50+ Sites for Free Images, Fonts & Icons for Your Blog

50+ Sites for Free Images, Fonts & Icons for Your Blog

You want images on your website and social media because you need to stand out and entice people to your website.

You want to know how to make great images because humans — no matter how smart — have multiple senses, and, in the world of multimedia, we get to play on and tempt multiple senses.

Y U NO USE IMAGES ON YOUR BLOGSYou want great images for your blog and social interactions because your ideas, your prose, your copy, your content is good but keeps getting overlooked in the cesspool of modern media.

No one argues anymore about how important eye-catching images are to your social media strategy — it’s a foregone conclusion. (However, I have included some links below if you want to get into those studies.)

Look at Favstar and see which are the most popular tweets of your heroes online. Are there some images up there? Are they all images?

(Here’s @patflynn’s for example. Notice any patterns? BTW, I did a ton of research on this topic in prep for a course and learned a bunch that’s changed how I think about how best to use images. More on that later.)

And who could forget this little ditty (as I write this it’s one of the most popular tweets of all time):

Images are visceral. They can speak richly and deeply in a split second, deep down in our lizard brain. They can… but most of the crap you’ll see online is limp drivel, a waste of your time and mine.

It’s not rocket science! It’s human. It’s in you. You can absolutely put together images that compel and ignite… but you’ve got to understand some key concepts.

Directors and screenwriters know how important it is to show not just tell. One day I’ll geek out with you on some of the psychology and biology of effective images, but today lets focus on something much more actionable.

Let’s get down to the brass tacks, exactly what you need to get your hands dirty, the tangibles.

You need to know where to find images, fonts and icons that ARE going to help you stand out and get attention and that AREN’T going to break the bank or get you sued.

To that end, I’ve broken up the info in this post like so (all of them ordered with my favorite towards the top):

Sections in this article:

  1. How to not get sued!
  2. How to use this guide
  3. Hipster/Modern Images
  4. Generic Images (but still good)
  5. Vintage Images
  6. Creative Commons Repositories
  7. Icons
  8. Fonts
  9. A Research/Search Trick
  10. More Resources

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A quick note on copyright

Getting sued for using images you don’t have the right to use is a real thing! How can we steer clear of ALL danger?

We don’t have enough time to cover all the bases here (and most of the resources in this guide have totally free, public domain images), so I link to some more info at the bottom of this post. For now just follow these rules:

  • don’t use copyrighted images… assume every image on the internet is copyrighted.
  • Never use an image from Google Images or any other image source you don’t fully understand.
  • Only use images from trusted sources. (All of the sources on this page are trustworthy.)
  • Pay attention to the license of each image. Most of the sites below share totally free, public domain images; you can use them however you want. Others, however, require author attribution, or contain limitations like no commercial use. Some are free and others require payment, etc. The license of all photos you’ll find on the sites below is easy to find and understand on those sites. So, do a check through on the image before you download and use it.

A quick glossary of common license terms

You may come across these terms as you peruse licenses on images you want to use:

  • Public Domain“… belonging or being available to the public as a whole, and therefore not subject to copyright” . Free to use and edit and mangle and publish as you see fit forever and ever amen!
  • Attribution“You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use” . Confession: I normally simply include the creator’s name and a link to the original image (example), and it sounds like I may be doing that wrong and should be including: a copyright notice, a license notice and a disclaimer notice as well.
  • Share Alike“If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original” . So if you use an image with Share Alike on it’s license, you have to be ok with others taking your image and doing a similar thing with it. I’m normally just fine with this.
  • Non Commercial“You may not use the material for commercial purposes. A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation” . So is that free email giveaway commercial or non commercial? The confusion is warranted (even CreativeCommons is confused about it). Go with your gut on this one, I do.

DISCLAIMER: None of the above is legal advice. I am not a lawyer. Don’t take my word for it. Etc.


