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Stock art has gotten a bad rap, but it hasn’t necessarily earned it. After all, vectors, designs and photos make it possible for designers to complete projects on time and often come at a lower cost than going the do-it-yourself route. Stock art has even seen a rise in popularity since the advent of the Internet,


Stock art often makes the basis of layouts and themes for websites. Web designers who aren’t photographers may search for stock vectors, photography or other art to use in their websites. This means that the artist or photographer has to give permission to alter the image to crop it to size, add text or other effects. For hobbyists, free stock illustrations or offer the perfect solution to creating an unique website experience rather than relying on a pre-made theme that dozens of other websites use.


Photos aren’t just used for layouts, however. Stock images are perfect for breaking up text on a page, making content easier to digest and representing clients or employees on the website. While some people oppose using generic stock photos because they don’t truly represent customers or associates, though.

Pamphlets and Printed Materials

When your business wants to give out informative brochures or other materials, you’ll need to add images. Cue stock photos, which help you make better use of space. Stock art like vectors can add decorative touches, while a smiling face often reassures readers about difficulties they might be dealing with. If you’re printing out flyers for an upcoming event, stock art showing the location can work well as the background or focal point.

The style of art uses can also help to set the mood. Large, colorful art can remind the viewer of the way a child might draw. Readers might recall eras gone by if you use art depicting humans the way they often appeared in 1960s literature. Depict your company as reliable, personable or efficient with stock art.

Of course, digital paperwork can also incorporate stock images to depict an item, person or situation.

Book Covers
Book Covers

Publishing houses and self-publishing authors all have to find covers for their books. With each book have a theme and plot different from the next, there’s a great demand for suitable images. Photos aren’t always right. Sometimes an intricate design, symbol or illustration is the best tool for the job, which is exactly why this is one of the most popular uses of stock vectors and art.

Newsletters, Emails and More

Digital communications can look bland if you don’t take the time to format them, but formatting doesn’t have to be from scratch. If you employ vectors or other stock images, you can spruce up your letters. Not only will they be more attractive to your recipients, but using images to break up text can make it easier to digest. A simple pattern can do a lot to make an email seem custom rather than generic.

Of course, the uses of stock are are unlimited!

This article on using stock photos, images, and illustrations for design projects was written by Clif Haley, an expert in stock photography, design, and marketing with

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