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My wife recently got a logo designed for her new business, by a professional branding company. It went through several stages of approval, getting the logo just right, however, when she went on to the next stage of the process (creating the social media pages) she was asked to find some stock images to use for the banners.

While doing so, she found her "logo" was taken exactly from an existing stock image. The only modification done was to add a little bit of color and her business name.

I don't know the proper etiquette for this situation is. Is it bad that her logo is a stock image and if so, is it too late in the process to request a change (note they claim to allow unlimited revisions but I'm not sure if that applies once we "accept" the design).

Stock Image: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-198375233/stock-vector-vector-silhouette-of-people-with-dog-on-a-white-background.html?src=yOIJwdwdTHfxKWRIUC_xWQ-1-3

Logo: Logo

  • Hey James and welcome to GD. Might you be able to provide the stock image and the logo as where as where the image comes from? It might enable us to help you more – Zach Saucier Feb 5 '16 at 21:03
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    I think it will make her business look lazy, in my mind at least. I don't know how much you paid the designer, but anything more than free would be too much for doing what they did. Maybe this is just my two cents, as well, but I'm not sure why a logo would incorporate an image in the first place, as images are raster-based and you always want a logo to be vector-based. As Zach already asked, may we see some examples? – Manly Feb 5 '16 at 21:47
  • Added the stock image and logo so you can see what they did. As you see, it looks nice but we're worried about the use of the stock image for the sillouette – James J. Regan IV Feb 5 '16 at 22:28
  • Should it? No. Can it? Sure. Now, does it happen with professional branding firms? I'm guessing yes, as there are places that will give you a logo for $50. They have to cut corners somewhere. On the other hand, if your wife paid $5,000 or so, then I'd be upset. – DA01 Feb 6 '16 at 0:20
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As others have said, it's poor practice as a designer and I would personally be very unhappy. And there may very well be legal issues.

The use of shutterstock images for a logo has been discussed here.

The image on shutterstock says:

Copyright: majivecka

This is from the shutterstock license:

YOU MAY NOT:

i. Use Visual Content other than as expressly provided by the license you purchased with respect to such Visual Content.

...

vii. Use any Visual Content (in whole or in part) as a trademark, service mark, logo, or other indication of origin, or as part thereof.

  • Yes, good catch! In this particular instance, the answer is a very clear no, you can not use that specific stock art in a logo. – DA01 Feb 6 '16 at 0:29
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TL;DR it seems they are inexperienced or unprofessional. I'd personally not feel comfortable and would cut my loss and find a more experienced designer.


Stock photos and vectors are there to make people's lives a bit easier / jobs cheaper and quicker. Pretty much most designers use stock images or vectors regularly, this week for instance I've used some icons on a flyer to save having to completely illustrate the whole design. So in general, I think stock images are great...

However, I do feel that for a job like a logo, where you are paying for a bespoke design that is supposed to be representing your brand, this is pretty lazy on their behalf. When you pay for a designer to create a logo (or any design work), you not only pay for the end product, but you pay for the creative thought process. To go through the whole design process and then just use a stock image on your brands most important asset seems very lazy or would suggest that they skipped some of the process and went straight to the end.

As a side note, as a branding agency, they should not be asking your wife to look for images for the social media pages. If they are a brand agency, they should be the experts and guiding your wife, showing her which images would get the best reaction for the type of brand she wants to portray. Otherwise what are you paying them for if not their knowledge and experience?

Do you have a right to ask for some amends?

It seems odd that a company will offer unlimited amends. While I was freelancing I would set sever check ins with clients with sign offs. At the stage of final design I would offer 1 round of amends and that was enough for 9 out of 10 clients, the clients that dos want another round would then have to pay an hourly / daily rate depending the on amount. I think this is a sign of their inexperience. If they are offering unlimited amends, then take them. I feel they have short changed you on the creative process, so take charge.

However...

Does the deliver what it needs to?

Yes it does, I can look at it quickly and even without the text I can see that it's a dog training school / academy / trainer.

Will anyone ever know it's a stock image?

It's doubtful, the average person is not going to be looking at stock sites especially searching for images related to animal training.

At the end of the day it's down to you and your wife, can you live with knowing? If the answer is no, ask for the amends or cut ties and go to a more experienced designer.

I'd personally not feel comfortable and would cut my loss and find a more experienced designer. I hope that helps.

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I think this is probably a matter of opinion. I know that I would be disappointed if I paid someone to design a logo and they used a stock vector. At the least, the designer should have told the client that they had found a stock vector they would like to use. The fact that it's a royalty-free image means there is no legal concern, but it also means that it's more likely that more people will also be using that imag. If your wife is happy with the logo, maybe it's fine, but it seems unprofessional (and I'm not the only one who thinks so: http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/01/how-not-to-design-a-logo/). Whatever she decides, I would not hire that designer again, and I wouldn't recommend them to other people--and I say that as a designer.

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