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  • Ethics...

    So I was given a branding project, prior to me being involved there was some emails and a conversation between my boss and the client. I came up with some concepts based on the information given to me. I then received some more correspondence where the client had purchased some RF stock images and sent them to me at the apparent direction of my boss. I looked at them, noted that the general theme of them was inline with what was described in the brief (and what I had already completed) and didn't consider them further since they're stock images and cannot be used in a logo.

    As I was selecting the best option to present the client with I asked my boss for their input. Apparently my boss told the client to purchase the stock images for use in the logo, so I pointed out how they won't be able to use any option made with them as a logo as it violates the EULA. My boss's response: "Just change them a little". I was speechless and that's where the conversation ended.

    I don't see the point of producing an option or options that a client cannot legally use or trademark especially when I've already created several viable concepts that meet the brief. I mean it appears to me that the only reason to do this is so my boss can save some face on the atrocious "advice" they gave the client that resulted in the client spending money for no reason. I feel that it would be better to shut it down now than to risk the client picking something they cannot use (which is a possibility considering they selected the illustrations themselves) or having the possibility of this coming back to bite me in the ass if the client ever decided to try and trademark that option. Regardless of my protestations my boss insists that I proceed with cultivating a doubly inappropriate illustration into a logo option.

    Currently my plan is to ignore this direction, but I'm almost certain it's not going to go over well judging by how insistent my boss is. I feel like there's not really a way to step away from this unscathed. My plan B is to tell my boss that I'm not comfortable with their direction and out-right refuse to do it, in which case they probably will; my issue with this is that it still doesn't help the client.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, similar experiences?
    Design is not decoration.

  • #2
    Can you do a compromise? You go ahead with your logo ideas, but when it comes time to talk to the boss or client, bring the photos into the conversation. "These are great images and totally inline with the direction you want to go. Due to the legalities of their use, they cannot be legally used in the logo itself, but can be a part of the greater branding image. Their use in brochures, ads, posters, etc., will really solidify the message we want to promote. Kudos to (boss and client) for thinking so far down the line!" Kiss butt, kiss butt, rinse, repeat.
    Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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    • #3
      Thing is I don't really see them fitting well together, different flavours, but it's worth a shot I suppose. Not sure how else to dig myself out of the hole I was so casually put in...
      Design is not decoration.

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      • #4
        Otherwise I would explain to the boss and the client - at the same time - that I was uncomfortable using a stock image in a logo as it's expressly forbidden in the terms of use. I would do this via email so I had it in writing. If I was again told to just do the logo anyway, I'd ask for that in writing, too. I know it doesn't totally cover you, but at least you'd have something to back you up if the shit hit later.
        Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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        • #5
          I think I'm just going to tell my boss that I do not feel comfortable with the idea and I won't be taking part in creating something the client can't actually use because I want to provide the client with the best solution for them; being unable to trademark and tempting potential legal action is not part of that. After stewing about it for a day, I think it's the only option I can live with. Will let you know how it goes
          Design is not decoration.

          Comment


          • PanToshi
            PanToshi commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm with you on this one Kem. There just isn't a scenario that would allow for what your boss is asking you to do. Besides, if the images are texturally appropriate, they can be used for that. No pennies lost essentially. RF imagery is not very costly anyway, what are we looking at, 4-5 dozen seashells?

        • #6
          Finally had the chance to talk to my boss about this, told them I wasn't comfortable with it. They said "Fine, I'll do it." Then proceeded to try to tell me that I was misunderstanding the T&C's of the stock images.

          They must have went and looked to see that I was right, because shortly after they came back to me claiming that I misunderstood them and that their intent was never for me to use the images but to use them for inspiration...

          I did that, but I guess my work wasn't inspired enough by them...

          ​Regardless, they are putting something together as an option for the client
          Design is not decoration.

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          • #7
            Another update for those interested, this project has nose-dived even harder than I thought possible.

            Apparently the client was expecting something that was an exact copy of the vector art they purchased and less of what they described in their brief. They also mocked up their business name on RF illustration to show exactly what they are looking for with the font they want. At this point I'm not sure why they bothered looking for a graphic designer. Oh well, at least I'm not pulling the trigger on this one anymore.
            Design is not decoration.

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            • #8
              It would seem a simple matter to explain to them that they legally can't use someone else's copyrighted work as their logo. Then again, if the person discussing it with them is the same person who agreed to it in the first place, it's much less of a simple matter.

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              • kemingMatters
                kemingMatters commented
                Editing a comment
                the person now handling it is one and the same. On a positive note, I did over hear them trying to explain that they can't legally use the RF illustration as a logo.

                I don't think they were clear enough or firm enough when it came to that. I know that a few of my concepts made it to the client and I'm a little surprised that they didn't give them a second thought.

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