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Get Your Swag On: Designing Swag with Stock Graphics

by Caroline Mercurio on February 14, 2017 No comments

T-shirts, hats, mugs, bags, pens, or socks—if you can think of it, you can put your logo on it. Swag is a crucial part of your marketing strategy. If it’s wearable or useful, you can guarantee great swag will get your brand in front of new eyes and help create lasting awareness. To spark your inspiration, we’ve outlined three ways companies can use swag to show off the strengths of their business and values—whether you’re a small business owner or Mark Zuckerberg himself, these top swag tricks will help you elevate your brand to the next level.

Keep in mind, you can’t just slap your logo on a coffee mug and call it a day, not if you want to make a significant impact—you don’t want to devalue your brand with common promotional products. Push the design of your swag to the next level and incorporate stock graphics, vectors and photos to help the inner spirit of your brand shine.

Your company’s brand is more than just the logo and colors—it’s a personality and a vision. Highlight your brand’s internal values that don’t always get to shine so brightly to the world outside your office. Swag is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also an important way to create a strong working community among coworkers and teammates.

 

#1 Swag for Facebook

Consider Facebook, for instance. They have five core values that drive their inner company workings and their hiring process. While they aren’t always advertised to the external world, it’s a huge part of their company culture and brand. As an example, we created a quick swag design encapsulating one of their values—in the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “Move fast and break things.”

 
Stock Graphics

Download the stock image of a blur speed effect used in this design.

 

#2 Swag for Google

Google is another company with strong internal values. They are innovative, creative, and they push boundaries. One of their ten core values is, “You can be serious without a suit.” They believe work should be challenging—but also fun. To reflect that playful attitude and boundary pushing mentality, we imagined a fun baseball cap that proudly boasts the value.

 
Stock Graphics

Download the stock illustration of an astronaut used in this design.

 

#3 Swag for Slack

Slack is another company with strong internal values that don’t always see the light of day. They focus on three keywords: diligence, curiosity, and empathy. Slack’s brand always portrays a fun and playful attitude—similar to Google—but with a little more youth and edginess due to their bright, saturated, and hip brand colors. We imagine that their swag should be playful and maybe even downright silly—like this bag.

 
Stock Graphics

Download the cat vector illustration used in this design.

 
There are so many possibilities when it comes to designing swag—especially when you have unlimited downloads from our library of royalty-free stock images. Try not to limit your designs to a simple logo. Think edgier, more fun, more creative. Whether the swag you’re designing is for your customers or your employees, the more unique the design, the more effective your swag will be in spreading your brand’s message and increasing awareness.

Ready to take your company’s swag to the next level? Explore our library of stock images, or check our Top 30 Favorite Label Vectors for Branding for more swag inspiration.

 

Start Designing

 

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Caroline MercurioGet Your Swag On: Designing Swag with Stock Graphics

Stock Yourself: How One GraphicStock Member Got YouTube Famous

by Caroline Mercurio on February 10, 2017 No comments

Sometimes it’s hip to be “stock-y.” Music videos used to cost thousands of dollars and required high-tech hardware and editing programs. But now in the age of low-budget DIY creativity, YouTubers like Joe Penna—known as MysteryGuitarMan on his channel—can make engaging videos with just a few stock images and a talented hand in Adobe Photoshop, all without ever having to leave their homemade studio. Joe’s specialty is bringing the absurd to life with animation, special effects, and music.

Take a look at “Stock Photo-shop” and see for yourself:

 

 

Joe’s music video for “Believer” by the band Paper Lions features stock photos from GraphicStock, with Joe lip-syncing the lyrics. He even made sure the lighting on his face matched the lighting in the photo. The well-paced video over the infectious tune was uploaded on December 15th and has garnered over 300,000 views so far. The video was well-received by subscribers, who have been anticipating a new video from Joe since his previous upload two months prior.

We love seeing projects that our creative community makes—from fun music videos by YouTubers like Penna to exciting designs like last year’s Creative Rewards winner. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to provide high-quality stock content that fits any creator’s budget. The possibility are endless!

 

Discover Stock Images

 

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Caroline MercurioStock Yourself: How One GraphicStock Member Got YouTube Famous

Top 10 Magical Realism Images: The Stock Dreams Are Made Of

by Caroline Mercurio on January 27, 2017 No comments

A great design always tells a story. Sometimes, that story takes place in a fantasy world and speaks in metaphors. These stock images are the stuff of dreams and fables—they combine real world photos and magical effects to hint at supernatural possibilities. We gathered our 10 favorites from this surreal category so that you can put your imagination to the test, and see how a touch of magic might take your projects into a whole new creative level.