How I’d use this guide

  1. Find 3-5 image sources you really like. Limit yourself to these. If it were me, for example, I’d choose New Old Stock and the Library/Museum flickr accounts (because I like old stuff and they’re all public domain).
  2. Understand the licenses of those sources. Do you need to link to the source? Are they ok for commercial use? Take a few minutes to understand how your chosen sites allow you to use their images.
  3. Bookmark those sites and invest some time getting used to how they organize things. Maybe start collecting images in a folder on your computer or Evernote. You’ll never know when a great idea will strike.
  4. I’d find 2 fonts I like from the links below, downloading and installing them on my system. One kinda funky and fun, the other readable and solid, both unique feeling to me.
  5. I’d create 1 or 2 templates (I use photoshop, but you could use Canva or SumoPaint or Pixlr or something else) with an image as the background and some text on top how I like it. I’d follow a template like this but much larger.
  6. Creating an image for every blog post is now as important (and accessible) to me as creating a great headline. I’ve got bookmarks, fonts and templates.
  7. (There’s much more we cover in the course about coming up with your own ideas, using a swipe file of tactics, the best image sizes, etc., but this is a great starter setup and far better than what most have!)

Hipster/Modern Images

You see images like these all over the place today. Faded and stylized images that create a kind of modern vintage look that feels well worn like your favorite pair of jeans. Below is our favorite places to find these kinds of images.

Note: these kinds of images are getting very popular, so standing out means using your own effects, filters and maybe even text. In the shareable images course I get into several options and tutorials and Canva definitely comes out as a top tool for this.

TheStocks.imTheStocks.im — This one combines several of the sites linked to below in one interface. It’s a Hipster Image paradise! (But can be a little clunky).


PexelsPexels — This one seems to have more images than most of the others (or so it seems from my google images trick below).


StockSnap.ioStockSnap.io — Another site pulling in images that a lot of the others have. The site works well.


LockAndStockPhotos.comLock & Stock Photos


UnsplashUnsplash — This one is very popular, you may want to manipulate the images with filters, overlays, text, etc., to make them more unique. Here’s a handy little tool to search Unsplash.com


StockUpStockUp — Can be a bit generic feeling but still some good stuff.


TravelCoffeeBookTravelCoffeeBook — Lots of travel and nature shots.


Magdeleine.co/browseMagdeleine.co — You’ll have to check the licenses for these. Here’s where non attribution images are (i.e., you don’t have to include a link to the author).


JayMantri.comJayMantri.com


CrowTheStone.comCrowTheStone.com


GetRefe.Tumblr.comGetRefe.Tumblr.com


Gratisography.comGratisography.com


SuperFamous.comSuperFamous.com — Mostly nature and cityscapes. Beautiful stuff.


LittleVisuals.coLittleVisuals.co


SnapwireSnaps.Tumblr.comSnapwireSnaps.Tumblr.com


DeathToTheStockPhoto.comDeathToTheStockPhoto.com — You’ll have to sign up for this one via email, but the buzz about this site is great.


PublicDomainArchive.comPublicDomainArchive.com


Picography.coPicography.co


ISOrepublic.comISOrepublic.com


PicJumbo.comPicJumbo.com


Stocksy.comStocksy.com — This one is NOT free, but the images are so good I had to include it.



Generic Images (but still good)

These sources are great for those clean, clear, less stylized kind of images. They can look a bit too much like stock photography at times, but there’s tons to choose from on these sites.

PixaBay.comPixaBay.com


DesignersPics.comDesignersPics.com


CreativeCommons.photoCreativeCommons.photo


IMCreator.com/freeIMCreator.com/free


SkitterPhoto.comSkitterPhoto.com


MorgueFile.com/archiveMorgueFile.com/archive



Vintage Images

These are truly vintage sources for images. Most of them come simply from government archives. So come to these ready to search around a bit. (I love picking images like these… the vintage look can be a unique identifier.)

