Adobe Stock and stock imagery: A guide for designers

Stock imagery has often been looked down upon by some members of the creative community in the past – dismissed as having little connection to the brand or product in question, and being less impactful than bespoke content.

This is a very dated view of stock imagery – which is an essential tool in the arsenal of today’s designer. So I was keen to debunk the myths surrounding it and explain just how designers can make use of stock assets in their workflow.

Firstly I wanted to highlight the huge amount of choice available. Stock imagery databases have such a wide variety of images nowadays – and it’s not just photos either. There are literally millions of illustrative assets in raster and vector formats to choose from – so designers can take their pick from some truly inspirational photography, illustrations and graphics too.

A search on Adobe Stock

It’s also easier than ever for them to find what it is they’re looking for. Adobe Stock can be searched using keywords and various filters, including categories, proportion, colour and even intent – so only relevant results will ever be thrown up.

A search on Adobe Stock refined by colour

For a project with tough cost and time limitations, stock imagery can be an invaluable resource, used to fulfil the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer, illustrator – or both – and often for a lower cost. For the designer, that means they save both time and money without having to compromise on the quality of work they produce.

Comping or FPO (For Position Only) assets, which are usually low-resolution and/or watermarked, can be downloaded as images instantly and then purchased later on as a higher resolution file if the chosen image works – which makes stock imagery a great tool for creating quick mock ups and design proofs for clients.

A results page on Adobe Stock based on a colour search

Adobe Stock is unique in that it is integrated into other design products. So it’s possible to initiate a search and place a linked copy within Creative Cloud – and even collaborate with other creatives at the same time by sharing previews of their work. Additionally, that integration allows for the licensing of the assets directly from inside the desktop product – something that no other stock library can offer.

Finally, model and property release is always a big concern with any imagery as it will often involve people, buildings or both. Stock imagery removes this responsibility from the designer – which again is a great time-saving tool.

Throughout August at Adobe, we’re celebrating the impact that the right images – be it photos, illustrations or vectors – have on people. Last week we launched a campaign dedicated to Adobe Stock, commissioning creative director Dan Rubin to curate five Adobe Stock libraries – each based around a different emotion – which we’ll be unveiling next week, so remember to check back in. Plus for any additional tips on using Adobe Stock, check out my personal blog.