Image and icon resources

Both photography and icons offer a brilliant way of encapsulating ideas or emotions in a presentation, website or written report. Unfortunately, unless you’re a photographer or designing, they are hard to create. These resources give you a great alternative to old school clip art, or terrible stock images.

This is a searchable repository of over half a million images, all submitted by the community of photographers with a license that “grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash.” Which means you can do whatever you want.
Check it out here

A very similar resource to Unsplash, Pexels curates their images not only from contributing photographers but also from free sources around the web – selecting only the best ones. Again, the license allows you to use the images for free without any attribution (as long as you don’t try and sell the actual images as your own). We find that although Pexels and Unsplash are very similar, we run searches across both and find a range of different images each time – so they work well in tandem.
Check it out here

Yet another free image resource, but the big advantage of Pixabay is that you can search for vector images and illustrations as well as photography. So if you’re looking for an image that captures a concept, a feeling or a particular area of business, it’s worth putting a few searches in here and seeing what comes up. The illustrations you choose will depend on your taste, but they’re definitely of a higher quality than traditional clip art.
Check it out here

Flat Icon
This is a constantly updated bank of free icons for use in your presentations, reports or other documents. If you download the icons in PNG format, you can simply drag them into other tools (such as Microsoft Office or the Adobe Suite) and then resize and re-colour them as you want. They can be downloaded for free, but unlike the tools above these should always be attributed – you’ll be given the text that you need to include when you download the icons. The attribution doesn’t have to be ridiculously prominent, but you should definitely include it for ethical reasons – this is an open source resource.
Check it out here

The Noun Project
Another source of useful icons, this one nobly aiming to “simplify communication, across borders and around the world”. Again, these can be downloaded for free, but have to be attributed properly (you’ll be given the credit information when you download). If you really don’t want to include a credit, you have the option of purchasing a royalty-free license. The Project runs Iconathons with partner organisations, from which they generate sets of icons for quite specific areas like intellectual property, clean water, and innovation in education.
Check it out here

Another source of images that can be used for free, for commercial or non-commercial use, without attribution. A big chunk of the images on Pikwizard are exclusive (so you won't find them through the other sites). Also, they have a notable focus on pictures of people (think crowds, offices, people) which can be poor quality or in short supply elsewhere. Check it out here

This is definitely not a free source of images – you'll have to pay to use any of the photography here. But there are two major upsides. Firstly, PicFair has been set up to ensure that the photographers themselves received a much bigger cut of any fee than they would through traditional picture libraries. Secondly, the quality of the photography is amazing – expect pictures that wouldn't look out of place on the cover of National Geographic.
Check it out here