Please join us for our October meeting this Thursday! We will be discussing specifics on how to establish (or improve) your web presence. Do you have questions about setting up a website? Need to know how to optimize your SEO? Can't figure out how to make the most out of social networking sites? We'll be covering these topics and more.
The meeting will be a perfect follow-up to last week's Adobe Muse webinar. We hope to see you there!
Jennifer's "Ship's Captain" mood board created on Polyvore.com.
It's been a couple months since our meeting about creating a mood board for your ideal client. Those of you who haven't finished one (and those who just love assembling images for design inspiration), take note: Polyvore might the site for you! We like to call it mood board central.
With this latest wonder of bookmarklet social media, you can create a limitless variety of "sets" (essentially mood boards) based on fashion, interior design, beauty, art, and more. A set is built by "clipping" images you find on the web and then using the Polyvore editing tool to artfully arrange them into a collage. Once your lovingly curated set is assembled you can share it with members on the site and promote it via Facebook, Twitter, and the other usual social media outlets.
Polyvore essentially follows a model similar to Pinterest, although it describes its main purpose as "social commerce" rather than pure inspiration. Just like Pintrest, Polyvore will link found images on their site to the web pages from where they were pulled—a boon to companies with products to sell. Even if you aren't interested in this window shopping aspect of the site (and its fashion-heavy leanings), we think Polyvore is a more useful tool than Pinterest for creating smaller visual stories, like the kind we put together when thinking of our ideal clients.
Now that you have the feel of it, think about how you could apply this tool when developing your next surface pattern design collection. Use it for inspiration or even tap into its powerful social commerce functionality by mocking up products with your designs and building a branded set.
Polyvore is worth checking out, so see what is trending and follow Jennifer at J’s Pattern Garden. She is the site's latest addict!
-Jennifer & Kiera
Notes from last week’s meeting on “Using Social Media to Promote Your Artistic Business” have been posted in our members-only archive section. A huge thank you goes to discussion panelists Cindy Ann Ganaden, Tamara Holland, and Alisha Wilson for sharing your wisdom and wealth of experience. We learned so much from you creative gals — you even sparked a flurry of activity on Twitter and Facebook the following day!
Also, we would like to say a special thank you to moderator Dianne Woods of the Bay Area Licensing Artists (BALA) group for organizing the panel and leading the discussion. The SPDG looks forward to teaming up with BALA again in the near future.
The Surface Pattern Design Guild and Bay Area Licensing Artists will be co-hosting a panel discussion on the benefit of social media in growing our businesses.
When: Monday, September 17th at 7:00 pm
Where: The Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St, Berkeley
Fee: $5 (cash only, please); FREE for members of SPDG
The evening will be of interest to artists of all kinds whose objectives include licensing or selling their art. We have invited a group of social-media savvy artists to talk with us about their experiences and successes using this new platform to promote their work. Please note that this will not be a how-to or step-by-step presentation, but rather a lively discussion about how to leverage social media for our art businesses.
We love to be connected. People are attached to the internet all day long. Businesses without websites may as well be non-existent. And images have taken a leading role in selling products and services.
Fabulous! We love it!
For artists, there’s a catch. Along with ease of ability to browse images, there is an equal ease of ability to copy images, frequently without the owner’s permission, essentially undermining the artist’s livelihood. So what’s an artist to do? Not post images and be virtually invisible, or post images and risk having one’s work copied?
To this, there is no easy answer. But I’ve created a set of guidelines so that if you do post, you are putting yourself in the best possible position.
Understand that if someone wants to steal your images, they will. But by and large, most people are honest — just ignorant. For instance, a large portion of the population believes that if an image is on the internet, it is free to copy. As an artist, you know that as soon as you create an image, it is protected by copyright laws in the U.S., regardless of whether it has the © symbol and regardless of whether you have registered it with the Copyright Office. Nonetheless, a large portion of the public is unaware of this fact. BUT, when they see the © symbol, they become aware of your rights and may be deterred from copying.
Watermarked, cropped, and low-res.
Step #1: Put a watermark on all images you post. Your watermark should include the © symbol and your name at a minimum (© Sarah Schwartz). A proper copyright notice under the US copyright laws also includes a year of publication (© 2012 Sarah Schwartz). It’s also wise to put your website or other contact information in your watermark so that someone knows how to get in contact with you in the event that they are interested in your work.
Step #2: Use low resolution and cropped images whenever possible. If you’re posting images, you may be thinking that you want to post high-res full-size images to show your work in the best possible light. However, posting high-res images just makes life easier for the would-be copier. Having low res images makes it much harder to physically copy your work. Think about it: it is much easier for a copyright infringer to download a high-res image right into photoshop or illustrator, make a couple modifications and claim it as his or her own than it is to download a low-res image where one would actually have to redraw the design.
And if you can, don’t post your full-size image. Just post a cropped version showing only a portion of your image. If someone is “inspired” by your work, at least they can’t copy the whole thing.
Step #3: Apply Metadata. What is metadata? Metadata is basically information about the image that is invisible when viewing the image, but it is stored in the image file. Using metadata is a way to embed copyright and contact information into your image.
It is very easy to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Bridge to apply metadata. I like to use Bridge. In Bridge, open an image in the viewer. Under the Metadata tab, enter your contact and copyright information.
In Photoshop and Illustrator, you can do the same thing going to File>File Info and then entering information under the “Description” and IPTC tabs. Note, that you do not need to fill in every bit of information.The copyright information and a website or email for contact is the most critical. It is up to you if you want to provide additional contact information like an address or phone #. The more you provide, however, the more ways people can get in touch with you about the image or your services, and this is especially useful since over the years email addresses and other contact info change.
Now that you’ve applied your metadata, that data should travel with your image. Your metadata is readable to anyone who opens your image in image editing software (like Photoshop or Illustrator). So if someone ever finds an orphaned copy of your work (e.g., someone copied it and maybe even cropped it!), it is still traceable back to you.
But be warned. Do not rely on metadata exclusively. Some social media sites strip out the metadata information (that’s why you need to make sure you have a watermark too). Reasons for removing this data include protecting personal information (e.g., some people are sensitive to having their address and phone numbers published). Removing the data, however, may be a violation of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act).
Many photo sharing sites remove this information, including Pinterest and Facebook. For information about which sites strip metadata and which don’t, visit Controlled Vocabulary which has preliminary survey results studying which social media sites are stripping metadata. If you want to test an image to see if it includes metadata, visit Jeff Friedl’s Online Metadata Viewer - a tool to view image metadata. Directions to use this tool are also on the Controlled Vocabulary site.
Step #4: Register with the Copyright Office.
Although you do not need to register your images with the Copyright Office to have copyright protection in them, it is always a good idea to do so. First, you cannot sue someone for copyright infringement until you register. Second, there are many benefits conferred if you register early, including the ability to collect statutory damages ($750-$30,000 per infringement). Registration doesn’t prevent someone from copying your image, but it may help you feel better if you have to sue someone!
Let’s face it, even if you take all of the above steps, the unscrupulous individual is still going to copy your images. But short of burying your work in a closet, it is a risk that every artist takes for any image shown in public. But by following the above steps, you have moved yourself a long way down the path toward minimizing that risk and keeping your images traceable to you, while maintaining the visibility that is so critical in today’s connected world.
Image Attribution for "HTTP" internet image at top of post: By Rock1997 (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (image link)