It was bound to happen.
Many of my friends take pictures for a living. Good pictures; shots of cool stuff and other such things. There’s a process in all that – one the picture won’t ever show you. The meetings, interviews and the set design. Making sure everyone gets to the right place at the right time. Working with fussy clients and fussier art directors. In the end, the client hands over a bunch of money and gets a few pictures that mean something to them.
I’ve spent more nights around many a dinner table listening to long conversations about how stock photography was burning holes into commercial photographers pockets.
And now you can buy logos from the same websites. Here’s how it works:
Login. Punch in a few keywords. Sift through thousands of generic designs and find something you like. Pay for it, download the vector files and add some text to it. (You could get a designer to do this, but if you’re going down this road, chances are you’re not going to be too bothered having a system font on your business card anyway.) And that’s it. For the price of a few happy meals, you’re done.
At first I thought the idea of stock was just about as basic as you could get. Wrong on just about every level – but (and there is a but) that’s because I’m not a stock designer. I never will be. I don’t want to design generic stuff for clients that don’t exist. And I sure as hell don’t want to do it for a few dollars. I work with other designers, illustrators and business executives to identify how a particular client should look, feel and act. I then take that information and try to articulate it in the best way I can. And that, in a nutshell is what I do.
But think about this. Not everyone wants that. Some people just want to make pretty pictures – and other just want something that looks okay on their business card. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You see, what I’ve realized is there’s work for all of us; the stock designers and the commissioned designers don’t play in each other’s back yards.
If you’re thinking about visiting iStockphoto to find a logo for your business, then we’ll probably never work together. If you’re willing to sift through thousands of generic and generally quite bland designs in the hope that there’s something there that that speaks volumes about your company, then good for you. I’m cool with that.
Here’s the bit I don’t get though – what drives designers into this part of the market? It’s not the creativity because by its nature, the work is generally pretty dull. It’s not the recognition and it damn sure isn’t the money (that’s for sure). So what is it? It might be a good thing that these guys are there, servicing a corner of the market that I (and most of the designers I know) wouldn’t touch, but why the hell are they there?
– Stuart Harris, Tonic Branding