Have you ever been in the middle of designing a graphic composition and thought, “Well, I guess I’ll use the same stock photo of businessmen shaking hands that I used last time?” If you’re a typography lover, perhaps it’s more like, “If I have to use Museo on one more website…. grrr.” Hehe.

You’re in a design rut! You’ve gotten used to your stock media assets. You need something new.

There are many quality resources out there, but knowing how and where to find them is usually overwhelming. Even when you do find the good ones, you’re faced with the sad truth: other businesses (sometime a lot of other businesses) are using the same assets in their designs.

Nothing hurts more than seeing your hero image in use on another site. Your clients agree.

In this article, I’m going to walk through three common design projects that you normally rely on stock images for. The twist is that I’ll show you how to compose each project so that it looks original and thoughtful. Specifically, we’re going to go through illustrations for blog posts and newsletters, product mockups (great for increasing conversion on landing pages), and quote graphics (great for social media).

While you could just pick any random stock image and drop it into a post, a little bit of thoughtful tweaking on pre-drawn vector assets can help you create something that an agency illustrator would charge a few thousand bucks for. It’s a pretty great way to up your brand’s perceived quality.

There’s a lot to consider when designing an illustration as a featured blog post image. Does the illustration match the topic of your post? Do the colors complement your brand? Does the style of the illustration fit with your overall design?

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