Free Images, Licensing, and Commercial Use


Heading to the photograph icon on the left will take you to all of your background tools. From here, you can search through millions of free, Creative Commons-licensed images to use as a background. You can also use your own pictures, or pick a solid background for your words to stand out on.

Using images as slide backgrounds

In EDIT mode, use the blue photo button on the left to set or change your current slide's background. From here, you can choose to use an image, a graph/chart, or a solid color as your slide background.


About the free image search, and how to make the most of your searches

By default, when you click the slide background tool on the left, you're taken to the free image search.

Every image search you perform within Haiku Deck taps into millions of Creative Commons-licensed images that have been posted to Flickr by photographers all over the world. We match keywords from your slide text to tags supplied by the photographers to streamline the process, but you can always search for any word or phrase you like. 

If you're not satisfied with the search results, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t limit yourself to literal search terms: There’s no need to get stuck on a specific search word or phrase. Try zooming out and exploring different angles in to your topic. For example, if you’re making a “Summer Road Trip” Haiku Deck, try evocative phrases like “highway” or “scenic route” if ”summer vacation” or “road trip” isn’t doing the trick.
  • Go abstract: Some text is just tough to illustrate visually. Abstract images are a great way to add some aesthetic mojo to your slide without distracting your audience from its message. Try searching for “light” and “pattern,” for example.
  • Explore emotional triggers: Sometimes you’re trying to illustrate a feeling, like fear, joy, or unbearable itchiness. Instead of searching for the emotions themselves, try thinking of what would invoke that feeling, whether it’s extreme heights, tasty pastries, or wool sweaters.

Understanding Creative Commons Image Licensing

Each background image you use from the image search feature in Haiku Deck has its Creative Commons license information automatically stored on each slide, so that the photographers get proper credit for their work - and also so that you can use these images legally. You can view this information by clicking the (CC) logo in the top left corner of a slide from your deck’s player page (not from the editor):


Commercial-use Images

If you tend to make decks for commercial purposes only, then you probably want to make sure you’re only using images that have been licensed for commercial use. Many of our users will upload their own custom images or subscribe to services like Shutterstock or Getty Images. When attribution is required for a custom image, please use the notes field and include https:// before the link address to link back to the source. 

Turning the Text Background On/Off

Your Text Background is a way to help your words stand apart from your background without obstructing it completely. 


You can toggle this setting with the "TEXT BACKGROUND" checkbox on the web, and with the Text Screen toggle on the iPad. Text background toggle in the web app is shown below. On iPad, the text background switch is below the image preview window. 



To see these features in action, check out our tutorial video: 

Avoiding Copyright Violations

If you're concerned about using images and inadvertently violating copyright laws, here are a few tips:

  • Our free image search features Creative Commons-Licensed photos, and once you've used an image found in our search, you're allowed to continue using it in your deck - even if the owner of the photograph changes the image's license. For more info, check out this article.
  • Do not use image search results from search engines like Google in your presentation. If you do a search for something on a search engine like Google, and save an image from the search results, then use it in a presentation, you may very well be infringing upon that image's copyrights. 
  • Do not use someone else's work without getting their permission. If you have friends, family, colleagues, etc. with content you'd like to use, whether it's on a site like Flickr or in an email they sent you, make sure it's okay with them for you to use it.
  • If you want to use logos, check to see if the owner of those logos has a place on their website dedicated to providing logo files and terms and conditions for logo use. One example is Twitter's Brand Assets and Guidelines page.

More Resources

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