166 GRAPHIC DESIGN:USA SURVEY
August 27, 1998
Twenty percent of graphic designers prefer to find their images on CD or
on-line according to Graphic Design:USA's annual survey. Another 40% prefer
to use print catalogs, but the shocker is that the remaining 40% prefer to
use a combination of CD, on-line and print.
That means that 60% of the buyers are using digital search to some extent.
The survey was mailed to 1,200 randomly selected graphic design firms, ad
agencies, corporations and publishers. Eighty seven percent say they have
used a traditional stock agency in the past year, 64% said they had used a
royalty free CD and 47% say they have used the internet or an on-line service
to locate stock imagery.
Sixty eight percent said they used stock more than six times in the past year
and 31% said they had used stock more than 20 times in the year.
As usual, the Graphic Design:USA annual stock survey that appears in the
August issue is a must read for anyone in the stock photo industry. GD:USA
devotes 18 pages to this subject with quotes from dozens of art directors on
how and why they use stock.
The graphic design projects, in order of volume, where stock visuals are used
were (1) "Brochures & Collateral", (2) "Advertising" and (3)"Direct Mail &
Catalogs". In fourth place was "Internet and Multi-media" design, often
referred to as New Media. The growth in this area is probably another reason
why designers are looking more to CD's and on-line search to find their
In general, designers seemed to be very pleased with the quality of images and
service coming from stock agencies. It was emphasized again and again that
clients are pushing them with shorter and shorter deadlines and they need to
work with suppliers who can provide quality work quickly.
Several designers who prefer to use photographers to produce custom shoots
lamented that because of schedule and budget constraints they no longer can
afford that luxury. Meeting those time and budget constraints are also a
reason for using RF.
Some of the concerns expressed about RF related to: reproduction quality, lack
of originality, repetitiveness and less flexibility with the size of the
image. The exclusivity issue was also a concern, but rather than worrying
about anyone else using the image the concern seemed to be that once they
pick an image from a royalty free disc they are likely to see that image
Some Art Director Comments
Robert Dimetrosky of Dimetrosky Advertising in Parsippany, NY wrote, "We use
royalty-free stock photos about 100 to 150 times a year for various clients
in many marketplaces."
Dennis Razayeski of Baron Advertising in Cleveland wrote, "Stock is growing
because it is readily available. Quality continues to be excellent and the
volumes continue to increase each year. I have had to discard and give away
many fine volumes -- I simply have no more space in my office to keep them.
Currently, I must have at lease 75 to 100 different stock catalogs."
Linda Carpenter of Frank J. Corbett Inc. in Chicago wrote, "Stock photography
images still need more "single item" type shots. There is also a need for
pictures of people with different emotions -- not only happy but also
concerned, worried, depressed, neutral, angry, etc. I like the move toward
conceptual shots. I have found a couple of great nature companies as well as
a couple of agents specific to medical and scientific images -- great
Marc Lagamba of Highmark Inc in Pittsburgh wrote, "One problem that I've
constantly encountered when using stock photography is the lack of minorities
(Black, Hispanic, and Asian). Believe it or not, I have in real life seen
Asians strolling on the beach...Hispanics attending a business meeting...and
Blacks enjoying a cup of coffee in a cafe. I agree that most stock photo
agencies have recently made efforts to include more minorities in their
selections, but I still see room for improvement."
And Adele Kingan, Creative Connection in Highland Park, IL wrote, "I use
stock over assignment photography 6:1, where that was reversed five years