GDUSA Stock Survey

Posted on 10/24/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The results of the annual GDUSA Stock Survey of graphic designers in the U.S. is now available online. For several years nearly every graphic designers has answered that they use stock sometime during the year, but this year, for the first time, two-thirds of those answering the survey use stock more than 20 times a year and one-third use stock imagery more than 100 times a years.

Eighty-four percent of respondents use stock illustration as well as stock photos and 27% are using stock footage. Ninety-four percent of the media licensed is used in print, but 81% is also used online and for mobile.

Over two-thirds said the images designers license are used across multiple channels while less than one-third of the designers said the imagery they license is “mostly used in a single channel.” In addition at the time the image is licensed multi-channel licensors often don’t know all the ways the image might be used in the future, or for how long, and for that reason they tend to prefer RF.

When asked the license types they use the responses were as follows:

Royalty Free 94%
Micropayment 84%
Subscription 71%
Rights Managed 38%
Creative Commons 5%

While 38% still use RM occasionally, clearly they also use a lot of RF, Micro and Subscription for many projects. There was no question that asked about the prices paid for RM, but from other research we’ve done we know that a significant percentage of the RM images are licensed for fees of less than $25. Often the fee for licensing a RM image is less than would be charged for some microstock licenses.

A number of very useful charts are provided here. Among these charts is a list of the top 20 subject categories that are needed most frequently. This list tends to change very little from year-to-year, but this year multi-cultural/ethnic images, education and healthcare joined the top 10 most licensed categories. This list is always a useful guide for photographers who want to know what to shoot for the stock photo market.

When it comes to the top 10 reasons that influence the use of a stock site or provider Price ranked number one ahead of Quality with Search number 3. Eight important “Take Aways” from this survey can be found here.

GDUSA always provides long lists of comments from graphic designers that are well worth reading. This year they asked “Why Has The Use Of Stock Visuals Become so Frequent and Common?” and “How Can Stock Visual Sites/Providers Serve You Better?”. Also, be sure to read “Thoughts from Andrew Saunders, Senior VP of Creative Content of Getty Images.

Copyright © 2014 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:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff