I am writing this because I can no longer bear to keep my guilt to myself. The fact is, today I earn a six-figure income by using products of artists and photographers who for all I know may barely be eating well. Yet I use their work as the basis for many of my own creations. Their work frequently serves as the inspiration I use when I am asked to design something a major corporation, government or nonprofit organization may use.
You see, I design graphics for websites. Many artistic designs and layouts you may see when you log into a corporate site or look at an online magazine or newsletter site are products to which I have contributed. The companies who use these products pay me embarrassingly well for the work I give them. Of course, I don’t receive any royalties or credits for my product. My only reward is the salary or commission I am paid for designing and producing the product that my client uses for their business. However, I will confess that I do not reward those who created the visual posters that hang from every wall in my workroom, though those creations serve as the inspiration for many of the website designs and logos that I create.
When I began my business, I had little more than the bare room in my warehouse district apartment. I began covering the bare walls with posters and larger-than-life photos that I obtained using an all posters coupon. I’d order posters and purchase them with Groupon coupons; when they arrived I put them up on the walls of the room where I worked designing web sites and layouts. Often my designs were directly inspired by the scenes in one of the posters or prints. The scene from a movie theater marquee served as a format to design the “address list” section of one web site. Today my company office is lined with posters and prints that I collect using Groupons from allposters.ca. Customers visiting the office will find advertisements for a can of soda facing a print of a Van Gogh masterpiece. And the next creative idea for a new website design can come from either – or both. But the customer will be rewarded by receiving a web product that carries the work of past masters from prior centuries forward into the brave new world of the future.