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Clip Art Books from Dover Publications

Back in the 1980s Dover Publications was publishing books full of copyright-free clip art images which required no permission or fees to use the images -- except for the cost of the book. These books are full of images printed in black and white that could be scanned and then used as is or colored in. I would scan the images using my 4” hand scanner -- the first one I bought -- and use them mostly in my client’s newsletters.

Each book had its own topic: art deco illustrations, floral motifs and ornaments, love and romance, trademark designs, decorative borders, advertising and spot illustrations from the nineteen twenties and thirties. Some of the books had over a 1000 images in the one book. The images included people, birds, animals, all kinds of objects, silhouettes, and scenes, and covered sports, transportation, occupations, fashion and entertainment. I still have a collection of these books that every once in a while I pull out to look for an image for a project I am working on.

One book that really stood out was “Snow Crystals” that included over two thousand photographs taken by W.A. Bentley of snow flakes, frost, glaze and dew on plants and spider webs. The photographs were taken with a black background and it is amazing to see that they really are all different. I have used these snow flake images in several projects including decorating seasonal stationery and laminated ornaments that I sent with holiday cards.

Today, Dover Publications is still producing books of clip art and design. Some of the books are in full color, some are color and black and white, and they also include a CD with the images. Depending on the book, the images include high resolution jpeg or tiff images and some also include low resolution images for use on the Internet. These are all royalty-free images. While browsing their website I also discovered that they still have some of the books printed back in the 1980s for sale. They are still just black and white and do not come with a disk. Even the book on snow crystals is available on their site.

When desktop publishing, there is always a need for good images to include in your publications, whether it is a newsletter, advertisement, book cover, book, brochure, menu or even designing a company logo for business cards, letterhead and signs. Whatever it is that is being designed, let your creativity flow and find the right image(s) to give your project the zing it needs to stand out in the crowd!



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