Envato Elements Review (2021): Is this digital asset subscription worth it? Our Verdict

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Look, copyright is a pain to navigate. Dealing with copyright should be a job for lawyers, auditors, and government officials. Unfortunately, many content creators have to get tangled in the complicated legal mess of copyright.

Whether you’re a designer or a video maker, at some point in your career, you’ll almost certainly have to put in some effort to understand what licensing is. After you’ve more or less figured it out, you’ll have to put even more effort into finding digital assets that have proof of license.

We know you want to license your digital assets properly. It’s either that or steal other people’s things off the Internet: a big no-no, not only for moral reasons but for the fines you’ll get for violating copyright.

But it can get extremely difficult and overwhelming to keep track of licenses.

You might envy kids these days; the Creative Commons license lets them simply head over to Google and pick their favorite image, audio clip, or design template for their projects.

What if we told you that using digital assets can be just as simple for a content creator like you?

Enter Envato Elements. One subscription will give you easy access to millions of digital assets. Intrigued? Read on.

1. What is Envato Elements?

Envato Elements is a subscription service that provides you with almost every digital asset you can think of.

Videos? Yep. Audio? Got that too. Photos? Ditto. Templates? Do you want graphics, web, CMS, or WordPress?

And that’s not all! But we’ll look more closely at everything Envato Elements has later on. We’ll also be taking a more in-depth at each of its features in the following sections, but for now, here’s a quick overview to feed your curiosity:

Unlimited downloads. Simple, lifetime licensing.

2. Is Envato Elements safe and legit?

This sounds almost too good to be true. Not to worry. Envato Elements is only one part of Envato, a very well-established Australian tech company specializing in creative assets.

Additionally, it’s become a certified B Corporation. This means that Envato, according to the official B Corp website, meets “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”

That’s no easy feat!

To get B Corp-certified, a company must undergo long, rigorous assessments about its positive impact on workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

It took Envato 6 months, but its certification shows that it’s an awesome, trustworthy company that’s constantly seeking to be better for its user base.

Safe? Yes, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Legitimate? Yes. Envato Elements belongs to a company that goes above and beyond.

3. Is Envato Elements easy to use?

Envato Elements is extremely easy to use. The website is very user-friendly, and you’ll have no trouble navigating, but it’s not so simple that it’s non-functional. In fact, it has just the right amount of functions.

With the search bar at the top, you can search through all the assets or choose a category. If you’re in a category, there are even more specific filters for you to use.

Also, Envato Elements lets you save assets into Collections. No need for bookmarks to keep track of your favorite items; you can do it all through their website.

If you can use well-known sites like Amazon and Pinterest, you can use Envato Elements.

Obtaining your desired assets is easy, too: it only takes a click! Envato Elements handles all of the complicated licensing for you and leads you through the process.

This service truly is the content creator’s Google: easy, simple, fast.

4. What is included in Envato Elements?

Right now, Envato Elements has over 53 million digital assets. Your subscription will include all of them.

Their collection of assets grows every week. For perspective, Envato made a blog post in January 2020 saying they had over 190,000 audio tracks. Now, a year later, Envato Elements has 445,000+ sound effects and 65,000+ music tracks. We did the math for you: that’s a 268% increase!

So, besides those audio tracks, what exactly does Envato Elements have in terms of digital assets?

Over 1.9 million stock photos and 1.1 million stock videos.

Over 100 thousand graphic templates, 55 thousand presentation templates, 26 thousand video templates, 3,000 web templates, and 1,128 CMS templates. 2,500 WordPress items, including themes, plugins, and template kits.

Over 44 thousand graphics, including icons, backgrounds, patterns, vectors. 39 thousand 3D objects.

16 thousand fonts. 4,200 “add-ons,” like Photoshop actions and brushes.

In other words: a lot!

Actually, one of the most common complaints about Envato Elements is that it doesn’t have as many options to choose from as other digital asset providers and that the quality isn’t consistent.

But, as we said, Envato Elements is continuing to expand. Independent designers contribute to its collection, so you’ll be seeing more and more assets get added. Of course, these assets are carefully reviewed by specialists before they are made available. A few subpar items might slip through the cracks, but most of the materials are excellent.

Also, the stock photo website Twenty20 is now part of Envato Elements, giving you access to an additional 50+ million stock photos.

