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All posts tagged stock graphics

Trending Graphics: Fall Leaves That Inspire Creative Designs

by Alex Reffie on August 8, 2017 No comments

Do you know what season it is? With cool, rainy weather and falling leaves already making appearances throughout much of the U.S., it looks like autumn is getting an early start. Not that we’re complaining. Who doesn’t love fall with its vibrant colors, warm sweaters, crisp air—and yes, even its spiced lattes.

It’s a sensory wonderland out there, which is also why it’s a powerful season for advertisers, marketers, and creatives who know how to tap into it. Looking to channel a little of this magic yourself? Here are a few tips for using fall leaves vectors to transform your creative and grab attention.

Why Designers and Advertisers Love Fall

Visual cues that evoke warmth or nostalgia—such as sweaters, warm drinks, and changing leaves—can create powerful and authentic emotional connections between audiences and your brand or product. At the same time, autumn hues like red, yellow, and orange are commanding and inspiring. Don’t believe us? Our Beginner’s Guide to Color Theory explains how color choice impacts viewer perception. Or simply think about how the colors and tones of this fall vector pattern from our library evokes positive emotions like happiness and warmth.
fall leaves vectors

Download this seamless leaf pattern from our library

These essential cues are just what you need to if you’re looking to tap into the creative advertising magic of the season. Not certain quite how to do that? We’ve put together a few simple but impactful examples of how fall graphics can elevate your brand and marketing creative.


Flaunt Your Fall Colors

Sometimes subtle just won’t do, and fall is one of those times—after all, Mother Nature doesn’t hide her colors, so why should your designs? Let your visuals speak for themselves and don’t be afraid to go big. Add them to business cards, branded swag, websites, or print advertising like this patterned leaf vector.
fall leaves vectors

Download the seamless leaf vector pattern we used


Inspire with Bright Nostalgic Labels

Even the most practical marketers understand that fall is an emotional and nostalgic time of year—perhaps it’s the way back-to-school season brings up childhood memories, or perhaps it’s the nearness of traditional family holidays. Whatever the reason, autumn is the perfect season for nostalgic creative like this brightly labeled craft paper.
fall leaves vectors

Download the watercolor leaf vectors we used


Warm Up Your Brand with Golden Hues

Whether you’re marketing yourself or your newest product, fall designs and colors add personality and friendliness to your branding while inspiring feel-good vibes. We’ve used one of our favorite golden vector frames to add subtle, warm accents to this bottle label.
fall leaves vectors

Download the autumn floral frame vector we used


Use Comforting Textures and Patterns

Fall is all about texture and the tactile senses—just think of soft sweaters, warm drinks, crunchy leaves, and the many, many other organic patterns of the season. Great marketing capitalizes on this, drawing on comforting natural textures like this seamless leaf pattern to evoke a mellowed, comforting tone that resonates with audiences and customers.
fall leaves vectors

Download the seamless leaf vector we used

So how about it, are you ready for fall? Better yet, are you ready to capture your own fall design magic? Grab yourself your favorite spiced latte and download each of these vector files from our new Fall Graphics collection—or discover more autumn inspired images in our library.


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Alex ReffieTrending Graphics: Fall Leaves That Inspire Creative Designs

One Photo, Many Frames: Adobe InDesign

by Alex Reffie on August 3, 2017 No comments

Summer is the perfect time to brush up on your design skills, learn some new tips and tricks, and give you that notorious designer’s edge. We’ve shown you how to create seamless patterns, animate adorable GIFs, and most recently how to conjure up eerie nostalgia with a VHS glitch effect. It’s time to add another feather to your design cap with this trendy tutorial that will teach you how to create multiple frames for one image in Adobe InDesign.

The multiple framing effect is simplistic, bright, and timeless—making it a great design option for unique marketing or branded materials. Not to mention, you can transform any image with this design in a number of different ways. So go grab one of royalty-free stock images for inspiration and let’s get to it.


Getting Started

1. Open up InDesign and create a New Document. Your Page Size should be set as A3, Portrait Orientation and Facing Pages deselected.

2. Expand your Layers Panel by going to Window > Layers. Double click on Layers 1 and rename it Guides.

3. Click the Make a New Layer icon at the bottom of your workspace. Drag the new layer so that it sits above Guides. Name this new layer Images and Lock the layer.


Pick Your Image

For this design, it’s best to go with a portrait or a close-up shot—plus, having an interesting background makes for an even more crisp design. There’s plenty of high-resolution stock photos to choose from in our library, so it was easy to pick out this unique and playful portrait.

