May 1 2018
If you’re reading this, you’re probably sick of smoke stacks, polar bears, and ice caps, and looking for a more diverse range of imagery to communicate your climate message. You have definitely come to the right place.
Climate Visuals is the world’s first evidence-based image library, a resource for communicators, campaigners, educators and journalists to find images and get inspiration for their work. Based on international research with more than 3000 people, the library has over 600 images, and is growing by the month. Each image has been carefully selected to illustrate the seven principles for more effective visual communication that emerged from our research, and which form the basis of the Climate Visuals approach.
Because there’s nothing else quite like Climate Visuals, here’s a guide to using the website - if you have any other questions (or you’d like to tell us how you’re using the resource in your work) please get in touch.
How do I find the right images for me?
The Climate Visuals library is divided into a series of ‘galleries’ (containing images of climate impacts, climate causes, and climate solutions). You can also browse images by the ‘collection’ they are in (for example, looking only at images that come from our partnership with Aurora Photos). Or, simply type a description in the search bar - our images are tagged by location, and the content of the image.
How do I download the images?
Every photo in our library has a clickable button that takes you to the original image, where you can download it. In all cases, Climate Visuals acts a a ‘shop window’ allowing you to find compelling climate imagery: we don’t ‘host’ the images, so you don’t download them from us directly. We’re not a photo agency, and we don’t own the rights to the images we showcase.
I’m a little unsure about rights, licenses, and copyright...
It can be a bit confusing - there are lots of different licenses. But really it comes down to a simple question: can you use the image for free or do you need to pay to use it? For every single one of our images, when you click through to the original, you will see an explanation of the type of license it operates under. If you can use it for free, you will be able to instantly download it. If you can’t do this, there are licensing restrictions on usage, and usually you will need to pay something for using the image. An amount is often listed next to the image for different types of usage or you will need to contact the agency directly. If you have any problems with this please send us an email and we will connect you with the right person to license that image.
Why aren’t all the images free?
Our library contains a mixture of ‘creative commons’ and rights-managed images - so some are free to use. However, we have not made every image in our library creative commons, and that’s for several reasons:
- The quality of creative commons images varies enormously. We want to provide high quality images that match the Climate Visuals research - these won’t always be creative commons images.
- We want to catalyse a new visual language for climate change - this means supporting the photographers and photo agencies that are capturing and promoting more diverse, human-centred climate imagery. We are proud of the partnerships we have developed with a range of photo agencies and are glad we can provide a ‘shop window’ for their climate imagery that fits with the Climate Visuals approach.
We recognise that many small campaign groups, individuals, or community organisations will not have much (or any) budget for imagery. Its worth bearing in mind that prices for climate imagery are not usually set in stone: you can make an offer to a photo agency and see whether you can come to an agreement. But we would encourage you, where you can, to support great climate photography!
How do the images relate to the research - did you test every single one?
We tested dozens of images in the Climate Visuals research, but we didn’t test every single one in the library. We analysed a wide range of types of imagery, identifying seven principles for more effective communication, and using these seven principles we went looking for other (similar) images to the ones that tested well (that is - images that share key characteristics or features).
Each image is captioned to explain what it shows, but also why it's there - i.e., how it relates to the seven principles underpinning the Climate Visuals work.