This post is a collection of links and resources where you can access and find images, sounds, etc. for your next presentation or creative pursuit such as creating your desktop wallpaper.
© Studio GHIBLI, 2005-2022.
In general, the links here are to resources that are free (at least in cost) but please double check the license of the items you download and use to be sure of the obligations and freedoms. In many cases, you might need to acknowledge the source. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
I have used Morguefile for the longest time to find interesting and useful images. The landing page claims to have over 400,000 free stock photos for commercial use. There is a global search and the images are also grouped into collections so that you can find what works for you.
When you find an image, you’ll see its details as below. Remember to check the License that lists what you can do with it, a suggested line to credit the creator and other useful information.
Artwork/ Images: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a broad range of digital images. As explained here they implemented a new policy for Open Access which [the following text is directly from their page] makes images of artworks it believes to be in the public domain widely and freely available for unrestricted use, and at no cost, in accordance with the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation and the Terms and Conditions of this (the Met’s) website. Please read the page linked above first to understand what you can do with the images and how to use them.
You can search the collection for Open Access images and you can filter by different criteria.
Once you find one, you’ll probably see that it’s marked as public domain and you have lots of flexiblity in how you can use it.
Japanese Artwork/ Images: Ukiyo-e Search
This is a unique site that offers a Japanese Woodblock Print Search – the website is https://ukiyo-e.org/ and allows you to search or browse through more than 223,000 images. It also shows similar images when you find one that you like.
Although the images can be downloaded for free on the site, I could not determine what license they use. So, please look carefully and decide if/ how you want to use it. If you do go to the Details page for an image, it does sometimes have a License and other details. In any case, it’s a beautiful site to browse.
Credit to this page on The Modern Met that helped me find this site.
Sound Clips: BBC
The BBC Sound Effects site provides access to more than 33,000 effects, grouped together or from their search panel. You can even find the famous BBC pips here!
A note on the license: read this page about licensing carefully that clearly lays out that this content can only be used for non-commercial, personal or research purposes. Business or commercial use would require a chat with the BBC and possibly licensing.
Credit to this page on Music Radar that helped me find this site.
Music: Free Music Archive
The Free Music Archive provides access to songs and music that you can use for a variety of projects. Again, check the license – usually, it’s Creative Commons but you need to confirm that it meets your needs.
Japanese Pictographs: Experience Japan
The Experience Japan Project/ Site provides background and access to pictographs in a Japanese cultural context. The mission of the project is to Support Tourism in Japan from a Visual Design Perspective (their text). As they go on to say, for this reason, all the materials are made available for free use, including commercial uses. The content has been produced by the Nippon Design Center and the site is really beautiful to explore. I wish more countries put up this kind of content to help international designers.
Credit to this page on Open Culture that helped me find this site.
Japanese Film: Studio GHIBLI
Studio GHIBLI is very well known for its animated classsics. Now, you can download a series of pictures (approx.1100+) that are stills from their most famous movies. The picture at the top of the page is from this site. You can access the images from this page on the Studio GHIBLI site – the page itself is in Japanese but there are the covers of the movies on that page – click on any of those to go into the page that shows the rest of the images.
The copright seems to say something to this effect: images are available for personal use. The screenshot of the terms is below.
Also from Open Culture, here’s an interesting post about accessing free colouring books from world class libraries and museums – something to do with your kid?
That’s the full list for now!
Background to this page: every now and then, I come across a post on Twitter or Flipboard that catches my interest and I bookmark it/ save it for the future. Then, it gets buried and I forget about it. For that reason, I’m starting to put a few posts together by topic – once it’s on the blog, I remember it more and I have an easy way to find it. This is the first post in that series.
If you found it useful or would like to add more links, feel free to share the post (you can tag me as @onghu on Twitter) or leave a comment below.