Okay, I've got a gripe for the design community. I guess it's also a gripe at myself, because I have been just as guilty as the rest of you. What praytell do I simultaneously love and hate so much that it requires me to write a pointless blog about? Well let me tell you.. You see you know you're getting really lazy as a designer when, every time you have a new job request or a new concept to draft up, your first reaction is to go to istockphoto.com. Yep that's right, I'm going for a full on attack here. It's a two-fold problem
though, and I can't point the finger at any ONE group so...
Fold 1: Designers purchasing from istockphoto
(Full disclosure: I fall into this category) I have definitely gotten better about it lately, but it is really easy to get into the habit of making that your first resource to fuel any project you work on. Here's the deal if you care about doing good design, don't rely on someone else to do it for you. I am tired of seeing lazy designs being churned out consisting of recycled vector ornaments, and generic corporate office photos. Designs that have no concept behind them.
Fold 2: Designers contributing to istockphoto
First off I am a designer and I have no problems with people selling their work, more power to you if you can make a living off of it (I don't really know how much you can make off istock, but whatever). Some designers and photographers out there just seem to be submitting work just to make a quick buck. Not all of course, but some. I mean how many fricking different variations of an email icon do you need?! If you type in "web icon" there are about 50,000 results. Well you only need to look at the first page, because the rest are just duplicates in every shade imaginable. Guess what? We have photoshop and illustrator and can change the color ourselves!
I realize that stock photography and graphics are very valuable, I do not want them to go away. I don't really know how else I would get a photo of elderly couple eating ice cream on a cruise ship, wearing matching pantsuits, I also think that istock can be a good place to get an idea, that maybe you wouldn't have come up with on your own, and I should mention I have seen some really great designs that make really creative use of stock photos, textures and the like. But this goes for both Folds 1 and 2: let's just put some more effort into this whole thing. When you just get lazy and slap a crappy stock photo or vector image into your design without thinking about it, you are only hurting yourself. You are devaluing your design ability.
If you want to be more successful, be more creative, and make more money, slow down. Instead of feeling like you have to grab some quick images from a stock source, sit down and think the concept through, sketch it out, and make the design 100% yours. Make it something the client can't get anywhere else.
And when you need that elderly couple in pantsuits... go to istock.