Envato Elements is a huge library of digital content at a surprisingly affordable cost. Subscribers get unlimited digital assets with generous commercial licenses. There are a few things to know before you purchase, so I’ll cover everything you need to know before signing up.
I’ve been using Envato Elements for my YouTube channel, blog and client projects for over two years now. Content creators, freelancers, designers or anyone promoting themselves or their business online could benefit from the service.
This Envato Elements review is an honest one. I give you the pros, the cons and what to be aware of if you’re on the fence about becoming a subscriber.
I am not sponsored by Envato Elements, but this page does include affiliate links which pay a commission (at no additional cost to you).
What Does Envato Elements Include?
The best thing about Envato Elements is the enormous library of assets available to subscribers. There are over 57 million assets on the platform and they’re thoroughly vetted for quality. Trust me, quality has not been an issue in my experience.
Here’s a quick overview of the types of content available with Envato Elements.
There are over 3,000,000 stock videos, searchable every way you can imagine. There are 94,000 with transparent alpha channels and 188,000 that loop. These are high resolution, high quality videos you can use in your creations.
There are 5.2 Million stock photos in the library. By comparison, Pixabay has about 1.4 million and EVERYONE uses them. There’s a feature that allows us to search by color to match the color scheme we are going for.
Music and Sound Effects
There are over 130,000 music tracks and 600,000 sound effects on Envato Elements. These are great, but I’m going to give you the good and the bad about Envato. Yes, you can use these sound assets for a lot of things including YouTube.
But, see below for some specifics on Content ID that can affect YouTubers.
There are 60,000 customizable video templates we can use to quickly add style, effects and more to our videos. These include: transition effects, animated text effects, logo effects, video intros and more.
When I started using Envato’s video templates on my YouTube videos, the quality shot through the roof.
The graphic templates category has more than I’ll be able to cover here. Background images, textures, icons and plenty more. The most useful may be their social media templates.
I know you can get fonts all over the internet, but Envato gives us 15,000 good ones that are easy to download and install. We may never have to use the same font twice!
Presentation Templates, WordPress Themes and Plug-ins
Create beautiful presentations in no time with customized templates ready to go in all of the main presentation software. For web designers, there are many WordPress templates, elements and themes to choose from.
Envato Elements has a large library of “3D objects.” I got really excited about these when I thought they were OBJ or FBX files for 3D programs like Blender. But, they’re not.
We can turn the 3D objects 360 degrees to get whatever angle we want. Then we take a snapshot and download as a PNG file. They can be useful for concept work and 2D Kitbashing. There are generic versions of brand products that can be useful for websites to use without violating trademarks. See this for more on how to use the 3D models from Envato.
Add-ons for Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom and More
ADD-ONS! There is an entire category of add-ons for programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom. These have become some of the most valuable tools I use from Envato Elements.
We can use thousands of Photoshop actions to make amazing effects for images in seconds. This by itself was worth the money for me!
How Much Does Envato Elements Cost?
Envato Elements is a subscription service and the amount of content we can use while subscribing is UNLIMITED! Individual plans are currently $33/month if we pay monthly. An annual plan brings this down to $16.50/month or about $200/year.
We can cancel anytime but once we stop subscribing, we are no longer licensed to use Envato downloads for NEW projects. Anything we created while we were a subscriber maintains its license forever.
Can I Try Envato Elements for Free?
Is there an Envato Elements free trial? Envato Elements no longer offers a free trial. You can set up a free account with very limited benefits.
With the free account, Envato makes twelve assets a month available to download. No, we don’t get to pick twelve things from Envato each month. That would be awesome! The twelve free Envato Elements assets are selected by Envato each month.
It might be worth trying, but this is nothing like having the enormous selection of content at our disposal with an actual subscription.
It’s very easy to cancel an Envato Elements subscription if you don’t want it any longer.
The Negatives of Envato Elements?
Since I’m not sponsored, I can give it to you straight. There are so many great things about Envato Elements… and two things I don’t love. I”ll cover those and then go into some specific licensing restrictions people often have questions about.
Envato Elements Licensing Per Download
Envato Elements issues licenses for downloaded assets on a per-project basis. So when we download an asset, we are required to register it with a project (referred to as an “end product”). It is then licensed only for that end product.
If we want to use it for another project, we are supposed to go back and register it again. Here’s a quick explanation of how to add a license to a previously downloaded Envato Elements asset.
There’s a reason for this. Envato’s assets are created by third party creators. Envato allocates payments to creators based on how many projects they are used in.
By registering for a new project, we tell Envato which creator should get paid for use of the asset. I’m all about fairly paying creators and so is Envato.
The other upside of this is we get a project-specific license to download. If using assets on a client’s project, we can provide them with the individualized license that is specific to their end product.
Any licenses obtained while subscribing are good forever (for you and your clients).
Fonts and add-ons are exceptions to this. We can download and register them one time and use them as long as we are subscribers.
Envato Elements has clarified that use of an asset in a video intro or outro for YouTube or similar content is allowed with a single license. As long as the intro/outro is an element that does not change from video to video, it can be considered a single “End Product.”
