When we paired up with Integrity Medicine, we knew they needed a new site . . . fast. We developed a creative way for them to launch into their new practice without worrying. Dr. Roeser is now accepting direct primary care patients and hey . . . if you’re 100, he’s only charging you $1 per month for services. You can’t beat that.
Those free images you find online aren’t “free,” they are not for your use, and you can’t just “borrow them,” even if you don’t know the rules. Say what? We’ll break down some misconceptions and give you some insight on what’s up.
When you create an image from an original idea, you own the rights to it. It’s that simple. You can use that picture however you want– you can place it on billboards, distribute it in brochures, and share it with your friends. That’s cool. There are no restrictions. If you want to give other people access to it, you can register with Creative Commons and pick your licensure level. This will ensure that your image is properly protected.
“Freely licensed” is what happens when someone gives you permission to use their work. Some stock photos are freely licensed, that image your aunt Mary took of your cousin Paul at your sister’s wedding and then allowed you to use is freely licensed. Some images, like the ones on Pexel, are filed under Creative Commons Zero license (CCO), which means you can use them as you wish. Photos that are filed under this license will say that they’re available under Creative Commons Zero.
Images in the public domain are free of copyright. That means you can use them, distribute them, share them for commercial use, whatever. If a work is in the public domain, you can use it without asking permission from the owner. To see when works pass into the public domain, check out Lolly Gasaway’s helpful chart.
Fair Use guidelines let people use images if they are to be used for certain reasons:
Before you go printing out copyrighted images for class, check your use against Section 107 on Fair Use, thanks to Cornell’s law website.
Some images are protected under Creative Commons. Creative Commons was created to give people a middle path, so to speak. They created a standard way for creators to “retain copyright” while distributing their work safely. Creative Commons has six licenses– the most lenient one allows people to “redistribute” your work “commercially and noncommercially” as long as they give you credit. The most restrictive one allows people to share an image (unchanged) with a friend, but they must cite the creator and they cannot use it commercially.
We need to set out some ground rules here:
Don’t Use It If:
You found it on the Internet but can’t find a copyright license
You didn’t create it
You do not have permission to use it (and if you do, you’ll want to make sure it was freely licensed to you by the creator of the image)
You didn’t pay for the rights to use it
You are hoping to distribute it commercially but can’t find licensing information
Nope. If you want to use an image, but you don’t fit one of the fair use criteria, citing it isn’t enough. It’s nice, but it won’t remove you from copyright laws.
What if you didn’t know?
It sort of doesn’t matter. In any case (whether you knowingly performed copyright infringement or whether you made a mistake), you can still be fined. According to Purdue, the fines can vary greatly.
The legal penalties for copyright infringement are: Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
Infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.
The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
The Court can impound the illegal works.
The infringer can go to jail.
Best case scenario is that the owner requires that you take it down. Worst case is up to a $150,000 fine and lengthy court cases or jail time. Whenever you work with a design studio like Entermotion on a website or a brochure, we purchase the rights to the images that we incorporate on your site, so you don’t have to worry about infringement.
If you’re creating your own website or sourcing your own images, make sure that you’re careful. You don’t want to wake up to a scary cease and desist email…or worse.
According to Telesian’s blog, we see about 300-700 ads per day. CBS thinks we see as many as 5,000 ads per day. Whatever the actual number, it’s a lot, but amidst all the clutter, there are a few companies that stand out for representing what other people are not. 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design knows what’s up:
Promoting the image of a company rather than its products or services is sometimes the smartest business decision.
Companies That Promote Their Ethos
Marketing doesn’t have to be icky, in-your-face salesy bs. Some companies are subtle in their marketing approach. Some try to think like a writer. Some like to get really innovative with a simple idea. See how Leica promotes a feeling vs. the benefits of their product in this long ad.
Everything. When you market a feeling, an ethos, or a belief, you’re speaking to a different part of the customer. You’re not trying to reach their mind or their pocket. This isn’t really a direct marketing approach, as it can take a while for an innovative idea or subtle marketing approach to really sink in, but when it does, it can be super effective.
How Coke Did It
Some corporate companies have the means to do things a little differently. Take Coca-Cola for example. Unlike traditional advertisers, Coke uses their products to promote an ethos.
This is what marketers call “institutional ads.” Coke had a revolutionary idea that they called “Project Connect.” You’ve probably seen some of these Coke bottles with phrases like “Share a Coke with [name here].”
Institutional advertising promotes the company, corporation, or idea. It doesn’t really sell anything directly, and that’s why we’re into it.
People love to share personalized gifts, and when it comes from a corporate brand like Coke, it’s even more exciting.
