A blog post, a banner, copy, a dynamic social media post – none of these are complete without the right image or illustration.
Freepik is among the top choices for users in search of stock photos, vectors, illustrations, PSDs, and more.
While the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is debatable, no one can deny the impact of a good image in the current digital marketing landscape. Freepik has become the go-to for visuals, with the company boasting over 100 million monthly downloads across its different platforms.
We took a deep dive into Freepik to see if it’s the right choice for users. In order to do this, we looked into the following features:
We took it one step further and reviewed Freepik from a content contributor’s perspective to answer critical questions. We dug deep to find out if the platform good for bringing exposure to your art and if contributors get a fair deal. Read on to find out more.
For users, Freepik is a great platform to find the right illustrations to match your blogs, copy, or web content. The platform was established by brothers Alejandro and Pablo Blanes, and Joaquín Cuenca in 2010. It has since become one of the world’s most-used websites.
Freepik offers millions of photos, vectors, and PSDs for users to pick from. Even if exact photos or graphics are unavailable for lesser-known topics, a related image shouldn’t be hard to find.
It is effortless for users to find and download resources. Premium users can make the most of Freepik’s estimated 7 million+ resources.
For contributors, Freepik is an excellent platform to get started and explore one’s creativity. It is easy to sign up as a contributor. Every user gets a fair chance to get approved by Freepik’s editors. Once accepted, they can submit their content and start earning money.
A significant con for users is the download limits for free users. Non-registered free users allowed 3 downloads per day while registered ones can download 10. This amount might be enough for individuals but will not meet mass content needs.
While their Premium plans are reasonable, a large number of user reviews seem to have a bad experience with their subscriptions. Unreliable customer experience and unhelpful customer support are other user concerns. Some users allege that the site saves their card details and automatically renews subscriptions. This is a serious issue and one that can be a major turn-off for many users.
Freepik’s contributor model might benefit some users. However, others have complained that the publishing standards are too high. Even if creators get in, earning a decent amount is tough and some contributors earn cents after months of effort. Creators might be better off with applying to become an exclusive designer instead.
We explored Freepik’s main features in-depth to see if they were as effortless and effective as their competitors:
Vectors are arguably Freepik’s biggest offering, with 100,000+ images spread out over 40 categories. Everything you might need from animal vectors to backgrounds and icons is at your fingertips.
Around 80,000 of the results were free to download and edit, as long as Freepik was attributed once posted. For Premium users, the number of options increases to 800,000 and attribution is not necessary.
Freepik’s vectors were easy to find and were of high quality. Even the free illustrations are stunning and expertly-designed. There are several types of vectors that users can download, edit, and use. These include quirky illustrations, icons, backgrounds, logo templates, banner templates, and more.
Freepik’s creators founded Flaticon in 2013. Since then, a lot of their results for icon searches lead to Flaticon’s website, where users need to register to download an icon pack. Flaticon limits free registered users to 10 icon downloads a day.
So anyone looking for a complete icon pack needs to subscribe to their Premium plan at $8.25/month (for 12 months) or $11.99/month on a per month basis.
Some users also complain that clicking on an image shows prompts to buy Freepik’s Premium plan or visit Stories. But considering Freepik is a business, users will just have to deal with it.
Freepik rose to popularity as one of the go-to outlets for getting free images throughout the last decade. In fact, you’d seldom find a blog post without the “Designed by Freepik” tag. Since then, their library has grown to include over a million images and is one of the premier platforms to find high-quality photos.
If you’re looking for an image in a popular category, you will be spoilt for choice. We had around 50 popular categories to choose from, including animals, food, yoga, dance, and others. Each of the categories had around 100,000 pictures, and some, like “business”’, had nearly 5 times that.
But could we find the same number of options for less popular categories? To test this out, we searched for the term “physics” and the results were mediocre. While the site lists over 47,000 results for the term, the first two results show generic calculations on a board. Things go a bit downhill from there with pictures of exercise, yoga, chemistry calculations, and more popping up on the first page!
That does not mean users can never find good images for “physics” but those looking for more than generic photos might be disappointed. We took the test one step further and searched for “astrophysics” only to end up with 33 pictures, most of which were for Premium users.
To test the specificity of search terms, we chose a generic term “dog toy”. That term resulted in around 3000 results, although many of the results didn’t have any toys and just showed dogs. We took it further and searched for “dog soft chew toy” and got only 163 results, 58 of which were free.
Overall, users are likely to find a high-quality picture on Freepik for most topics. However, those searching for unpopular or specific images could find better pictures elsewhere.
