Google images is powerful, really powerful. It can also be extremely helpful to the concept design process.
Quick tip: We call it “stock farming“.
- Download all the stock image comps you need for your next project via iStockphoto, Masterfile or any of the various stock vendor sites
- Go to Google images
- Drag and drop each of your stock files into the Google images search bar (below) and wait for the results
Several things can happen at this point:
- Google finds the exact file with the watermark
- Google finds the exact image without the watermark at higher or lower qualities than you need
- Google finds nothing because the image is too faint, abstract or unpopular
The examples below show the original watermarked image on the left and the farmed Google images on the right. In the “builder” example, multiple images were found, all larger. In other cases, like the middle example of “board members”, the search resulted in a smaller image. Finally, in the “sunrise” example, multiple sizes were found including 1024 x 768, 1600 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600.
Stock farming is especially helpful if only a portion of the image is needed because the larger, non-watermarked version will be easier to extract from than the stock comp. This process is also beneficial while working under a shortened deadline, as all designers know well, it can be difficult and time consuming to remove or work around a watermark in order to produce a high quality concept.
Google images is sometimes even better at finding visually similar images than the stock photography site hosting the original image.
So you farmed all the non-watermarked images you need, now what? Did you outsmart the system? NO!
YOU MUST PURCHASE THE IMAGE LICENSE if it makes it into the final design. *This would be a good time to mention that Peacetime Propaganda has purchased the rights to use each of the images in this demonstration.
Stock farming gives designers the ability to deliver a better quality concept without having to purchase potential design elements before they are approved by the client. Many times as designers we feel very strongly about a particular concept but presenting low quality imagery to the client may not result in the same level of enthusiasm.
Watermarks are completely necessary, and as designers we must understand copyright protection. Be ethical; always support each other’s crafts; it’s never okay to steal someone’s work. If your moral compass is a little disoriented in this area, imagine yourself being sued as the grim alternative.