Let Me Illustrate My Point: Choosing and Using Clip Art

Think back to the last time you bought something that needed assembly. Likely the instructions included drawings or illustrations to help you understand what the words were saying. In fact, the drawings may have been all you needed to complete the assembly. This is the power of illustrations that accompany what we read. Our comprehension rises dramatically when we also have something to look at.

When designing a brochure or flyer for your company, or when creating a newsletter, you can use this fact to your advantage by including clip art within the body of the copy. In graphic design, the term clip art refers to a broad category of non-photographic images that can be used to illustrate text. The name comes from the way images originally were packaged – bound in a book from which users could cut out (or clip) artwork to place in layouts. When desktop publishing replaced manual layout, users stopped clipping and began scanning the images. Now clip art books have been replaced by digital compilations available on CDs or even downloaded from web sites.


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