Freepik’s third main feature is perfect for editors, marketing teams, and bloggers everywhere. The site provides simple PSD templates that can be downloaded and edited using Adobe Photoshop. These edited templates can be used for multiple purposes.
While Freepik offers fewer PSD resources compared to Photos or Vectors, users have nothing to worry about. They still have hundreds of thousands of templates to pick from. There are around 20 popular categories of PSDs, including mockups, objects, and emails, all of which can be valuable resources.
Freepik’s PSDs are a godsend for designers and editors, who don’t have to create from scratch. They can simply download and edit elements to get the perfect image, saving them hours of work. Freepik’s library is comprehensive and even has templates for business cards, buttons, and logos.
At the time of this writing, there are approximately 162,000 PSDs available for download, around 58,000 of which are free. The comprehensive listings and different templates make Freepik’s PSDs a great resource.
A recent addition to Freepik’s platform is Stories – where users can pick from a range of excellent yet straightforward illustrations. The color, background, foreground, and individual elements of the illustrations can be edited with ease. After editing, you can download them in either SVG or PNG format.
Freepik takes things to the next level by allowing users to animate the elements within an illustration. These animations are rather simple. For example, you can select the animation for the entrance of a character or background element. You can also add looping animations, such as shake, spin, or heartbeat, to further enhance the illustration.
Creators can also choose the duration of the animation and the delay for each action. Even the site’s user interface is easy to understand and easier to use. So, even the most basic users can create effective animated illustrations with Stories.
To make it even better, you can export the animated illustration as code. You can copy and paste this code to embed the illustration on your website. You can also export it as a GIF or video. The export screen also shows previews of what the illustration will look like on a desktop and phone website and as a standalone image/GIF.
Stories is our current favorite Freepik feature as it allows us to create eye-catching and well-animated visuals in a few minutes. The illustrations are easy to export and can be edited using any vector graphics editor program.
Stories are effortless to create and are usable on webpages, blog posts, social media posts, and other material. It is a powerful tool for everyone from individual bloggers to large marketing teams.
You might have noticed that we mentioned “available for free” for most of the above features. This is because Freepik offers a Free plan and a Premium plan.
There are 3 types of users on Freepik – non-registered free users, registered free users, and premium users. Non-registered free users are limited to just 3 downloads per day and registered free users are limited to 10 downloads.
Premium users can download 100 resources a day. This limit on premium users is to ensure the responsible use of resources. The timer for all download limits is reset daily at 23:59:59 GMT +02.
You can choose between two Premium subscriptions – monthly or yearly. Both of these options are priced reasonably, with the annual plan costing $99.00 every 12 months or $8.25 / month and the monthly plan costing $11.99 per month.
Both Premium subscriptions unlock the same features. Freepik claims that premium users have access to an additional 7 million resources! That seems like a bargain for more serious users. Premium plans also remove ads from the site.
A major advantage of the Premium subscription is that users do not have to attribute Freepik when publishing. All free users must attribute the author and write “Designed by Freepik” when posting their content.
It is worth noting that Stories is entirely free at the time of this writing. This is an excellent move on Freepik’s part, although this might just be because it is a new offering. Only time will tell.
Freepik for a Contributor
Now that we’ve determined that Freepik is a useful resource for most users, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. Freepik began as a community-sourced platform for free vectors and images. Today, it hosts the world’s largest community of graphic designers.
Freepik’s Contributor Model is the primary source of visuals on the platform, which records hundreds of millions of annual downloads. Several professionals in the industry have praised the Contributor Model. But can contributors really earn their fair share and make an impact? Let’s get into it.
How does it work?
The Contributor Model was established in 2015 and has 3 levels. All resources published by contributors are available to premium users only.
New users are labeled as Level 1 contributors. They need to sign up and provide all the requested documents. They can then submit 20 graphic resources for approval. If Freepik’s team rejects the first batch of 20, users have one more chance to upload 20 resources. If the team rejects the second batch, then the user’s account is blocked and they cannot submit any content.
Once the first 20 resources are published, contributors can move onto Level 2. Level 2 contributors are allowed to upload a maximum of 100 files at a time. Both level 1 and 2 contributors must upload their work using Freepik’s Web Upload Method. In this method, users can upload their files, according to Freepik’s guidelines, add metadata, and then send the photo for review.
Freepik’s editorial review checks all your uploads and either accepts or rejects them for publishing. Once users have successfully published 100 images, they move on to Level 3. At this level, creators can upload anywhere between 20 to 1000 files per batch. There’s no limit to the number of batches uploaded.
