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August 29th, 2014 :: text by

:: Thoughts on Stock… ::

When starting a project that begins with naming and progresses all that way through web design and marketing strategy – stock photography can be a part of the beginning, middle or end of the process. It is the rare solo logo design or all-artwork-provided project that we don’t go looking for a single supporting image. Occasionally – we begin looking for photography and end up looking at stock illustration or patterns because they support the brand identity and the site content even better. This pattern was a top candidate from a recent project where a science-y, space-y look suits the client’s content really well – especially in their service menu and the section of their site that details their working process.

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Patterns, illustrations or photography – always tell the story with visuals! Check out this lady… what’s her story? And do you find this good stock or bad?

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That, of course is subjective to the opinions of any designer or branding manager – I personally have a pet peeve for images of anyone feeling frustrated – not as high a level of annoyance for me as alarm clocks going off in TV commercials (seriously – it’s the worst – darn you McDonald’s!) but pretty high nonetheless. I just think, why? People have stressful lives – why should any individual’s stress be compounded by seeing someone freaking out like this poor woman – OUCH – so many crazy chalky thoughts fighting to get out of her mind!! Clearly  what she needs is a white board or a stack of post-its or maybe an eraser, stat! I jest, but really – I think this cliche of ‘show me someone stressed out because they’re using our competitor’s product/they don’t know our services exist’ is a ship that though it will never sail away – it really should. We’d all be happier and probably buy less stuff though, which no one in sales would ever want, but we think there’s another way – show what doing business with you WILL look like!

But don’t go overboard in the Disneyland deep-end. The same client we used cube patterns for actually sent us the following image and a caution to please NOT pull any stock images that look like this:

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I’m a little sad that we listened to them. Sad because this photograph is everything I want in a picture of people conducting a meeting. Everyone remembered to wear neutral colors and smile like their lives depended on it. I’m kidding of course, this is yet another cliche that I think can be avoided – direct posed smiles delivered from a ‘candid’ stance. It’s this hybrid that is hilarious… action body, perfect faces. I’m glad the client sent this because hearing from them or from you – what you DON’T want – speaks volumes and keeps us looking for what DOES move you! p.s. imagine if meetings about pie charts were really this fun.. I bet you can’t. And that’s why this stock photograph is a major fail.

Here’s one that surprised me – an image we are electing for a client that makes it easier for mobile device users to make small purchases.

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Same model as the stressed out chalkboard image – but here – her emotion is genuine. And this image – with artistry from the photographer that could make this seem ‘not perfect’ enough for a one client – but another might be captivated by it. It reads as a real slice-of-life and with the right copy – would definitely persuade me to upload a new app or browse a website on my phone. It all feels really clean, modern, real and inviting.

So a conclusion/moral of this story popped into my head as I looked at the different images here and considered all the stock images I’ve seen eeko use over the past year. It’s something Mother Theresa said when she was invited to an anti-war protest : “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”  When we search through stock tirelessly looking for what you DO DO (which might give us a few chalkboard stress lines!), the smiles will be real ones. Promise!

Bonus points given to anyone who comments a link to the funniest stock image you’ve seen – and it has to be your own find – can’t be from a Buzzfeed round-up! 



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