New Old StockNew Old Stock


VintagePrintable.comVintagePrintable.com


Internet Archive BooksInternet Archive Books


Library of Congress FlickrLibrary of Congress Flickr


US National Archives FlickrUS National Archives Flickr


British Library FlickrBritish Library Flickr


Library of CongressLibrary of Congress


Secret Museum of MankindSecret Museum of Mankind — going waaaaaaaay back.


TackoRama.netTackORama.net



Creative Commons Repositories

Creative Commons is a kind of license many creators use to for their work. There are different licenses with different restrictions which you can learn about here. These repositories aren’t curated, they’re simply collections of images with specific kinds of licenses. Most require attribution, i.e., including a link to the original image somewhere on the page you use the image.

Note: The only CC licenses I go for are “Attribution” and “Attribution-ShareAlike.” With many of the sites below you can choose to search only for those kinds of images.

compfight.comcompfight.com — simply searches Flickr and does a damn fine job of it. You can filter by license on the left hand side. Make sure you notice what license the photo you use has, you’ll definitely need to attribute a link to the author of the image.


foter.comfoter.com — same as above: make sure you pay attention to the license of each image as they vary.


Search.CreativeCommons.orgSearch.CreativeCommons.org — Search Flickr, Wikimedia, Pixabay and more! (But only one at a time.)


500px.com500px.com/CreativeCommons — the CC licensed images on 500px.com. Pay attention to licenses!


Flickr.com/CreativeCommonsFlickr.com/CreativeCommons — Flickr’s CC licensed images. You can also search by Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike licenses.


Commons.Wikimedia.orgCommons.Wikimedia.org — Also available is this great Wikimedia search engine. You can find some wild public domain stuff on Wikimedia.



Icons

Icons can add an extra layer of metaphor to your images. They’re clean, clear and crisp, communicating immediately.

Bonus Tip: I sometimes search a topic or emotion on the Noun Project (linked below) to get ideas for the kind of image I could use in my post.

TheNounProject.comTheNounProject.com — requires attribution or purchase of some icons. Pay attention to the license.


IconMonstr.comIconMonstr.com


IconFinder.comIconFinder.com


FontAwesomeFontAwesome — This one is actually a font file containing icons. It’s kind of confusing. I just include it here for those folks who know what to do with it.



Fonts

Here are a bunch of great resources for free fonts you can use to customize your images in an image editor.

My Advice: use no more than two fonts, one easily readable, the other a bit more playful. Use the playful one sparingly. Keep it simple. Use as few words as possible. Use color and have fun.

Really Good Ones

League of Moveable TypeLeague of Moveable Type — beautiful stuff. League Gothic is a modern classic, used everywhere and still looks good.


FontFabric.comFontFabric.com — the “free” category.


LostType.comLostType.com — most of these are “pay what you want.” Kick in some bucks if you find something you love.


MyFontsMyFonts — the “free” category.


Behance Free FontsBehance Free Fonts — the “free” category.


Pretty Good Ones


A Research/Search trick

Some of the sites above have good search capabilities, others don’t. So I’ve gotten used to doing this little hack to browse and search a bit more visually:

  1. Select the base URL of the site you want to search. E.g., http://nos.twnsnd.co
  2. Go to Google and type this site:http://nos.twnsnd.co replacing the example URL with the URL of your choice, and click Enter. Now we’re looking at results only from that site.
  3. Click the “Images” tab to view only image results from that site. Here’s what my example looks like.
  4. Browse or search by keyword.
  5. Make sure to check the license for any images you like! This finds all sorts of image all over the site you’re searching so you can’t be sure until you open the image’s page and check out the license.

More Resources


Conclusion

Sources for images, fonts and icons like this are always changing. New ones pop up, old favorites die out. If there’s some you really like, let us know in the comments and I’ll add the best ones to the post over time.

Hope this is helpful for you! If you want to create your own strategy and go further with your images definitely check out the Shareable Images Course. I’d love to help you in that way as well.

Remember: you’re going to be making stuff on the internet for a long time. Images aren’t going anywhere, so invest some time understanding the landscape and tools, create a process that works for you and put together some stuff you and your audience love! Break a leg.



