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I made my daughter's birthday invitation as well as her thank you cards recently. Now, I have a few colleagues at work who would like me to design invites for them - and are willing to pay me! That is great, since I am going to be a SAHM in the fall and was thinking about starting some type of invitation/announcement/card business in the future.
My questions for you veteran designers are:
1. How do you find graphics that are not under copyright? I am willing to look at pay sites, but don't even know where to start. What do you do when someone requests a theme like "Elmo" or "Blues Clues"?
2. Same with fonts. I don't want to violate copyright, but also have found that sometimes a certain font is "free" on one site and "pay" on another. I am trying to look at the fine print, but it's hazy in some cases.
3. Are there any other "pitfalls" that you think a beginner might need to be aware of?
So, do you have favorite sites that you are willing to share? Any insight would be much appreciated!
1. For graphics that are not copyrighted you can look around for stock images. Stock images are usually free to use, but sometimes they have rules attached. For things like Blues Clues and others, I wouldn't put that on a card and sell it. I would let the buyer know that I am unable to do those designs because they are copyright (fill in the blank) and would possibly leave me open to being sued by the company who designed them. I would then make suggestions for alternative designs that may be close/similar. Instead of Blues Clues, a cute and fun puppy theme for example. I always make my own graphics and designs when I sell things, never borrowing from larger name brands and the like. That way I can ensure that I am not breaking any copyright laws and the work is my own. Therefore, the rules for selling them would be up to me. So start by doing a search for stock images or stock clipart. See where it gets you.
2. As with making your own graphics, there are ways to create you very own fonts. It takes a bit of time to do, but the font would be yours and yours alone. To do what you wish with it. If you are pressed for time, you could use the basic fonts that are found on any computer. I don't think they have any set rules on not using them for paid projects. They aren't as pretty as some of the fonts out there, but they will work. If you find a free font that you really like, try contacting the website owner and find out more information regarding usage. Some sites may have "usage" sections on their websites.
3. The biggest one I can think of is not getting paid for your work. Just be sure you have a secure way of being paid. Make sure that your communication is clear with the buyer and you know exactly what they are looking for. I have made design sets before and the client wasn't clear on what they wanted. I was left with an unsold set and having to redo a new one for them. Turns into a big time sink and can be rather disappointing when you have spent a lot of energy on a design that has no buyer. Offer previews/sketches that are watermarked and copyrighted by you just to ensure you and the buyer are on the same page and you don't end up finishing a project only to have it rejected.
I know there are more of you who can help...anybody want to give input?? Please? (down on knees begging)
I'm really most interested in how to know that you can use a particular font or graphic on something you're selling. I know that images like elmo are mostly copyrighted, but what about other clips and graphics and fonts? For example, I've looked at some pay font sites and even reading the legal mumbo-jumbo doesn't always state clearly that you can use the font for business purposes. Is it just understood that if you pay for it, you can use it? Argh! I don't want to break the law as I get started doing invites for people! And, I'm just in the beginning stages of building a portfolio, so I don't want to put anything in it that isn't "kosher", kwim?
Stock art is wonderful for photographs & such. I use www.sxc.hu for FREE photos that have limited usage rights All you have to do is sign up. Another great site is www.gettyimages.com. Although that one is a pay site.
As far as the fonts go, it's always been my understanding that if you have them on your system you can use them. There might be usage errors that come up when you try to make a PDF. When that happens I realize there is a copyright problem so I try to change out the font. At the moment I have fonts that are from free websites, but the majority of them came with my Adobe software.