How to Design Graphics for Resale

Please follow these steps in our guidelines to ensure your files are accepted at Freelancer Marketplace

Freelancer Marketplace accepts all types of graphics as long as the files are constructed to high standards, have visual appeal and have commercial value. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Any file with images that do not have a release will be rejected.

Brief history of computer-generated stock graphics

Creating graphics to be resold with rights for use and reproduction can be very lucrative as the designer has free reign on what they can design and little or no cost besides their time.

Stock graphics have been available for personal computer users since they first became popular in the mid-1980s. The earliest form of graphics was simple "paint" style images in B&W or 8-bit [256 colour] format. Objects like animals, food items and silhouettes of people were popular though very crude in their design and execution. When PostScript printers arrived, the same crude graphics were recreated as basic vector-based artwork. Creating artwork in vector format meant that it could be scaled to any size without loss of quality, as opposed to pixels that do not scale as smoothly.

With the advent of the Internet and the advancement of design to web 2.0, stock graphics have expanded to even more styles and permutations. Today, online stock graphics sources have hundreds of thousands of top-quality, ready-to-print and/or online-format graphics.


The most widely-accepted formats for background images are Joint Photographic Experts Group [JPG] and Tagged Image File Format [TIFF] or native PSD [PhotoShop] format.

Customers searching for high-quality print-ready background images often require full colour [CMYK] artwork - artwork that will separate into the four process colours for printing. For this purpose, providing the background image in PSD or TIF format is advisable. An experienced designer will prepare this artwork in CMYK format staring at the beginning of the design, not simply convert RGB to CMYK as this can introduce anomalies in the pixels that do not produce clean colour in print [see Colour further in this document].

Customers wanting background images for online typically require RGB format graphics as these are normally used for on-screen display only. As such, images at this resolution need only be provided in JPG format.

A professional designer is most likely to prepare their images in CMYK colour to ensure the integrity of the printed colour by referencing printed colour guides. The designer can then offer the image in RGB formats by converting to this colour profile, rather than starting in RGB and converted to CMYK.


The two main standards for page sizes worldwide are letter [8.5x11] and A4 [210mmx297mm]. Since most vector print-ready graphics are used within a printed page format, creating your graphic within that size makes the most sense. In fact, unless the graphic is a full background design, it need only be 4-5" wide/tall [100mm x 125mm]. Setting up a page in letter or A4 format and centering your design in the middle is an ideal way to present the graphic to your customer.

While it may sound picky, creating your graphics to a specific size also instills a certain level of professionalism that a customer will take note of. That is, if you produce a series of icons and they are all created exactly 4" [100mm] square with perfect .25" [6mm] corners, it shows that you were cognisant of the fact someone may use one or more of the graphics in the series and having them prepared in a consistent format ensures the customer will be able to work with them easily. The same can be said for stroke weights - you want to, as much as possible, create graphics that use consistent stroke weights from one design to another.


One of the most common mistakes a designer can make is to prepare artwork in RGB format and then convert to CMYK for print. The resulting colors are not ideal for printing. For example, a green color in RGB may look bright and clean, yet when it is converted to CMYK, small percentages of magenta and even black may appear, causing the graphic to have a muddy appearance when printed. It is always recommended that colors for designs be created in CMYK format and that designers refer to a printed reference guide when determining colors, simply because the screen is displaying in RGB and is not an accurate method for judging printed color.

When mixing CMYK colors, in addition to referring to a printed color reference guide that shows percentages of mixes of 2 or more process colors, i.e. 50% cyan and 25% magenta, designers should also create colors that are easy to understand as the customer may wish to adjust the color. Creating colors like C72:M37:Y12:K47 is not as understandable as say C80:M45:Y10:K40.

Lastly, the best thing you can do for your customer is prepare global colors and use these colors throughout your design so that, if a customer wanted to change all of the blue elements to green, it is as easy as selecting a global color and changing that, instead of having to manually highlight a multitude of individual elements.


Following a consistent structure for your graphics also shows a client the professionalism of the designer. Take the major elements of the design such as the text, if there is any, and the background, and place them on different layers. Group specific elements together so they can be easily moved or scaled if the customer needs to adjust the design for their specific use. By having elements on separate layers and in groups makes the design that much more flexible for the customer.


Once you have created your artwork and placed it online for resale, you are bound by the rules of the site for which you provided your graphics. That is, once the graphics have been purchased, the customer is allowed to use that graphic within the terms of their agreement with the online service and you cannot make any further claim to own that graphic.

Should the graphic end up being used by a huge multi-national corporation who paid someone $10,000 for the design, your rights as the creator of that design are limited to what you agreed to with that online service and the payment as set out by the terms of that service.


Your thumbnail image needs to be 156x92 pixels and can be JPEG, GIF or PNG format. Your thumbnail image should be an accurate representation of how your file looks.


When naming your main file and putting in your keywords please keep these relevant to the file being uploaded. File names and keywords should reflect what the file is and what it does. Using irrelevant names and keywords will result in your file being rejected. For example "Black circular pattern design" is correct, "totally amazing pattern" is not correct. You will need to supply at least 3 keywords for your file submission.


You may recommend a price that you think your file should be sold at. However Freelancer Marketplace staff will review your product and decide on the final price, if you do not agree with the price, please contact us. Please use this guide to help your upload process, the advice offered is to help protect all parties from copyright infringements and to aid you with your sales as a successful flash stock provider within our Freelancer Marketplace community.

In Closing

It is important to concentrate on design, and building a solid widget based back-end with great admin panels. Your customers will appreciate an easy process so the easier you make it, the more sales you will attract.