Images are the lifeblood of advertising design, serving as the vibrant and captivating gateway to the message brands seek to convey. In a world where attention spans are fleeting and competition for consumer attention is fierce, the power of visuals cannot be stressed enough.
Whether you’re showcasing products, amplifying brand identity, or simply making an indelible impression, images stand as the cornerstone of effective advertising, transforming static messages into dynamic, memorable experiences.
That’s why we’re about to bring to your attention 2 very important image-gathering categories that have taken the world of graphic design by storm. One is the long-standing category of Stock Photo sites and the other is the significant and recent entrant into the field that people are raving about, AI image generators.
We will be breaking down some of the top tools in both categories. Both these categories of tools can be used to source images and photos for ad designs.
So first, let’s get started with the AI image generators on this list.
Open AI’s DALL·E 2 stands out as a prominent figure in the realm of AI image generators, and this distinction is well-earned. It marked a groundbreaking moment as the inaugural AI-driven image generator. It holds the capacity to craft exceptionally captivating images for ad designs.
There’s an even more advanced AI image generator by Open AI in the works called DALL·E 3, which far exceeds the capabilities of DALL·E 2. It’s set to be released in October of 2023.
Till then, let’s now move ahead to see some unique features of DALL·E 2.
At $15 you can purchase 115 image credits. The pricing for API starts at $0.016 per image.
For more information on pricing, visit here.
Here are some examples of images generated by DALL·E 2.
This first one is an image created using this particular prompt: “Diorama of a ship in a bottle, detailed, bokeh”
The level of detail in this image should help you trust this AI image generator to come up with excellent images for your ad designs.
Here’s another image that will further instill trust in this AI image generator to create images for ad designs. The prompt looks something like this: “An Instagram-worthy shot of a delicious-looking bacon sandwich, that’s apparently partly deconstructed”
This is a review left by a user who seems pretty pleased with DALL·E 2.
Moving on to the next one on our list of AI image generators.
Midjourney stands at the forefront of the emerging field of text-to-image AI art. With Midjourney, the burden of meticulously designing and sourcing suitable images is shifted away. Because this awesome tool can craft photorealistic visuals that align precisely with the provided descriptions.
And as a result, it’s one of the most perfect AI image generators for you to create images for your ad designs.
Midjourney can only be used via Discord. So to get started you will need to first sign up with a Discord account whereupon you can proceed to signing up to Midjouney.
And the latest version of this AI model is Midjourney V5.2 released in June of 2023. It’s the newest and most advanced version of the model yet.
Moving on, let’s now look at some unique features of Midjourney.
Midjourney is offered on a subscription basis. The Basic Plan starts at $10/mo where you can roughly generate about 200 images/mo.
For information on other packages please visit their subscription plans page.
Let’s now look at some examples of images generated using Midjourney:
The below image is a photorealistic image of a liquor bottle generated by a Midjourney user. The prompt is visible within the image.
If you’re in need of setting up an ad design for a liquor brand these kinds of images can be extremely helpful.
This next example is a video on how another liquor product image is created for an ad design using Midjourney.
Here’s a review by a customer who highly recommends Midjourney:
Let’s now take a look at the next AI image generator on this list.
To understand this tool let’s first talk about Stable Diffusion. Stable Diffusion is an open-source AI model that allows you to create AI images by downloading it and running it locally on your computer. A lot of AI image generators use Stable Diffusion by training and fine-tuning the model for specific purposes.
One straightforward way to use this powerful model is to use DreamStudio. DreamStudio is an AI image-generative web app developed by Stable AI, the same developers responsible for developing Stable Diffusion. It’s one of the easiest and most user-friendly AI image generators on this list.
There are upcoming features for editing and improved canvases along with the option to edit specific elements within images.
But for now, let’s look at some of the existing features of this AI tool.
You get 25 free credits upon signing up. After exhausting those credits, you will need to buy more with 1000 credits starting at $10.
Visit their FAQ page to learn more about pricing and future plans.
Here’s an example of an image we generated along with the prompts and parameters we set.
Let’s look at another example of an image generated by DreamStudio that’s suitable for an ad design with children.
Here’s a review left by a happy user.
Adobe Firefly is a creative generative AI model by Adobe. Its main focus is on image and text effect generation. With these 2 capabilities, there’s so much that can be achieved by this AI image-generating tool. Work that could’ve taken hours and hours can now be done in a matter of minutes.
And luckily features powered by Firefly can be found within other Adobe tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Express, and Adobe Stock.