Magical realism has a way of captivating audiences, be it for art or marketing. Depending on the tone of your brand or personal style, these images could help convey an inspiring, eerie, or thought-provoking message. For writers, such designs make perfect accompaniments to fictional tall tales and even children’s books.

There are no limitations when you dip into surrealism—see how far you can take your imagination with the 10 stock images below.

 
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Ready to create your own fantasy world with stock? You can try your hand at this dreamscape tutorial, or dive directly into more magical realism images.

 

Make Design Magic

 

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Caroline MercurioTop 10 Magical Realism Images: The Stock Dreams Are Made Of

20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

by Caroline Mercurio on December 7, 2016 No comments

In advertising, you need to lead first with visuals to grab your audience’s attention. Yet not every creative team has a photographer on call with an unlimited travel budget to supply a steady stream of fresh and innovative images. Instead, the majority of marketers and designers turn to stock photographs for high quality content.

Unfortunately, some of these photos can seem “stocky”—too posed, too cliched, and too unreal—for consumers to truly connect with the message. That’s why we’ve picked 20 of our favorite photos to “un-stock” your advertising, as well as explaining the four best types of photos to look for when picking fresh visual content for your advertising.

 

Authentic Portraits

Day in and day out, customers are bombarded with photographs of retouched models in highly-posed situations. Advertising that uses images of everyday people in realistic contexts can connect with audiences at a human level, resonating with consumers’ desire for authenticity.

Portraiture with subjects who develop strong and honest rapports with the camera evoke a sense of believability and earnesty. Direct and emotive gazes without false smiles are crucial for these types of advertising portraits.

 
1.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of an elderly man at work.

 
2.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a happy boy laughing.

 
3.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a woman and her husband.

 
4.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a young woman working out.

 
5.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a pedestrian in the city.

 

Street Photography

The city is in the zeitgeist. Because we live in a constantly connected, digital world, metropolitan imagery has begun to resonate more and more with audiences, regardless of where ever they actually are.

Aesthetically, street photography appeals to viewers because of the wide array of textures and diversity of subjects it offers, as well as the frequent contrasts between structured, urban environments and their human inhabitants.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this street photograph of people in a crowd.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photograph of graffiti on the metro.

 
8.
Stock Photos

Download this photograph of a young skateboarder in the city.

 
9.
Stock Photos

Download this photography of a tourist photographing a Vatican street.

 
10.
Stock Photos

Download this photograph of people on a busy street.

 

Flat Lay

Although seemingly more posed and polished than many of the visual trends we’ve highlighted, flat lay photography is having a moment. The style has it’s own kind of authenticity—the illusion of two dimensional space and the style’s fusion of geometric layouts with organic shapes appeals to an innate desire for simplicity and order.

Flat lay is especially popular for food advertising, but the aesthetic lends itself to any number of objects, from tools to plastic packaging. Using flat lay photos like these will keep your advertising fresh and on trend.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay laptop photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay fresh fruits in a cone photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this pills on a plate flat lay medical photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this ice cream packaging bags flat lay photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay tools photograph.

 

Quirky Subjects

A sense of humor, especially one that’s just slightly off-beat and not overly cliched, can really help cut through the noise in today’s oversaturated advertising landscape. Fun, quirky subjects with visually striking compositions do this by connecting with audiences through one of the most basic languages there is—humor.

To capture this trend, focus on images that feature off-center composition, bright or contrasting colors, and subjects that are just slightly weird or odd without being completely unrelatable. Think of a Wes Anderson film, but for advertising.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a business person exercising.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a grumpy middle aged woman with hair rollers.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a senior cook.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a thinking student in a cap.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a man with a red nose.

 
Ready to start creating? Download all 20 photos and more—or, if you’re looking for even more inspiration, take a look at our guide to the Hottest Design Trends of 2016.

 

Un-stock Your Ads

 

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Caroline Mercurio20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

Channel Your Inner Olympian: How to Find Photos that Motivate

by Caroline Mercurio on July 14, 2016 No comments

In our plugged-in world, we see hundreds of ads, pins, and posts that encourage us to try new recipes, travel to new places, or take on a new home project. With the Olympics coming up, it’s no surprise that fitness inspiration (or #Fitspo) is a growing trend in stock photography as well. Seeing a picture of a strong, athletic figure perfecting the Lotus position—probably on a beach in Hawaii at sunset—has the potential to wake up the yogi in all of us.

