Design Professionals Using More Stock

Posted on 9/21/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

According to an International Communications Research survey released in June, over 40% of designers are using more stock photography in 2009 compared to last year in order to lower costs. When considering stock-photo vendors, most buyers, given tighter budgets, looked for the best deal. The survey was sponsored by Shutterstock.

Key Takeaways

Two in five art directors (40%) cited budget decreases compared to a year ago.

22% of art directors and graphic designers are working on more projects for less profit compared to a year ago.

67% of graphic designers/art directors are doing more in-house production to cut costs.

51% reported that they used online royalty-free stock photography agencies and only 18% said they used traditional stock photography agencies.

21% of graphic artists said they plan to use subscription-based agencies as the primary source of their future stock-photo needs. Those more likely to use subscription-based agencies include heavier users of images (27%) and those who work at companies with 10 or more employees (31%).

When asked what most influences their decision to use online subscription-based royalty-free stock photography, most respondents (80%) cited limited budgets. Other top reasons included:

To combine elements into a new design (41%)
Using images for an indefinite period of time (40%)

Using images in a combination of communications mediums (37%)

When asked what they look for most when selecting a stock photo company, 95% rated quality of images as No. 1 and 90% listed a large selection of images high on a seven-point scale.

Survey Methodology

International Communications Research (ICR) surveyed 300 professionals (120 art directors and 180 graphic designers) by using a targeted Web panel of 300 respondents.

In order to qualify for the survey, respondents had to be employed either part- or full-time in the United States and be at least aware of stock photography. Awareness of stock photography was 93% and the survey ran 10 minutes on average.

Because this is a sample and not an actual population, an associated margin of error applies. At the 95% confidence level, the margin of error for the total sample of 300 is +/-5.7 percentage points.

Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Morgan David de lossy Posted Sep 21, 2009
    Finally, a good news.

  • David Sanger Posted Sep 21, 2009
    well the bad news perhaps is a conclusionyou left out

    Three-fourths of those likely to use subscription-based agencies are likely to use Shutterstock in the future. One-fourth of those surveyed (26 percent) are extremely/very likely and half (51 percent) are somewhat likely to use Shutterstock.

    <a href="">source</a>

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