Let’s now look at features in Adobe Firefly that will help you understand this tool more.
It’s still in the beta phase and is currently free to use online for now with 25 monthly generative credits. The Premium plan goes at $4.99/mo with 100 generative credits a month. However, you can use features like Generative Fill and Generative Expand within Photoshop.
Here’s an awesome set of suitcases generated using Adobe Firefly. The prompt used here is, “A wide variety of suitcases lined up”. It gives you a great idea about the scope in which this model can generate images for ad designs.
Let’s take another look at what can be achieved using this AI image generator. The prompt for this is. “Sports car on pavement, wet street”. You can see the edits made to the output type on the right hand side.
This is a review of Adobe Firefly by a satisfied user.
Now that we’ve covered 4 top AI image generators it’s time for us to present 4 of the top Stock photo sites for Ad designs. Let’s move right ahead.
Envato Elements is a subscription-based service that grants unlimited access to a diverse selection of digital assets from stock images, to stock footage to even audio tracks. It is specifically tailored for agencies, designers, marketers, and other professionals who require frequent or extensive access to such resources.
Let’s take a look at what makes Envato Elements a top Stock photo site.
The pricing goes at $16.50/mo for the Individual plan and $10.75/mo per member for the Teams plan.
For more details on pricing, visit here.
Here are some great Stock images from this service that can be used in ad designs.
These images come with watermarks if you download them without subscribing. The only way to get freebies is by signing up. However, you do not have control over what categories of images are free for use.
But as far as Stock photo sites go, with a paid subscription this is one that you can definitely use in your daily design needs.
Here’s a review by a user who is pretty happy about the website and how they have absolutely anything.
Moving on, let’s talk about the next one on our list of stock photo sites.
Shutterstock is a renowned global platform for high-quality stock photos, videos, music, and more. With a vast library of creative assets like illustrations, vectors, 3D objects and more, it serves as a go-to resource for businesses, designers, and content creators.
Let’s list out the benefits you can get from using Shutterstock.
They offer a one-month free trial. There is an annual plan where you can still opt to pay $29 monthly or pay upfront and save $49.
There is a monthly subscription which would be $29/mo. The difference is that the annual subscription locks you in for a year and the monthly subscription allows you to cancel anytime with no commitment.
Visit their pricing page for more specific details.
Let’s view some examples of Stock images that would look great for ad designs.
These images come with watermarks even when downloaded after signing up. They can be downloaded without the watermarks by either purchasing individual images or by subscribing to the service.
Here’s what a user has to say about Shutterstock.
Moving on to the 3rd Stock photo site on our list.
Vecteezy functions as an online marketplace where individuals can directly license stock photos, vector graphics, and stock footage from artists. Essential features are available for free, but they come with advertisements and certain limitations. Pro subscribers, however, gain access to enhanced licensing options and a more extensive and diverse range of content.
Let’s explore their benefits in detail.
It can be used for free but there’s also a yearly unlimited subscription that starts as low as $4.50/mo.
See their pricing page for more information.
Let’s now take a look at some of the stock photos here that would be perfect for ad designs.
Let’s see what a user on G2 has to say about Vecteezy
Moving on to the final one on our list of stock photo sites.
Unsplash is yet another top contender in this list of Stock photo sites. Owing to its clean UI and ease of access it has become quite a popular site for those who need Stock photos.
Let’s take a look at the benefits they offer to get a better overview of this Stock photo site.
There are high-quality images for download without having to attribute the contributor. There is also a subscription service called Unsplash+. As of this date, there are discounts running at the following prices:
$12/mo $4/mo, billed yearly $12/mo $8/mo, billed monthly
Please visit here for more details.
Let’s move ahead to see some of the stock photos in Unsplash’s collection that could benefit your ad designs.
This is what a super happy Unsplash user had to say about the site.
In 2023, 84% of communications are visual. So from banner ads to social media design to printed material, design is a crucial aspect. And ad designs of all nature need to be spot on because you’re trying to advertise something. And among other things, images and photos contribute greatly to making those ads sell.
And so, the tug-of-war between using AI-generated images and stock photos is going to be lifelong. And as we conclude, we’d like to say that it all boils down to what exactly your ad design needs. Whether it will benefit from an AI-generated image or a Stock photo is completely your call.
Regardless, we’re certain that these AI image generators and Stock photo sites on our list will definitely come in handy when you need to level up your ad designs. The one other option for you to bypass the usage of AI image generators and stock photos sites is to use an unlimited design subscription with their added advantages.