Illustrations: Government

Illustrations: Government

Ikon Images

A new monarch and a new Prime Minister for the UK, upcoming elections in the US, Italy and Brazil, and the somewhat unexpected rise of the right in Sweden: the potential for change in governments this autumn is huge.

And they’ll have their work cut out for them as they deal with the day-to-day running of the state as well as big issues such as the cost of living crunch, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the climate crisis. There will be few among us who won’t have something to say about government or politics now and in the coming months.

At Ikon, our library of hand-picked illustrations has the images you need, whatever aspect of public life you’re covering. Below, we explore some of the themes in this wide-reaching topic alongside some of our favourite images on the subject.

Elections and Democrary Images

Mute button on protest

Politicians and voters alike will be gearing up for a number of elections this autumn. Of particular note are the US midterm elections this November, which sees all seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs along with several in the Senate, both of which currently have a narrow Democratic majority.

In the UK, it’s party conference season and we’ll be finding out more about new PM Liz Truss’ vision for the country. The future of Scotland will also be under question as the Supreme Court hears the case for another referendum on Scottish independence following Brexit and, now, the death of Queen Elizabeth II raising questions there about both the monarchy and devolution.

But democracy isn’t just about voting; the right to free speech, dissent and protest are also important features. It’s worth noting, however, that according to some measures, a bit less than half of the world’s population have full access to these freedoms and even those that do do not always enjoy governments free from corruption.

The polls are in: Ikon is the clear winner when it comes to finding the best conceptual illustrations for your coverage of democracy in action. The fast paced nature of this topic lends itself to editorial work or blogs but our images will work equally well on educational resources, book covers, or even political materials themselves.

Undecided voter and ballot paper Politician at podium with fingers crossed Politician using look-alike ventriloquist dummy to make speech

Public Sector Images

Big hand letting public buildings fall on city

Once the politicians are elected, then comes the tricky business of running a country. While a race may hinge on a few hot-button topics, the true scope of the public sector is vast and touches many aspects of our daily lives. In most countries, it includes infrastructure such as roads, public transport, planning, and building regulations, while some have nationalised water, telecoms and electricity supplies as well. Other services include education and schools, social services, defence, emergency services, and public health - sometimes hospitals and healthcare, too.

However, the public sector is currently facing a number of challenges caused by the rising cost of living and COVID-19. Countries around the world, including the UK, US and several European countries, face strikes over pay and inflation. At the same time, the impact of the pandemic continues to affect public services, with health services in Europe, including the NHS in England, struggling to deal with backlogs and meet staffing demands, whilst global educators meet in New York this month to discuss the growing educational inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic.

Our collection of eye-catching illustrations will cover all aspects of the public sector, whether you’re from a news outlet informing the public or a trade publication sharing the latest developments with your industry.

Group of healthcare key workers Firefighter model assembly kit

Law and Order Images

Women's prison

Recent years have seen the way we look at law and order change, particularly as injustices have been exposed throughout the system. A number of high-profile deaths at the hands of police in the US and the UK disproportionately affecting Black citizens have brought policing practises under question, sparking protests demanding reform and even abolition of policing as we know it. Similar concerns exist about prisons - particularly in the US which has the highest incarceration rate in the world - where Black Americans are overrepresented and receive lengthier sentences. But crime continues to be a concern, with rising rates in some areas of the US and recorded crime at a 20-year high in the UK at a time when the courts system is struggling to cope.

Meanwhile, in the US, public confidence in the Supreme Court is falling after it overturned Roe v Wade, which protected abortion rights. There are also concerns the court will use its conservaitve majority to overturn other rights-based precedents, including same-sex marriage and access to contraception.

The discussion is sure to continue about how best to enforce the law and administer justice for all. Let Ikon’s images help you capture the emotive and evocative nature of this challenging subject.

Unfair Lady Justice holding down scale pan Light shining on man in prison cell Empty stocks splattered with eggs, fruit and vegetables

Economy Images

Apprehensive Russian piggy bank

“It’s the economy, stupid.” Coined by the Clinton campaign in 1992, it’s as relevant today as it was 30 years ago as governments around the world face a wave of economic pressures, whilst continuing to provide our vital public services. In a previous blog, we looked at personal finance at a time when record levels of inflation see the cost of living drastically increasing in both the UK and the US. Now, there are fears both countries may be headed towards a recession. The Eurozone faces similar challenges with economies such as Germany showing signs of GDP contraction. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades, which in theory is good news, but the labour shortages could actually make inflation worse. And, after years of steady growth, investors will be keeping a close eye on the stock markets to see whether the recent downward trend continues.

Caution signs International business people in heavy storm Man rowing boat in stormy ocean to rescue currency symbols

Economic Policy Images

Money dangling on hooks above United States Congress

Policymakers are introducing a number of measures to deal with the current economic situation, though not everyone always agrees about what these should be. On the monetary policy front, the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Scandinavian central banks look set to increase interest rates to tackle inflation. In fiscal policy, UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will be announcing a mini-budget, which looks set to include tax cuts to national insurance, business rates and VAT, along with government borrowing to combat rising energy prices.

Businessman taking his share of pie chart tree Hands holding moneybags Big hand letting public buildings fall on city

Trade Images

People cutting links around the world

In today’s globalised world, trade - and the way governments deal with it - fits into all of this. The effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy and food prices this year, the impact of exchange rate changes such as the pound’s 37-year low against the dollar, and the UK’s ability to make its own international trade agreements post-Brexit are just some examples of the way one country’s economy is affected by trade. Supply chains can be subject to external pressures, too, with the movement of cargo tested in upcoming strikes at two major UK shipping ports and concerns over freight transport following labour disputes with US train workers.

Food labels with country of origin Assembling a house of cards with international flags Financial data on abstract cityscape

Is the market bull or bear? Is fiscal or monetary policy best? Answering questions about the economy can be tricky. Fortunately, getting the right images about this important subject isn’t. Designers and picture buyers will find Ikon’s collection of images on the economy are suited to all kinds of print and digital media for editorial and corporate purposes alike.

Hands donating money into world money box Crane moving cargo container on ship Collage with globe, businessmen shaking hands and city development
Republican elephant on top of crumbling Capitol Building Hands forming house to protect refugee family Features of sad face on group of flags
Stars and Stripes bowling ball about to hit foreign nine-pins Business people leaving United Kingdom and going to the European Union Crane moving cargo container on ship

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