Body-Image-InDesign Download this Creative Portrait here.


Creating Your Frames

We’re going to create a windowpane framing effect. Once you’ve mastered the basic steps, you’ll be able to knock things up a notch with more complex patterns and shapes.

4. Using the Rectangle Tool, create a shape that matches the orientation of your photo. Ours is more landscape, so we matched that as closely as possible.

Center the shape on the document. Rename this layer

5. Lock your Guides layer, while keeping Images unlocked.

6. Use your creative intuition to use the Rectangle Tool again to make your first frame in the left-hand corner.

7. Go to File > Place to grab your photo.

8. Double-click inside the image and hold down Shift to size it appropriately and to capture the area of your image that you want in that corner.

9. File > Copy, File > Paste to create your next frame. Adjust the image position again to sit correctly in the guidelines.

10. Continue to do this until you see your full image take shape and–framed beautifully.

There you have it! Not only is this an easy way to freshen up your design work this summer, but this effect will give your branded materials the attention they deserve. Ready to test out your framing creativity? There’s thousands of images in our library ready for your next project.


Start Creating


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Alex ReffieOne Photo, Many Frames: Adobe InDesign

Back to School Toolkit: Photos, Charts, and Graphic Templates for Resourceful Teachers

by Caroline Mercurio on July 6, 2017 No comments

The first day of school might be a distant thought to many, but it’s practically around the corner for teachers. Summer is prime planning time for the school year—classes don’t plan themselves, after all! So we’re kicking off the Back to School season early with our educational toolkit.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and teachers are certainly old pros at inventing. Every summer they wear many hats, whipping up classroom decorations and outlining projects as part of the school year preparations. And while we can’t help plan the curriculum, our graphics library is full of visual resources perfect for educators.

We’ve hand picked this toolkit of teaching resources featuring customizable graphs and chart templates, imaginative icons, and backgrounds for classroom subjects—plus stock educational photos suited to most scholastic projects.

Here’s a quick preview of the toolkit—or explore the full Back to School toolkit in our library.


Customizable Graphs and Charts

stock images

Download this ecology infographic template.

Chemistry? Check.
Geography? Check.
Ecology? Check.

With colorful and fun charts adaptable to any number of different subjects, these eye catching graphics are the perfect way to capture your students’ attention and keep it. As visual literacy gains as one of the most important skills for students in the digital era, information and data visualizations are also becoming key components to curriculum planning—even in non-STEM subjects. Just download these vector templates into Adobe Illustrator (or your favorite graphics editor) to start customizing them and make them your own.


Imaginative Icons


stock images

Download these retro educational web icons.

We could write odes to the understated icon—or channel our inner William Carlos Williams: So much depends upon the small icons. While it might seem like high praise, icons do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to visual literacy and multimodal learning. Perhaps most importantly, they’re short and to the point while still being fun.

So whether they’re accenting presentations and class discussion blogs—or being incorporated into larger infographic designs with our graphs and charts—these icons will help you convey complex ideas quickly and imaginatively for your students.


Back to School Photos


stock images

Download this photo of colored pencils.

Not to be confused with the often dreaded school portraits or yearbook photos, these school photos are hand picked to inspire students in their work. Running the gamut from K to 12+ and from math to art, we picked these photos for their versatility and adaptability. So whether you’re designing your own motivational posters or putting together an email newsletter for students and parents, these photos are the perfect jumping off point.

You’ll discover all these graphics and more in the full toolkit—just don’t wait to be saved by the bell!


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Caroline MercurioBack to School Toolkit: Photos, Charts, and Graphic Templates for Resourceful Teachers

Weekly Design Trend: Vintage Travel Nostalgia

by Alex Reffie on June 20, 2017 No comments

It’s summer and, because we live in an era of travel envy and wanderlust, we thought it only appropriate to combine the two for this week’s trend. It’s a great time to have an adventure, whether you’re jetting off to Bali or road tripping across the country. Extraordinary journeys with friends, new and old, to places not yet traveled are all encompassing traits of the perfect summer adventure.

It’s pretty easy to tie travel and design together since our stock photo library is jam packed with travel inspired stock images, vectors, and vintage designs to provide that authentic feel. With the content in our stock photo library we were able to whip up this jet-setting design in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop perfect for wishing someone–or yourself, “safe travels!”

stock photo library

So–where are you headed? Take flight and discover all the excursion-inspiring design elements in our stock photo library to create your own summer adventure graphic!


