Don’t Be A Whore!

Don't be a design whore.10 Tips to help designers avoid being taken advantage of.

If you’re freelancing or just starting your own design company, you may be in jeopardy of being a whore. That’s right. Some seemingly sweet client may come along, wine and dine you, bend you over the back of the couch, have their way with you – then dump you like last week’s trash without paying you. You may be getting pimped right now and don’t even realize it. If you haven’t been stiffed by a client yet – just wait five minutes.

After 11 years in business I feel like I’ve learned to spot the busters and know how to avoid them. But, I’m still learning lessons every day. Here are ten quick rules for you to live by, so hopefully YOU won’t get “turned out.” After all, nobody wants to be a design whore.

Require a deposit.1. Require a deposit. This is my “A” number-one rule for filtering out busters. People that want to rip you off don’t want to do it partially. They want to rip you off completely. Having to make a cash deposit will scare off at least 80% of the jerks that will take advantage of you. I try to get a 50% deposit on projects. But larger projects – say over $5,000 I’ll take 33% or 25%.

2. Hold their files until final payment is made. It’s a shame that we have to resort to this sort of hostage negotiation to get our payments, but we do. As long as you hold the files – you hold the power. The second you hand over your files, you’re screwed. And don’t fall for the old: “I need to get those files to the printer immediately! We have a crushing deadline!” A client that is trying to rush you is a serious red flag. Your response should be: “I also have a crushing deadline! I need your money in my bank immediately!”

3. Beware of fast-talking promoters. Most busters that are going to rip you off fall into the category of “fast talking promoters.” These guys are full of energy, talk really fast and are GREAT at getting you excited. They feed off of your emotions. They compliment you a ton. Their project (whatever it is) will surely change the world, and YOU get to be part of it. They will frequently make huge predictions, and offer you piles of cash. Of course, these piles of cash come later. Right now they just need you to start working (for free)… and everything will pan out in the end. You’ll be rich and famous. Yeah, right.

4. There are no future profits, so don’t count on them. 90% of businesses fail in the first year. In my experience it’s closer to 99%. So, keep this in mind when someone offers to pay you a portion of the profits. Odds are – there won’t be any. And even if there are some profits – what are the odds they’ll actually share them with you if they come in? I’ll tell you: slim to none.

5. Avoid projects that are TOO BIG. Huh? Avoid big projects? What do you mean? Here is the rule: beware of projects that are larger than 10% of your previous year’s total sales. So, if you sold a grand total of $100,000 worth of design services in 2008, you should be a little wary of projects over 10K. Why? Well, it’s easy to over extend yourself. If a project is too big, it may monopolize all your time. Your other regular customers may have to be put on the back burner. You may even lose them. Then what happens when the project ends? What if the client doesn’t hire you again? Of course you want to grow and land big projects. Just be sure not to get too dependent on one customer. Stay diversified. Keep your options open. Or else you’re over the barrel. Your one big client may make you his whore.

Don't let the little stuff slide.6. Don’t let the little stuff slide. One way I’ve been taken advantage of is through the rapid compiling of little changes. The client starts all nice and easy to work with. Then they ask for one little extra bit of work. They purposely avoid talking about extra pay and play down the amount of work it will take. “Oh hey – could you just throw that logo onto a t-shirt too? It will only take a second.” Of course, this is just the start of a whole series of “little” additions. Pretty soon you’re working for days on end with no pay. So, the very second they try to add some little item onto the project; stop them cold and say: “Why sure, I would love to do that for you. It will only cost you $x.xx. Would you like me to charge your Mastercard for a 50% deposit?”

