10 Best Open Source Illustrations Sites

Blog posts with images tend to rank better. As images attract the eye, including some in your posts will make them more readable.

People tend to spend more time on blog posts that include pictures, and you even have a better chance of converting visitors into customers.

However, if you use images that you have no usage rights to, it can have a negative effect. You may get a copyright notice against your website, which can lead to your website being penalized by Google and deindexed.

That is why it is important to check the license of any picture you upload to your website. Every license is different — some licenses require you to pay for the image to acquire usage rights.

Other licenses allow you to reuse a photo for free, but you will have to add attribution and credit to the original owner or author of the picture.

You may not want to do that, however, as adding attribution can disrupt the flow of your articles.

In addition, even if you are allowed to use the image, you may not be able to edit or customize it to fit your needs.

That is why it is worth using image and illustration sites that offer images with an open source license. The exact terminology used to describe such a license might change from one stock image site to another.

However, the idea is the same. An open source license allows you to reuse an image with no limitations — you do not have to add attribution or credit to the site owner.

Not only that, but such a license allows you to use the image for commercial purposes, not only personal purposes. Some free licenses only let you use the image for personal use (such as on social media) but require you to pay if you use it for your business site or in an ad.

Open Source vs Public Domain

An open source image license is not completely defined. You still need to check the license guidelines on each individual site listed below to see if there are any exceptions to the rules.

For example, even if you are allowed to use an image for commercial use without any attribution, you may not be allowed to redistribute the image. For example, you may not be able to start your own image site and share it there, and you can’t start selling the image to others.

Public domain images offer even more freedom. When an image is in the public domain, that means that nobody owns it.

An image that is in the public domain has had its copyrights expire. Alternatively, nobody ever owned the copyright to it in the first place, or the original creator intentionally released it into the public domain, relinquishing any rights they may have had.

Since nobody owns images that are in the public domain, you can do whatever you want with them. Not only can you use them without attribution, but you can edit such an image and redistribute it — after all, nobody can stop you.

You may also modify the images as you wish.

Open source images may or may not be in the public domain. If they are not in the public domain, that means that some restrictions vis-à-vis redistribution may still apply.

In this article, I will give you some specifics about the license restrictions of each site. Nevertheless, it is up to you to read the license yourself and ensure you are complying with each open source license.

Finally, it’s worth talking about Creative Commons licenses, because you are bound to see them here and there when searching for free images online. There are actually six different Creative Commons licenses, but the common denominator between all of them is that they require attribution.

The six CC licenses differ in things such as whether you can use them for commercial purposes, whether you can build on the work, and so on. In this article, I will not be including any sites that only offer images under a Creative Commons license, because I do not consider such a license to be open source.

Best Open Source Illustrations Sites

1. unDraw

unDraw is one of the best websites for finding open source illustrations you can use without attribution. With a truly open source license, you can download images and use them commercially without attribution.

You may even modify the images before using them.

However, you can not create a site that looks like unDraw or competes with it using unDraw’s illustrations, nor can you redistribute or sell the illustrations. You may also not create integrations for it.

For the full license, click here.

unDraw allows you to modify the images right on the site by choosing from a color palette. There is an unlimited range of colors to choose from.

When you download an illustration, you can download it either as a PNG or SVG file, giving you more flexibility in how you use it.

There are two main types of illustrations on unDraw: illustrations and handcrafts (which look more like sketches).

2. Illlustrations.co

Illlustrations.co was born out of a 100-day challenge by artist Vijay Verma, with the aim of creating 100 open source illustrations in 100 days. However, more than 120 other illustrations have been added since the end of that challenge.

Illlustrations.co takes its open source license to the next level. As expected, you are allowed to use the images on the site without attribution, even for commercial purposes; you may also modify the images before using them.

However, the license is even more liberal than unDraw’s. You may even redistribute the images on your own site or app, and you can even sell them!

You may merge and sublicense the images and generally use them without any restrictions whatsoever. For a full text of the license, check it out here.

The illustrations are simple, but there is a large variety of illustrations of different objects. While they tend to retain a similar style, there is a bit more variety in terms of style than on unDraw, though Illlustrations.co doesn’t have that large of a library.

The good part is that you can download free and open source illustrations in a variety of file formats, including PNG, SVG, AI, EPS, and Figma. That allows you to edit and work on the pictures in a few different illustration and image editing tools.