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Alex ReffieWeekly Design Trend: Vintage Travel Nostalgia

Bye Bye, Clipart: 3 Tips and Tools for Avoiding the Biggest Mistakes in Slide Design

by Caroline Mercurio on May 21, 2017 No comments

Have you upgraded your slide decks recently? Though that question might earn a few eye rolls from Google Slides and Powerpoint veterans, in today’s high-def, high-res world of slick, minimalist designs and supersaturated color blocking, it’s important to take a step back and truly ask: What decade are your slide decks living in?

If the answer is anything other than right now, it might be time to step away from the clipart and rethink your approach. To help, we’ve put together this quick and simple guide using stock vectors to avoid the three biggest mistakes in slide design.

And if you like the graphics and motifs in these slide designs, don’t forget to explore more graphical elements from our royalty-free library.

slide decks

Tip #1 – Stay Fresh and Cohesive—But Avoid Canned Themes!

slide decks
If there’s one cardinal rule in slide design, it’s that you must have a unifying theme. Without visual cohesion in a deck, ideas and thoughts appear disconnected and give audiences the impression that the presenter doesn’t care whether the slides are professional and polished—definitely not something anyone wants! So it’s understandable that the vast majority of the working world relies on preset themes for their decks: it’s just easier.

Unfortunately, this is also a huge mistake. Most of the themes included in slide design programs feature fonts, styles, and motifs that are years—if not decades—out of style. And even if a theme is au courant, it’s not unique—thousands of other companies and presenters could be using the exact same theme, making it far from the best way to distinguish a business or brand.

Instead, forge your own path and create your own template that’s both unique and contemporary! (Which leads us to our second tip.)

Tip #2 – Keep It Simple and Be Yourself

 slide decks
Whether you’re a veteran slide designer or this is your first time putting together a deck, remember that simplicity is your best friend. The purpose of a slide theme is to create cohesion as well as build or evoke brand identity—not overwhelm the viewer or upstage the information being presented.

So don’t overcomplicate it and keep to this simple rule of three: palette, font, motif.
Palette – Start with the dominant colors or palette you want for your slides, and decide if you want those colors to pop as part of the background or through the motifs. These colors might be determined by your own brand guidelines, or you can pick them for yourself. If doing the latter, make sure they resonate with what you’re representing, whether that’s your own personal brand or your company’s new product.

(And if you’re not certain which colors to pick—there are almost 10 million in the visible spectrum, after all—you can learn more about color palettes in our Guide to Color Theory.)

For our example, we’ve picked a muted palette of neutrals (white and slate gray) with a single pop of Millennial Pink for highlights and motifs.

slide decks

Font – Next up, pick your font(s)—as with palette choices, these should reflect both your brand and your personal style. For cohesive purposes, limit yourself to just one or two fonts. Any more than two fonts is too many cooks in the kitchen.

The advantage of picking two fonts is that they will allow you to introduce additional visual hierarchy on your slides, with one font working as the headliner (or H1) while the other font does the heavy lifting in the body copy or supporting descriptions. This can be helpful for slides with a lot of information, making it easier for viewers to read. On the other hand, if you choose a single font, you further cement the visual cohesion of the deck.

For our slide example, we choose two commonly used fonts available through Google or Adobe Typekit: Great Vibes and Proxima Nova.
Motif – This is the final yet perhaps most important element when creating your own slide deck theme. A motif is a visual image or style that you pick to repeat on each slide to create further cohesion. For some decks, this means using the same color blocks or highlights on each slide, while for others it means reusing the same design element through.

For our example, we chose close-cropped color blocking for our color highlight, which we can pull through from the title slide to all supporting detail slides.

slide decks
A word to the wise: If you’re working on a branded deck, avoid putting your logo on every slide—it’s so 2000s. While it’s important to stamp your brand identity on each slide, this can often be done more subtly than simply copying and pasting your logo. Instead, consider pulling the palette, fonts, or design elements of your brand into your deck’s theme for a softer, more subtle approach.


#3 – Don’t Say It, Show It

Now that you’ve got the foundations of your deck established, make sure your content shines! Nothing gets an audience to tune out faster than a slide that looks like word soup.

slide decks

Overwhelming viewers with too much information too quickly—usually by using too many words or data points and not enough visualizations—is a common but completely avoidable mistake. Think about the most effective presentations you’ve seen, whether on Shark Tank or in your favorite TED talks. What’s the one thing they all have in common? Less is more.

slide decks
Slide decks should anchor an audience’s attention, punctuating key takeaways or questions—and what better way to do that than with visuals? We recommend using vector infographics and flat icons to help you visualize your points while engaging your audience.

slide decks


Download the contemporary flat icons in this slide.

slide decks


Download the contemporary flat icons in this slide.


