GDUSA SPECIAL STOCK SURVEY PREVIEW
Sponsored By iStockphoto
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: MOMENTUM GROWS, TENSIONS REMAIN
More creative professionals are using more stock imagery for more reasons in more projects with more frequency than ever before. That is the fundamental finding of GDUSA's 24th Annual Survey. But, of course, this has both positive and negative ramifications. A brief preview of the survey results follow, and the full report will appear in the September GDUSA magazine out next week.
— Gordon Kaye
THANK YOU TO ISTOCKPHOTO
What does this mean for designers in 2010? According to our annual survey, it means record-breaking usage: nearly everyone uses stock visuals in their work; most use it dozens of times in a year; relatively new highvolume/ low-cost options such as micropayment and subscription sites are prospering; and designers revel in the abundant supply and all its ramifications.
First, 95% of creatives reported using stock photography in their work. This is the highest ever recorded in a GDUSA annual reader survey. Substantial numberes also use illustration as well as footage, Flash and animation.
Second, a record 54% of respondents use stock imagery more than 20 times during the course of a year. That is nearly triple a decade ago. Perhaps even more stunning, one-in-five designers this year reported use stock more than 100 times. Ten years ago it was one-in-thirty.
Third, designers are turning increasingly to some high volume/low cost options. This includes setting new highs for the use of subscription sites, and continuing to use micropayment sites with great frequency. More on this in the full magazine report.
Much of the satisfaction arises from perceived improvements in digital search and delivery. Creatives increasingly take the existence of appealing and robust websites for granted. And, while everyone has a horror story, there is a feel-good consensus that stock providers are offering more, better, smarter.
Indeed, many creatives are pushing back against the tide, evincing a stubborn respect for the character and quality of rights managed stock and its close cousin, the specialized or niche stock collection. The flip side of this phenomenon is the recognition of a dark side to mass consumption of stock imagery: the same image can appear in a competitor's communications; oft-used images can get stale; and easy access to prepared images may blunt the creative edge.
Diversity, or lack thereof, is another area where creatives are pushing back and expressing dissatisfaction with the marketplace. This is so, even while "multicultural' images have jumped into the top echalon of most frequently used types of images.
There is a backstory here. Blandness and staginess were historic obstacles to the adoption of stock imagery in the late 20th century. Early photos largely presented carefully scrubbed individuals, usually youthful and usuallly white, posed or placed in predictable middle-class or office scenes.
In many ways, the situation has changed for the better; agencies have done a praiseworthy job of encouraging more reality and edginess in their collections over the past few years. Still, today's survey results suggest that they may not be keeping up fast enough with the sweeping changes that capture multi-ethnic, multicultural America today.
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The entire story will appear in GDUSA'S September magazine. Meanwhile, we again
thank iStockphoto for sponsoring our 24th annual stock visual survey and continuing
to innovate with developments such as a newly redesigned website and a free iPhone app.