Level 3 contributors can download an FTP Client, like Filezilla, get password and data access. Once all the images are up, they can send them for revision. Level 3 users cannot add brand logos or watermarks to their images. A complete list of content requirements is listed here.
Users can sign up for Freepik’s contributor model here.
How do contributors make money?
The company pays using either PayPal or Payoneer, and the amount earned varies daily. Freepik explains this model as follows –
“At the end of each day, we will calculate the total amount of subscription fees and the “per diem” subscription amount. Then we will calculate the total number of downloads. The total daily subscription average will be divided by the number of downloads to calculate the “per file” price for that day. That number will be multiplied by 0.5 to calculate the 50% rate.”
Simply put, your earnings as a contributor will largely depend on the number of downloads of your work. Freepik pays in two-month intervals. For example, in July, they will pay the earnings generated until the end of May.
Contributors need to meet a certain amount before Freepik generates an invoice for them. The minimum is $50/EUR for Payoneer users and $100 /EUR for Paypal. Moreover, Freepik will generate an invoice only 2 months after a user earns the minimum amount.
Invoices are generated on the 4th of every month. They need to be validated by the 9th and are paid between the 10th and 15th.
Is Freepik good for contributors?
The payment method described above shows that contributors can earn a significant income, but only if their resources are well-liked by Freepik’s visitors. Since earnings are linked to downloads, contributors must research current trends and deliver accordingly.
To ensure their contributors provide relevant content, Freepik has strict rules. One of these rules is that submissions with irrelevant content will be rejected.
Let’s say an illustration related to Ramzan is submitted for review in July. Freepik’s editorial team will likely reject it since the illustration will not interest most of their visitors until next year.
As per Alexa, Freepik ranks 125th in the world for engagement over the last 90 days. The site boasts 18 million unique monthly users. The tremendous traffic allows artists to attract plenty of visitors, gain exposure, and establish themselves. The Contributor Model can be a legitimate source of income for diverse contributors and creators.
While some creators benefit from Freepik’s payment model, others might struggle to make an impact. This struggle is because the platform offers millions of resources, and every user’s work will not get the same amount of attention or downloads. Depending on current events, keywords could change rapidly, and every illustrator cannot meet demands.
The current top keywords to generate traffic are related to flowcharts and the coronavirus (see image above). Artists that can tailor their content to these keywords are likely to gain attention, leading to increased downloads and earnings. However, artists that don’t operate in this field might find it harder to earn a decent amount.
Even if an artist decides to cater to current trends, they might not get the desired traffic due to the large number of resources to compete against. If we take the keyword “corona” for example, there are approximately 72,000 resources. So, if your content is listed past the third page, it’s unlikely to catch the general visitor’s eye.
Overall, success as a Freepik contributor is arbitrary and can change every week or month or sooner. While this might hinder some from signing up as a contributor, individuals with freelancing experience will know that this is the case for most large-scale platforms.
Users can also join Freepik as an exclusive designer. These designers work with Freepik’s art directors and produce illustrations based on their needs. They have to produce a minimum of 40 illustrations a month, and there is a fixed price for each picture.
Freepik posts openings for specific fields from time to time, and as you can probably guess, there is immense competition to get into the program.
To become an exclusive designer, creators must take a test where they create 3 illustrations of their best quality based on a provided theme. There are rules for this test that applicants must strictly adhere to. Once you submit your test, Freepik’s editors can accept or reject it.
Once you are approved, they are assigned an art coordinator/ director who will set a fixed price for each resource based on your initial test. They will also provide the theme, style, and deadlines for future projects.
Adina Neculae, in an interview with Freepik, had this to say about the role in 2015 “I would advise designers to join Freepik because it’s a good place to work. But also, my advice is to be prepared for the challenge, to have a lot of patience to learn and to be full of passion in order to be more fun. The result will be awesome!”
After a detailed review, it is clear that Freepik is home to one of the most comprehensive graphic resource libraries. There are millions of visuals to choose from across varying industries, topics, and styles.
It is a well-rounded tool that helps individuals and marketing/social media teams to quickly boost their content’s visual appeal. The ability to simply pick an image to quickly download, edit, and publish, is a lifesaver when it comes to dynamic web content.
Whether Freepik is the best choice for contributors, however, is a decision that’s still up in the air. Freepik’s Contributor Model is ideal for freshers or those looking to foray into professional illustration for the first time. The platform is an excellent place to explore your creativity while still earning money.
However, the Contributor Model cannot solely provide a creator’s income for the month, like most freelance platforms. It also might not meet an experienced professional’s expected pay rates.