Want some key tips for stunning images?
shareable images for blogs and social media course

Checkout the course

  • bam! what a monster post! thanks!

    • Chase Reeves

      Thanks @Nicken:disqus, @fizzle-7d5430cf85f78c4b7aa09813b14bce0d:disqus, @theorderexpert:disqus!

  • Marcos Ruvalcaba

    Booya! Nice post!

  • Fantastic post! I’ve bookmarked this one.

  • Chase you awesome man you!

    I’ve been using pixabay for the longest time for images because I know the majority of the images fall under the “public domain” category. But I’m struggling to find good images now…

    I was just about to start the course in Fizzle to figure out how to jazz my posts up a bit more and now you’ve come out with this golden goose of a post.

    The next Fernet is on me my friend ;)

    • Chase Reeves

      Hope you dig the course, Luke!

      Also, take note of the google images trick above. I bookmark that version of several of my favorite image sources. It’s much easier to browse and search this way, and to view a bunch of sites quickly.

  • Design Cuts

    Awesome collection Chase, and I love the explanations for newbies to this stuff. So many people don’t realise about correct usage/attribution! Refreshing to find a few new sites in this list that I hadn’t come across yet.

    • Chase Reeves

      Thanks, Tom! If you find some more resources I fully expect you to add them here in the future :)

      • Design Cuts

        Personally I’ve used Pixabay for a good while. However, more recently Dollar Photo Club has been a must, and honestly the quality is well worth the $1 per photo, when you compared them to what you get on the free sites.

        PS: It bugs me when people comment as sites, not their personal name, but I’m a massive noob with Disqus (and most things technical) so you’ll have to bear with me ;).

  • Dylan Roush

    Good sir Reeves,

    Things like this are what makes Fizzle worth the investment. A few little details go along way. However, the website designer in me wants to know, since stock imagery is always a pain:

    Are these open to be used in design projects?

    I know the regulations with fonts and such. Thank you again

    • Chase Reeves

      Good question, Dylan. The license for a good deal of these are public domain, totally free to use however you want.

      Others are creative commons licensed, and require attribution or are not allowed in things you’ll sell (depending on the specific license).

      So pay attention to the license on each image. (the glossary above should help with some of the legal-speak).

  • Will Gibbons

    Perfect timing! I’m just starting to populate my site and pre-posted blog entries with imagery. This is exactly what I needed! Will likely watch the course on this in Fizzle too.

    • Chase Reeves

      I hope you dig the course, Will!

    • Strujac Alexandru

      Hy everybody. Please check http://www.stocka.co. It’s a free stock website for bloggers and designers. I just started the project but i will ad at least 5 photos every week. Thank you.

  • Brilliant list guys! Haven’t found one that so thoroughly listed fonts – very useful!

    • Chase Reeves

      Awesome. Thanks, Sarah!

  • About to start he course!

    My image producing comfort level starts and ends with Canva so I’m looking forward to a quick Photoshop tutorial. You used the word “template” in the post above so I’m guessing that’s a smart thing to setup.

  • Kirsty@Bonjour

    This is super useful, Chase, thanks. I generally take all my own photos but the font sites were exactly what I needed. Over half my traffic comes from Pinterest so images are a big deal for me!

  • Harry Karydes

    Thanks Chase. Another great post! Much appreciated!

  • OMG THANK YOU!!!!!! This is awesome. I’ve used Unsplash a lot, but always looking for other photos for place holding.

  • WOW this is baller

  • Thias

    This was a great breakdown of the different license types. I never truly understood how to actually use images found online and what sort of disclaimers/credit I would need to give. Great information and very valuable as I move forward with my project.

  • Preston Lee

    Looks like a great course. Can’t wait to take it.
    And a super helpful list. Seriously. Thanks.