7. Document everything through e-mail. When clients do make changes that deviate from the original project scope, make sure you document that very clearly in an e-mail. For instance: “Mr. Jones, as I understand it, you want me to scrap the logo you gave me and now want me to design you a new logo as part of your website design project. As we were expecting to be working with your existing logo, this additional work will cost an extra X dollars and take an extra X days to complete. We will require a deposit of X dollars to begin this additional NEW work. Please confirm with an e-mail and we will charge your credit card for this deposit. Thank you for the extra work!”
God forbid you ever end up in court – these e-mails will prove invaluable as evidence. Many companies even use a “Change Request” form. The client has to literally sign on the dotted line and fax the change order back.

8. Make sure checks clear. A check isn’t cash. So, I like to make sure that checks clears in my bank before I start work.

Get out-of-pocket expenses paid in advance.9. Get out-of-pocket expenses paid for 100% in advance. This is a HUGE one, particularly if a client is ordering printing and you’re handling those up-front costs. We got royally f*cked this way once. I was paid for my design services ($600) but paid $1200 up front for printing, which I got stiffed on. So, the net result was that I PAID THIS JERK $600 for the privilage of designing him a flyer. Now Go Media requires all “out-of-pocket” expenses get paid 100% in advance.

10. Define the project scope as clearly as possible before starting. Whether it’s in a proposal, e-mail or invoice; define the scope of the design project as clearly as possible. Describe exactly what you’re going to produce and in what time frame. Talk about the number of revisions and how the files are to be delivered. Discuss the payment details. Talk about how much extra work will cost. Talk about it all. The more details you can put down the better. Once you start – stick to the project scope.

Well, that’s it. Stick with these policies and you’ll save yourself a ton of headaches. Good luck!

Surviving Design School

survive design school

Surviving Design School

As a recent design school graduate, I don’t have a whole lot of fancy tricks up my sleeve on which to base a tutorial. However, as a recent design school graduate, I do have some advice to share on getting out alive. Whether you’re just starting or you’re in the home stretch, this should be beneficial to you. If you’re anything like I was throughout school, you’re probably juggling that with work and a social life. Maybe you have a band. Maybe you have a kid (in which case, I can’t really speak on the subject, so forget I brought it up). Maybe you’re trying to bring in some cash on the side by working freelance. Whatever your situation, design school is a job unto itself. It’s a gauntlet of X-Acto knives and Prisma markers that seemingly never lets up. And while it’s true that it prepares you for life as a designer, don’t expect life as a designer to be anywhere near the level of madness you’re enduring now. It probably feels like it’s going to last forever, and it did for me, too. I am here as living proof that it does come to an end eventually, and you will be better off for it.

Allow me to paint a picture of what my school experience was like. I started at the Virginia Marti College of Art and Design in the Spring of 2006. I was working part time, and I was putting a lot of focus on my band. We would play shows once or twice a month, and spend a lot of time promoting them. We would practice every week, and eventually we found the time to record a demo. In 2007, I took on a second job when I had to buy a new car. Pile 3-4 projects any given week on top of that, and you’re looking at a pretty hectic schedule. And yet, despite the chaos, I stand here before you today to pass on my wisdom.

art supplies

Tip #1: Get Your Supplies in Order

If you’re a new or future student, you may not realize the investment you’ll be making in your first quarter on art supplies alone. I spent somewhere between $200-300 on my first supply shopping spree. That’s okay though, that’s what financial aid is for. And trust me, generally this will be your biggest purchase while you’re in school (not including software), because most of this stuff will last.

So, what will you need? You’ll have specifics for each course, but there are a few general tools you’ll need for now and forever, so pay attention.

Get yourself a good 9×12 sketchpad. This will be one of your best friends, along with a set of drawing pencils. You’ll also likely need an 18×24 pad of bristol board. As for tracing paper, you probably don’t need to go bigger than 9×12. For larger projects, it’s probably better to use multiple sheets of tracing paper anyway.

For coloring, you’ll want sets of Prismacolor pencils and markers. And don’t hold back, either. While they make them in smaller sets, you might as well go all out and get the 48 pack of markers and the 120 set of pencils. I’ve had my pencils for five or six years now and they’re still in fine condition.