AdWeek mentioned that Coke’s personalized bottles helped sales grow for the first time in 10 years. According to AdWeek, they never thought their campaign would have that sort of impact.
The campaign was never intended to mark a permanent change to the soft drink bottles, and already, Coca-Cola is beginning to phase them off shelves. But a senior brand manager for the company has said there will be “serious consideration” given to bringing it back again in the United States next summer.
Coke shared Lucie Austin’s interview about what spawned this idea:
LA: Our research showed that while teens and young adults loved that Coca-Cola was big and iconic, many felt we were not talking to them at eye level. Australians are extremely egalitarian. There’s a phrase called “tall poppy syndrome.” If anyone gets too big for their boots, they get cut down like a tall poppy. By putting first names on the packs, we were speaking to our fans at eye level.
It wasn’t really about marketing. Their idea was much more subtle. Show people they matter. And they’ll respond well. Lucie noted that the team ran with some new changes:
Originally, the idea was conceived with the names printed in the traditional “Coca-Cola” Spencerian script. We couldn’t do that due to trademark issues, so we created a brand-new typeface inspired by the “Coke” logo. We call it the “You” font because it’s about you, the consumer, not Coca-Cola.
Like the Coca-Cola movement, there are a lot of marketers making bold statements. McCann and the State Street Global Advisers got down with institutional ads by honoring strong little girls everywhere when they dropped a bronze statue of a girl staring down the bronze bull on Wall Street. Over night. Talk about a statement.
Why It Works
Why does stuff like this work? For a lot of reasons. People like authentic. They like to know that they’re purchasing products from brands that actually care about their well-being, and one way to do that is to show people that your brand does more than just exist.
See what Jeep does here:
We can’t tell you what you should do for your company. We can only tell you what we think is best.
We think it’s best to connect to real people in a real way
We think it’s best to trust yourself and your company
We think it’s best to try new things, even if you might fail
We think it’s best to subtly market to your audience
Is your company doing anything innovative? Do you have a new product that can actually change people’s lives? What if you flipped marketing on its head? Instead of marketing the features, market the feeling.
Apple has been notoriously good at this:
You Only Need One Thing to Market
A story. And..well..yeah…a product or service would be cool, but it’s your story that people care about, and it’s your story that will pull people in. So go ahead, get to talking, doing, and sharing. We can’t wait to read all about it.
According to Ideo and their Field Guide to Human-Centered Deign, “Embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like poverty, gender equality, and clean water, are solvable.” To incorporate human-centered design, you have to understand who you are designing for. This is the design that solves regular old problems (like how the heck do we know whether to push or pull or a door or how to create ergonomic scissors) and really big problems (how to get clean water to communities). It’s more than just product design. It involves empathy, understanding, and (maybe most importantly) flexibility.
If you need more reasons to support human-centered design, we got you. Even David Kelley, a managing partner of the design firm IDEO thinks human-centered design is cool.
Inspiration: The first part of human-centered design is listening to the people you’re hoping to serve. Make sure you are adjusting your reading level for your audience. If you want to create a new way for people to drink water, you’re first going to want to understand what they’re doing now, why it is or isn’t working, and what they actually want. But this sort of design-think can apply to more than humanitarian needs–everything from cups to underwear can be designed using a human-centered method.
Let’s say your job is to engage students at your school. How do you approach the problem? Some teachers would start by teaching their lesson plan as it is. But others would leave space for feedback. What do the students actually want? Are they dying to experience more hands-on activities? Are they begging for more time for play-centered learning? Do they ask you daily to get into group activities? It might be time to listen to them for once. The best way to integrate human-centered design is to taken notes. And finally, leave room for innovation. Notice whenever someone says something about your project. Notice how real people are attempting to use your product, even if it’s not the way it was intended. Listerine, for example, was first developed as an antiseptic; it wasn’t until the 1920s that it found its perfect form– as a halitosis cure.
Ideation: Take your information from the inspiration phase and come up with as many ideas as you can. Prototype them. Test them out. See what works. Ideation is like a giant brainstorming session. There’s no wrong way to brainstorm, though there are some tried and true techniques that you can explore during your ideation phase.
Implementation: This is where you can keep your goals in mind while you attempt to implement your design solution into the area you’re trying to serve. After you implement the new plan, leave room for feedback.
