Sources for Openly-Licensed Content

This morning I got an email from my colleague Tyler Golden who was seeking advice on good places to get openly-licensed content so I put together a list. It seems the list would be generally useful (especially for my new design interns, who will be blogging on Planet Fedora soon 🙂 ) so here you are, a blog post. 🙂
There’s a lot more content types I could go through but I’m going to stick to icons/graphics and photography for now. If you know of any other good sources in these categories (or desperately need another category of content covered,) please let me know and I’ll update this list.
Also of note – please note any licenses for materials you’re evaluating for use, and if they require attribution please give it! It doesn’t have to be a major deal. (I covered this quite a bit in a workshop I’ve given a few times on Gimp & Inkscape so you might want to check out that preso if you need more info on that.)

Icons / Graphics

  • The Noun Project

    Ryan Lerch clued me in to this one. All of the graphics are Creative Commons (yo uhave to provide attribution) or you can pay a small fee if you don’t want to have to attribute. There’s a lot of nice vector-based icons here.

  • Open Clip Art

    Everything is CC0 – no attribution needed – and all vector sources. Quality varies widely but there are some real gems in there. (My offerings are here, but Ryan Lerch has a good set too!) There’s a plugin that comes with Inkscape that lets you search open clip art and pull in the artwork directly without having to go to the website.

  • Xaviju’s Inkscape Open Symbols

    I love these because you can browse the graphics right in Inkscape’s UI and drag over whichever ones you want into your document. There’s a lot of different libraries there with different licenses but the github page gives links to all the upstreams. I’m a big fan of Font Awesome, which is one of the libraries here, and we’ve been using it in Fedora’s webapps as of late; except for the brand icons they are all licensed under the

  • Stamen

    If you need a map, this app is awesome. It uses open licensed Open Street Map data and styles it – there’s watercolor and lithographic styles, just to name a couple. If you ever need a map graphic definitely check this out.


  • Pixabay

    This site has photography, graphics, and videos all under a CC0 license (meaning: no attribution required.) For me, this site is a relative newcomer but has some pretty high-quality works.

  • Flickr

    Flickr lets you search by license. I’ve gotten a lot of great content on there under CC BY / CC BY SA (both of which allow commercial use and modification.) (More on Flickr below.)

  • Wikimedia Commons

    You have to be a bit careful on here because some stuff isn’t actually freely licensed but most of it is. (I have seen trademarked stuff get uploaded on here.) Just evaluate content on here with a critical eye!

  • Miscellaneous Government Websites

    Photography released by the US government is required to be public domain in many cases. I don’t know about other countries as much, but I’m sure it’s the case for some of them (Europeana is run by a consortium of various EU countries for example.) These agencies are also starting to publish to Flickr which is great. NASA publishes a lot of photos that are public domain; I’ve also gone through the Library of Congress website to get images.

  • CC Search

    This is Creative Commons’ search engine; it lets you search a bunch of places that have openly-licensed content at once.

  • CompFight

    This is an interface on top of Flickr. It lets you search for images and dictate which licenses you’re interested in. Using it can be faster than searching Flickr.

But wait, there’s more!

Naheem linked me to this aptly-named awesome resource:
Even more goodness there!!


  1. Naheem says:

    There is a useful list for stock resources maintained by someone on github:

  2. Thanks for putting up a huge list of open source design resources, it will be highly useful for newbie like me who is new to open source.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.