There are some other odds and ends you’ll probably want to grab: T-squares (12” and 18” should be good, though I also have a yardstick T-square), watercolors and brushes, drafting tape, Windsor & Newton bleedproof white (for correcting the inevitable mistakes you’ll make), and various erasing tools would be good for starting out. If you can, stock up on matboard and illustration board, though I would buy the stuff on a project-to-project basis. And lastly, get yourself a sturdy portfolio case and a tacklebox so you can carry all of this stuff. You’ll need it.

Got it? Let’s recap:

  • 9×12 Sketchpad
  • 18×24 Bristol Board
  • 9×12 Tracing Paper
  • Prismacolor Pencils & markers
  • T-Squares
  • Watercolors & Brushes
  • Drafting Tape
  • Various Erasers
  • Matboard
  • Portfolio Case
  • Tacklebox for Supplies

build your portfolio


Let me repeat that: YOU ARE BUILDING YOUR PORTFOLIO! With all of those assignments cluttering up your not-so-free-time, it’s going to be a challenge to make each and every one your best work. Actually, just putting that in words makes me see how laughable that idea really is. In a perfect world, you’d do perfect work all time. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from perfect, and sacrifices will need to be made.

What I’m saying is that it’s important to choose which projects you’ll be putting the most effort into and which projects you’ll have to, for the lack of a better term, half-ass. I may or may not have focused on the wrong ones when I was starting out. To me, the best way of doing things was to do the fun ones and put the more challenging or uninteresting ones on the backburner. I ended up doing a lot of work that just referenced pop culture, whatever I was into at the time. Very little of this work actually held up enough to be included in my portfolio. So, instead, I would recommend that you focus on projects that could have potential real-world applications. Stay away from copyrighted work. I did one project, a stamp book layout that was based on Mortal Kombat characters. I loved it at the time, but looking back on it, I realize I should have gone with something more universal, like flags, or cars, or something.

You can also narrow down projects by the weight they carry towards your grade. I had one class that required me to develop a fictional product, and then create the entire marketing campaign for it. This was the only project for the course, and was due at the end of a ten-week span. I should have been putting most of my energy into it, but what I ended up doing was trying to balance it evenly with the rest of my classes. The fact is, it couldn’t have been balanced evenly, because it was a huge project, and a great potential addition to my portfolio. So, in the end, did I meet the requirements? Yes. Could I have exceeded them and done something incredible with the project? Hell yes. Is it in my portfolio now? Nope.

Last, I’d recommend focusing on what you know. Say you’re pretty skilled in Photoshop, but you’re relatively new to Illustrator, and you have projects due in each program. Why not focus your time and effort into the Photoshop project? Sure, you can whip up a Photoshop project in no time and then focus on learning Illustrator as you work on that project, which is admirable. However, I’d focus on refining the Photoshop project until it’s portfolio-worthy, and just focus on the basics in Illustrator. You have the rest of your life to learn Illustrator, right? So why worry about making your first attempt at it a masterpiece?

Now, this may seem like I’m trying to teach you how to cut corners, but really, this is about finding the optimal path to success. If you know early on what potential employers will be expecting of you, it’ll be easier for you to zero in on a project that you know will wow them. Also, I’ve never been one who was too big on getting straight A’s. Once you’re out of college, the grades won’t matter, but the work you’ve done will. So you do a few projects that are C’s, but you end up with a handful of portfolio pieces in exchange. Some may disagree with this approach, but like I said, sacrifices will be made, and you’ll see that’s a recurring theme in this article.

manage your time

Tip #3: Learn how to Effectively Manage Your Time

I’m probably the last guy on Earth you should be taking time management advice from, but hear me out. Actually, I’m still trying to figure this one out. Everyone’s life follows a different schedule, so I can’t get too specific, and what you do in your own time is up to you. One thing I would do that I would advise against is brushing off a project as quick and easy. It finally dawned on me late into my second year of school that with design, there is no such thing as quick and easy. Be prepared to spend an average of ten to twenty hours on a project. Any less, and it will show. Oh, and it’s worth noting that presentation is just as important as design, so give yourself at least an hour to properly mount your projects.

