Stock Illustration


Well-Known Member
How many of you buy stock illustration, and why?

Is it purely costs and speed? I was just wondering how much more your clients would pay to have
something unique to them, or do you make sure you tweak it a bit from the original? How often do you find something that is exactly what you need?

Without this sounding too much like an advert, I see the price of some images on stock sites and realise I could supply better than
that for just a few quid more, and delivered tomorrow (sometimes!).

Your thoughts and opinions please.:icon_smile:
In my place of employment I come across a a large number of folks that come to get work printed and almost detest the concept of actually having to "pay" for artwork. In these cases using the cheapest quickest route is best for them and so this often does mean using stock photography, especially as we can access many images for as little as £2.

In my private work, I've never used them. I don't think I would want to unless it was some sort of wild photo I could never take (e.g. photo from a plane) that I planned to heavily edit and personalise. Otherwise I might feel like I was sort of cheating or being a bit cheap. There, are I'm sure exceptions to this but this is my "generalised" view.
If my customer (at work or private) has the budget for me to spend 3-6 hours at £30 per hour illustrating for them that's fine. If they're on a budget, I'm happy to buy them a stock image, that's kind of the point of stock images.

However, if it's a job where the final work will be quite well exposed and needs to be unique (like a recent job I've completed for a brewery) I wouldn't dream of using stock illustration.
At work we use Stock imagery all the time as you and the above comment said, it is quick, easy and cheap. Away from work, I rarely use stock images, unless I really have to. Clients generally want a job that is professional but will cost them a little as possible. So unless they really need something more unique, it is generally cheaper to pay a designer for everything, rather than having to pay a designer and an illustrator.
Bigdave, I think the point I was trying to make is, an illustration that would take the average graphic designer 3-6 hours, might only take an illustrator a couple of hours, and
could charge half the price. Just like I could put together a flyer design for someone, but it might take me all day to do it, whereas you could do it in two hours.

The kind of image I'm on about is your average cartoony clipart stuff, the kind of thing that I used to get asked to do three or four times a month for £50-100 a pop.
Five + years ago maybe, but not any more.