When you’re working on a tangible product, the humanness of it can come a bit easier. You can imagine how real people will actually use it. Take the door, for example. Vice recognized that there are bad doors all over the place. A door is the kind of object that gets forgotten about pretty easily…when it works properly. But when it doesn’t? You get a whole lot of this:
The Norman Door is named after Don Norman…you know… he’s just the dude who helped create the Nielson Norman Group (!!!). And it’s what happens when designers don’t think about use. A Norman Door is a door that has such poor design, you don’t know whether it’s a pull door or a push door. And like the Vox video says, if you keep messing up a door over and over again, it’s probably not your fault. Good human-centered product design looks a little something like this:
Some designs haven’t changed much since their first iteration. That’s not because no one is innovative; it’s because the design is so perfect that it doesn’t need to change. The nib may have gotten narrower or wider depending on use, but there was always ink flowing somehow into a nib. In the 1880s, Alonzo T. Cross applied for a patent for one of the first iterations of the ballpoint pen. This design used air bubbles to push ink to the nib. Users no longer had to dip their pens in ink. In 1888, another guy named John J. Loud launched the first ballpoint pen into the world, and it’s been smooth sailing since then.
This safety razor from West Coast Shaving is a good example of design that blends human-centered design and stunning aesthetics. The safety razor was easier to use than the previously common straight razor, and it led to a whole nation of young people dreaming of shaving. Without human-centered design, the razor may have never evolved into the safe, sleek form that we’ve come to love.
Human design helped show a company why their treadle pumps weren’t selling (hint: the hip-swaying involved in the operation was deemed inappropriate in the cultures they were trying to sell to). It’s what makes people think about each other when designing offices, and it’s what turns algae into a life-saving product. The book All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin talks about an interesting phenomenon. No one in New Hampshire has a doorbell. “If you’re a friend, come on in. If you’re a stranger, go away.” Using the same approach across all houses wouldn’t make sense. Human-centered design sets it apart.
So how do designers even think about human-centered design?
Delivery architecture is what we do when we want to convey a specific goal and use the feedback about that goal to make sure we made our point. Discovering the problem isn’t enough. We can’t only think about the “why” of things, we have to also consider what, who, how, and where. So we have a door. Why? So we can keep the elements out and create a safe way to get to one place or another. But that doesn’t tell us anything about how we should design the product, when people are going to be using these, where they function best, or what they stand for.
And this isn’t just true in product design– it’s true also in web design. Don Norman talks about how Google’s “non-error message” helps people figure out what they mean.
There’s nothing confusing about the non-error message. You see that Google helps you make the best decision– even if it’s one you didn’t know you needed. That’s subtle. That’s beautiful. That’s what human-centered design can do. The starting point in design differ, but the end-goal should always be the same: the user’s happiness. Sometimes, happiness comes with ease of use. All design, no matter whether it’s for products or for web products, need feedback. Feedback helps the user know they’re properly using something. Without feedback, we’d all be pushing pull doors and using hair clips as bookmarks.
Examples of Feedback in Product Design
Feedback is the light that comes on when you plug your computer in. It tells you the plug is working correctly. It’s the keyboard sound when you type. It’s the locking sound a door makes when it shuts behind you. And feedback is super important in human-centered design because people need feedback to know they’re using something as it was intended.
Jakob Neilson points out an important distinction about users and design:
Users are pragmatic and concrete. They typically have no idea how they might use a new technology based on a description alone.Users are not designers, and being able to envision something that doesn’t exist is a rare skill. (Conversely,designers are not users, so it doesn’t matter whether they personally think something is easy.)
Feedback in Web Design
So people need to receive feedback when they use a product. It’s not enough to create a product that does what we think it does. Apple talks about how feedback functions in their app development.
In UX design, haptic feedback is touch-based feedback that lets a user know there’s an error, an update, or an important notice. It’s what makes your phone vibrate when you touch a certain key, what makes your video game control vibrate when you’re interacting with the game. But really, all good user interface involves appropriate feedback. Users should be:
Feedback shows the user where they are, where they’re going, and how close they are to getting there.
Loading bars let the user know that something is happening in the back end, but progress bars tell them how far away they are from getting where they need to go.
Where to Go From Here
You don’t have to change your entire methodology, but you can incorporate some tools from human centered design into your own plan.
Evaluate your current process
Develop a persona for your clients to better understand their challenges
Develop a productive brainstorming session to generate new ideas
Pitch your plan by illustrating your ideas
Share your design concepts with your team
Explain your value proposition
Explore potential risks
Discover your differentiators
Ask for feedback from the group you’re hoping to serve
Get back to the grindstone and refine
The most important lesson to take from human-centered design is that you should keep things fluid. Don’t get tied to a particular methodology, don’t stubbornly refuse to innovate, and always keep your goals in line with the heart of the matter. Put humans above the bottom line and you’ll never go wrong.