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11 awesome illustration resources for your sustainable web designs

Screenshot of illustration ressources

We all want to create beautiful, user friendly and fast loading digital products.

One part of sustainable web design, which you probably heard me rambling about before, is to reduce the digital data weight by using less images. I don’t say “Don’t use any images at all”. I use them too. But there are other ways to enhance your web and app designs that are equally awesome and even more lightweight. So, how can we use less images without ending up with a white minimalistic website that doesn’t fit the brand?

One way to reduce images is to trade them for illustrations and icons. Both of them use a lot less data and are therefore great for speed, digital footprint and in the end your SEO ranking.

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My favorite illustration collections

There are incredible illustration libraries, packs and sets out there that you can use for free or a small amount. Brilliant designers share them on all kinds of platforms to support other designers as well as to get their work out there. Attributions are always great (sharing love) and sometimes even required. More about the attribution requirements can always be found on the websites themselves.

Iconscout

Iconscout is a marketplace for icons and illustrations that you can download for free or as premium versions. There is a huge variety of styles and topics to be found on the platform. Just pick and choose your favorite.

Screenshot of Iconscout illustrations website

Blush

Blush is an incredible library with free illustration packs, such as Open Doodles, Fresh Folk or Humaaans. You can playfully mix and match the illustrations according to your needs. For enhanced options they also offer premium features such as color customization and SVG download.

Screenshot of blush illustrations website

Scribbbles

You fancy some more abstract design elements? Go with Scribbbles, a collection of funky vector graphics. They are fully customizable and will definitely bring every digital product to life.

Screenshot of Scribbbles illustrations website

Charco

Charco is a free set of 16 handcrafted illustrations done by the India based designer Karthik Srinivas. It’s quite a unique set with a mixture of design styles. Charco.Designs has even more free and premium illustrations and design elements to offer on their full illustrations page.

Screenshot of Charco illustrations website

Absurd

Absurd covers amazing hand-drawn, black and white illustrations done by Barcelona based designer Diana Valeanu. You can download the illustrations on the website for free (with attribution). For more content and premium features, you can also become a member of her community.

Screenshot of Absurd illustrations website

UnDraw

UnDraw is a free and super easily customizable collection of illustrations. You can change the colors with the color switch in the header and can download the elements as SVGs or PNGs. Whatever you prefer. I have used them before as well and I’m a big fan.

Screenshot of UnDraw illustrations website

Craftwork

Craftwork is a marketplace for plenty of cool, free and premium illustration packs. Some of the paid packs can also be downloaded for free as PNGs with attribution, for example Control.rocks.

Screenshot of Craftwork illustrations website

LS Graphics

LS Graphics offers a couple of free and paid illustration kits. They cover various styles, themes and topics. By the way, the illustrations with a price tag can also be downloaded for free as PNGs and with attribution.

Screenshot of LS Graphics illustrations website

Isometric love

If you are on the hunt for more isometric design elements, head over to Isometric love. The designs are incredibly detailed and somewhat different to what you’ll find anywhere else. You can download the illustrations for free (with attribution) or paid (without attribution).

Screenshot of Isometric love illustrations website

Drawkit

Drawkit has plenty of free and premium illustration packs at display. They cover tons of different business and private aspects as well as design styles. I really love it.

Screenshot of Drawkit illustrations website

Error404

You ever wondered what to put on your 404 page? Error404 comes up with lovely free illustrations you can use for your website. You can tell the cutest stories with those illustrations on your error page.

Screenshot of Error404 illustrations website

Some other great places to get illustrations from

  • Stubborn: Compose vector characters and scenes by putting together various pre-made illustrations. All for free.
  • Open Peeps: Similar to Stubborn, Open Peeps helps to compose vector characters. It comes with hundreds of different components to design black and white hand-drawn avatars.
  • Big Heads: Looking for a different kind of avatar? Combine expressions, clothing, hair styles and colors into quite colorful and playful characters.
  • Unsplash: Browse the popular photo library Unsplash with the tag “illustration” and find awesome illustrated artwork.
  • Dribbble: Find free and paid illustrations in the incredibly huge Dribbble marketplace.
  • The18 Design: Explore this marketplace with free and premium illustration packs.
  • Streamline: Grab the Streamline illustrations for free or customize them with the Streamline premium features.


Create your own illustrations

If you want to get creative or just want to try something new, start creating your own illustrations. It can begin with simple lines. Or with tracing existing illustrations (of course, only for training purposes).

I love to design icons and illustrations. It’s so much fun, buuuuut it took me a while to get in there and I’m still at the very beginning. It’s a process. Scribbling here. Sketching there. Trying. Failing. Improving.

I love to encourage you to start illustrating because it is quite rewarding once you get the hang of it. Until then, just go with the awesome resources above or hire an illustration artist that does the work for you.

Resumé

As you could see, there are soooo many great free and premium illustration resources out there, that it is incredibly easy to omit images. Yes, illustrations still have a data impact, but it is a lot less compared to data heavy content such as images and videos. Again, this doesn’t mean you have to do everything without images. It’s just an option to mix it up once in a while. Be creative. See what suits the brand best. And have fun with it!

Love,
Sandy

Hi, I’m Sandy, the author of this blog and a UX/UI Designer with 10+ years of experience. I founded Green the Web in 2019 to share my passion, ideas and vision of a sustainable web with change makers like you. Let’s connect on LinkedIn or on Instagram @greentheweb to discuss and share ideas.