Making Mood Boards! How To Create Gorgeous Design Boards That Won't Get You Sued!
Isn't the internet a fabulous creature?? Everything right there at your fingertips ... you can find just about any answer you need ... eye-candy galore ... pretty pretty photos ripe for the picking!! Just grab ANYTHING in Google images or up on Pinterest and it's now YOURS!! Right?????
The photos you find on a search online are NOT YOURS to take ... period. It's something that a lot of people do and a lot of people are breaking the law. Unless you have purchased the photos, have DIRECT PERMISSION to use them, or have taken them yourself ... guess what:
YOU CAN'T USE THEM IN A MOOD BOARD.
I don't make a lot of mood boards ... if any ... I realize that a lot of website designers make them to show off how a brand was created and what inspired the website design ... I know it's a great way to get a lot of traffic via Pinterest and also a lot of Instagram love ... I actually love the craft of putting together a gorgeous design board ... it's very therapeutic ... it's calming ... and when I do make them, I make sure I OWN the images outright or have permission.
For instance ... the one below uses images I downloaded from Kate Max Stock:
When I use the images by Kate Max Stock I am using them with permission because I am a member of her stock image shop ... I don't have to credit her, unless I want to ... I am free to do anything except resell them (duh!!) and I love her style and her eye.
HEATHER, YOU'RE WRONG ... I *CAN* USE IMAGES I FIND ONLNE AS LONG AS I CLEARLY CREDIT THE SOURCE
Mmmmm, nope!! You're wrong. Now, are the chances high that you'll be 'called out' and actually sued over using an image you downloaded off Google and Pinterest, etc?? Probably not. But is it worth it?? I personally know people who have been sent a legit letter and were sued for using images that they didn't own ... and it sucked for them.
With all the gorgeous LEGAL images out there for the plucking ... why even steal??? For instance, the images I used below were purchased legally and I absolutely adore them ...
Now, beyond the whole 'stealing' aspect of using images you don't have permission for ... what about the fact that:
YOU'RE USING WORK YOU DIDN'T CREATE.
If you are a wedding planner grabbing images for mood boards that you didn't actually design for an event yourself, then doesn't that mean you're using a wedding or event that another planner did design?? How irritating that is!!!! To me it's the same as when people 're-gram' an image of something they didn't make themselves as "inspiration" for their following ...
DID YOU CREATE IT?? NOPE?? THEN DON'T SHARE IT.
It's infuriating when people do this! And don't tell me you 'didn't realize what you're doing' ... you do. Stop it.
In closing, I do love mood boards ... they have their purpose ... it's fun to show clients how an event could come together using photos that have a flow ... it's a quick way to say:
LOOK AT HOW ALL THESE IDEAS COME TOGETHER TO TELL A STORY
I say do it! Do it for blog posts! Do it for your clients! Do it for social media use! But do it in an honest way that is legal and doesn't put you in a position to steal the work of other people.
FIND AN IMAGE YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE??
Track down the source! Upload the image to a 'reverse image search' website and find the photographer and ASK THEM IF YOU CAN USE IT. If you don't get an answer back then go find a similar image that you purchase ... or better yet??
RECREATE IT YOURSELF IN AN EDITORIAL SHOOT.
At the end of the day what you do is your business ... but consider this: even if other vendors aren't directly telling you that they hate you using their images or designs to make yourself look awesome -- it doesn't mean they aren't thinking it -- and if they are thinking it they may not want to work with you as often ... so it could be costing you referrals ... and that would suck.