So our favourite stock photo site – iStock – recently announced that they will soon start selling stock logos. Predictably, this has been met with outrage in the professional design community. The main arguments against such a service are that it devalues design, devalues designers and ignores the design process. It’s the same arguments given against spec work.
And while there is definite merit to these complaints, there’s no denying that there is a demand for this sort of thing and, by extension, that they serve a purpose in the marketplace. Heck, pretty much every product or service has “the right way” and “the cheap way”. Fighting against the existence of the latter is like trying to ban bad suits. Yes, everyone should have custom-tailored clothes (or at least have the sense not to buy really ugly stuff), but that’s not the world we live in.
So here’s the bottom line: professional designers should not feel threatened in the least by stock logos. They are incomparable products. Giorgio Armani doesn’t concern himself with those buying $100 suits. If a situation arises where there is confusion, it’s probably just time to provide some education on the matter. When the value of a properly executed logo design is explained, good clients will recognize its worth and the vast difference between it and a stock illustration.
For further reading, Australian designer Jacob Cass does a great job at explaining the value of a logo: