To Watermark or Not To Watermark: A Designer’s Dilemma

The issue of protecting your copyrights is an old one; probably, it appeared together with vector graphics. How can you make sure that the sample you show the client for final approval cannot be used before you get paid? How can the client appreciate the quality of design if there is a big watermark splashed across the image? There are many opinions out there, but let’s focus on two main solutions.

Not to Watermark

If you decide against the watermark, or the client expressly requires it, there are two things you can do. One is to send the client a lo-res image. In this way, the client can appreciate your design work, have a clear picture of what he gets in the end, but cannot use your work in his graphics, because it is just a jpg file and cannot be scaled to fit.

The other option involves a little technology. You need to upload your photos onto a web page where the right click/save option is disabled. The client can look for as long as he wants, he can examine every detail, test colors on various browsers, but he cannot download the image. Sure, we can envision the scenario where a cheapskate client does a print screen and crop…but we honestly hope you never end up working for such a client.

Watermarking Your Vector Graphics

Well, this is still the best option to protect your copyright. We have also seen quite recently a large scale Internet shaming of a company that used watermarked stock photos on their marketing materials, so this is proof that watermark is your best option.

Normally, no honest client will protest against it. If you embed it carefully, in very light undertones not clashing with the design, the watermark will not be an impediment against judging the merits of your design.

These being said, let us look at a few useful software tools which help you watermark an entire batch of images in just a few clicks:

  • uMark Lite – simple and easy to use application for marking images with a copyright text, your logo or both.
  • Batch Watermark Creator – Great tool to add a watermark to an entire batch of images.

  • Watermark Master – The real advantage to this tool is that it can add watermarks not only to images but also to videos. Can create all sorts of watermarks, whether image, audio or video.

  • PhotoWatermark Professional – The strong points of this application are advanced editing features to create top quality watermarks.

  • Visual Watermark – If you prefer a very visible, virtually non-erasable watermark.

  • 1-More Watermarker – A very simple tool if you do not have the time to work with complex options for watermarking your vector graphics.

In the end, it is a matter of trust. If you have a good relationship with a long-term client, you probably will not have to worry about watermarking your work. But in the case of new clients, it is recommended to watermark your vector graphics and other design elements before you build sufficient trust in the business relation.

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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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