Really, time management is going to be the biggest problem you’ll face while in school. There’s not a lot more I can say to prepare you other than you will be challenged. If you’re more of an organized type (though in my experience, designers are a highly unorganized bunch), perhaps you can schedule specific times when you’ll be working on your projects. All I can tell you for sure is how things went for me, and let me tell you this: no matter how hard you try to keep organized, it’s not always going to be in your hands. The printer will break, your computer will crash, your dog will eat it, whatever.

I probably averaged about three to four hours of sleep a night while I was in school. There were two separate occasions where I worked for more than twelve hours straight, right up until that point in the AM where I had to leave for class, and then spend the rest of my day at work.

So… just don’t get to comfortable with the idea of sleep. I didn’t say this would be easy. I just said you’d survive.

take it easy

Tip #4: Take it Easy

As important as it is to set aside time for your projects, it’s also just as important that you give yourself a chance to unwind. I don’t know about you, but unless I have something due in less than a day, sitting in front of my computer trying to will myself to make awesomeness happen just doesn’t cut it, especially after a long day of work, school, or both.

You hereby have my permission to chill. Need a couple hours to rest up before diving into a project? Watch a movie, play a video game, read a book, work out, take a walk, anything. Do what makes you happy. Hell, take the whole weekend off and go camping. You’ve got to treat yourself. Look at it this way: you’re going to school to do what makes you happy, so why be miserable?

On that note, one year when applying for a loan, I requested an extra $500 so I could look forward to a Florida vacation at the end of the quarter (Hey, I was already tens of thousands of dollars in debt because of my student loans, so what’s a little instant gratification?). It might seem frivolous, and again, might not be the best course of action for everyone, but for me it was a great motivator. Like I said, treat yourself. You’ve earned it.

artist reference

Tip #5: An Artist is Only as Good as His Reference

This is piece of advice straight from the mouth of one of my teachers. I’ve gotten in the habit of collecting travel brochures, take out menus, mailers, catalogs, fliers, and anything else that could come in handy when I need inspiration somewhere down the road. These are good for finding measurements, layout ideas, and even graphic concepts. Of course, I’m not expecting you to have physical reference for everything you’ll be working on. Luckily, the internet has you covered there.

I so badly wish someone would have told me that I had more options than just Google Image Search when it came to finding reference for my projects. Unfortunately, I wasn’t enlightened to these sources until the middle of my last quarter. Bookmark these pages and refer to them regularly:
Free stock images. So awesome.
A blog dedicated to the art of package design. I wish I would have known about this one when I was in my 3D/packaging classes.
A blog all about vector design, with tutorials, freebies, and other goodies.
Design blog that focuses all aspects of design. The offer free textures, fonts, and other freebies, as well as regular tutorials and links to hundreds of other blogs I can’t list here.
Free textures!
Image bookmarking site, great for finding inspiration.
Great blog for aspiring/active freelancers, but also useful for students in that it has plenty of articles on maximizing productivity.
Thousands of free vector logos

And as always, check back here on the GoMediaZine for design tips, tutorials and inspiration.

Your Thoughts?

I hope you’ll find this article more than useless. If you have any questions or wish to debate my survival techniques, I’ll be keeping an eye on the comments section, so, fire away!

Free Vector Set 14 Sampler

vector pack 14 free sample

Well we hope it’s been worth the wait! To celebrate the release of Complete Vector Set 14 we’re sharing favorite pieces from each of the 7 packs. There’s a lot more to see though – look through the image galleries for more eye candy.