So how about it? Are you ready to design your own slide deck? With these tips—plus a well-stocked arsenal of royalty-free design elements and graphics—it’s time to bid a fond farewell to clipart that’s straight out of the 90s!


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Caroline MercurioBye Bye, Clipart: 3 Tips and Tools for Avoiding the Biggest Mistakes in Slide Design

Trending This Week: Linear Vector Icons in Web Design

by Caitlyn Hampton on March 24, 2017 No comments

In web design, vector icons not only make your page look on-trend, they’re also great to convey a large amount of information in a way that’s both efficient and visually appealing—a rare combination in the world of design. Since users tend to rapidly skim pages, well-designed icons make your message easier to pinpoint by breaking up the content of a page so that viewers can quickly identify your services or products.

Take a look at our example below. This attention-grabbing homepage is noticeable for all the right reasons—with one quick glance, you get all the important details without any visual or verbal clutter.

Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this website design.


So now you see why icons are a win-win for content and design, but the tricky thing about icons is that they can be really tough to design well. They require time and an attention to detail that can take hours or even days to get just right—even if you’re a professional designer.

The good news? We recently acquired a new collection of stock vectors for our library, including dozens of high-quality icon designs. They will take your web pages to the next level and save you hours upon hours of work. Check out some of our favorites here and if you want to see how to use icons in a resume, check out this post.

Stock Vectors
So what do you say—are you ready to take your website designs to the next level?

Explore New Icons


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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Linear Vector Icons in Web Design

Our Spring Coloring Book—13 Stock Vectors That Turn Winter into Spring

by Caroline Mercurio on March 16, 2017 No comments

While it might seem like much of the world is still facing frost and snowstorms, the first day of spring is nearly here. To help celebrate the changing seasons—and the flowery foliage that comes with it—we’ve rounded up some of our favorite line art drawings from our library of stock vectors that truly capture this time of year.

What exactly makes these drawings so perfect for the first day of spring? Each image is a delicately drawn snowflake that—if you look closely enough—is entirely made up of flowers. (Metaphorical much?)

Best of all, the black and white line art style of these snowflakes make them ideal for coloring. And let’s be real, who doesn’t enjoy a chance to color every now and then? With Photoshop, it’s entirely mess-free—no crayons, markers, paints, or colored pencils to clean up after. Just pick your color and use that much-loved tool: the paint bucket.

Here’s an example of how we’ve colored one of these floral snowflakes.

Stock Vectors
And after:
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Not certain which colors to pick? We used a palette inspired by early spring blooms, like the warm yellows of daffodils and the vibrant purples of crocuses. Look to nature for your own inspiration—or make sure your choices are 100% on-trend and check out our guide to Pantone’s picks for this spring.

Try out your own palettes with these 13 floral snowflakes.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

Pick your favorite or download them all—with unlimited downloads from our royalty-free library of stock vectors, the possibilities are endless!


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Caroline MercurioOur Spring Coloring Book—13 Stock Vectors That Turn Winter into Spring

Trending This Week: Designing With Purple

by Caroline Mercurio on March 2, 2017 No comments

Purple is one of the most interesting colors to work with, and it appears that the rest of the design world agrees. As the meeting point between warm red and cool blue, purple plays between the two tonalities to create countless colors in-between. You can mix a cool indigo by using a stronger dose of blue, or you can warm things up with a heavy dose of red. Even better, use several shades of purple together to keep your designs fresh and modern. No matter what hue you choose, this royal color always makes a bold statement.

Mustering up our courage, we decided to create our own eggplant-hued designs with stock images and an easy to achieve color overlay.

Stock Images

Download the stock images used in this design.


First we pulled our quote from one of our favorites by designer Sam Winston, “Design teaches you to study the voice rather than what to say.” Then to create this inspirational poster design, we simply downloaded our stock image of choice, added a shade of purple on top, and switched the color layer blend mode to multiply—play around with a variety of other blend modes like overlay, hue, color, etc. when creating your own design!

This season, designers are being fearlessly bold and not shying away from strong use of bright colors. We hope this post has inspired you to embrace the same level of bravery—and if you want to learn more about designing with color, check out our Color Theory 101 and our Visual Guide to Pantone’s Spring Colors.


