I'm a developer trying to strengthen my design skills. The problem lies with my expertise being in code versus design. So my question is, when creating a theme to sell, and the focus is the functionality and features of the theme - are the graphics in a theme (whether it's Tumblr/WordPress etc.) all created by the person who made the theme?

Or can I use stock images/free graphics for themes that I build and then sell?

Thanks for any help in advance.

  • 3
    Yes, I'm sure some do, but I'm also sure that some don't. I think there is more value in the question of whether or not you can/should when building your own themes to distribute
    – JohnB
    May 9, 2014 at 0:47
  • 1
    Do you mind if I alter your question a bit? I think this is a good underlying topic here, but I don't want to butcher your post :)
    – JohnB
    May 9, 2014 at 1:02
  • No problem, go ahead and edit. As far as whether I can, I can but I understand graphic design is it's own beast to conquer and takes time to get a site to look good as well as make it functional. So to save time, I'd prefer if I didn't have to create every graphic from scratch myself.
    – RachieVee
    May 9, 2014 at 23:10

2 Answers 2


As most of my site designs don't rely on graphics that much, I mostly do those myself. However when more sophisitcated artwork is needed I usually work together with a designer. I think it's always a good idea for developers to have some basic understanding for design. For stock images, make sure to always check the licenses of the artwork you want to purchaes / resell. Some allow it, some don't.

  • Yeah that's normally how I do this at work, the developers receive designs and we build the site based on a design. But now that I'm venturing on more personal work, it's not a matter of receiving designs from an established source - it's a matter of finding them, either online or through some sort of networking. I'll definitely pay attention to licenses when I grab graphics then.
    – RachieVee
    May 9, 2014 at 23:12

The legal answer is: it depend on the usage licenses of the artwork you are using. Odds are few licenses will allow you to resell the work.

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