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Image Licensing Guide + Stock Resources

Image Licensing Guide

What Is Image Licensing?

If you aren't an artist, odds are you've looked into buying stock imagery to use in your designs at some point. One of the most important things to consider when buying stock imagery for your products is the licensing.

Licensing refers to the usage agreement you make when you download the image. The license will tell you what you are allowed to do with the image, and more importantly what you are not allowed to do. You could be putting yourself in jeopardy if you ignore these legal terms. You could be fined, or worse, if you are caught reselling other people’s art on your products if it is not legally acceptable to do so.

Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Stock Imagery

Before you purchase a stock image, you need to find the licensing information on the stock suppliers website. This information can usually be found in the footer of a website under “legal”. You should be looking for a few key elements in the licensing terms. Ask yourself the following questions...

Can I use this image for resale?


Table via istockphoto

The answer needs to be: YES.

Standard licenses don’t usually cover reselling. You need to make sure there is a license option for the resale of the image on products. If you see a license is for "commercial use" or "personal use", that doesn't mean it's legal to resell the image on products. You need to ensure that reselling is covered.

Can I use this image for on-demand printing?


Table via photodune

The answer needs to be: YES.

Some stock websites will not allow you to use their images for on-demand services like Printaura, and other popular on-demand printing services. You need make sure that there isn’t a term stating that on-demand use is prohibited.

How many prints can I sell with one license?

Print Run

Table via istockphoto

The answer needs to be: Unlimited or be prepared to buy a second license if you go over.

Sometimes there is a limit to how many times you can run / print an image. Many extended licenses will give you unlimited runs but every once in awhile they are limited.

Can I sell the image on my products as is?

Some stock website require you to edit the image in some way before you are allowed to resell it. This just means that the image needs to be part of your design, not the entire design itself. This is usually laid out in the text of the licensing agreement page. Read through their entire policy to protect yourself from getting into trouble later.

The answer needs to be: YES, unless you are able to create a new design using the image.

Websites With Resale Licenses

It can be hard to find good images with a resell license. We’ve done the work and dug through the licensing and legal jargon and found some sites that sell designs you can legally use on your products and get printed by a 3rd party.


Designious has a wide array of t-shirt designs around $15. They also offer photoshop brushes, vector packs, and fonts.


Visit Designious

Rival Art

Rival Art specializes in sports and mascot art. Get any of their designs in vector. They offer pay as you go or credit packs.

Rival Art Vector Clipart

Visit Rivalart

You Graph

Yougraph has a wide variety of art and t-shirt designs ready for download. One design is $10 but if you buy a plan the prices go way down. Yougraph also offers custom designs starting at $40.


Visit Yougraph


Great Dane Graphics

Great Dane Graphics offers a variety of designs that are ready to be printed on t-shirts. You can buy a subscription for $18.99/ month for stock or $14.99/ month for embroidery.

Great Dane Stock Art

Visit Great Dane Graphics

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