7/29/13

Public Domain Infographics: Where to Find Free and Informative Graphics for Your Web Site or Blog

Infographics are hot these days, and for good reason.  A good infographic ("informative graphic") is more than just an image, a piece of clip art, or a photo: it's a tool that educates, even entertains, the reader.

Infographics are Copyright Protected - Unless They're Not

Thing is: there are lots of infographics out there on the web that are great, but their creators haven't released the copyright to their work.  Use those infographics on your site or blog without the creator's okay (and fee) at your own risk of an infringement claim -- or at the very least, the embarrassment of receiving and having to respond to a cease and desist letter.

Two options for you if you don't want to pay for the design: build your own infographic (it's pretty easy and can be free) or find a public domain infographic on the internet to use.

For how to build your own infographics, check our my earlier post.

Finding Public Domain Infographics

For locating free public domain infographics, think of places on the web where they have no expectation of copyright.  Like .gov sites - the government's infographics aren't protected by copyright and often government sites are publishing infographics in the hope that you will share them with your readers.

Hint:  Go to Google Images and type in a search phrase related to your subject matter, including the word "infographic."  Next, search through the results for infographics appearing on .gov web sites; go to the site itself and confirm that it is an image within the public domain.  Eureka! You've found your public domain infographic.

Another suggestion: sites where the creator has released his or her copyright in order to promote their work.  (Wikimedia Commons is a good place to find public domain images but not so much public domain infographics at this point.)  This may be a graphics design site, or an individual artist's portfolio page.

Here, it may be in the public domain or you may need to credit the infographic to the creator and perhaps provide a link to their site, but they won't be asking you for payment.  The best bet is to find an infographic that fits your needs and email the creator asking if he or she is willing to have you publish their work on your site at no charge if you give them credit / linkage.

For a few public domain infographic sources, check out:

  1. Department of Homeland Security (often provided with news releases)
  2. Centers for Disease Control  (search among the various issues for infographics)
  3. U.S. Census Bureau
  4. NASA
  5. Office of the Governor of your state (often provided with news releases or with blog posts).

Here is an example of a federal infographic that accompanied news of a Homeland Security financial felony bust in New York where the grand jury came back with indictments:







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