5 fun things to do with Flickr


We all love Flickr, and one of the great things about it is its extensive API is open to programmers who create new ways of interacting with the site. Here are five examples I like of using flickr in creative ways, but not directly via flickr itself.

Write words with Flickr

The Spell with Flickr site ( allows you to input text and get your words or sentence back written in pictures of letters. So for the image below I typed in 'hello flickr fans' and it came up with this:

Click the pic to open Spell with Flickr in a new window

Click the pic to open Spell with Flickr in a new window

What's nice about the site is you can click on any letter and it will replace it with another example, so you play with the aesthetic until it suits what you need. When I've used this (on the front of this slide deck for example) I've taken a print screen and chopped the words up into separate images, so I could arrange them in a way that suited me rather than as the site provides them.


Find only the outstanding images on Flickr

Lurvely ( works by choosing only pictures from Flickr's 'interesting' streams, which have been favourited by lots of other flickr users. You're left with some pretty outstanding photograpy.

Click the pic to open Lurvely in a new window

Click the pic to open Lurvely in a new window

Search Flickr by colour

I've mentioned the Multicolr Search Engine ( on this blog before - I absolutely love it. Put up to five colours into the engine and it brings back an extraordinary amount of Creative Commons pictures which match those colours. You can then move the sliders around to reduce or increase the amount of each colour in the pictures it finds. Hours of fun!

Click the pic to open the Multicolr Search Engine in a new window

Click the pic to open the Multicolr Search Engine in a new window

Use a sketch or image to find similarly constructed images on Flickr

An odd one, this; retrievr ( allows you to upload your own image - or, more intriguingly, make a sketch there and then using your mouse - and then it finds images of a similar construction. With, it must be said, varying degrees of success! I put in the lightbulb logo from this site's homepage, and here's what it found. Needless to say my favourite is the dog on the top row:

Click the pic to open Retrievr in a new window

Click the pic to open Retrievr in a new window

Make a jigsaw out of a Flickr pic

And finally... If you have a super unexciting picture or screengrab, perhaps it would be livened up by being jigsawified? Maybe..?

Click the pic to open the Jigsaw creator in a new window

Click the pic to open the Jigsaw creator in a new window

If you know of any other interesting or fun flickr tools, let me know in a comment.

(The picture in the header is a Creative Commons flickr image by Zanthia.)

A brief guide to the best sites for finding freely available images online

Reblogged from the Library Marketing Toolkit I'm currently running a 23 Things self-directed learning programme at my University. One of the Things we just covered is Creative Commons images, and the best places to find them. I have a whole bunch of useful sites I draw people's attentions to in the Presentations Skills course I run, so shared them all via the 23 Things blog - it got a lot of RTs when I tweeted about it, so as people found it so useful I thought I'd share it here. Finding good quality images is absolutely critical to pretty much all forms of marketing, after all!

Creative Commons Licences allow people to freely and legally re-use artistic works, as long as they credit the creator of those works. This can apply to any media but it's most often associated with pictures, and there are literally hundred of millions of images online of very high quality, which we can use in posters, brochures, presentations, websites, handbooks, blogposts - whatever we like, as long as we abide by the conditions of  the Creative Commons (CC) licence under which they're made available.
A CC image from Flickr, courtesy of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, no less!  Find it at 

 So where do you find these fantastic pictures?

  • Flickr Creative Commons ( - Flickr is the big online picture sharing site, and it has the largest single supply of Creative Commons images (that I know of), tens of millions of them. It has plenty of non-licenced images to - which is to say, they're subject to normal copyright so we couldn't use them ourselves - but the link about takes you to CC part. 
  • Compfight ( - Compfight searches Flickr better than Flickr searches itself. It does all the different CC licences at once, which is useful, and somehow (I have no idea how) it seems to sort the wheat from the chaff and bring back the more useful pictures. When you run a search on Compfight, click Creative Commons from the menu down the left next to the results - from then on, every image you search for you can use.
  • Wikimedia Commons ( has over 15 million CC images and, unlike pretty much all the other sources listed here, the images are categorised (by date, location, format, style etc) so you're not reliant on keyword searches to find what you need 
  • Iconfinder ( does what it sounds like it does - finds icons which are available for re-use. So not photographs like the other sites we're talking about, but small graphics and images which can be very useful in presentations. All the pictures in this University of York Library slide-deck are from Iconfinder, for example. 
  • Stock Xchange ( is the equivalent of iStock Photo except the images are free to use with attribution. It is particularly useful for finding pictures on a plain white background, for use in PPTs. 
  • Morguefile ( is similar to StockXchange, perhaps not as good (and not as comprehensive) - but the images are even licensed for commercial use, so you can use them to advertise things. 
  • Blue Mountains ( For the completists, a site called Blue Mountains does roughly what Compfight does. Try searching for a keyword but also putting BW in the search box (e.g. bw clocks) - it'll bring back very stylish black and white photos, often with a one-off splash of colour somewhere within them. 
  • TinEye MultiColor Search Lab ( is my favourite image search engine (thank you to Katie Birkwood for pointing it out to me). You can't search by keyword - instead you search by colour, up to five colours in fact... How cool is that?  It means you can find fabulous CC images that exactly match your branding! Marketing win.

5 easy ways to create fabulous slides

Presentations, eh? We pretty much all have to do them now - and we certainly all have to watch them at some time or other. So let's all make nice ones, and collectively save ourselves from death by Powerpoint.

Creating decent slide-decks is actually very straightforward. The deck above details five methods, in order of easyness:

  • The simple colours method (easiest)
  • The one background, many colours method
  • The two-tone-texture method
  • The found-flickr method
  • The augmented white slide method (trickiest) .

On a closely related note, here's a quick reminder not to break the basic rules of presenting, which Slideshare featured on their homepage a while back:

Other guides (including Prezi presentation software) available here:

Good luck creating fabulous slides!

- thewikiman