So far, we’ve released these three packs from Set 14:

  • Hand Drawn Wings
  • Ornate Patterns
  • Skeletons

And here’s what is new since the last sneak preview:

  • Superheroes
  • Sketchbook
  • Textile Patterns
  • Fight

Also, don’t forget to post your latest artwork on the Go Media User Showcase. If it catches our eye it could be featured here on the Go MediaZine! I hope you like the free samples, but if you get the chance check out the full set.

vector pack sampler preview


vector pack 14 screenshot

From the Portfolio: Maylene & the Sons of Disaster

Client: Maylene & the Sons of Disaster
maylene tee shirt

This is a design from roughly a year ago. While I was pretty excited about it at the time, I look at it now and get disappointed. This is a case of me trying to do too much. This design should have been the illustration and a simple type treatment, maybe a few other elements, and that’s it. I think it’s still a really solid piece, but I don’t think I did the illustration justice by putting all that extraneous stuff in there.

Illustrate a Malevolent Skull in 8 Steps

malevolent skull


I know that skulls have been slowly fading out of pop culture and seem to be passé, but I still love drawing them and coming up with new ideas and refreshing the design of that “same old skull thing”.

Keeping in mind that I am a horrible artist, and not a good designer. This tutorial is made for all the people like me.

Things you will learn:
In the tutorial I will go over how to create a cool looking malevolent skull that can be used for bands, t-shirts, or just vector art of your choosing.

Things you will need:

  • Illustrator or other vector editing program
  • I use a pen tablet, but it is not needed for this tutorial.
  • You will also need a pact with satins minions (this is only needed if you wish to make your illustrations truly evil and malevolent).

Getting Started:

1. First off, sketch out a skull and the idea that you want. You can scribble it out with a pen and scan it in or use Illustrator or Photoshop to draw out some basic ideas. Drawing skulls are pretty easy. Draw a oval and work from there. Eyes are situated half way down your oval. The nose is half the distance between the eyes and chin. The mouth is half the distance between nose and chin. Creating cheekbones that are sticking out will add the malevolent feel. If you don’t feel comfortable drawing one on your own you can always just base it off a picture.

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Move into Illustrator

2. Move into Illustrator.
Document set up is really up to you. I like to make my drawing very large; this helps in illustrator when drawing with brushes. Drag a guide from the ruler and place it in the center of your drawing (command R). This is because we are only drawing one side of the artwork. Lock that layer and create a new one. The new layer is where you will start drawing.

3. Start tracing with the pen tool
Tap the letter (P) to use pen tool. Start at the guide in the center at the top of the drawing. Right click where you want to start, hold right click down to adjust the curve of the line at second point. Work your way down clicking and dragging to get the appropriate curvature of the line. Outline the entire skull and end at the bottom on the center guide.

I always start with the outside of the drawing and outline everything that I like. I embellished on some things, remember to have fun and experiment.

4. Build the interior Anatomy
I start with one side and work out all the dark spots. This will help with the high level of contrast we are looking for. Click on the top point that you started with and work from there. Try to mimic what you did down the skull till you hit the eye socket. Remember this is high contrast, so dark areas tend to blend with each other.

While making the outline remember to go into the dark areas that you think will mesh together such as the eye socket, cheek, and mouth. It should be one continuous drawing. Make sure when you click on the last point your pointer changes to show the closed path indicator. End where you ended the first time and this should complete your vector skull.

Take your time when you do this and make sure that you draw all the connecting dark spots. The more detail here will pay off in the end. You can get very detailed here but I want to just cover the basics. I usually switch a lot from preview mode to outline mode (command Y) so I can see what the design looks like without any distractions.

Keep in mind everything so far should be connected. This gives a high contrast feel to the drawing and enhances evil factor.

Remember that the majority of the drawing should be connected through the dark areas.

Once you have the outline done, you just need a few details like the nose and skull crack.

This just gives you a better idea of what I mean by connecting all the dark spots. Red areas are connect by “shadow” all the black areas are drawn after and cannot be connected, but still are dark.

