SVG - or Scalable Vector Graphics - have become an important part of graphic design on the web. If you're looking for some free SVG files of your own, we've collated some of the best sources.
Unlike pixel-based images, which get blurry if enlarged, SVG is composed of shapes that can maintain their sharpness no matter how much they're enlarged. Given the wildly divergent screen sizes and resolutions in use today, that's more than slightly valuable.
As we made this list, we considered several factors.
First, and most importantly, we looked for secure websites. It doesn't help to get free files if you get a bunch of viruses in the process! This was an overriding, pass-fail consideration. That said, note that some websites can unwillingly host viruses through advertisements they have no control over. Regardless of other factors, we recommend using adblockers, firewalls, and a sandbox program when downloading.
Next, we considered the number of free files available. Sites with at least several thousand graphics and a wide variety of categories were prioritized over sites that are too narrow in focus or don't have very many graphics to choose from.
After that, we considered ease of access. Sites that demand information like your email to view the files were dropped much lower on the list, while sites where the files are simply available were placed higher. Our team didn't like anything that's a barrier to access, especially when a company won't even show you samples before demanding you do something for them.
We also considered the ease of use for each website. In this case, simple and straightforward navigation by category was preferred, while sites that just lump everything together get moved down the list. Nobody wants to look through a few hundred images to find five relating to one theme.
Finally, we considered whether or not a company was trying too hard to sell something. Many SVG files work well with tools like die cutters (Cricut, Silhouette, etc.), and files are hosted to make arts and crafts projects easier. That isn't necessarily what you're looking for, though, and we moved sites with excessive ads down the list.
Note On Commercial Use: Many SVGs are free for personal use, but commercial uses (for your business, etc.) require purchasing a license for them. Keep that in mind when checking the sites on our list. Sites offer different licenses, too. Some give you an unlimited use license while others have a subscription-based plan.
If you get SVG files from multiple sources, you'll need to carefully keep track of the licensing agreements for each one. Artists are quite protective of their work, and there's a good chance they'll hit you with a legal complaint if you break the terms of the license they offer. If you're worried about this, we recommend limiting your searches to sites that always offer full commercial licenses.
Here are the best sites for finding free SVG files.
Lovesvg.com is a site focused on crafting, arts, and creative use of SVG files. It's no surprise that a lot of the graphics they have lean towards positive, uplifting, and entertaining commentary. That said, this site has graphics in a wide variety of categories, and that's what helped it rise so far up this list.
Major categories here include holidays, seasonal graphics, animals, family, and quotes from various sources. There aren't a whole lot of simple shapes, but they also own and operate a free site that can convert other pictures to SVG files. That drastically improves what you can do with minimal technical skill, and it's why this site is #1 on our list.
SVGCuts.com is another craft-oriented website. Unlike the #1 entry on our list, this website is split between a free section and a shop (which, to nobody's surprise, has more and better graphics).
That said, the free section has more than 350 designs in it, and some of them are large packs of graphics. Unfortunately, these pictures aren't sorted by category, so you'll have to browse the lot of them.
The reason this is #2 on our list, despite the limits of the site, is the simpler nature of many of its graphics. Lovesvg.com has a lot of elaborate graphics, and this balances it out with some simpler shapes you can use. As anyone who's spent a lot of time with these files can tell you, this sort of diversity is important if you can't just make what you need.
This site doesn't have quite as many options as either of the previous sites, but new free SVG files are added on a regular basis (they had 175 when we visited). What impressed us the most was the variety of themes that this site has, ranging from basic graphics to celebrations, school, and more. Most of the graphics are for holidays or seasons, but a good navigation system makes it easy to find what you're looking for.
It's worth noting that some of the free SVG files on this site have multiple options, such as different styles or overlays. They're not a majority of the files, but they provide some nice added utility for many users.
Like our #2 site, this particular location also has a store selling other files, most of which are a few dollars at most. If you're willing to spend anything at all, it's worth checking out that part of the site.
Creative Fabrica is an interesting, somewhat unusual site. While we linked to their free SVG files above, they also have a variety of paid fonts, tools, and other graphics. Most products are available individually, but they'd rather sell you an all-access subscription to the content. The subscription isn't worth it if you only need one or two files, but if you need a lot of SVG files, it may be worth the investment.
The free graphics here lean towards inspirational quotes, usually with some shapes around them. There are also things like free icon packs. The relatively low number of free files keeps this site lower on our list, but unlike most of its competitors, Creative Fabrica gives the Commercial License with its freebies. If you're looking for free files to use for your business, that alone makes this a good first place to look.
Another site focused on cutting patterns (noticing the trend yet?), Cut That Design has a fairly robust selection of free choices. Helpfully, they've also included a category-based navigation system to help you find files on topics like camping, hobbies, and occupations. Most of these sections have quite a few options in them, making this one of the better sites for free files.
Unlike most sales-focused sites, all of Cut That Design's SVG files are free for personal use. If you're looking for commercial uses, you'll need to buy a membership, and that membership only covers its duration. If you don't renew, you can't sell or continue to use their designs. That said, they do have a (relatively expensive) unlimited membership option.
The difficulty of using these files for commercial purposes is the main reason this site is so far down the list. If you only need files for personal use, it's easily one of the better sites on this list.
Each of the six sites listed above has plenty of free SVG files you can use -- and if you're sticking to personal projects, that's all you really need. We leaned in favor of the sites with category-based navigation, but since each site has different types of graphics, they're all worth looking at.
That said, if free files aren't enough and you can't make the SVG files yourself, the only real option is to start buying what you need. There are a few ways to go about this.
First, you can buy graphics individually. Most sites selling SVG files are quite willing to sell a particular image to you, and these usually come with commercial licenses permitting unlimited use. This is the most cost-effective method.
Next, you can buy image bundles. This is more expensive than buying just one or two files, but if you need a lot of SVG's on one theme, it's worth considering. For example, you could stamp out a bunch of different Christmas-themed mugs in time for the holidays. Prices vary, but most bundles cost less than $. Craft Bundles, described above, is a great site for this.
For maximum access, though, you'll want to find a site that offers an all-access plan. Most of these sites offer thousands (or tens of thousands) of files at a flat cost. The difference between access plans and bundles is that bundles are permanently owned while access plans only last for the duration of the plan. You'll have to download what you want while the plan lasts, and "download everything" is rarely available.
Finally, there's one other option -- hiring a graphic designer. Most free SVG files are relatively straightforward, art-oriented designs. That doesn't mean art is the only thing you can (or should) do with this file format, though. If you need SVG files for your website or other business purposes, hiring a graphic designer may be the best way of getting what you need.
Prices for that will vary, but the more you can do yourself, the lower the final cost will be. If the design is all but complete, chances are a graphic designer can create your file within 1-2 hours of work (at most). If they have to design things as well, expect it to take a little longer and cost a little more. If you don't know a designer, you can search online and hire them through a freelancer job board.
Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not it's worth paying for your SVG files. Holiday and season files tend to be free, while more specific content (graduations, etc.) tend to have a price tag. Some types of files aren't likely to be free anywhere.