Using stock illustration, like stock photography, is a common way to help creative professionals visually communicate a concept. There is an abundance of stock illustrations available for purchase online through several stock art agencies, many of which sell both stock photography and stock illustration. Buying stock art is a convenient option for those looking for an image without having to sacrifice quality or time and while staying on budget.
Stock illustration falls into two main categories: royalty free and rights managed. The decision to purchase royalty free or rights managed depends on the buyer’s requirements. For instance, royalty free illustration usage allows for an image to be used multiple times and for numerous projects for one flat fee. This is because pricing of a royalty free illustration is determined by the size of the illustration and not its specific use. Illustration sizes vary from low resolution, which is suitable for web, to high or vector resolution, which is suitable for printed material. Royalty free illustration can be used with few usage restrictions and for many projects including annual reports, brochures, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, books, and web sites, etc.
Rights managed illustration may be preferable for those who are opting for more exclusivity of image use. Unlike royalty free, pricing for a rights managed illustration is determined by the customer’s specific usage taking into account what media type (s) they will use it in, distribution, and whether they need the image for a certain period of time.
While many stock art agencies sell both photography and illustration, some sell solely illustration. Ikon Images, Illustration Works, Laughing Stock, Stock Illustration Source, ImageZoo and Ecliptic Stock Illustrations are some companies that sell only illustrations. Ikon Images and Laughing Stock only sell rights managed images. Illustration Works and Stock Illustration Source sells both rights managed and royalty free, while ImageZoo and Ecliptic Stock Illustrations are two of the many illustration companies to specialize solely in royalty free illustration. The two longest established companies are Illustration Works and Stock illustration Source. Illustration Works established the first searchable online internet site in 1996, ushering stock illustration into the digital market place just emerging for stock images.