Lovely, Yet Linkless: Why Giving Designers Credit is Everyone’s Job

Have you ever seen a gorgeous interior design image on a blog or Pinterest and wondered who the designer was? If you were left to wonder, then that designer’s work is probably being shared here, there and everywhere without proper recognition. That’s a problem that becomes everyone’s problem–and responsibility.

Forgive me for temporarily perpetuating the problem, but here’s an example. Look at this photo of a ArchitectureArtDesigns-1056kitchen in an old barn that was shared online. If you click on the image, you’ll see that I’ve added a link from the photo to the site that uploaded it into a collection of barn kitchens. But the site itself has not built any links from its publication of the image to the designer or whomever originated this image. Nor has the site given the designer, photographer or anyone else involved in this project even the merest courtesy of a mention.

Usually, blogs give credit  somewhere in the post. But is that adequate? Think about it: Anyone can come along and repost that image on Pinterest, a website or wherever–without sharing the source information. The connection between the source and that image will then forever be lost as the image bounces from site to site and blog to blog. Adding a link doesn’t solve this disconnection problem, but it’s the right thing to do.

Designers should take some steps to protect their work, such as by adding a watermark on top of their images–subtly citing their firm name, copyright, etc.–that will remain even as the images make the Internet rounds. (Side note: I recommend a watermark instead of putting your name in a corner, which can be cropped out.)

It is our responsibility as bloggers, tweeters, Facebook posters and content providers of all types, however, to cite the source. Acknowledge the designer/architect/contractor/builder or other source, somehow and somewhere in your material. (And be sure you have the right to share the image. But that’s a topic for another day.)

Even repinning a lovely, yet linkless image that fails to hail the creator basically robs that professional of the time, talents and energy he or she put into that project or concept.

Look at the photos in a respected print magazine’s features. These images have captions and/or photo credits, which properly attribute the work.

That’s Journalism Ethics 101, and all of us who “print” information in the digital world are, in fact, journalists who should follow that lead. If we don’t, then we can’t cry foul when someone steals our blog or original idea and passes it off as their own, right?


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