Getting Your File Approved on GraphicRiver – Part 2

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Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.

We’re excited to bring you Part Two of our tips and tricks for authors to Getting Your File Approved! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part One, where we covered common technical problems and rejections. This week, we’ll be looking at design and licensing issues! These tips come right from the hard-working team members who review your files, written by the fantastic bgm, Ben Gibbin. Lets pick up where we left off!

This post originally appeared on the GraphicRiver blog in 2009. Most of Ben’s points are still applicable today.


If you feel that a file your uploading to the site isn’t your best work, then consider improving it before doing so. You can ask your friends and colleagues for opinions on the file. Always make sure your files are typographically sound. That means that the layout and the way the text relates to itself is aesthetically pleasing and carried out with a understanding of typography.

The overall design of the file should also be aesthetically pleasing and well carried out. If the file isn’t up to GraphicRiver standards, reviewers will typically provide comments on areas they believe need improvement, as time allows.

Licensing Confusion

Be very careful with any assets you include in your file. One of the biggest non-design reasons for rejection is licensing of assets! To play it safe, you can use the assets from the Envato Asset Library in your items, and check out the Envato wiki page on assets.

Tip: If your creating a file with any sort of web screenshot, don’t include screenshots any Envato site in the final download. Rather, just use a placeholder image. You can, however, use screenshots of an Envato network site in your preview images.

If your in doubt of whether or not you can use a file, email the original creator, and seek their permission. You can include this info in the Notes to Reviewer box. The Notes to the Reviewer area is one of the most important things to fill in when submitting! Provide as much information as you can on your file and how it was made.

Tip: If you’ve had previous correspondence about a file–for example, a soft rejection–please paste in any information you can in the Notes to Reviewers so we know what has already been discussed!

Finally, be sure to check out the Envato wiki page all about licensing and assets which will help you considerably on the matter.

Copyright & brand names

Creating mock-ups of well-known products is fun, but unfortunately we cannot accept files that are deemed to be copies or too closely related to a copyright / trademarked product. Computers, mobile phones and other gadgets need to be generic in design – don’t ever trace or vectorize a branded product directly.

Likewise including brand names in general is a no-no. With the exception of select social media logos which are licensed for open use (Twitter is the most prominent example), trying to include logos into your file just creates problems. Even proprietary file format icons, such as the Microsoft Word file symbol or the Adobe family icons, are copyright protected.

Note: As a related policy, recognizable architecture, skylines, and art works are also covered to varying degrees under copyright law. Unfortunately, GraphicRiver can’t accept illustrations of famous works (e.g., The Statue of Liberty, or Eiffel Tower).

Held files

We thought it worth mentioning exactly what a “held file” is. Often times in the Queue, you will note your file has been held. This means a reviewer has checked the file over, but wants to clarify something with the review team. It’s a standard process so don’t worry if it is delayed a day or two. Having a held file doesn’t mean your file will always be rejected! Don’t go rushing off to the forums to tell everyone your file has been held – because its part of the service we provide to review files in an organized and as timely a manner as possible.

Researching into your file

Before you actually start making your file, research into what is actually selling, what type of items are over saturated (i.e too many similar files). Think outside the box rather than making another download button pack. You’ll be surprised at how many more sales you make with a unique and different file.

Add your own style to your work. Don’t just use default Photoshop styles or follow trends. Whatever you do, your file must reflect the work and effort you have put into it. Making a rectangle, and applying a default Photoshop gel style to it will not meet quality guidelines.

One at a time, please!

Out of respect for the community, and to keep the review queue moving, try to upload as few files at once as possible. If you have a set of 15 files, consider uploading one (or combining the 15 into 1 set if its just a color variation e.t.c) in order to garner some feedback on your file. You’ll be pretty upset if all 15 files were rejected because you had neglected the guidelines somewhere.

If everyone on the GraphicRiver site uploaded several files at once, the review team would be overwhelmed, so out of respect for the community keeping your uploads low allows us to keep on top of the queue and provided a speedy and efficient service.

And finally, if you are rejected…

Finally, if you are rejected, and you believe you have followed all the guidelines and requirements of the site, try to remain calm and read the reviewers feedback. It may be you have slipped up and missed something, or the reviewer feels your file could be tweaked to improve its scaleability.

Take into account what reviewers have said, and work on it. If you really disagree with them, then open a support ticket and explain your thoughts in a calm, professional manner. Please do not be rude or threatening. Reviewers will be glad to provide more feedback or information on a file decision if you ask nicely!

Tip: If a reviewer offers feedback, make sure you actually do it. For example, if they suggest you alter your thumbnail size or something within your file, do it before trying again! Resubmitting your file without making changes can result in a warning from Support.

We hope this guide has given you a little insight  into how we work and also how to increase the likelihood of having your item approved. We look forward to your next awesome creation!