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Frequently Asked Questions About

Over the years we have fielded many questions about clip art graphic files. Here are the questions we hear most often. If you still have questions after reviewing this page, send us an e-mail

FAQ Categories (loosely assigned!)

Copyright Issues

What is...?


Requests and Delivery


Can I use the library symbol without restriction?
Yes. The international library symbol or American Library Association (ALA) Library Symbol is not restricted and may be used freely in signage, promotion materials, web sites and wherever a library wants to display the highly recognized symbol. As a service to the library community we offer a collection of symbols which we have colored and saved as GIFs. These files may be downloaded/copied to your computer by dragging them to your desktop or performing a "file save".

Will other people be using the clip art I receive?
Yes. You do not have exclusive rights to the image. The reason why clip art graphics are less expensive than commissioned illustrations is because the expense of creating the graphic is spread among a large number of customers. If you want an original graphic which is not used by anyone else you can commission one of our illustrators to develop images for your exclusive use. In fact we have created collections of clip art images for libraries and library networks, to be used only by them.

Can I use a clip art image for a library logo?
Sure. Just realize that other libraries may be using the same image for their purposes and it cannot be trademarked. If you want to use one of our graphics for a logo, you might want to have our illustrators customize it for you so the image will be unique.

What are the copyright restrictions for using graphics?
Copyright restrictions and the license agreement are outlined on the Usage Guidelines pages.


What is...?

What are the address and phone numbers for, c/o Chris Olson & Associates, 857 Twin Harbor Drive, Arnold, MD 21012 USA. Phone: 410/647-6708, fax: 410/647-0415, e-mail: Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9AM - 4PM. Sister web sites:

What is a thumbnail?
In a thumbnail, also referred to as a comp or compositing image is a low-resolution, watermarked file that you can use to try out in your draft materials.

What is a watermark and a digital watermark?
A watermark is the pink lettering you see typed over an image. All the thumbnail and larger detail images used to display search results have "" on the image. The graphic files you receive will NOT have a visible watermark on them. A digital watermark is embedded electronically in the graphic file. You can't see it, but it's there. Digital watermarks allow us to track the use of our graphics across the web.

What is clip art?
Not all designers are skilled illustrators and yet they frequently use illustrations in the materials they create. Back in the days when artwork was created on art boards with graphics and type pasted in place, subscriptions to commercially available artwork was printed on glossy paper. Graphic designers would flip through catalogs of illustrations, locate the graphic they wanted, and then take scissors to cut out the image and paste it into the final layout on the art board. Hence the concept of "clip art." Today clip art is electronic and instead of scissors, graphic designers use the copy and paste features of their favorite software program to add commercially available illustrations to their layouts.

What is Olson's Library Clip Art?
In 1991, Chris Olson began publishing collections of library clip art under the name of Olson's Library Clip Art. Originally the artwork was published as softcover books printed in black and white on glossy paper. Beginning in 1993 artwork was published as EPS files on 3.5 inch computer diskettes. Olson's Library Clip Art consists of four volumes of graphics all devoted to library-related topics. The graphics from these four volumes, plus the clip art images from our newsletter Marketing Treasures and our newsletter editor service called Assistant Editor, form the foundation for the image database. The original graphics in Olson's Library Clip Art are available now on CD.



How can I have an image modified to my specific needs?
Our illustrators will be happy to modify a clip art image to match your specific requirements. Contact Chris Olson and she'll discuss your requirements with you and provide a cost estimate.

How do I use the clip art I've just received?
You can not open, modify, or print EPS or TIF graphic files without using a software program. Each software program has a different interface and set of actions for working with a clip art graphic file. Illustrations programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, MacroMedia Freehand and CorelDRAW! gives users the tools to color, scale, rotate, and otherwise modify EPS and TIF files. Layout programs such as Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXpress, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint allow limited modification of TIF and EPS files, and are used to position, scale, and produce the final materials using the clip art graphic. Please refer to your software user guide for details on how it works with EPS or TIF files.

Do you have any animated clip art?
At the current time we do not offer animated gifs.

Do the GIFs have transparent backgrounds?
Most of our GIFs have transparent backgrounds. However, there are a few where it was impossible to create a transparency and still have the image look good. If having a transparent background is important, contact our office and we'll check it out for you.

What size and resolution are the graphics?
The maximum width or height of any graphic is 260 pixels or 3.5". The GIFs and TIFs are saved at 72dpi resolution. The EPS files are high resolution and scalable to any size.

Why do all the images have pink lettering across them?
All our thumbnails and detailed image GIFs have in pink printed across the image. This identifies the graphic as being from this web site. The files you receive will NOT have a visual watermark on them.

How can I have an image modified to my specific needs?
Our graphic artists are available to customize images. We will be happy to review your requirements and supply a price quote. Just let us know what you need.

How can I adjust the GIF image I just purchased?
You should always use GIFs in your web pages that are the correct size. Never rely on the HTML code to resize images because they can appear distorted on the screen. There are a number of software programs capable of adjusting GIF files to the size that you need. GIFWorks is a FREE online image editor that is easy to use. It can rescale the image, change colors and optimize files.


Ordering and Delivery

How will the image I requested be delivered to me?
Within a couple of days of receiving your request we will send you an e-mail message with an attachment. The attached file will be a compressed ZIP (PC) or StuffIt (MAC) file containing the image files you requested.

I live outside of the United States. Can I purchase and use your clip art CD?
Yes. Orders paid by check need to be written in US dollars and drawn on a US bank or a bank with an affiliation with the US Currency Clearinghouse.


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Copyright 2001 - 2007. Chris Olson & Associates. All Rights Reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form. See Usage Guidelines for details.

Updated 1/20/05