Online Images and Copyright Issues

Anyone creating and building a business knows the importance of an image to sell a product or service to create brand recognition. Images are used everywhere … websites, blogs, social media, advertisements and emails are just a few. We all know that procuring images to represent a brand is hard and doesn’t come cheap. Graphic design and photography can vary significantly in price, but these services are necessary to create a polished marketing effort. So, it’s not uncommon for people to search the internet for supposedly “free” images. But just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free. Copyright laws protect all forms of artistic work.

According to the US Copyright Office, copyright is a form of intellectual property law and protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Placing a copyright on any type of work is automatic and a registration with the US Copyright Office is only necessary if a lawsuit for infringement is brought up. A copyright gives complete control and distribution to the person that created the words, photo or design. The Copyright Act grants five rights to a copyright owner, including the right to:

  1. Reproduce owned (i.e. copyrighted) work.
  2. Prepare edited alternatives of the owned work.
  3. Distribute copies of the work to the public.
  4. Perform the copyrighted work publicly.
  5. Display the copyrighted work publicly.

Finding the Right Images
The fact of the matter is that you can’t just find an image online for use in your marketing efforts to promote a business. Even sourcing images carries its own risk as explicit permission must be granted by the owner.

The most realistic solution is to create your own unique graphics and photos by hiring a graphic designer and/or photographer, but sometimes this just isn’t possible. Other options are to buy stock photos on Getty Images, iStock or ShutterStock, or leverage free stock photos from StockSnap.io, Unsplash, or Flickr. Smartphones come with pretty amazing cameras these days so that you can even take your own photos. The same goes for graphic design. If you don’t have the money to hire a designer Canva, Snappa, or Pablo provide customizable templates for everything from social media to brochures to website design. These platforms even provide a variety of free stock photos and images that can be included in marketing materials.

Although the subject of copyright laws pertaining to images seems like a black and white issue, it can be complicated! Questions? Give me a call.

Three Reasons a Professional Logo Design Will Benefit Your Business 

A logo is an easily identifiable mark of your business and should give a great first impression of a business to clients and customers. In most cases, a brand identity is built around a logo and will carry through on marketing collateral, digital presence and social media. Designing a logo should be taken very seriously and considered in the larger context of your brand identity (i.e. colors, elements and messages) and brand essence (what the brand actually stands for).

Determining the need for a logo is easy but executing the perfect logo for a business is a whole other experience. In most instances, people understand the need and really want an amazing logo but are concerned about cost and time commitment. If you search the internet for logo design results will include a myriad of websites that offer a logo for $38 … even going as low $29. Just insert the name of the business, your favorite color, and industry into a form, click a button and then choose from more 100 logos design that will perfectly match your business. People can walk away with a jpeg file in just minutes. But, can that logo do everything that you need it to do? Was it built to reflect your business identity and customized for use on all the different digital, print and social media platforms available?

Approaching a professional designer can be intimidating for fear of asking a stupid question or being worried about how much the designer will charge. As far I am concerned there are no stupid questions when it comes to my industry. You don’t need to know everything about graphic design … that’s my job, not yours. As for costs, they will vary according to different design agencies or designers but will typically range according to your needs. Most importantly, what is included in those costs is far more comprehensive and the final, customized product will serve as an asset to your marketing and digital goals.

Still not sure? See below for my top three reasons to hire a professional designer.

#1 – Designed Around a Concept and Strategy 

A logo should serve as a foundation for your brand. A professional designer will know how to use the theory of color in multiple or single colors, leverage different design elements and balance typography that circles back to the organization’s mission and business focus. The designer will also know how to incorporate subtle meanings that will set the business apart from the competition.

#2 – Different Formats and Variations 

A professional designer will have the skill to create a responsive design logo that can be used in many different platforms, including signage, advertising, marketing, digital and social media. The designer will be able to provide more than just a jpeg file, but also stacked and vertical options, reversed color, vector and png files (needed for print), and a bug (an element from the logo for profile images).

#3 – Return on Investment 

A strategic and professionally designed logo will grow with your business and stand the test of time. It will give your brand credibility and strength to become a well-recognized image of your business, which will ultimately attract new clients and retain current customers.

It’s important for businesses of all sizes to have a strong, identifiable logo that ties together a brand identity and unifies a business presence in all places it is leveraged. Working with a professional designer is a bigger investment of financial resources and time in the beginning, but in the end will serve your business well into the future.

My shameless plug … please reach out at bridget@creative-vortex.com to get started with creating a new logo or refresh the one you already have!