking over. From simple icon fonts to dynamic shapes, to full-blown illustrations that strengthen the brand image. This post will explore the many different choices for finding free illustrations for your web design project.
So, how come that illustrations have become such a distinct trend in web design? For one, visual design elements provide a lot of versatility. You can use an illustration to convey the entire purpose of your product or service without having to write twenty paragraphs about it.
Further, illustrations provide a lot of color contrast so that you can emphasize important information more efficiently.
And best of all, you don’t need to go out of your way to hire or outsource a graphics designer. There are plenty of creators who have dedicated their time and effort to provide the designer community with plenty of free illustrations.
Free illustrations: A quick primer
Before we get to the best sources for free illustrations, let’s go over some fundamentals to keep in mind:
- Check for copyright. While most of the free illustration sites in this list are copyright-free, it’s common decency to double check. At most, you’ll need to give the original author credit somewhere on your site.
- Don’t overthink. Always have a plan in mind for how you’re going to use illustrations in your design. If you’re unsure, check out popular design sites to yield some inspiration.
- Tell a story. Illustrations work best when you’re telling a story. E.g. Your illustration reflects the type of service or product you provide. The goal is to use visuals as a form of communication.
If all this sounds good, then let’s look at the different free illustration resources we have for you today.
unDraw has been in the works since 2017 and is maintained solely by Katerina Limpitsouni. Since launching her open-source illustration library, Katerina has designed more than 500 illustrations in any category imaginable.
Personally, what makes unDraw so appealing is that you get copyright-free SVG files, and you can also color manage the illustrations directly from the website.
By having access to SVG files, you can edit, customize, and stitch together multiple illustrations for a thoroughly custom design.
This is the one for your bookmarks toolbar.
James Daly built DrawKit as a means to help designers and startup owners quickly design their projects. The site gives you access to more than 50 free illustrations in two separate styles. And if you like James’s work, you can also subscribe to one of his premium packs.
All files are under MIT license (great for personal and commercial needs), and you can download fully editable SVG and PNG files. Lots of categories to choose from, too!
Absurd Illustrations showcases how imperfection can be applied as the “perfect” design feature. These lucrative, highly creative, and seemingly outlandish illustrations are surely going to leave your visitors with a sense of awe and wonder.
The project focuses on playfulness as a means to inspire imagination. There are so many niches within which to design a website, and sometimes, having an unusual design makes all the difference.
Although available for free, you’ll be faced with some limitations.
You’ll need to add a link back to the project, and you’ll also be constricted only to PNG files. However, if you have the design chops you can subscribe for the premium ($19) membership. This gives you access to more images, but also different file formats.
ManyPixels is another fantastic resource which is very similar to unDraw. Both resources have different creators, so the designs will have some unique qualities.
You can still choose a default color before downloading any of the free illustrations, and you can download full SVG format files.
The license implies that ManyPixel’s images are free to use in any way imaginable. The only restriction is that you cannot recompile the files and sell them someplace else.
Actually, if you’re using Sketch or Figma in your daily workflow, you can find tens of thousands of free resources, including illustrations.
Freebie Supply is one of the many sites which compile such resources into one singular directory. You can see in the snapshot above that for Sketch – there are more than 300 pages of free content.
As far as licensing goes, you’ll have to check that individually. But as far as the availability of free designs goes – it’s phenomenal!
Icons8 specializes in icon design as the primary business purpose. But they’ve recently started to expand into other areas as well, including illustrations.
Ouch! is packed with creative and unorthodox vector graphics for your next web design project. For SVG vectors, check the pricing options directly on the site.
The license must be attributed in the form of a link.
The icons are fully customizable, and in total there are more than 90 icons to choose from.
Humaaans focuses on the human aspect of design. As an illustration library, Humaaans emphasizes the human connection to design.
These wonderfully creative artworks will fit any design project where you need to add a touch of emotion and liveliness.
Works great both for using as icon placements but also for full-blown hero sections.
9. IRA Design
IRA Design lets you create custom illustrations using pre-built components. Each component has five different gradient styles, and you can download them as SVG, AI, or PNG files.
And just to clarify, you have to download the files on your computer before you can edit them. If you look at the top navigation bar, there’s a Download button.
Select whether you want SVG, PNG or ALL files and you’re set.
Interfacer is a hand-picked library of design resources. It covers elements like fonts, UI kits, icons, and illustrations.
Each free resource leads you to either a download page or a separate website.
In case some of the links are not working, do a quick Google search to find an alternative.
Were you surprised by the sheer amount of free resources other designers have put up for you to use?
It’s great to know that there are people putting in their hard work and sweat into something that eventually gets used and seen by millions of people.
Which one worked out best for you? Let us know in the comments section!