Graphic Design Tips: Copyrighted Images vs. Royalty Free Images

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 09:57 AM

We’ve said it before, and will probably say it again:  Technology changes EVERTHING! This is especially true in the field of Graphic Design.  The growth of personal computers and desktop publishing software made EVERYONE an amateur graphic designer. Now, the internet has become a wealth of knowledge and resources; especially for people looking for photos. This brings us to a VERY important topic: Image Use and Copyright Law.

While most professional graphic designers already know all about this, the constant influx amateur freelance designers are often completely unaware.  Here are a few VERY important things to know.

  1. UP copyright blogGoogle is NOT “Public Access to Free Pictures!”
    Google, and other search engines, are exactly what they claim to be:  Search Engines.

    If something exists on the internet, Google WILL find it.  Unless you’re savvy enough to clearly keep your photos offline, or only available to restricted groups of people, Google will catalog and reference every image it finds.

  2. ALL photographs are owned by SOMEONE.
    ALL images are initially owned by their creator, whether it’s a photograph or digital art. The creator is the person who must give permission to use the image.  There are exceptions, of course, like those cases where a company or organization has hired an artist or photographer. These images then become the property of those who bought the rights.

    Sometimes a photographer will sell the rights with a company that deals with “Stock Photography,” which means they make these images available for public use. Sometimes these images are available for free, but more often they will charge per use or require a subscription to their service.  Either way, this becomes a reasonably affordable AND very legal way to have access many images.

  3. “I didn’t know” and “I’ve done this before” are not valid excuses.
    Laws regarding Copyright and Image Usage Rights are just like every other law; not knowing you’re doing something wrong doesn’t make it legal.  You certainly don’t want you OR the client who paid you to create something, to suffer the consequences if your choices.

Help is on the way!

As we mentioned, there are a bunch of Stock Photography options available online. Below are just a few that we’ve used for some of our projects:

bigstockphoto.com        

photospin.com

istockphoto.com

freedigitalphotos.net

BUT… if you REALLY think Google is the best option, there’s a way to help find those images which are available to use commercially.

Step 1. Go to Google and search for what you’re looking for (for example “Cool Cars”)

Step 2. Select “Images” (just like you normally would) but this time click that little gear icon on the right, and select Advanced Searches.

Step 3. Under the Advanced Search options, find the “Usage Rights” dropdown, and select the appropriate “free to use” option.  If you need images for commercial use, like advertising or marketing, make sure you chose one of the “even commercially” choices.

Step 4. Click the Advanced Search button and you’ll still see several images, but this time they are all images that can be used with permission of their owners.  NOTE:  You may still need to credit the owner, which will be noted with you click the images you chose.

For more information about Copyright Law, Fair Use, and general Graphic Design ethics, check out this site:  ethicsingraphicdesign.org   They have a ton of resources and information to help you AND your employer or client.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, business solutions, Graphic Design Durham, Photos

Your Printing New Year’s Resolution... Is To Understand Resolution!

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Jan 03, 2012 @ 04:16 PM

DPI… PPI... dots per inch... points per inch... pixels per inch... No matter how you say it, it all comes down to one simple thing: RESOLUTION. In order to get the BEST print quality from your images, you need to know it, understand it, and never take it for granted.

First off, we need to know what resolution means. Resolution is how many dots/pixels fit into one inch. The term “dots per inch” (dpi) and “pixels per inch” (ppi) are often used interchangeably. The fewer dots or pixels per inch, the larger each one is, so low resolution images will look jaggy and chucky.  Images used for the web will be LOW RESOLUTION (referred to as “Low Res”) at about 72 – 95ppi. For digital or offset printing, we suggest that you use images between 300 – 400dpi. The higher the resolution, the sharper and crisper your printed image will be. Who wouldn't want that?

High Resolution vs Low Resolution

When dealing with images for print, here are a few simple rules to follow:

  1. Resolution and image size are directly related to each other. Enlarge an image, the resolution decreases; reduce an image, and the resolution increases. For example: a 2 x 2" image at 300 dpi (awesome) enlarged to 4 x 4" has a new resolution of 150 dpi (lame). To help you figure your enlargement/reduction resolution, check out our Resolution Calculator.
  2. Photos should be at least 300dpi at final production size in the layout.
  3. Graphics that include text should be at least 400dpi final output size (so the edges of the type remain clear.)
  4. You can always be taken away, but it can NEVER be added. True, you can shrink your image, but to get HIGH RESOLUTION images, the resolution needs to be set during the initial creation of that image. So if you’re scanning, shooting with a digital camera, or creating from scratch, what you start with is the most you’ll get.
  5. What you see is NOT what you’ll always get! Computer monitors generally have a display setting of 72 dpi. This is WAY lower than the 300-400 dpi we expect for print production. If we ever tell you that some of your images are low resolution, they may not look bad on your monitor but will likely print blurry or jagged.

