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Welcome to Photosymbols - our online photo library and essential tool for people who produce easy read information.

For over 20 years we have been making our unique style of pictures and they are more popular now than ever.

People love the bright colours and positive images of disability.

If you are already a member please log in using the red button in the top left corner.

If you need support click on the blue button in the bottom right corner.

To find out more please read on.

What is easy read?

Easy read is an accessible information format for people with a learning disability, using pictures alongside simple text to make things easier to understand.

Services are required by law to provide easy read information if requested. Many don't know where to start.

We all use so much jargon without even thinking. Writing uncomplicated text takes a bit of practice. But with time most people can refine these skills and become better writers.

Photosymbols is designed to be a toolkit that helps bring everything together - your writing and our pictures and templates.

Picture of a woman waving

Our library is full of pictures about all kinds of topics designed to help communicate ideas.

A subscription gives you or your organisation permission to use these pictures in your own easy read designs.

Our pictures feature actors with a learning disability which we think is really important. People reading easy read should see people very much like themselves in any pictures in the information.

Each month we add new pictures to the library including requests from our members. This helps keep the picture library up to date.

How it works

We offer an individual subscription for one named person and subscriptions for different size teams and organisations. There is also a subscription for designers which includes commercial use permission (selling things that include our pictures).

You can buy these in our online store. We are also set up to deal with Purchase Order systems, pro-forma invoices and quotations.

You may find that your organisation has already set you up with an account.

Picture of a teacher and student  using an iPad

Once your account is created you will receive an activation email. Choose a password and you are ready to log in.

Your subscription begins from when you first log in and lasts for 12 months (or longer depending on the package you order).

Now you can log in whenever you like and download pictures to use in your information.

Picture of money and a calculator with a hand pointing at the calculator

Use the pull-down menus below to calculate savings for more than a year

Prices

Prices start at £150+vat for an individual person to log in and use the picture library. We also have subscriptions for teams and organisations of all sizes - including our new Associate Membership with some unique benefits.

For the budget conscious customer there are big savings to be made with our longer subscriptions.

If you need a quote or help placing an order using a Purchase Order system we are always happy to help.

Subscriptions can also be purchased on this website in our online shop.

We accept payment by card, bank transfer cheque or Purchase Order.

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Pictures

We work with a network of groups across the UK. It's great to meet so many amazing people!

One of the bugbears that lead us to start Photosymbols was that every stock photo library we looked at featured clichéd and well groomed professional models. You know the stuff. Men in suits shaking hands across the board room table.

For us the recipe for a great photosymbol requires real people. With real stories. And we meet many as we hop around the country visiting groups in village halls, pubs and community centres.

It's very humbling and our job is to give voice to unique people and include them as part of what we call 'the world of photosymbols'. These voices are woven throughout the images and that's one reason people warm to them so much.

Picture of a self advocacy group with a banner
Picture of a woman holding up a piece of paper that says 'topics'

Topics

We try to cover a wide range of topics and themes. The photo library is aimed at people with a learning disability so it's important to reflect people's everyday lives.

It's also important to have the right pictures for people working in this sector. Health professionals. Social Care workers. Self-advocacy groups and charities. Housing organisations. Police. Courts. And many others.

  • Abuse
  • Access
  • Body
  • Choices
  • Clothes
  • Community
  • Death
  • Education
  • Family
  • Feelings
  • Food
  • Health
  • Home
  • Information
  • Law
  • Leisure
  • Meetings
  • Money
  • People
  • Places
  • Politics
  • Relationships
  • Research
  • Safety
  • Seasonal
  • Shopping
  • Social Media
  • Support
  • Technology
  • Time
  • Transport
  • Work

Grows with you

Throughout the year new pictures are added to the photo library. It's all part of the subscription.

There's a great deal of co-production where ideas kick back and forth between us and our partners in the self-advocacy movement.

This means we can be responsive to current events.

 

More and more pictures are being developed after a request from one of our members. This also works really well because what one person wants often turns out to be what many people want.

 

Picture of two friends, one in a wheelchair

There's a great deal of co-production

Picture of a man holding up a template

Text here could be a description or observation about the photo

Templates

Knowing where to start can be intimidating. That's why we also have easy read templates for you to download.

These templates are mainly single pages that can be assembled to match the layout you require. You can choose from cover pages, many inside pages with text and picture boxes, posters, invites, reports, letters and many more.

The templates are in MS PowerPoint / Apple Keynote / Google Slides format. Why? Well for now it still seems to be the most widely available software people have access to that allows fixed layouts which don't move around like they do in Word.

 

Quick Guide

Log In

Picture of cursor over Log In button

1. Start by logging in using the red button in the top left corner. Enter your email address and password.

Account Page

Picture of My Account page

2. This will take you to your Account page where you can see order details and preferences. Next click on 'Go to the photo library'.

Control Panel

Picture of the Licence Manager control panel

3. If you are a Log-in Manager you will see the control panel to add or remove users on the Account page.

Thumbnails

4. The pictures appear in a grid. Scroll down and more pictures will load. The newest additions always appear at the top.

Search

Picture of the blue search bar

5. To find a specific image type words into the search box at the top - one or two words work best rather than long phrases.

Card View

Picture showing the rollover button options

6. When you roll over pictures in the grid you will see two or three buttons appear (depending on your browser)

Download

Picture of the Download button

7. Click this button to download the image to your computer - usually the downloads folder. The file format is PNG with transparent backgrounds.

Favourites

Picture of the favourite button

8. Click the heart to add the picture to your Saved Favourites. More about this later...

Copy

Picture of the copy button

9. (*Not all browsers support this function!) 'Copy' lets you copy the picture to the clipboard ready to paste into a document.

Click

10. Click on any picture to see more information - preview, description, keywords tags and related photos.

Tags

Picture showing keywords position on the page

11. Click on any keyword tag to see a selection of matching images.

More Photos

Picture showing 'More photos' location on the page

12. More Photos shows up to 5 pictures related to the one you are looking at.

Templates

Picture of link to View Templates

13. Templates are in MS Powerpoint / Apple Keynote Format. To see them click the text below the search bar.

Themes

Picture of link to View Themes

14. You can also view a list of themes instead of searching.

Resolution

Picture showing new preferences settings

15. To set download resolution go to your account page preferences. Small for when you want tiny file sizes. Medium for general use. Some subscriptions include Large for hi-res printing.

Saved Photos

Picture showing Save Photos screen view

16. Your Saved photos can be viewed by clicking the dark blue button at the top. You can download all your saved files at once from here.  

Upload

Picture showing the location of the upload button

17. You can also upload your own pictures. They can only be seen by you OR shared with your team. This can be useful for pictures of local places, people, logos etc.

Help

Picture of a laptop showing the help guide

18. You can come back to this guide at any time by clicking the green Guide button in the top menu.

The log-in control panel gives you control over all your user accounts

Licence Manager

Team and Organisation subscriptions include a log-in control panel for you to manage users yourself. You can add, edit and delete users here.

We allocate this log-in manager role to the person placing the order which can also be allocated to any other user.

Associate Membership is a new subscription with automatic log-in management designed for the bigger organisation.

Any of your staff who create an account will be automatically linked up to your subscription - which you can also check in on whenever you like.