Have you seen this man?
16:37 on Wed, 13 Jan 2010 | Design | 2 Comments
Chances are this man may seem oddly familiar to you. Whether it's the reassuring glow of the perma-tan, the designer stubble, or the winning smile – something might ring a bell.
For those of you not familiar with this man, may I introduce 'stock man', hereafter known as 'Keith'.
Keith is perhaps one of the most commonly used stock photo models. He will be instantly recognisable to any graphic designer who has undertaken picture image research. He can often be found as an 'attractive young businessman' but can also be seen at home as a 'family man' as well as part of an 'attractive couple.' Keith can also be seen scuba diving, partying, having a massage, as well has countless other poses. He is a true polymath and man of our times.
Keith can be found plastered across micro-stock photography sites such as iStock, Fotolia and Comstock. These sites are often used by designers as they much cheaper than traditional libraries. Images will typically cost between one and ten pounds as opposed to perhaps several hundred pounds from Getty Images for a similar shot.
This is not to say that the photographs of Keith are of poor quality. They are actually of a very high commercial standard and stand up against anything from there more expensive libraries. The photographer is a chap called Yuri Arcurs who is otherwise known as the 'world's leading microstock photograper'. He apparently sells over 1 million individual licences a year.
Yuri prides himself on having a 'unique and recognisable style'. So that equates to over a million 'unique' designs that use his photography each year.
Most clients will stipulate that they want a professional looking website. Its a fair request, but should really be a given when employing an agency. A generic 'professional' online presence will only take you so far.
If you have faith in the value of your brand, and what it says about your business, you should think very carefully about who you use to implement this through design. A good agency will work hard to ensure that your brand is not watered down through the lazy use of imagery or through lack of time spent creating a unique presence.
I'm going to stick my neck out here to say that if your website/brochure/leaflet has Keith in it then the people doing your design probably aren't working hard enough for you. It's a bit like looking around a house you think you might buy and seeing where the owner has put a shelf up 'on the wonk'. It's not a deal-breaker in itself, but it makes you wonder what else they have done shoddily.
I would love to know if you have seen Keith in your travels around the internet. I have found a few examples to get us started and would love to know where you have spotted him.