    I’m also gonna (kindly) call you guys out here: do you really believe the “don’t use copyrighted images” piece of advice above? I mean you guys use copyrighted material on the Sparkline all the time (thinking about the Muppets, Homestar Runner, etc)…Chase, isn’t your own avatar even a combination of your face and some other guy’s photo? ;)

    So I know the party line has to be “don’t use copyrighted images.” But what’s the real way you guys make a judgment call on when or when not to use copyrighted images? I’m curious.

    And I genuinely don’t have a good answer myself, so I’m looking to you guys. :)

    Thanks again!

    • Chase Reeves

      it’s a fair question, Preston. I use stuff from movies sometimes because I’m a gamblin’ man. I like the way those images connect for any of us who’s seen the movie, and I’m not sure they’ll spend the money to come after me. (Famous last words).

      I’m a weirdo who can’t get away from screenshots of movies i love. (just check how I designed this page if you don’t believe me: http://fizzle.co/2014).

      And with the research from this post we’ve all got so many more places to choose totally public domain images from.

      As to my avatar… that’s proprietary information. you need clearance :)

  • The images can help get more traffic for a blog. So make sure to include images for each blog post.

  • Claire Speedy

    Thanks for these, they’re great :) Another great one that I love is StartUpStock – http://startupstockphotos.com/ – loads of great computer images! Brilliant article :) thanks!

    • Chase Reeves

      this one was on my list at first, but some of the photos felt too generic and then all of the good ones were already included on others already in the list.

      If you look at it like this, there’s really not that many photos there (a problem I found with a lot of these free sites).

      Still a good spot for that particular look, though. Thanks, Claire!

  • Brona Malone

    Great post guys – super informative x

  • Holy WOW. I expect awesome, valuable things from Fizzle – always – but this is quite the topper. Amazing info laid out beautifully. Thank you for this!!

    • Chase Reeves

      thanks, Kate!

  • aaronrobb

    This list is amazing. Great work.
    There is also http://solate.tk, which has a good selection of hand-picked creative commons images to use.

  • Nice roundup post!

  • Caelan Huntress

    Killer post. Just epic.

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! This is a subject that has been frustrating me for a long time.

  • Chase – thank you! I had a few of these sites on my list, but what you provides is amazing.

  • Bonnie Lynch

    SO valuable! I definitely needed guidance about this stuff. THANK YOU, Chase.

  • This is awesome! Thanks for making it =)

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  • Deevy

    Re. Free Photos, may I suggest http://www.upicm.com -It’s new but the number of images is growing rapidly. No attribution is required and the images can be used for personal and commercial purposes – On products too. Also, all images onsite are pre-optimised for web use so they download fast and look sharp on all devices. Thanks for the article and the opportunity to share.

  • Hi,
    Also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com for thousands of free public domain images. Appreciate it if you could add it to your list. Thanks.

  • Carla Geenen

    thank you so much! really usefull

  • You are always brilliantly managing the writing with creative ideas on
    the effective topics. Thanks much


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  • Levi Bouwkamp

    Great resources! Thanks Chase!

  • Frank La Pira

    This is my number one greatest frustration… thank you very very much, incredibly helpful.

  • Nasko

    Brilliant article. You can try http://freeimagebay.com as well. New images are added daily and you don’t need to register or attribute.

  • Lucho

    Hi Chase,

    Awesome list, the most detailed one I’ve seen in the free stock photo field. If you permit it, i would like to add a contribution to it.

    Recently, I’ve been taking photos for myself and I figured out that I kept those photos in my hard drive without using them for my photography portfolio or in any other way. So as maybe someone would like to use them I decided to share them for free.

    I lauched http://negativespace.co/. I will post at least 20 photos each monday and also I will add the raw file to every photo I would post so people can play with them.

    The photos are distributed without any copyright restriction under CC0 and you can search photos and sort them by category, colors and copy space position.

    If you could add it to your awesome list, that would be nice.