So what makes a photo inspirational? We’ve identified a few trends and techniques that make a fitness image meme-worthy.

Whether your jam is CrossFit or Barre, you’ll find endless fodder for your #Fitspo board below.
We created a project folder on GraphicStock to gather together some of our favorite inspiring, exercise-inducing, (and totally pinnable) photos, which is an easy way to compile all your favorite images.

 

Find the Light

Lighting is arguably the most essential element in athletic photography. Light and shadows are critical for highlighting musculature and body composition. Lighting also sets the mood for the image.

For example, do you want a gritty, hard-core feel? Then you will probably gravitate toward strong shadows, dark backgrounds, and a single directional light source.

Download these royalty-free Closeup Image of Woman on Rowing Machine and Muscular Man with Barbell stock photos.

 
 
If a Zen vibe is more your speed, bright washes of natural sunlight and soft pools of shadow and color will set the stage for you to get your “Om” on.
 

Download these royalty-free Meditating Woman Sitting In Pose Of Lotus Against Clear Sky and Legs of Gymnast Sitting and Stretching stock photos.

 
 

Look Closer

Close ups are a powerful tool in motivational photos for a couple reasons. First, visualization helps us reach our goals, and removing part or all of the fitness model from the shot allows the viewer to picture themselves within the image. Secondly, close-ups allow the viewer to zone in on a single objective, such as greater flexibility, a heavier barbell, or that first pull-up.
 

Download these royalty-free Fit Man and Woman Work Out with Kettlebell and Sportswoman Training with Barbell in Gym stock photos.

 
 

Go Outside

Many people struggle with exercise because they hate the idea of the gym. Though it’s a mecca for many fitness enthusiasts; novices and experts alike often find the idea of repetitively picking up heavy objects or running endlessly toward nothing in a fluorescently-lit room that smells like sweat more than a little off-putting. That’s probably why many of the best fitness photos take exercise back into the great outdoors.
 

Download these royalty-free Mountain Biker and Young Couple Running on the Coastline in the Morning stock photos.

 
 

Reach Your #Goals

It’s no coincidence that some of the most inspirational fitness photos capture the very things we think we could never achieve: mastery of an intense acrobatic posture, washboard abs, the summit of a major mountain… Seeing someone else live out our dreams helps us to realize that we can to. It might be harder, it might take longer, but if they can do it, so can I!
 

Download these royalty-free Woman Practicing Antigravity Yoga and Man Mountain Climbing Outdoors stock photos.

 
 
What inspires your inner Olympian? Tell us in the comments section below!
 
 

Find your #Fitspo

 
 

 

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Caroline MercurioChannel Your Inner Olympian: How to Find Photos that Motivate

A Visual Guide to Pantone’s Summer Palette: 4 Organic Color Trends

by Caroline Mercurio on June 8, 2016 No comments

“We are moving beyond 
the visual, to see it as part
of a total experience. We don’t just look at color now, we experience and feel color.” – Pantone Spring/Summer 2016 Color Guide
 
The ever-chic style and design trendsetters at Pantone have spoken, and this summer’s colors are vibrant, earthy, and full of organic texture and light. Rather than picking just one or two shades to focus on, they’re celebrating a whole spectrum of bright hues inspired by the natural world. To help you create your own Pantone-worthy design projects, we’ve outlined the four most important themes from this season’s color guide.

 

1. Natural Colors

Pantone emphasizes colors that are both sensory and tactile, rather than flat tones on a screen. They reflect this aesthetic in the theme of the Pantone summer guide—“Eat.” With names like “ocean depths,” “melon,” “orchid haze,” and “apricot buff,” the palettes are as felt and tasted as they are seen.

To capture the look, avoid designs that are neon or artificial, focusing instead on the the wide array of color seen in food, plant life, and the natural world.

Download these ornamental decorative cabbage and assortment of cream soups stock images.
 

 

2. Strong Textures

Branching out beyond two-dimensional palettes, Pantone also points out important visual aesthetics—like these strong textures—as part of their color design. From rough fabrics to gritty stonework, textures make colors pop, prompting viewers to not just see but to feel them, which is why they are fundamental to this season’s trends.

Download these jeans fabric and old brick wall stock images.
 