Envato Elements Music on YouTube
The second issue with Envato Elements is using some of their music on YouTube. Since music on Envato is created by third parties, it is copyrighted. As a subscriber, we have a bona fide license to use the music, including on YouTube.
The problem is YouTube doesn’t know we have this license. Much of the music (not all) on Envato Elements is registered with Content ID. Content ID tracks and scans YouTube uploads to identify registered copyright music.
The Content ID system may flag a video (this is different than a copyright strike) and notify the copyright holder. This can cause a hold to be placed on monetization which is bad for YouTube content creators.
There is an entire page on Envato Elements explaining how to handle this. We upload a copy of our music license to YouTube to clear the red flag. But, it’s possible the damage could already be done to our video’s performance.
I’m not going to sugar coat this. I make videos for YouTube and I wish there was a better system.
So, I don’t often use Envato Elements music on YouTube. When I do, I make sure to find tracks that are not registered with Content ID (Envato tells us which ones are registered before we download them).
I have used Envato Elements music on plenty of other platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. I’ve never never had an issue on these sites regardless of whether the track was registered with Content ID or not.
Not enough? See 22 more things you get with Envato Elements!
Envato Elements Licensing Questions
Since I began mentioning Envato Elements on my YouTube channel, I’ve found a lot of people have questions about specific licensing restrictions for Envato Elements. Here I will cover what I can on what Envato Elements assets can and can not be used for.
General Restrictions on Envato Elements Assets
Before getting into specific questions about Envato Elements licensing, here’s what you should know in general.
Envato Elements wants to allow its subscribers to use their assets for as much as they can. However, they need to ensure that our use of the elements doesn’t make them easily available for non-subscribers to access and use.
Many of the restrictions of the Envato Elements license are reasonable to ensure the assets (created by individual contributors) are not re-sold or distributed. One of the reasons the term “Elements” is in the name is these assets are intended to be used as elements in unique final products created by subscribers.
The intention is not that we take an asset, slap it on a product and sell it without adding our own value to it.
Here are a few of the specific areas I’ve received questions or concerns about the Envato Elements commercial license.
Envato Elements on YouTube
In a previous section, I covered the Content ID issue related to using Envato Elments music on YouTube (see above). There are other limitations with YouTube to be aware of.
Using Envato Elements assets in livestreaming (YouTube, Twitch, etc) is prohibited. These are considered broadcast uses and are not allowed. Using the elements in videos uploaded to YouTube (not livestreamed) is allowed.
Envato Elements in Logos
While using a logo template or other Envato Element asset as a part of a logo can be permitted, I recommend against it. Any item created with an Envato Element asset can not be trademarked.
It is often desirable to trademark a logo and therefore you should avoid using assets for your log or in logos for clients.
Envato Elements in On-Demand Content
Envato Elements assets may not be used in on-demand content or content that is behind a paywall. This would include platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It could also be interpreted to include content on Patreon and similar sites where content is only available to members.
Envato Elements in Indie Films
While Envato states that use of assets is allowed in Indie Films, this question comes down to how the film will be distributed. Use in films which are “Theatrically Released” is not allowed and use in on-demand content is prohibited.
If I was creating an Indie Film, I would hope it was one day successful enough to be available on an on-demand platform. I would therefore avoid using Envato Elements assets in any sort of film I hoped to distribute commercially.
Envato Elements on Physical Products
Envato Elements assets may be used on physical products where effort has been made to add significant value to the product. What is not allowed is to simply take a design from Envato Elements and put it on a physical product.
The assets can be incorporated into a larger design which is placed on a physical product.
By incorporating it into the design, you’ve added value to the end product and are not simply selling someone else’s design as your own.
More Info on Envato Elements licensing, see their licensing FAQ page.
Is Envato Elements Worth It?
I use Envato Elements every single day as a creator. The amount of content available with the single subscription has allowed me to cancel several other services. It is 100% worth it for me.
If you’re not sure, give it a try for a week using their current free trial. I bet you’ll see the value in it. If you create for a living (or a hobby) it is a solid investment.
Envato Elements Alternatives
I personally prefer Envato Elements over all of these alternatives. But, if you don’t think Envato Elements is right for you, here are some alternatives depending on what you’re looking for.
Storyblocks is a similar subscription service to Envato Elements. Their licensing process is simpler. You don’t have to re-license downloads. But it’s a bit more expensive and the amount of content seems to be less impressive.
Premium Stock Images
If you are primarily looking for premium stock images and some video, Adobe Stock has some of the highest quality images around. The basic subscription is $29/month and it generally gets you ten images.
One of the best places if you are specifically looking for music and sound effects is Epidemic Sound. They have a large library of content and integrate their licensing directly with YouTube so there’s no concern of music causing questions about copyright issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does Envato Elements cost?
An Envato Elements subscription costs $39/month when billed monthly or $16.50/month when billed annually ($198/year).
Can I cancel Envato Elements at any time?
Yes. You can cancel at any time. Your account will remain active for the remainder of the time you have paid for. Then you will lose access to the library. No refund will be issued.