While the illustrations are entirely free to use, you can support the author by buying him a coffee.

3. DrawKit

Another website worth looking into is DrawKit. Some images on DrawKit are not free, but other images are free and open source.

With its open source license, you can use all the free images on the site without attribution, for both commercial and noncommercial purposes.

The license allows you to use the images as-is or modify them, but you can not redistribute them, sublicense them, sell them, upload them to free stock websites, or sell them on merchandise.

In addition, DrawKit’s license comes with some additional restrictions. For example, you can not include them as free images in a design tool you create, nor can you use them in your logo, business trademark, and so on.

However, you may use them on your business site, for example, or for other commercial purposes, including in print materials. See the full license here.

What makes DrawKit so great is that it categorizes and organizes illustrations into packs. For example, the Food & Culture Illustration Pack is free, and it includes 11 open source vector illustrations depicting cuisines and dishes from countries like India, Italy, China, and Japan.

The Digital Marketing Illustrations Pack includes over 30 illustrations and characters that you can use. All the illustrations in that pack are open source and editable, so you can customize them to make your site unique.

Again, not all images on the site are free and open source. Nevertheless, there are enough open source illustrations on DrawKit for it to make it to this list.

In addition to the open source illustrations, DrawKit has many open source icon packs revolving around specific themes. While some icon packs are premium, others are free for both commercial and personal use.

You can check out all the icon packs here. Icon packs like the Nutrition Icons and the Transport & Travel Icons come with dozens of icons that you can download in PNG, JPG, or SVG file format.

Finally, click on the “Requests” tab in the top menu to vote on the top requested illustration packs. The packs that get the most votes will be created next.

You can also submit your own, original request if you want to see a pack that is not listed there.

Explore the best alternatives to DrawKit.

4. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons only accepts images that are freely licensed. While some images may require attribution, the site does not accept images that restrict commercial use, do not allow distribution, do not allow derivative works, or are copyrighted in any way, though usage may be restricted by factors other than copyright.

However, there are many images and illustrations on Wikimedia Commons that are in the public domain. That means that you can use those images, vectors, and art in whichever way you want, without worrying about attribution.

Keep in mind that just because the image is in the public domain in one country does not mean it is in the public domain in another country, as copyright expiration laws can differ. However, public domain images on Wikimedia Commons are in the public domain at least in the United States as well as the origin country where the illustration or image was first created.

One thing noting about Wikimedia Commons is that you can find many public domain logos and vector illustrations from top brands.

These logos are often in the public domain because they are slightly older variations, because their copyrights have expired, because they are not original enough to be copyrighted, or for some other reason.

For example, you can find Google logos in the public domain. That is because they only contain simple geometric shapes and text and do not fit the threshold of originality required for copyright protection, according to Wikimedia Commons.

Nevertheless, any of those logos is still a trademarked logo. While it might not have any copyright, if it is a trademark, you may not be able to use it.

Furthermore, not only can you download an image in a variety of sizes, but you can also copy and paste the source code of an image in HTML or BBCode, making embedding those images in a webpage without downloading them super easy.

While there are both images and illustrations on Wikimedia Commons, it is easy to filter for illustrations specifically. Simply enter a search term and then select “SVG” under the format filter.

You can also select “No restrictions” under the License filter to ensure you are getting artwork that does not come with any kind of attribution requirements.

5. Mixkit

Mixkit has an extensive library of free, open source illustrations of all kinds. You can use those illustrations in commercial or personal projects, without any kind of attribution required.

In addition, under the Mixkit license, the open source illustrations can be sublicensed, and you can modify them, too. You may use them in print media, social media advertisements, and other advertisements.

However, there are still some limitations to the Mixkit license, which you can read here. For example, you can not use the Mixkit illustrations to make a website that competes with Mixkit, nor can you use them in adult content.

To find an illustration for your project, you can select from one of the categories in the top menu, or you can enter a search term in the search bar. The illustrations can be downloaded in a standard PNG format, in their original size, or in a size optimized for your mobile or desktop wallpaper.

6. Public Domain Vectors

There are many sites offering free “clip art” illustrations, but many of them restrict you to noncommercial use. However, Public Domain Vectors is one site where you can find illustrations and clips in the public domain, meaning they are entirely free to use.

