Where can I find accent images to make printed documents classy?
April 15, 2013 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find free graphics that I can use on invitations, event programs, and books? I'm looking for black and white images: Horizontal rules, flourishes, small flowers, accent images, those little symbols that look like a spade but have a swirling stem....?

I'm not sure the term for these kinds of images. But I'm looking for the sort of thing that could go in a book at the end of a chapter, beside or above the title, etc. I'm not looking for pictures, just pretty swirls, lines, and floral/vine shapes. Is there a name for this, better yet, is there a website where I can find some?

posted by chocolatemilkshakes to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Download the font Gilde! It's got lots of those little embellishments you're looking for. You can also search for clip art like that on Etsy and find some pretty reasonably priced packs of premade stuff if you're willing to shell out a little $.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:47 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

You're looking for dingbats! You can also call them printer's ornaments, and the swirly spade is a type of dingbat called a fleuron or hedera. You can download free fonts that include a bunch of them (with each ornament taking the place of a letter or number) - here are some free ornaments and some more, found via this list that includes paid options as well. Googling "free dingbat fonts" provides lots of fun websites to explore.
posted by dreamyshade at 10:55 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Any dingbat font will give you a wide selection of these. If you don't mind paying for them, Dover publishes vast collections.
posted by expialidocious at 10:57 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go to Google, click on Images. Type in the name of the graphic you want, maybe "flourishes".
Right click on what you choose and click copy. Control v where you want to place the flourish.
posted by Cranberry at 11:12 PM on April 15, 2013

I like using dingbat fonts instead of normal images since the fonts provide basically vector images, so they print nicely; they look good resized to whatever size you need, and you don't have to fuss with DPI settings or pixelly-looking results. Many fonts also include clear information about their licensing, which is nice if you (or your company/organization/etc.) care about having the rights to use the images.
posted by dreamyshade at 12:05 AM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Google 'Graphics Fairy', full of free clip art, lots of vintage illustrations. Also try Mellowmint on deviant art.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:27 AM on April 16, 2013

Try the shapes subcategory of dingbats on dafont. If you click on a font you'll be able to see what characters translate to what dingbats.
posted by Mizu at 12:47 AM on April 16, 2013

For graphics (and useful for fonts as well), here are most of the terms that will be helpful for searching: ornaments, flourishes, borders, banners, swirls, scrolls, dividers, separators, vignettes, swashes, rules. Add "ornamental" or "decorative" before most of these to get what your are looking for, and possibly "printers" (like "printers ornaments"), or "floral," "filigree," "Victorian," "vintage," or "retro," for more specific looks.
posted by taz at 2:47 AM on April 16, 2013

Oh, also, you can add even more specific stuff like "deco," "art nouveau," "rococco," "baroque," "simple," "leafy," "vine," "50's," "geometric," etc. And I wanted to add that when looking for free images it's helpful to search for "free," obviously, but also to include: -royalty and -royaltyfree to the end of your search because the places selling images take up all the "free" image results by including "royalty-free" in their descriptions. It can also help to refine your image search to larger sizes (in Google images, under "search tools" > "size" at the top of the page).

(And here's a place I just came across that has some pretty nice things in larger sizes.)
posted by taz at 3:42 AM on April 16, 2013

A good source for these is Briar Press's Cuts & Caps library. They are cleaner than a lot of the catch-all "10,000 PRINTERS MARKS!" collections and they're well-tagged as to shape and content.
posted by bcwinters at 5:27 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love printer's ornaments, and using them in fonts is easy.

Now look what you've done; I'll be downloading more fonts this morning. (smiley)
posted by theora55 at 6:56 AM on April 16, 2013

Also, look for Photoshop brushes (or Gimp brushes if you don't have Photoshop)! There are SO MANY out there -- basically, there's a brush for almost anything I've ever needed. (Brains, tree roots, flourishes, old magazine ads, etc. etc. etc.)
posted by nosila at 10:11 AM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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