Purchasing Artwork for Commercial Use Cheaply

If you’re like me, your creative, visual design skills SUCK. Badly. But I can edit. And purchasing artwork for commercial use saves a lot of time. And, knowing where to purchase can save you a LOT of money.

Now, if I can be forgiven for being so bold, the design at the Super Simple web site is pretty good. The artwork is clean and well presented. Could it be better? Sure. Is it going to win any design contests? No. Is it well presented and attractive? Absolutely. And I did everything there… kind of…

With the exception of the main logo, which I did from scratch with the help of a tutorial, and the photographs on the site, everything else was edited or a composite. Excepting the logo, the pictures, and few others, everything else started with me purchasing some artwork for commercial use.

For example, the 100% free and clean badges:

Came from this vector:

If I remember properly, that cost me $1.00.

Similarly, I purchased this vector for $1.00:

And with it, I created these 2:

Vectors are the easiest things to work with, but it’s not always possible. I had a concept that I wanted to illustrate, and I could only do it with a raster images (JPEGs). That was tricky as I had to convert the bitmaps to high-quality vectors, then edit the vectors, then rasterize them again so that I could save them as PNG files with transparency.

Here’s the end product (it’s optimized for a dark background – the text at the top is white):

But it started like this with a 5,272 x 5,264 JPEG:

I bought that image at ShutterStock.com, and it cost me $50. I had to buy site credit, but for $50 I can download 5 pictures. So, it costs $50 or $10, depending on how you look at it. Either way, it’s a LOT more expensive than the others. But, Shutter Stock has a lot of good artwork, illustrations, and photos to choose from. And there are other more expensive sites out there as well.

Now, while I was looking for artwork, I happened across VectorStock.com where I bought most of the artwork for the Super Simple site, like the artwork for the 100% free and clean badges and the question mark. I found that the same vectors at Shutter Stock were $10.00 while Vector Stock sold them for $1.00. That’s a 10x higher price for the exact same vector art!

Here is can example:

A digital camera image at Shutter Stock that will cost $10.00:


And $1.00 at Vector Stock:


It’s the exact same artwork for $1.00!

There are many more examples as well.

However, you’re not going to find all the vector artwork from one site on the other site. Shutter Stock seems to have more, though I didn’t check very hard — that’s just a soft impression. However, the digital camera artwork that I decided to go with was only available at the Vector Stock site:

Which I have used in a few places:

And the Photo Resizer loading splash screen in the bootstrapper:

And that image cost me only $1.00!

There are a lot of images at Vector Stock that are $2 or $3 or $5, but that’s still cheaper than $10. And, instead of purchasing $50 in site credit, you can purchase only $20.

Now, there are places where you can get free vector artwork, but go and look at it. It’s NOT very good. It’s quick stuff that you might use in a school project, but very little of it is suitable for professional use. Look for the use of shading and gradients and detail. If you want good artwork, you really need to pay for it. Sure you can spend 3 days searching for something free, or you can spend $1 and be done in 10 minutes.

Anyways, for those that can do some basic editing, and want to have a better look, purchasing professional vector art can be a cheap way, especially if you buy at VectorStock.com.

I hope that helps out!




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