Things to avoid:

Web images are predominately low resolution (72-96 dpi) GIF or JPEG files. This resolution is great for quick transmission over the internet, but not for printing. They will just look BAD, so don't do it.  Just don't!

“Upsampling” is when a low resolution image is saved to a higher resolution with no changes in dimensions. This simply adds more dots per inch (dpi), but creates blurry images, ugly blocks of color, and high contrast in images. The only way resolution can be improved is by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting. Again, don't do it.  It won't fool ANYONE!

Now you are starting to understand what "resolution" is, and you're eager to learn more!  Maybe you're curious on how to put this new found knowledge to use.  Maybe you got a really cool digital camera or snazzy smart phone for Christmas, and are ready to take amazing pictures and use them for your design projects.  Come back NEXT week to see how to set your devices to get the best resolution from your digital photos!

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, setting up your files, Adobe Photoshop, Photos, Digital camera

Easter Photos + Wide Format = Special Memories for a Lifetime

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 @ 03:45 PM

Nothing says SPRING quite the same way that the Easter holiday does.  The weather is getting warmer, the grass is getting greener, and flowers and trees begin to bloom with vivid colors.  It’s a time for reflection and renewal, breaking out of the “cabin-fever” of a cold and grey winter.  For many people, it’s a time to get together with friends and family. Some dress up in their Easter finest, with brightly colored Easter hats, Easter dresses, Easter shirts and ties.

It’s inevitable… wherever you have warmer weather, sunny skies, and friends and family together, SOMEONE is usually taking photos.  Digital cameras, which were once a high-tech luxury, are relatively common today.  Most cellphones offer built-in digital cameras that rival the standard digital cameras of just a year ago.  If social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flikr, and Tumblr are any indication, people are capturing moments more than ever.

Need ideas for which memories to capture?

Enjoy your Little Picasso or Van GoghMaking Easter crafts, like painted or dyed eggs or colorful Easter baskets, are a great what to spend quality family time.  Sometimes even prepping for this is almost as much fun as the activity itself.  It’s not every day that your kids are eagerly crowded around the table with paintbrushes and aprons so take advantage by grabbing your camera and start clicking away. Imagine the scene of wild and happy children smiling and laughing in their paint covered aprons while holding up their colorful Easter creations!

Bunnies and Puppies and Chicks, Oh My! There are only a few days out of the year that you can get away with dressing your child like a cute and cuddly animal. Enjoy this chance to see your kids dressed up and take pictures of them holding bunnies, puppies or baby chicks! Or even dress your babies or small children as bunnies and grab your camera!

To the Egg Hunt Imagine the scene of your kids and others running around lush green grass surrounded by newly blooming flowers, while toting decorated baskets filled with brightly painted eggs.  There is nothing more precious than the looks of concentration or pure joy a child’s face while he or she looks for and ultimately finds these fun little Easter treasures.   All the while, you should be busy snapping away with your digital camera!

Family ties are ties that bindAs typical families get spread further apart, holidays are the few times a year when the whole family might get together. Take advantage of these opportunities to capture your family and you’ll be amazed at how fast the children grow and how special it is when you span generations!

Universal Printing Wide Format | Easter Poster Ideas

So I have AWESOME pictures… Now what?

Now that you have captured great moments and wonderful memories, your snapshots are PERFECT for Wide Format.  Instead of just posting to an online album, or sticking them into a scrapbook or photo album, try THESE creative ideas to display them as colorful art in your home.

  • Think BIG and instead of a simple 4"x 6" picture, make a 24"x36" poster suitable for mounting or framing.

  • Turn your snapshot into art by having it printed on canvas material.  Photoshop effects can even give it a hand-painted or chalk-pastel look. 

  • Consider using a special backlit material to create an even more unique display piece for your home. There are several affordable backlit frames available online, or you can even DIY.

  • Cover all or part of a wall using a removable wall cling.  It’s a great way to change make family memories larger than life, and you can change it out seasonally.

If you would like to discuss any of these or other options, you’re always welcome to contact any member of our helpful Sales or Customer Service Representatives or a member of our award-winning Graphic Design team. They are always more than happy to help you find creative ways to use Wide Format Printing.

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: tips and tricks, commercial printing, digital printing, Photos, Digital camera, poster printing, wide format printing, Posters