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Chinese last name and racism.

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  • Chinese last name and racism.

    I'm just starting out freelance, to work on illustration.

    I want to use my new last name Lau, as I think it sounds much nicer, and separates me from design work I've done in the past. My other name is English sounding.

    I'm a bit worried a Chinese last name will put people off (even subconsciously without realising it). I'd hope they'd look more at the work that I do - especially with illustration.

    Any thoughts on this and has anyone experienced anything like this?

  • #2
    Hi Sgreenhill and welcome to GDF.

    We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
    Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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    • #3
      With illustrators, it's all about their particular style. The only thing I refuse to deal with is any artist who works under an alias. This goes mostly for photographers and stock artists on stock sites.
      Otherwise, it really doesn't matter.
      If it does matter to someone, do you really want to work with anyone put off by your name?

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      • #4
        If you were, say, a Chinese national working from China and trying to get work from overseas, there could be a problem -- not because of your name but rather due to possible language, location, culture and other various inconveniences. If that isn't the case, the only significant problem I might anticipate is people assuming the just-mentioned situation could be the case, when in reality, it isn't.

        So to avoid that problem, if you use Lau, and you actually live in, say, New York, London, Sydney, San Francisco or wherever, you might want to subtlety stress that fact a little more -- if only to avoid people making the wrong assumption and thinking you might be someone working through Google's translation software and working out of Guangzhou or Beijing.

        Ultimately, though, your portfolio of work, I think, will outweigh any of this.

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        • #5
          Does this question stem from the perceived current political atmosphere in the US?
          While racism does exist, I don't believe it to be the ''problem'' the media and certain political groups would lead you to believe. At least it isn't a problem amongst the grown ups.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
            With illustrators, it's all about their particular style. The only thing I refuse to deal with is any artist who works under an alias. This goes mostly for photographers and stock artists on stock sites.
            Otherwise, it really doesn't matter.
            If it does matter to someone, do you really want to work with anyone put off by your name?
            Could you expand? Why would you refuse to work with an artist who uses an alias?

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            • #7
              Because I do serious work for serious clients, they want to work with serious professionals.
              It's not that I don't try to find the folks behind those aliases. But time is money and I'm usually only allotted maybe 20 minutes on a large project for a difficult image. Maybe 5 minutes if it is a small project where you can't amortize the time over a large number of easier images.
              If I can't find them in that time, the image is toast and we move on to the 2nd best choice.

              1. The clients don't like using some of the aliases out there. It's very hard to convince a national museum to use an image with a required on-graphic photo credit that reads ''Photo courtesy of uncledogwater / stockphotosite'' (not a real alias, I hope.) I've seen some really bad ones out there. If the artist isn't serious enough about their art to put their name on it, they aren't necessarily someone my clients want to deal with. The exceptions are aliases that link back to an online portfolio website in the artist's bio. Most times a deal can be arranged with the stock house and the artist in question to modify the photo credit in the license agreement.

              2. The clients are serious about having a properly signed license especially in instances where a stock company is not involved. Other avenues of photo acquisition includes crazy things like Flickr and other social sites like that where an image may be something a serious client really really wants to use and some poor slob has to try to figure out how to find the not so serious artist in question (that would be me.) It is amazing how many people don't read their contact forms on those sites. I once had someone answer me almost 2 years after the fact. Their loss.

              3. It is sometimes necessary to contact the artist for a larger scan. Especially an illustrator who does hand-created art. If there is no way to contact, there is no money offered for larger scan usage (read that as more $$$$) Again, their loss.

              4. Sometimes the art or photo copyright does not belong to the alias in question (ie stolen). I once tracked down the provenance of a certain obviously skilled artist's illustration wanted by a client that seemed to be a free clip art image it was used maybe in 2 dozen places. Turned out the original artist was in the process of sending take down notices and suing for damages in the cases where the illustration had been used for profit. That was one less legal headache for my client.
              Last edited by PrintDriver; 09-23-2017, 02:45 AM.

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              • DuckDuck
                DuckDuck commented
                Editing a comment
                All that makes sense. Thanks. As someone who works one professional design related job that requires an internet presence and is thinking about freelancing some graphic design work on the side, I've been debating using an alias for my graphic design projects + maintaining my real name for my "real career". I obviously don't want to start off down a path that is going to prevent me from landing jobs in the future. This is helpful feedback.

              • PrintDriver
                PrintDriver commented
                Editing a comment
                There is a difference between using a company name as an 'alias' and actually hiding anonymously behind a monicker.
                If I were working with you under your company name I would still expect you to be able to sign into a contractual agreement with a real person using a real name. My boss doesn't sign his contracts with the company name. Neither would you.

                Bear in mind there is a whole legal layer to working under a company or even as a DBA (doing business as). Be sure you have all your paperwork in order.

            • #8
              Originally posted by DuckDuck View Post
              Could you expand? Why would you refuse to work with an artist who uses an alias?
              Hi Duckduck and welcome to GDF.

              We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
              Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

              Comment


              • #9
                Ah I sometimes forget about the intertwining of the internet.
                If you are in a design job be sure your boss has no issues with you moonlighting.
                Also be sure to comport your business in a professional manner and it shouldn't be an issue.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                  If you are in a design job be sure your boss has no issues with you moonlighting.
                  This causes me to, once again, veer off into a personal tangent.

                  In my opinion, it's none of the boss's business what an employee does during off hours as long as that activity doesn't unduly interfere with the job.

                  Even so, this problem does come up at certain unreasonable companies that fail to fully appreciate the contractual, give-and-take, mutually beneficial advantages to both parties in relationships where the employees agree to sell limited amounts of time and effort to the employers in exchange for cash payments. These are companies where the employer tends to have the mistaken opinion that they somehow own their employees instead of seeing them as partners.

                  So in those situations where the employer attempts to violate their employee's personal time-off, the employee has no obligation to acquiesce to their employer's unreasonable interference in their lives. In other words, there's no ethical dilemma involved in simply hiding one's freelance work from the employer as long as that work isn't undercutting or harming the employer. Of course, once the unreasonable boss finds out, there could be problems, which means having to be careful.

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                  • #11
                    I may be more speaking to the situation of a Non-Compete agreement though didn't explicitly say so.

                    On that same tangent - these days there is far far too much work-related intrusion into employee lives.
                    The damn smartphone does not help matters. I'm not sure where things changed from working 8am to 5pm Monday thru Friday into being on call nearly 15hrs per day 7days a week.
                    Last edited by PrintDriver; 09-26-2017, 12:49 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Thanks y'all. I didn't mean to steal this thread away from the OP, but I appreciate the feedback. My "real career" is as an architect. My LinkedIn is devoted to architecture, my online portfolio is architecture, etc. I've also done some pro-bono graphic design work for friends and organizations I'm apart of. I enjoy it enough and have gotten positive enough reviews that I'm thinking about turning it into a real side hustle and seeing if I can make some money. My boss knows about it (and is supportive) and there is no non-compete issue or conflict of interest. I just don't want this graphic design work to detract from my architecture or vice versa.

                      With your feedback, I think I'm going to go with a studio name (Duck Duck Design or something) and start there. Obviously contracts and bills, etc. Will be my own legal name. I'm not trying to hide behind some weird artist moniker.

                      Thanks again!

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