Picture Perfect: Here's Where You Can Get Royalty-Free Photos and Icons For Your Next Presentation
Have you noticed how your eyes glaze over when you see a wall of text on a slide? It’s not just you, it happens to all of us. The brain is hardwired to process visual content. In fact, we process images 60,000 times faster than text. Visuals are essential in presentations. In this article, I’ll show you two resources for free photos and icons.
Humans are visual creatures. We’ve evolved over millions of years to depend on what we see around us to make sense of the world. On the other hand, written language was only invented 5400 years ago—so unlike images, writing isn’t hardwired into the human brain.
In theory, presentations without images are not only boring, but they’re also inefficient in communicating your key message. In their book, E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark and Dr. Richard E. Mayer wrote that:
“Comprehension increases to 89% when text is combined with visual cues.”
Apart from this, visual cues also help people with information retention. Dr. Lynell Burmark, an education consultant on visual literacy claims that words are processed by our short-term memory. Our brain only retains several pieces of information at a time. On the other hand, images are “indelibly etched” into our long-term memories.
So what does that tell us?
In the words of Dr. Burmark,
“Unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear.”
This is especially true when it comes to presentations. As a presentation author, the last thing you want is to miss out on an opportunity to effectively communicate.
As such, great slides need great visuals. This means you need to have a go-to source of royalty-free photos and icons.
Don’t worry, we got you!
Unsplash.com is a stock photography site filled with royalty-free images. Whatever category, you name it, it’s there. The site is powered by creators making it a diverse portfolio of creative, editorial, and even commercial photos.
Unsplash allows you to download images in various sizes making it the perfect resource for high-resolution slide backgrounds and accent imagery. As such, you don’t have to worry about pixelated photos that simply don’t scale right.
The best part about Unsplash is that it’s commercial-free. The website grants you “an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos for free.” This means that you don’t need permission from the photographer, nor are you legally obligated to attribute the photo to them.
Icons are handy visual tools that can help you explain concepts and frameworks. Flaticon.com is the largest database of free customizable icons. As of now, it has more than two million icons that can be downloaded in multiple formats including PNG and SVG.
The site has a pool of creative contributors who regularly create icons in different styles. This allows you to choose multiple icons that are perfectly in-line with your company’s branding.
We recommend downloading icons in SVG format. If your PowerPoint is up-to-date, you can drag and drop the icon right onto your slide. And because it’s in an SVG format, you can scale it without pixelation and also change the icons’ colors to match your branding using the paint bucket tool.
Free users get access to thousands of icons that you can use for free as long as you give the artist proper attribution. Meanwhile, paid users get access to millions of icons that you can use without any attribution.
And did we mention that you can get 10% off of your purchase?
Use the code AFFI10MF on check out! Click here to check it out.
Putting it in action
Visual cues in the form of photos and icons not only help design-wise but they also help you communicate your message efficiently. Photos and icons are great tools that you can use to level up your skills as an effective communicator and presentation author.
With the help of these two visual resources can help you craft killer slides in no time!