5. Tidy up
Select everything (command A) and use the Add to shape area tool in the Pathfinder to join everything. Then copy in front (command C) then (command F) then tap the letter (O) to activate the reflect tool. Reflect will allow you to rotate the object and have a perfect mirror of what you have already done (do this while holding shift down to make it precise). Align the second half of your skull. Use Add to shape area tool in the Pathfinder again to join everything together and make it one object.

Now that we have a cool skull to work with, lets add some detail to it.


Adding Some Detail

6. Adding contour lines. I like to make contour lines that follow the basic shapes I have already drawn. As shown here, it is really easy to just use the pen tool to play with shapes. Take your pen tool and click on a point near the cheek. Then another point down near the chin. Use your judgment on how many curves you want or the thickness of this line.

Add detail this way to create lines and curves with the pen tool to accent the face. Copy and paste it then re size it to create a shadowed effect.

Use this method in areas that you think would have shadows. Usually close to the dark areas around the eye socket nose and deep cheekbones.

Completed detail work without the dark original lines that we made.

I simply went around and added lines where I thought it would look good. Remember to experiment, if you don’t think it looks good delete it and try again.

7. Add highlights
After you are done adding the dark highlights you can use the same method in the dark areas with white.

8. Finishing up
After you are done adding the smaller detailed work all you will need to do from here is copy and mirror then align again, just as you did on the first half of the face.

I’ve added some halftones and radials from the Go Media Arsenal to polish the piece to completion.

If you like the way it came out and would like to add some color all you will need to do is use live paint.

That’s it, just remember to be creative and experiment with it.
malevolent skull
Thanks for reading!

Nick Beaulieu
Graphic Designer
Design by Disorder

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Vector Freebie: Skeletons

free vector art, vector freebie, vector pack

Hey, sometimes it’s just fun to design with skulls, zombies & other not so living characters. The new vector skeletons from Vector Set 14 bring something different to the table. Inside you’ll find close ups of bones, teeth, claws, rib cages, silhouettes, and even punk-ready illustrated skeleton characters. The pack is project-ready & has everything you need to make something really awesome.

Check out how the skeleton “pops” in the header graphic for this post! Be creative with this pack, it’s really loaded.

vector freebie, free vector art, skeletons

For this freebie I picked this awesome skeleton that Jeff Finley hand drew & vectorized. You can download this one for free & get the all 23 images for $9.99.


vector freebie vector pack skeletons

From the Portfolio: Jedidiah Clothing

Client: Jedidiah Clothing
Designer: Jeff Finley
Designer: 2007
jedidiah clothing

This shirt design was one of the designs I completed for Jedidiah Clothing back in 2007. It was accepted, but I still have never seen it printed or for sale. As a designer, even though you were paid to do a design, the client may not have found it suitable to put to market. Which may have been what happened in this case.

Regardless I think this design was a step forward from the mostly vector based t-shirts I had done prior to this. Yes, I know, this piece is “old” in terms of this blog entry, but it’s probably new to a lot of our readers. The shirt design would have been printed as a dye-sublimated tee. Full color designs on white shirts are perfect for this application.

From the Portfolio: Swap Beats Logo

T-Shirt Template Upgrade Free to Current Users

tshirt templates apparel mockups photoshop

*NOTE: This upgrade path no longer exists.

The original Men’s T-Shirt Templates was the debut Template Pack back in August 2008. In the process of making two more Template packs & an Advanced Hoodie Design Package, we learned a few new tricks about how to create fantastic photorealistic apparel mock-ups. Now, six months after the initial release, we’ve integrated those features into T-Shirt Templates version 2.0!

What’s new?

Quite a bit. Each shirt has more advanced shading layers such as highlights & color-sensitive shadows. These shadows and highlights are not just part of the shirt, but applied to your design during the mock-up process to make it appear truly ‘printed’.

t-shirt template apparel mockup photoshop

Thanks to a tip from Jimiyo, we updated & streamlined the masking process using clipping masks. Now it’s really as simple as pasting your design onto the “Your Art” layer – no hiccups or locked layer masks to worry about.