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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Designing With Purple

How to Design Unique Resumes with Stock Vectors and Icons

by Caroline Mercurio on March 1, 2017 No comments

Does your resume help you stand out as a creative or blend in with the crowd? Showcasing your experience and skills in a new and updated way puts your creativity at the forefront—without compromising on professionalism. Using stock vectors and icons—plus a few other design tips—you can create a more dynamic and appealing resume.

Show your future employer you’re more than just another cog in the machine with these easy to apply tips—and get the creative job of your dreams!


Tip #1 – Hierarchy and Simplicity Are Your Best Friends

There are some components of a resume that need greater recognition than others—your name, for example. Using the concepts of hierarchy in your resume will help the reader focus on key elements and helps draw their eye to important information. Let your name be the spotlight with bold and large text. Each section should be headed by bold keywords, with the body text taking a supporting role.

If you’re going to use color in your design, do so sparingly. While this is a resume for a creative position, function should rule over form—which is the guiding principle behind all design, anyways. Our strong recommendation is to choose one color and then play with rich black and a variety of grey shades. At most, use two typefaces—usually a serif and a sans serif. Even more simplistic is to use one font family and vary the weights to create your desired hierarchy.

Check out our focus on simplicity and color in the design below.

Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this resume design.


Tip #2 – Keep the Layout Organized

Although it might be the least sexy part of designing a resume, maintaining a well-planned and organized layout is a very important component of your design. Recruiters and hiring managers scan dozens—and even hundreds—of resumes for each hiring round, so the information should be structured in easily digestible chunks for quick absorption.

Use a grid layout with rows and columns to make the most of the space on the page. Visual dividers combined with generous white space break up the details and provide greater clarity from one section to another. This also makes it easier for readers to quickly refer to sections of information in conversation with a colleague or during the interview.

Make sure each section of your resume aligns with another section or design element. You can see in our design below how much attention we gave to alignment. Nothing is out of place or randomly staggered into the white space. See how we streamlined our alignments in our resume example.

Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this resume design.


Tip #3 – Catch the Eye with Stock Vectors and Icons

This is where you can have a little more fun—adding in vectors and icons to draw attention to key areas and highlight your skills. Once you have a good base of strong hierarchy, clean design, and an organized layout, adding in some design details can take away the monotony of a resume and bring a little personality to it.

You can use icons to highlight your contact information, skills, and personal interests. Meanwhile, you can use stock vectors to bring some color to the page or to show side by comparisons of how developed each of your skills are. See our use of icons below.

Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this resume design.

Remember, a resume is how you present not only your skills and experience, but also your personal brand to a potential employer. Are you more formal and business-like? Or are you playful and fun? The right combination of fonts, colors, layout decisions and graphics can communicate your personality before someone even reads a word on the page.

What are you waiting for? Put your best foot forward and create a resume that stands out.


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Caroline MercurioHow to Design Unique Resumes with Stock Vectors and Icons

Trending This Week: Ironic Poster Designs Using Stock Graphics

by Caroline Mercurio on February 23, 2017 No comments

The design world has a lot of dos and don’ts—do keep graphics balanced and aligned, don’t use Comic Sans, do design with strong contrast—and most importantly, do keep a clear message. But the beauty of art and design is the freedom to break the rules—at least when it’s done in a purposeful and effective way. Inspired by Nick Slater’s poster designs, we chose to focus on one key element in our design: irony. When done with finesse, this technique can convey a sense of humor and self-awareness that creates an approachable personality—all through design!

As we’re all painfully aware, irony is a term that is often misunderstood—just listen to Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic, for example. But for our purposes it’s quite simple: have the design of your poster contrast with the message. In Mr. Slater’s design, he mixed the message of “Quiet Work Area” with loud colors and playful design elements. The result is fun and approachable. When your message and design contradict, your humor shines through.

Feeling inspired ourselves, we decided to create our own ironic poster using stock graphics.

stock graphics

Download the retro, geometric seamless pattern used in this design.

As this fun poster shows, we don’t always have to take ourselves so seriously. Using irony in your designs and creative work can help set you apart from other companies and solidify your brand identity. We were so inspired, we even gave ironic messaging a shot in a recent video for our sister site, VideoBlocks.


Think you can pull off an ironic design statement?


Get Ironic with Stock Graphics


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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Ironic Poster Designs Using Stock Graphics