What is Clip Art: The Ultimate Guide

Most types of publications would not be very interesting if they consisted of only text, and the images that are included in most types of documents, websites, and printed materials are examples of clip art. These images can be included with various software programs, online, made from your own photos, or made from scratch.

What is clip art?

Clip art is a type of digital picture that is used for a variety of graphic design projects. Images that are added to Microsoft Word documents, brochures, and other materials are among the most common types of clip art that are known to most basic computer users, but the topic is much more widespread. Calendars, book covers, flyers, greeting cards, websites, and a wide variety of other print and digital materials often contain clip art, which is used in combination with the style of the text to create an overall aesthetic that fits the tone and goals of the material.

Clip art can be as basic as a black, low-resolution image of a shape or other simple object and as advanced as turning a high-quality photograph into a digital image that can be added to a wide variety of projects in ways that a JPG or other typical image file type cannot.

How to use clip art

Clip art can be used to enhance a variety of digital and printed projects to build the reader or recipient's interest in whatever you are promoting or selling. Although text conveys the majority of the information you are sharing, it does not effectively capture the interest of your recipient or target audience. In some cases, your clip art is the majority of your product, but it is typically used as a supplement to other elements of graphic design.

Many DIY projects that contain clip art originate in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, or a similar program. Adding clip art in products in the Microsoft suite is as simple as clicking on the Insert tab and searching for an online photo, picture from your computer, or predesigned clip art image that is included in the suite in the search bar that comes up. This improved version of searching for a specific image or related clip art images makes finding exactly what you are looking for and other clip art that works well with the project you are working on easier than ever.

How to make your own clip art

In addition to the clip art that is included with Microsoft Word or your graphic design software, your own photos, and images that are available online, you can use graphic design software to create your own clip art. Although a significant amount of clip art is already at your disposal, you may want to create personalized clip art that includes names, mascots, logos, and other custom information, or you may not be able to find exactly what you have in mind.

Many graphic design or photo editing programs include some way of making your own clip art. Although programs may differ slightly as far as the exact steps you will need to take to turn the picture in your mind into a piece of digital art, you will generally need to start by choosing an image of a representative figure that has a similar shape to the clip art you want to create as your base, create a semi-transparent shape to remove the original lines, and draw your own version of the shape on top of the original. You will then need to trace the image, adjust the size, scale, and color of the clip art, and save the final image.


Clip art can significantly enhance basic text to create documents and other projects that are much more interesting and appealing to the reader, recipient, or target audience. Whether you want to stick with the predesigned clip art that comes with Microsoft Word or explore your artistic side by creating your own clip art, the options you have for designing documents or custom products are limitless. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite includes options for designing clip art, as well as a wide variety of programs. Visit our website today to download your free trial and start creating custom clip art!

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