Shade, an Influencer marketing and talent casting agency for culture-conscious brands created Nappy.co to fill the diversity gap in many popular stock photography sites like Unsplash and Pexels. For readers not of African descent, Nappy is a word used to refer to the texture of black people’s hair.
The search for stock photos of black people
I’ve always had an issue finding stock photos of black people to use in my projects. As a Jamaican graphic designer and web developer, a majority of my clients tend to come from the Caribbean. My clients don’t want to see Sally holding a cup of coffee in Starbucks or Chad working on his computer. Especially when their customers are black and brown people. They want to see people that look like them and their customers.
Sure, it would be easier (a lot easier) to hire a photographer, but most times, they don’t have the money. So, I’m stuck scouring the internet for hours for pictures of black people. If I get lucky and find a good one, it’s either too stylised or locked behind a commercial license.
I don’t remember how I found Nappy but I’m glad I did. I’ve been using the website for a few months now to find high-quality stock photos of black people to use in my projects and I’ve yet to be disappointed in the quality. Whatever the subject, Nappy usually has a suitable photo for it.
An easy to use interface
The homepage is straightforward with a Pinterest style grid of featured photos that you can click on to zoom in. On the photo page, you will see the photographer’s information and of course, the download button. The developers were also sweet enough to add a previous and next button to navigate through the zoomed-in images.
Similar to Unsplash or Pexels, the search features uses a ombination of Metadata and tags to show photos that match the keyword.
Filter images with just a click
Don’t want to use the search feature? Use their most popular categories section to find a beautiful stock image with just a click and two scrolls.
A diverse and supportive community
Nappy’s photos are all submitted by their community, and they don’t require any attribution, but it is strongly encouraged. If you want to contribute to Nappy’s push for diversity, submit some photos of your own to community.
Nappy’s images are entirely free to use in personal and commercial projects but don’t take my word for it, here’s what they say:
All photos posted on nappy are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license so feel free to do your thing. That means you can download these photos, modify them, share them, distribute them, or use them for whatever you want for free. In fact, we encourage it. The more you use them, the more we’re helping improve the representation of black and brown people in media.Nappy.co license agreement
To summarise, Nappy is an amazing website that helps black creators and brands to have more diverse and inclusive stock photos on the internet. All the images are entirely free and they seek no attribution or money for the work they’ve done. I applaud this move and I recommend Nappy.co to not only Jamaican graphic designers and web developers but also anyone who is designing a product for a predominantly black or brown community. You can learn more about their mission here and you can follow them on Instagram @shademgmt.