We also added preset material colors that are optimized with subtle color variations to look real. You can see in the screen shot there are now added optional lighting & vignette effect layers for extra photographic realism.

Finally, we added three “new” composite shirts made by layering the shadows from several shirts together. They’re my new favorite in the pack.

Free Upgrade to Current Users

If you’re already a proud owner of the original T-Shirt Templates – a free upgrade is coming your way! Keep an eye on your email for the low-down on getting the good stuff.

If you’ve looked on lovingly at other mock-ups on Design By Humans and Emptees, there’s no better time than now to easily get professional mock-ups of your designs. Besides, now you know how generous we’ll be when version 3.0 comes out!

Suggest a feature for version 3.0

That’s right, share your ideas & we’ll use them to create an even better mock-up template! Tell us what would make these templates harder, better, faster, or stronger & we’ll do what we can to make it happen.

Go Media T-Shirt Templates v2.0

From the Portfolio: Candy Lettering

Vector Freebie: Ornate Flourish & Pattern


It’s Monday, and that means another taste of upcoming Vector Set 14. And this one is particularly tasty!

First of all, none of these ornate images are recycled from low-resolution stock. We’ve created each one from scratch and have baggy eyes to show for it. It might be hard to tell the difference in a low resolution web browser, but inspect the line quality in Adobe Illustrator to appreciate the clean detail.

The full Ornate Patterns Vector Pack has 13 ornate flourishes and 13 seamless ornate patterns to go along! The patterns tile seamlessly, so they’re great for filling backgrounds.

ornate flourish vector patterns

Here is one of my favorite flourishes from the pack for free. Still, the whole pack is only $9.99 for hours & hours of illustration work done by Go Media artists. It’s a steal!



From the Portfolio: Chk! Chk! Chk! Poster

Should Shepard Fairey Be Sued for his Obama Poster?

Obama HOPE poster by Shepard Fairey

By now you should have heard about the fiasco surrounding Shepard Fairey’s Obama HOPE poster. It’s been all over the national media and every designer should pay close attention to it. It raises a lot of questions about what is considered fair use in the art world. Shepard’s well known for skirting around copyright infringement (although I don’t know all the nitty gritty details), but has he gone too far? He admitted to finding the image of Barack Obama on Google Images, something I know a lot of designers do for reference on a particular project.

I think it’s safe to assume most designers feel that if they change the image enough, they’re free from copyright infringement. Is that true?

So what do you think about the Obama poster? Clearly, he used the image as reference, but he did his own take on it. It’s a huge target for AP, the owners of the photo, because not only is it from the world famous street artist Shepard Fairey (most known for his Obey campaign) but it’s the freakin President! There are lots of people using the President’s likeness to make money or gain exposure for themselves. I’ve seen countless vector freebies of Obama flying around the web. Urban Outfitters is selling skate decks that we designed using Barack’s likeness amidst an imaginative illustration.

Leave a Comment

The purpose of this post is to get people talking. Let’s open up a dialogue about this. Is AP just going for a cash grab? Is Shepard Fairey wrongfully using the image for his own benefit? This is a serious issue that all designers should be talking about.

From the Portfolio: Triple Five Soul

Vector Freebie: Hand Drawn Wings

For Vector Pack 14, Hand Drawn Wings became a stand out example of why we love to create art. Graphite, ink & moleskine fibers went flying & soon Go Media artists Adam Law, Jeff Finely & Bill Beachy had created a truly impressive collection of wings. We’re really happy with how it turned out, so we decided to release it now all by itself! Don’t worry, more art from Vector Set 14 will be continue to be revealed.

hand drawn wings freebie vector


Check out the love & quality linework in this free sample. Remember you can get the whole pack for the price of lunch at the Arsenal!

hand drawn wings store image