I’ve never been a big fan of clip art. The images are often blandly generic. Even worse, if you use a free or cheap library, the chances are that countless other people are also using graphics from the same source. I’m not the kind of guy who’d worry about turning up at a party in the same outfit as somebody else but I have to admit that I shudder at the thought of producing a document and then finding out someone else has used the same clipart!
However, I’ve just discovered the Open Clipart Library (hat tip to Curtis Smith). There are two things that appeal to me about this collection. Firstly, all the graphics are under a public domain licence, meaning I can do what I want with them. Secondly, because of the licence and the fact that they’re all saved in the SVG format, I can easily open them up with a program like Inkscape and adjust to my heart’s content before using them in a document or web page.
I’ll probably still end up doing most of my graphics the hard way, working from scratch using things I’ve seen, photos I’ve taken and perhaps a few elements from openly licenced images on the web. However, I’m going to try to remember to come back and investigate this clip art library in earnest next time I’ve got a project where I need a visual element to tie things together.