How to Get Safe Images for Your Web Design

A website, whether it’s business or personal, is a way to tell the world who you are. From bloggers to small businesses to big corporations use websites as an online introduction of themselves, their services and products to potential followers or clients.

The design can reflect ideals and as such, shape perceptions. And the good news is that with online resources to guide people through the process these days, it’s not always necessary to hire a graphic designer to create a quality website.

Whether you choose to hire someone or tackle the task yourself, it’s important to note that when it comes to creating a website nothing is going to be as integral to its success as the images you use to ‘decorate’ it. The text and layout are extremely important in ensuring an attractive, user-friendly design for visitors to view. But just as critical are the graphics selected to highlight the information and improve readability. There is power in great images. The question is, however, where to find them if you don’t have an inventory of your own.

It would be nice to think that people today are wise enough to know that when illustrations, photos or animations are needed, it’s best to avoid ones that promise free use. These all came from somewhere and belong, not to the search engine that brought them to your attention, but to talented artists and photographers. Many times when discovering an image you like in this manner you could overlook the fine print nearby which states the image might be subject to copyright. That’s why it’s best to hire illustration companies or use graphic design services to get visuals for your website.

Using these images without paying for them is theft, plain and simple. It’s really only common sense to recognize that if you didn’t create it, it’s not yours to use without the express permission of the artist or broker.

The best option then for choosing your graphics is to purchase the right to use them from a reliable online source, such as the royalty-free content available from

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Know the rules, understand the terms

However, in order to purchase you will need to check a box indicating you have agreed to the terms of use. Now while these can undoubtedly be sleep-inducing, full of legalese and occasionally confusing jargon, it’s in your best interests to spend some time trying to, if not fully understand them, then to at least see what conflicts you might face. Otherwise you are as likely to find yourself in copyright violation as you might with an image you snatched for free.

The rules are different for every use. Regulations vary on the type of product you are creating with the image. In some cases these might not be covered by the standard terms and will require extended licensing to be permitted.

Should you go against the terms and get caught you are liable for damages that can be quite high. These companies will not be appeased by your argument that you attributed the image to them. Such action does not negate copyright infringement.

The bottom line is, if time is money then it’s well spent on reading and understanding the terms. if you’re not sure, contact the company and ask before proceeding with a purchase.

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Alexander B.

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