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Business Talk

Protecting your work – watermaking and sharing images on the web

On 04, Dec 2012 | One Comment | In Business Talk | By patternandco

I received a couple of emails in my inbox the other day with a similar topic… do you protect your work online?  It’s a hot subject and after a bit of research I thought it would be a great idea to start the discussion with using  watermarks and a few best practices when sharing your images online!

Watermarking is all about protecting your work, adding a stamp to your designs so they are traceable.  It’s still a compromise between  getting your work out there and seen and having a level of security with what your are comfortable with sharing.  I use the word “security” with a bit of hesitation, watermarking is not fool proof but along with a few more tips below it can at least help towards protecting your work online.

Start with naming your images, include your name or business name as well.  Hover over the image below and you can see what it is called…….

This is also good for when your images are pinned as that name is what is included in the text along with the link.

After saving your original file, resize to a smaller dimension (mine are saved at 550 px wide for the web) and  at 72dpi as this helps to prevent direct printing.  I will also crop the image slightly before resizing especially if it’s a repeat pattern.  Use the save for web option  in photoshop.

The things to look at are what format, in this case jpeg, the quality and the image size (if you want your image to be scaled correctly when resizing make sure the width and height are locked)

If you click on the 4-up tab at the top you can view the different options. The first is the original image, next at a high quality,then gradually going down to a low quality.

The way I mark my designs is with a small line of text (this could be your name or in my case I use my website)  I know from the conversations I have had with other artists and illustrators that some feel much more comfortable with a bigger more visible logo.  It’s a compromise between showing your designs with a small mark or offering a bit more protection with a larger mark but not seeing the design so clearly.

Place the watermark across any part of the pattern. I have a saved file with my watermarks, logos and signatures, which I simply open and drag onto my image I wish to mark.  Sometimes the text is not so clear against a patterned background as I use a handwritten font so I’ll  add a white label underneath.

This is where you can try out different fonts and symbols that you feel comfortable with and that suit your style .  Try  a bolder font, change the colour, reduce the opacity, adding your logo is also a great idea and when you find something you like and are happy with, save the file as your watermark and then you can reuse it again and again!

Notice I also add a very discreet signature within the design.

Here I  use the copyright symbol, this can be found in Photoshop in the custom shape tool.

Adding the © is not necessary but it sends a certain message.

Another way to protect your patterns and to really show them off  is to showcase your work on products, it can be as simple as printing them out and then taking a photo and again watermark in the same way, such as in my arrows print.


Or create mock ups, fabrics, pillows, get creative!

I’ll be back soon testing out some online watermarking sites as well as a a great showcase of creative watermarking and I would of course love to here your comments and thoughts on the subject.  Do you watermark?  Are you worried about your images on the internet?

In the meantime here is a list of a few great resources that you might like to check out:

Great Q&A from Vector tuts “Should you watermark your Art”

A discussion from Kim Bruce on Anyone Can Snip: Protect Your Art with Watermarks.  I love where she writes “My reason for watermarking is not to stop people from accessing my images, but rather, to allow these good people a trail back to me and my website.”

If you only have time to check out one thing then definitely take a look at the wonderful Monica Lee over at Smart Creative Women talking to Attorney Kiffanie Stahle on copyrights and protecting your work online






ways to find your stuff online tineye, pinterest

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  1. Thank you for another great, practical and beautiful post, Michelle.

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