End of the Line for Clip Art

End of the Line for Clip Art

After we relaunched nekls.org I had one major request for our resident bloggers: “Please, no Clip Art!”   I spent a good amount of time developing a color palette, and going forward I have asked that staff use artistic quality photos that compliment the site. Simply put, images that do not clash with our given framework.

Last week, Microsoft officially pulled Clip Art from Microsoft Office products, and going forward users will be pointed to a Bing image search.  Clip Art had its benefits. The images were vector based not raster; unlike raster images, i.e jpg or png, vector images can scale to any size without becoming pixelated. Another bonus was that the images were curated.  The suggested Bing images will be raster, so users will need to consider resolution when making a selection. Making this selection even more difficult is the near limitless amount of choices; it is easier to order dinner when the menu is only one page rather than twenty.

I believe this change is a sign for us to step up our collective game in Library Land. Flyers, posters, and webpages face fierce criticism. Modern people have become dabblers in design themselves, which makes them opinionated when it comes to what they take the time to look at. Don’t believe me? View some folk’s Facebook pages, 8 out of 10 times, there was a bit of effort put into how it looks.  Ask people their feelings on the font Comic Sans, I bet the majority will not only know what it is but they will also have an opinion on when it should be used (answer: only when creating graphic novels). We rarely have the resources that commercial businesses have for how we represent ourselves creatively, but we need to keep our marketing current if we want to show our patrons,  community, and disbelievers that our library is alive and relevant to today’s society.

NEKLS has done posts before on where to find images. Robin Hastings blogged about a few alternatives and how to correctly give credit in the past. I thought Vandelay Design  had some good alternatives too, I will post some of their suggestions in the links below. Additionally you may try adding the term “png” to your image search so that you can find images with a transparent background layer. Another option is to add “svg” or “vector” to your image search terms to locate and download files that will be resizable.

Use caution when picking your files, leaving the Clip Art world means you may not have the rights to re-use that perfect photo, see Robin’s post regarding this issue.

When working on your next creative project, feel free to pick my brain (within reason, I only have so much brain left). Some people think I have a good eye when it comes to design (some even think I have two). I would be happy to assist you with using creative software like Photoshop, or its open source alternative, Gimpshop. I am also pretty handy with Inkscape, an open-source vector image editor, it is perfect for when you are ready to update your library’s logo.


Photo Credit: Re-natured by flickr user Zoltan Acs used under a Creative Commons License