by Janet Attard
Dressing up your website with graphics
Nothing livens up a page of text like a good photograph or drawing. Graphics can be used to break up the visual monotony of lengthy passages of gray text, to serve as visual clues about the nature and significance of the information on a page, and to direct attention to particular sections of a page.
In years past, good graphics were hard to come by unless you could afford to pay hundreds of dollars a year to subscribe to clip art services or hired a photographer or artist to create the artwork for you. Fortunately for small businesses, computerized clip art collections that contain drawings and photographs have changed that. You can now buy collections of containing hundreds of thousands of graphics for about $80. Such graphics are suitable for a variety of print and web uses.
But locating the right graphic for your project in these collections can be frustrating. Although the collections include thick paper catalogs to help you select images, the pictures in the catalog are usually so small that you need a magnifying glass to see the details clearly. Furthermore, the images are usually grouped into categories, and the image you want might not be listed in the category in which you'd expect to find it. Since the graphics generally ship on multiple CDs, software that may be included with the software to search for images is useless if the graphic you want is on a different CD than the one you have in your drive at the moment.
What's the solution? The web, of course. Several clip art and stock photo companies now have searchable collections of their offerings on the web. Depending on the site you either pay a flat subscription fee, or pay by the download.
Copyright 1999, Attard Communications, Inc.