What’s more: with your subscription, you will also get access to Envato’s Tuts+ courses and tutorials, product markups, and infographics.

But if you want to try it out without paying, Envato Elements give more than 10 hand-selected files, including fonts, presentations, videos, and more free files every month. Also, they have additional free files with your free account.

5. How do I download from Envato Elements?

With a subscription, you’ll have millions of digital assets at your fingertips. Getting your hands on them is as easy as one, two, three.

One: click on the Download button by the asset.

Two: register the file for a project. All that means is you offer a name for whatever project you’re using the asset for.

Three: click “Download for a project.”

It doesn’t get simpler than that.

6. Envato Elements download limit

We’ve already touched on the fact that Envato Elements has unlimited downloads.

Let’s say that again: unlimited!

As long as you’re subscribed, you can download as many assets as you need for your projects.

However, if you want to use a specific asset more than once, you will need to re-register it for a second project. This is easy: Envato keeps track of all your downloads on a “My downloads” webpage, so all you need to do is go there and click “Add a license.”

Just like when you first downloaded the item, you’ll be prompted to give a name for the project you’re using the item for.

This is at no additional cost to you. You can re-register an asset as many times as you want.

If that’s the case, why do you have to re-register at all? Why can’t you just use a file as many times as you want after the first registration?

The answer has to do with Envato Elements’s license.

7. How does the Envato Elements license work?

Everything you download from Envato elements has a simple, broad commercial license.

The license works like this: each time you download an asset, you get a license for single, specified use. This is why you have to re-register the asset if you use it for a different project.

(Note that for fonts and add-ons, “single-use” means a single installation on your device. You don’t have to re-register a Photoshop brush every time you use it)

Envato Elements has a webpage with clear license terms, but you don’t need to get into the nitty-gritty unless you want to. We’ll answer the most relevant questions about the license.

We’re sure you’re wondering: what will happen to my license when my subscription expires?

The Envato Elements license is future proof, which means that even if you unsubscribe, you can still use the assets you’ve downloaded from Envato Elements.

However, those assets can only be used in the project(s) they were licensed for. You can’t use them for a new project since you would have to re-register them, and you can’t do that if you’re not subscribed.

Since you cannot use assets to create new projects after your subscription ends, you will need to uninstall fonts and add-ons.

What if you’re doing a project for a client and using an Envato Elements asset in the project?

When you give your client their final product, the client is granted a limited sublicense. The client cannot extract or reproduce the Envato Elements asset, but they are free to use the final product as needed.

There are also some common-sense rules to keep in mind.

  • Can’t resell or re-distribute the assets you download.
  • Don’t use the assets for merchandise unless you add value (your own original work or alterations) to them.
  • Can’t claim trademark rights over an asset since the Envato Elements license is non-exclusive.

When in doubt, check the terms!

Considering that: one, you can get as many licenses as you need while subscribed, two, those licenses don’t expire with your subscription, and three, all the restrictions are reasonable… Envato Elements is great for any content creator who wants an easy way to follow copyright law.

8. How much does Envato Elements cost?

The Envato Elements subscription is $33 a month. That’s a bit hefty, but if you go with the yearly billing cycle, you’ll save 50%: you’ll pay $198 a year, which is $16.50 a month.

The discounts don’t stop there! Students can get an additional 30% off, at $11.50 a month ($138 a year).

That’s still a significant amount of money, and you might be tempted to revert to old cheapskate ways: Googling “free sound effects” and scouring sketchy websites for less-than-stellar versions of what you need. But that takes time on your part, time that we’re sure you’d rather spend applying your talents and creating content!

When we’re comparing Envato Elements to other digital asset suppliers, the cost is nothing. The big thing about this subscription is unlimited downloads. People can find themselves paying $30 for a single stock photo on other websites, while $33 on Envato Elements will give you a month’s access to over 50 million authentic stock photos. You can take as many as you want in that one month!

So, unless you want to live off of free, low-quality, random files scattered around the Internet, an Envato Elements subscription is the way to go.

9. Differences between Envato Market and Envato Elements?

While Envato Elements is an “all-you-can-eat” subscription, so to speak, Envato Market is like that typical $30-for-a-stock-photo digital asset supplier that we talked about earlier.

