In this article, I would like to show you my favorite places to find public domain images you can use for print on demand.
While the internet is full of interesting high-quality images, you cannot grab any image you find on the web and use it for your design.
Most images available online are copyright protected, however, some works in the public domain are not.
And in this article, I will help you identify what a public domain image is and I will show you some less known websites where you can find these images.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Public Domain Image
A public domain image is a photo, clip art or vector, whose copyright has expired or never existed.
These images can be used by anyone for personal and commercial purposes.
In other words, an image that is in the public domain is 100 percent free. You don’t have to worry about copyrights, asking for permission, or being charged for using the photos.
Museums, libraries, and photographers have released tens of thousands of public domain images online, and such visual media content is available to the public without any restrictions.
But before I show you my favorite websites that are full of public domain images you can freely download, I’m always recommending checking twice the license for each website or image.
Make your own opinion.
I’m not a lawyer and I’m not an expert in copyright matters.
In my opinion, an image is either a public domain image or it is not, there are no options in between.
And in most cases, public domain images won’t have any usage restrictions. You can sell them, edit them, redistribute them.
Old Book Illustrations
The first website I want to show you is called Old Book Illustrations.
This website offers a really nice collection of public domain illustrations scanned from old books and vector illustrations that can be modified and distributed for both personal and commercial projects.
These images are great to add some vintage appeal to your design, which is very popular these days.
As you can see, there are tons of incredible illustrations that can level up your next design.
The license terms for these images are relatively simple.
Here is the official statement: Although we do our best to offer only Illustrations that are considered public domain in most countries, copyright laws vary from one jurisdiction to another, and you agree that you are solely responsible for abiding by all laws and regulations that may be applicable to using the Illustrations.
In simple words, all the images here should be considered public domain in the US, but if the country you are living in has some restrictions when it comes to using public domain images, you are responsible for the troubles.
Public Domain Vectors
Another great source of free images I like to use is the Public Domain Vectors website.
This website has a massive collection of public domain vectors that are available to download in SVG, AI, and EPS format.
Just find a vector you like, open it and check the license here. Click on the Public domain to see more details.
This work falls under the Creative Commons license and you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
Public Domain Review
The last website is called The Public Domain Review.
It is a curated selection of public domain photos, illustrations, art, audio, films, and texts. Browse their collections or check out their monthly Curator’s Choice for a special guest post that celebrates lesser-known parts of history.
All images are within the public domain and you can easily find the license of any image by clicking on the source link under each image.
This action will lead you to the website with the original image, and you can check out the license there.
As you can see, some images are from Wikipedia, and the artworks are in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.
Here Are Some of My Favorite Tools For Print-on-demand
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you build your own print-on-demand business. Here are some tools I use as a designer that I hope you will also find helpful.
Designs: For getting started, I really like Creative Fabrica. They have millions of cheap graphics that can elevate your t-shirt design. If you are not the most skillful designer, then try Placeit or Vexels. These are platforms, where you can find thousands of pre-made t-shirt designs you can easily edit and publish on any print-on-demand platform. I recommend Placeit for beginners and after you get some sales move to Vexels.
Free Designs: I love Canva. I’m using this platform almost every day. With Canva, you can create stunning t-shirt designs, they already have an entire section, where you can make your artwork from scratch or use some pre-made templates and edit them. Canva comes with two main pricing plans: FREE and PRO. And if you are a beginner, then I recommend the free plan, it should be enough for you.
Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, NechEmpire may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.