Uploaders to the site agree to share their art while waiving their copyrights. That means you can distribute, use, edit, and modify the illustrations on Public Domain Vectors.

There are thousands of illustrations available, from more simple ones to more complex ones. You can use the search bar to find an illustration you like, or you can use one of the available filters to narrow down your search.

For example, you can search for SVG vectors, or you can look for AI or EPS file formats instead. You may also click on one of the available categories at the bottom to find relevant illustrations.

7. Openclipart

If you are looking for clip art illustrations with a truly open source license, with no limitations whatsoever, Openclipart is the site to use. Founded in 2004, the project now boasts a library of over 160,000 clip art illustrations, all of them being entirely open source and in the public domain.

Openclipart’s illustrations have no restrictions imposed by sites such as unDraw. For example, you may resell the images, you may use them in the merchandise you are selling, and you can even present yourself as the original author or use the art on Openclipart for your own stock illustration site that competes with Openclipart.

Openclipart has a handy little chart showing you in which situations it is permissible to use the art from the site. There is not a single “No” on the entire chart — check it out here.

The images on the site are uploaded by different artists, but the rule is that whenever an artist uploads an illustration to the site, they agree to release it into the public domain, relinquishing any kind of ownership connection to their artwork.

Finding clip art is relatively easy. Just search for a topic by using the big search bar on the homepage. Alternatively, you may browse the homepage to see the most popular and recent clip art.

7. PDClipart

PDClipart.org, or Public Domain Clip Art, is another massive collection of public domain, open source illustrations you can use for any purpose. No registration is required; simply visit the site and start downloading images.

While images and illustrations on PDClipart are in the public domain, there are some things you should know. For example, if the art includes a trademark or certain government content, you may not be able to use it freely.

Moreover, it is worth noting that while PDClipart does its best to only include illustrations that appear to be in the public domain, it is possible for mistakes to occur, so it is ultimately up to you to undertake responsibility for ensuring that each image comes with an open source license.

There are over 25,000 free images and illustrations on PDClipart. On the homepage, you will immediately see various categories of clip art and the number of illustrations available in each category.

You may also use the search bar, looking for illustrations that have the entire search phrase you mentioned or match with at least one of the words in your search phrase.

8. i2Clipart

i2Clipart is another site full of illustrations that are in the public domain. Like PDClipart, it is a free service.

Anyone can upload an illustration to i2Clipart, but by doing so, they are certifying that the illustration is in the public domain and does not come with any usage restrictions. Nevertheless, the responsibility is ultimately up to you.

You do not need to create an account to use i2Clipart. However, if you do create an account, you will be able to bookmark your favorite illustrations.

i2Clipart also allows you to search by color, which is something that many other sites do not offer.

9. 3dicons

3dicons is a library of open source 3D icons. The icons are available for both free and commercial use, and they can be edited with many design tools, including Photoshop.

3dicons is the work of Vijay Varma. He is also the creator of Illlustrations.co, which I included earlier in this list.

He has released all the icons on 3dicons to the public domain. That means that you can use any icon for any purpose, without any limitations or restrictions whatsoever, as Vijay has given up his ownership rights.

While the icons on the site are free to use, you may request custom icons for your business, project, or even as a gift for a friend. Those icons are not free, of course; the artist will be creating them from scratch just for you, so it will incur a small fee of just $25 — I think that is a pretty good deal.

Right now, custom requests are closed, so do check back on the 3dicons site for updated information about its availability.

10. Doodle Ipsum

Doodle Ipsum claims to be the “lorem ipsum” of illustrations. The illustrations on the site are free and open source — you can customize them and then copy the source code to use them on your site.

To get started, first choose a style, such as Flat, Avatar, or Outline. You can click on a style several times until you get a doodle you like.

Then, you can select the ratio for the image, choose a background, and get the URL or source code of the image. You can choose to include attribution when getting the code, but that’s optional.

The point of the site is to be random — like lorem ipsum, the illustrations are meant to be used as placeholders.

Wrapping It Up: What Is The Best Open Source Illustrations Site?

I suggest using unDraw and Illlustrations.co. However, if you need a wider variety of illustrations than what those sites offer, you have eight other options on this list to choose from.

Remember, the exact open source license can vary from one site to another, so always check the license or terms of use first.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.