iStockphoto now selling stock logos
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Impending doom of graphic design or another thing to ignore?

Breaking News!!!! iStockphoto.com will soon be selling stock logos for a few hundred iStock credits a pop… with a $5 dollar bonus to boot! I thought I would share some of my initial thoughts on this with you and encourage a civil discussion on the topic. Read my thoughts and the official statement below and feel free to sound off in the comments! *UPDATE* Also check out the announcement email that was sent to istock authors.

My Thoughts

I think its interesting that my gut reaction was to be angry about iStockphoto.com selling stock logos. I wrote a post a while ago on why logos should cost more than $300 that sums up some of my feelings on cheap logo design. Logos are a particularly difficult aspect of graphic design because they require you to summarize a company with a symbol and text. Logos involve a lot of back and forth with the client. A cookie cutter solution seems totally inappropriate!!! But then I remembered that I purchased a stock photo from iStockphoto.com this morning… and thought… hmmm hypocrisy?

Graphic designers purchase stock photos ALL THE TIME. (or at least I do…) By purchasing stock photos we are doing the very thing that we get angry about to photographers. I’m not trying to make the argument that we should spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on photography and illustration. But I think we need to reconsider our gut reactions to this. Sure it makes me angry that clients would go for this, but I think its our job as designers to explain to clients the value of our services. We need to let them know how the process works and they will realize the value in custom design.

Here’s the official statement from iStockphoto:

We’re excited to announce a whole new product coming to the iStock collection. Clients will soon be able to download a unique logo to brand their business or organization right here at iStock. This is a huge opportunity not just for existing iStock contributors, but for our community of designers as well. If you’re a designer, you’ve probably created hundreds of different logos over the course of your career and we’re offering you an outlet to start selling logos to the world’s largest community of creative buyers.

If you create one of the first 10,000 approved logo designs by January 1, 2010, we’ll pay you $5 per logo and another $5 if we reach 10,000 approved logos by that date. So fire up Illustrator to create some amazing logos or dust off all those much-loved logos that never made it past the third round with a client.

Vector files – iStock logos will be downloaded as fully editable .eps files. If you’re interested in contributing, hang tight; we’re almost done the Logo Training Manual.

One-time use – iStock logos will only be sold once. After a logo is purchased it will be indicated as “sold” on the site.

File exclusivity – Unlike other files on iStockphoto, logos can only be sold once and therefore need to be exclusive to iStockphoto. Once your logo is on iStock it will remain for sale for a minimum of six months.

Pricing Because each logo will only be sold once, they have a higher price-point, ranging from 100 – 750 credits. When designers upload a file, they will set a recommended price and our inspectors will then make the final pricing decision based on that recommendation.

Royalties – iStock will pay a base royalty rate of 50% per logo design for the first 6 months. We’ll give advanced notice for the rate going forward after that.

Upload limits – There will be no limits for the first six months. Go nuts.

Fonts – If you are submitting a logo, you can only use fonts if:
– you own the copyright (in other words, you created the font yourself)
– you licensed the font with commercial rights to use the font for a logo for resale. Remember, there are many ‘free’ fonts that cannot be used in commercial applications.
The font itself will not be included in the file that the client purchases – it will only contain the vector outline. Fonts must be converted to outlines before the file is uploaded.

All-new content – Any logo submitted to iStock must not be in use or have been previously sold. It also cannot feature existing elements (including content from your iStock portfolio). These requirements allow our clients to confidently apply for a trademark on the logo purchased from iStock. Remember, your regular files are uploaded with the restriction that they cannot be used in logos and that still applies.

Read the forum thread here: http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=119471&page=1ock

Are designers in the right to be angry about this? Are logo designers being short changed? Or should we breathe a sigh of relief because cheapo clients have another place to turn to after low balling us? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!