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Their best-selling stock photos are closer to $5. So, if you only intend on using 3 stock photos every month, a pay-as-you-go system like Envato Market would be better suited for you. If you get a yearly Envato Elements subscription but don’t create content that often, you’ll be wasting $16 every month.

You need digital assets regularly? Envato Elements is the way to go. But if you’re more casual, you might want to opt for Envato Markets.

10. Is Envato Elements really worth it?

Well, would you rather…

1) Spend eons trying to figure out copyright law on your own, and then spend more eons trying to adhere to copyright law using whatever free stock you can find online,

2) Fork out a significant sum of money for a single digital asset, or

3) Have unlimited access to a huge library of digital assets, with licensing completely taken care of, so that the only thing you need to do is focus on making great content?

For us, the answer is clear. Envato Elements’s unlimited subscription and simple licensing is very much worth the monthly fee!

11. Envato Elements alternatives

Even though it’s been around for some 15 years, Envato isn’t the biggest name out there. How does it hold up against other well-known stock websites: Adobe Stock, Creative Market, Motion Elements, and Shutterstock?

Adobe Stock has arguably the most expansive collection of visual assets out there: over 200 million. It offers three different licenses (Standard, Enhanced, Extended) that are easy to understand. Instead of counting by projects, Adobe Stock counts by copies, with the Standard license allowing for up to 500,000 copies of an asset.

Adobe Stock’s subscription plans range from $79.99 per month (10 assets a month, or $2.99 per asset) to $199.99 per month (750 assets a month, or $0.26 per asset).

These monthly costs are clearly far above that of Envato Elements, yet there are limits on how many assets you can have.

If you need a lot of quality visual assets, Adobe Stocks might work for you; 26 cents an asset is pretty good, and you get to choose from a giant library. If you need audio assets or website templates, this isn’t for you; Adobe Stocks specializes in photos, videos, and graphics. In terms of general affordability and versatility, Envato Elements is clearly on top.

Creative Market is more similar to Envato Elements in that it covers a broader range of assets, from photos to web themes to add-ons, all made by talented designers.

However, Creative Market works more like Envato Markets; each asset is individually priced, and you pay as you go (or you can look into the credit plans they offer).

With 4.9 million assets and counting, you have a lot to choose from. If you find that the complaints about Envato Elements’s lesser quality and slimmer pickings are true, Creative Market is a good alternative—but you lose out on the unlimited downloads.

MotionElements might be the biggest competitor because it also offers an unlimited subscription… for the exact same price as Envato Elements. With a free account, you can choose 5 downloads a week from a large array of assets (Envato Elements gives you 12 select downloads a month).

But MotionElements is aimed at video creators. It has over 3 million assets, but that’s primarily visual and audio material. So, if you make videos, this is the best alternative to Envato Elements, but otherwise, this site may not be for you.

Finally, let’s look at the famed Shutterstock, whose watermark you see on every other picture on the Internet. In fact, it has over 94 million images; almost double what Envato Elements offers. Also available are vectors, illustrations, videos, and music. Like MotionElements, Shutterstock doesn’t offer as many categories as Envato Elements.

A year-long Shutterstock subscription ranges from $29 a month for 10 images to $199 a month for 750 images. If you pay it upfront, you can get 2 months free… but that’s still $1999 a year for 750 images, which ten times Envato Elements’s $198!

If you really need a huge collection to choose from, Shutterstock is a solid choice for your stock photos, but it’s wildly expensive.

None of these competitors have both the variety and affordability of Envato Elements.

Conclusion

For any creator who needs digital assets, subscribing to Envato Elements is a good choice. Only $16 a month gets you full access to its library of 53+ million items in all sorts of categories. Unlike Envato’s other service, Envato Market, Envato Elements gives you unlimited downloads, giving you the biggest bang for your buck! As a bonus, the site is extremely easy to navigate.

And, of course, let’s not forget that you get simple licensing with clear, reasonable terms from a reputable company. Good-bye, confusing copyright! Envato Elements has you covered.

Even though it might not be the most comprehensive collection of digital assets out there (yet!), it’s certainly up there in the sheer volume of items it offers. Envato Elements is the place to be for any content creator who needs a lot of affordable, easily accessible material to work with.

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