 

3. Rough Design

Over-polished and over-produced aesthetics have been and continue to be less fashionable than the minimalist, no-frills appeal of handmade designs. There is something honest and imaginative to creative projects that are asymmetrical and a bit rough around the edges—it speaks to the human element in both the artists and their audiences. Pantone highlights the importance of messy, analog designs, which closely echo the natural themes underlying its color guide.

Download these colorful pastel art and orange grunge watercolor stock images.
 

 

4. Dynamic Light

The interplay between light and color is also a key theme for Pantone. “Metallic surfaces, pearlescent finishes, and sheen all affect how we interpret color and respond,” notes the guide. This applies as much to photographs that use light to illuminate textures and palettes as it does to design elements that create a more sensory experience through tone, shading, and sheens. Ultimately, the interplay between light and shadow makes colors more vibrant and real, bringing them to life.

Download these royal golden background and Keila waterfall stock images.
 
 
 

Search for Graphics by Pantone Color

Feeling inspired by Pantone’s summer trends? You can use the advanced search function on GraphicStock to find images that perfectly match Pantone’s palettes. Watch the video below to get the search tips, or start browsing our library of delicious photos, vectors, and illustrations.

 
 

Bite into Pantone’s Summer Colors

 

 

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Caroline MercurioA Visual Guide to Pantone’s Summer Palette: 4 Organic Color Trends

Father’s Day in Stock Images: 3 Easy DIY Projects that Dad Will Love

by Caroline Mercurio on June 7, 2016 No comments

What’s the perfect way to tell Dad how much you love him? This Father’s Day, if you’re staring down the barrel at yet another necktie, fear not! Add your personal touch to one (or more) of the thoughtful stock graphics, vectors, and illustrations in our inspiration gallery to let Dad know he’s special. We’ve also included a few project ideas to help you get started.
 

DIY Story Book Album

Fathers Day in Stock Images 3 Easy DIY Projects that Dad Will Love

The time it takes to make a DIY story book is so worth it. The final product will be cherished for many Father’s Days to come, and it is an affordable, simple crafting project. Here’s how to make one.

You will need:

  • An album ring
  • Two sheets of heavy duty paper or cardboard
  • A hole punch
  • Several sheets of colored paper
  • Rubber cement or craft glue

Most, if not all, of these supplies are easy and cheap to get from any craft store.

Graphics Used

 
For this project, you’ll first want to cut the cardboard into two sheets the size you want your album to be. These will be your front and back covers.

Step Two: Go crazy with the crafting! You can use stock graphics, fabric, stick on letters–you name it! Just make sure you cover both sides so that the finished product looks professional; a simple sheet of craft paper on the back is fine.

Step Three: Select a few easy stock graphics, and your favorite family photos. Figure out the “story” you want to tell as you put your pictures in order—you can even add text using photo editing software, or simply write it in later! Don’t be afraid to use cool graphics on the back of your images as filler.

Step Four: Print your graphics and photos. It’s best if you can have these printed on cardstock by a professional. If you have a laminator handy, that works too. We just don’t want to damage the pictures when they get handled.

Step Five: Hole punch the corners and string them into an album for Dad.

Pro Tip: If you’re feeling extra snazzy, glue a bit of ribbon to the back cover and tie a bow around the front.

 

Father’s Day Card

 
Fathers Day in Stock Images 3 Easy DIY Projects that Dad Will Love

Nothing from Hallmark can compare to a custom card. Wow Dad this year by using this easy-to-edit illustration; or explore a variety of other customizable graphics to create your unique design.

You will need:

  • Photoshop or other photo-editing software

Graphics Used:

 
This easy how-to will take just fifteen minutes of your time! The standard size for cards and invitations is 5” x 7”, but you can make your Photoshop document any size.

Step One: Once you have your new document in Photoshop, drew a large rectangle that covered the entire space, and used the eyedropper tool to select a color in your selected graphic to fill it in, creating the “border.”

Step Two: Repeat step one with a smaller rectangle, leaving ¼” on all sides. Fill this rectangle with a neutral shade.

Step Three: Drop in your graphic. With the graphic still selected, hit the “fx” icon in the layers panel. To really make the graphic pop, choose the “Outer glow” effect and, using the eyedropper tool again, selected a contrasting color from the graphic (we used orange). Feel free to play with the settings until you get the look you want.

Step Four: Add the border lines for dimension. Simply select the line tool and draw them in, holding shift to keep the lines perfectly straight.

 
That’s it — your card is ready to send to the printer!

Pro Tip: Make it extra special by having a black and white photo of you & dad printed on the reverse.

