Finding and Using High Definition Images

This is the third in a series for those of you beginning your design journey.  You might be starting a blog, online business, building your first website, or want to stand out in your next business presentation.

In the previous articles, we discussed Choosing a Color Palette and Finding Your Perfect Font.

Now we turn to one of my favorite aspects of design: finding high definition images for free.

You have to understand, I began marketing while working at a non-profit organization which means the term "free" makes me very happy!  Over the years I have found ways to create beautiful campaigns thanks to talented artists who simply want to get their images out there at no charge.

Before we get started you should naturally ask, do high-quality images even matter?  

You already know the answer.  

Think about it logically, are first impressions important?  Of course they are.  Just as a first impression sets the tone for you as a person, the same could be said for your design work.  

Aesthetics are vital and can set you apart even if you are not in a creative field.

From the American Psychological Association, we learn that in-person first impressions are made within seconds and cover numerous details of how you are perceived.  The same is true for the items we create.  I could go on, but we all know quality images are important.

Finding High Definition Images

I remember some pivotal moments in my life: the day I married my beautiful wife, when my son was born, and yes . . . the day I found unsplash.com.  

The aforementioned website has, in my opinion, the most stunning free photos on the internet. 

Below are two examples.

Not only are the images gorgeous, the website is remarkably easy to use.  You just:

  • search for an image;
  • click on one you want to download;
  • click "download;" and 
  • right click to save to your desired folder/location 

That's it!

You do not have to give any information to the website.  All you do is search and download.  

The website is one of the most valuable tools a designer can possess.  I have used images from the site for this website, my second business for MBA students, in marketing campaigns, and even PowerPoint presentations.

Use this resource when you are designing websites, brochures, writing blogs, or just want to make an impression in the office or in school.  It is a great feeling when you load up your school or business presentation and others are in awe of your amazing photos. 

There are other websites with free images, for example, Pexels is another great resource.  It actually has more images than Unsplash.  I prefer Unsplash because of the minimalism applied to the website.

Now that you have amazing images, go crazy!  Download as many as your hard drive will hold. 

I have a folder titled "photos to use" because there are so many great choices that I don't even know when I will use the photos but know I want them for when they are needed. 

Finding Icons

But wait there's more!  (I have always wanted to type that)

Images are not enough to stand out.  What about icon images for inforgraphs or to take your presentation to the next level?  If you are unfamiliar with icon images see below.

These type of images are found on print and digital advertising, in presentations, and really anywhere with a visual display.  In another post, I can discuss the difference between PNG, JPEG, and Flat Icons.  Yet, for the purpose of this article, let's just focus on basic icon images.

The above icons were downloaded from plainicon.com.

The website has a large selection of both free and paid icons which can be downloaded and used for your design pieces.  If you are interested in creating infographics it is guaranteed that you will need icons.  For example, see the below infographic that was created using plainicon for my second business.

You can see that the icons give an extra element that improves the piece.  I have used these types of icon images in business proposals and presentations.  People are impressed with the little extra touch that the icons add as many of us are visual thinkers and learners. 

"When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later.  However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later (source)."

Summary

Using high-quality images elevates websites, online businesses, blogs, design pieces, school work, and business presentations.  You already knew that.

Now you know where to find high-definition images and icons.  Have fun on the different websites listed above and connect when you are ready to take your marketing to a greater level.