May 25, 2013


I love etymology. Experiencing a common word from my lexicon, and watching it unfold out of it’s narrowest understanding into a rich history of cultural meaning. Ahhh. Nerdy? Maybe. And absolutely an opportunity for Design schoolin’.

Take ‘swipe’ for example. It’s one of those bits of advertising jargon I relished using back in the day when I was freelancing, perusing magazines and photographer’s portfolios for art direction ideas. I didn’t give the word’s origin much thought, but if anything, I figured it was called that because of the physical gesture made when you ripped the image out of the book. But once those images were scanned and then used in comps, we moved into the more accurate definition of what this word means: stealing.

I’ll always link to a photographer’s work when I use their image—IF I can find the original source—but that’s really not enough. I wrote more extensively about Linking with Love a while back, check it out. And while I am always working towards my ideal, I’m actively educating our clients on the benefits, not only ethically or legally but from a branding perspective, of creating your own arsenal of stock photography. This way they too will never feel compelled to swipe someone else’s image again.

Think about it. You are building your unique voice through your brand and then swiping someone else’s?

For Nutritionist Holli Thompson’s rebrand, convention was a word we avoided at every turn. Especially when it came to the common practice of “borrowed” food and lifestyle photography. Instead, our brave client welcomed myself and photographer Chelsea Fullerton to spend 3 days at her farm in Northern Virginia documenting her business and life.

Single ingredients, process shots, plated meals. The pantry, refrigerator, medicine cabinet, and garden. For each season and each Nutritional Style. AND we even worked in an “Entertaining With” feature for

When Holli’s site goes live this summer, not only will all the images you see be proprietary, but she’ll have years worth of images to illustrate her brand—with singularity and integrity all at her finger tips. Not to mention what the process of preparing for this shoot did for her outlook for the next 12 months and beyond.


OH! And don’t get me started on stock photography. For years I’ve had clients request we use stock imagery for national ads to blog posts. Presumably to save money and the hassle of producing a shoot. Silly silly silly. Having your own stock photography is the ultimate smarty pants investment.