 

Photo Collage with Stock Graphics

 
Fathers Day in Stock Images 3 Easy DIY Projects that Dad Will Love

This one is especially great if you gift is for a father with small children. The kids can get in on the action, helping you pick out the photos and signing (or putting hand/foot prints) on one of the panels.

You will need:

  • A large square or collage frame
  • Your favorite family photo
  • A downloadable stock graphic or two.

 
Graphics Used:

 
If you are using a collage frame:

Step One: Select your graphics and photos, and send them to the printer.

Step Two: For your “signature” panel, use a sheet of construction or craft paper that matches your color scheme.

Step Three: Sign your signature panel, then put the photos and signature panel in a photo collage frame.

 
If you are using one large frame:

Step One: Create a square Photoshop document to the dimensions you want.

Step Two: Add a background graphic. We used this parchment texture.

Step Three: Select your graphics and photos.

Step Four: Size your graphics and photos to equal square sizes, and position them in the document leaving an even border around and between each. Make sure to leave a blank square for your signature panel!

Step Five: Print.

Step Six: Sign your signature panel and frame it.

Pro Tip: If you are using a single large frame and really want to add pizzaz, add a drop shadow to your images in Photoshop.

 
No matter what project you decide to create for dad, our unlimited downloads of royalty-free stock images has got you covered. Peruse our library and find the perfect graphic for Father’s Day.
 
 

 
 
Get ready to rock that barbeque, and Happy Father’s Day!
 

Explore Father’s Day Graphics

 

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Caroline MercurioFather’s Day in Stock Images: 3 Easy DIY Projects that Dad Will Love

Stock Images to Cool You Down

by Maddie Stearn on August 28, 2015 No comments

The summer may be winding down, but the sun’s rays are still blazing on. If you’re looking to relish in these last summer moments—and don’t want the heat to get in the way—check out some refreshing stock images to keep you cool. Whether it’s stock photos of ice cream, cocktails, and iced drinks, or maybe stock backgrounds of snowy landscapes, we have everything you need to chill out.

Stock Photos of Refreshing Food & Beverages

Food-and-drink-examples-min

Stock Photos of Fall & Winter Landscapes

Stock Photos of Fall & Winter Landscapes

Stock Graphics of Drinks & Frozen Desserts

Stock Graphics of Drinks & Frozen Desserts

Stock Winter & Fall Backgrounds

Stock Winter & Fall Backgrounds

Get all of these refreshing photos and graphics—plus unlimited downloads from everything else in our library—for just $99 a year.

Start Downloading Now►
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Maddie StearnStock Images to Cool You Down

GraphicStock Design Challenge: “Home”

by Brian Platt on May 12, 2015 No comments

We’re giving away an iPad, a Wacom tablet, and a year’s subscription in this month’s design challenge!

To enter, just submit your best visual interpretation of “home,” using at least one element from the GraphicStock library—and we’ll select a first, second, and third-place winner to receive the prizes above (in their respective order).

Submissions should be sent to contest@graphicstock.com before the deadline of June 5, 2015.

Entrants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of entry and own the rights to any copyrighted material submitted. Each entry must contain at least one element from GraphicStock’s library (please include links in your submission) and no elements from stock libraries other than GraphicStock. By submitting, entrants agree to the standard design challenge rules.

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Brian PlattGraphicStock Design Challenge: “Home”

Free Stock Graphics for Mother’s Day

by Brian Platt on May 5, 2015 No comments

Mother’s Day is a time to not only show moms we care, but to show our appreciation for the times their patience might have worn a bit thin: the broken vases, that times we stayed out too late, the many crayon and marker incidents, etc.

To help show our thanks for the important women in our lives, we’ve put together a gallery of royalty-free Mother’s Day images ideal for making prints, cards, and DIY projects.

As always, existing members can download these images for free as part of our unlimited downloads subscription—and those new to GraphicStock can download them (and more) as part of our 7 Days of Free Downloads offer.

Happy Mother’s Day from GraphicStock!

happy-mothers-day-concept_GyHpijdd happy-mothers-day-celebrations-greeting-card-design_fkEfgTau
happy-mothers-day-celebrations-greeting-card-design_QJRgxN mothers-day-card-cute-vintage-frames-with-ladies-silhouettes_fygDZcdu-(1)
floral-greeting-card_zJbmHtd_ happy-mothers-day-celebrations-greeting-card-design_fkkNd3ad
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Brian PlattFree Stock Graphics for Mother’s Day