    Bests

  • baltensperger

    Thanks for this list: One more source for free images i can recommend you it’s https://plixs.com

  • MarshallKohl

    Awesome article, one of the most informative on this topic. I would be happy if you add this reliable service to the next review templatemonster.com – excellent, high quality themes (more than 40k) for different websites’ platforms ( Joomla, WordPress, Magento, eCommerce, etc)

  • Michael Steven

    I have a question…these images and fonts are free and have licenses attached to them, but how do we know that the image is really not copywrited? For example, I take a photo and don’t grant it as free to use. Then John Doe saves my image, but then uploads it to a free sharing site claiming it’s his image. Then Jane comes along and downloads the image from this free site thinking it’s a royally free image and is unaware that it was stolen and post it to her blog. I see the image, and now Jane is in trouble for using my image without permission. Can Jane get into trouble? Sure she can tell me where she got it, and I can contact that site as well, but wouldn’t they ALL get into trouble? The site, Jane and John? It’s unfair to Jane, which I completely agree. But wouldn’t she still potently get into trouble? I would love some help with this.

    • Chase Reeves

      Michael, I’m not quite sure how to respond. On one hand, you make a good point. But on the other hand, it seems then that getting a photo from anywhere (even from a paid source) could arguably give you the same worries.

      My take on it: I’ll stick with reputable sources and keep moving forward.

      • Michael Steven

        Thank you Chase, I appreciate your answer. I have another question, regarding videos. In your Photoshop tutorial, which I found to be FANTASTIC by the way…I want to watch more videos of you guys starting from scratch and showing us your magic as you make it come alive. Seeing images from start to finish was such an educational experience for me. Anyway, I’m off topic…in that video you show a bunch of different sites, including iStock. While using iStock you are showing people photos they can buy. Is that ok to do? Like in tutorials…like you don’t need permission to record the website, even though photos are shown in your video on your commercial site. I’m sorry for asking this, but this stuff is so confusing, for instance I went on Canva and purchased a photo of a guy being talked to two women at the same time. I wanted to add some text and make it my Facebook avatar because it fit my site, and looked hilarious. However, after I bought the photo a link came up with rights of how I could use this photo I just purchased, and one of the no nos was you can not use it in a branding, or type of logo…which I have no idea if a Facebook Avatar constitutes as a logo, so I didn’t use it. Anyway thanks for reading and helping!

        • Chase Reeves

          Great question Michael. I’m not certain which way you should go in that case. If it were me I’d move forward on the facebook page with that image because I don’t consider that a logo. Follow what feels right to you, though.

          Thanks for the kind words!

  • Mitchell Villani

    Thanks for this great article Chase! Just what I needed as I am starting my social media strategy!

  • Awesome list nice work! I’ve compiled a list of free quality stock images that is on my blog here:
    https://www.itpages.com/download-high-quality-free-stock-photos/

    Hope you find some of them useful! Cheers Tom

  • Great list, Chase. I’d add a place to get free hand drawn icons: https://www.infodiagram.com/freesample

    You can see blog illustration examples on my blog (I gladly help you doing them).

  • Eric Otieno Rixpoet

    I can only imagine how long it took to prepare this. I appreciate the effort immensely. Thank you.

  • Wow, this is a very long list mate! If you’re still looking to add more, you can add http://imagefinder.co to the list, we have thousands of free stock images from various sources.

  • Stuart Miles

    Hi,

    Recently I started http://BusinessImagesFree.com/ . The site is made up of totally free stock images all owned by me that people may use for whatever reason they want with no need for attribution. Please have a look…

  • Valerie

    tackorama and crowthestone have died since the original post. :( FYI. Thus far. But still tons of good stuff!

  • Thanks for compiling, Chase — this is a really fantastic resource for bloggers or anyone looking to better understand online image use! Love the breakdown of license types, the different categories of image resources you share, and the guide to using this resource.

    I wanted to share another resource for finding public domain/CC0 images that you and your readers might like: our site, http://snappygoat.com/. It contains over 12 million images, all free, downloadable, and copyright-free. Hope you’ll check it out!

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