Clip art sites often look like as though they were designed in the nineties (yes, many of them were); and navigating through scattered images and flashing icons is tedious. Also, as the “Clip Art” Wikipedia page suggests, some sites that claim to provide “free clip art” are giving away images illegally. Furthermore, a lot of that free clip art has low-quality resolution, which will look unprofessional on your site or in print. So, the bad news about using quality clip art is you will likely have to pay a small subscription fee. The good news, though, is that there are plenty of well-designed clip art sites with an excellent selection of clip art.
If you want clip art that dances, roller-skates, or does the hula, then you’ll like AnimationFactory.com. The site offers year-long subscriptions, with the Gold Membership ($59.95), Platinum Membership ($99.95) and Pro Membership ($199.95). The pro membership is meant for web designers, and it includes animation based on Flash, as well as sound effects and video elements. The Gold Membership includes 500,000 Animated Clip Art options, tiled backgrounds, and media elements. Don’t spend too long looking, though, because you’re bound to get seasick (or, err, nauseous from wiggling clip art).
Clipart.com is one of the biggest clip art sites, and they update their content consistently. The site has over ten million images, including illustrations, fonts, photos and of course, plenty of clip art. You can subscribe for one-week ($14.95), one-month ($34.95), three-months ($59.95), etc., with a maximum subscription of two years ($299.95). Clipart.com allows you to download files in most common formats (.PNG, .JPG, .GIF, etc). The images are of high quality, though there have been a few complaints (http://clip-art-review.toptenreviews.com/clipart-com-review-pg2.html) about their vector image quality.
iClipart.com, which has almost eight million images, offers a one week subscription for slightly less, at $12.95, and a one month subscription for $24.95. They have year-long subscription for $49.95, as well as a one-year plus subscription which includes vector images for $79.95. Their one year PRO subscription is $295. iClipart.com is located in Brussels, Canada. iClipart.com offers discounts to schools and they donate $.10 of every subscription to kiva.org (http://www.kiva.org/lender/vitalimagery)
ClipartConnection.com offers over one million illustrations, graphics and clip art. ClipartConnection.com, like Clipart.com, is owned by Jupiterimages, one of the main players in the online images game. Jupiterimages is a subsidiary of Getty Images (http://www.gettyimages.com/), which was founded in 1995 as the photography business transitioned into the digital age. ClipartConnection.com shares a lot of images with Clipart.com, but they do not have the same interface of subscription model. They offer a one-week subscription for $4.95, one-month for $19.95 and one-year for $34.95.
iStockphoto is best known for stock photography, but the site also has high-quality clip art as well, and it may be more affordable if you are only downloading a few images. To download images from iStockphoto.com, you can pay as you go or get a subscription. You buy “credits” and spend them when you download a file. For example, you can download an extra small photo from the main collection for one credit ($.95). The site is fast, easy-to-use and offers a decent selection of clip art.