Should you watermark your artwork?

Click here to read the original article on the Twine blog.

So you’ve made some awesome artwork and now it’s time to share it with the rest of the world. What better way than uploading to the web? You’ll get maximum exposure and your message will be spread far and wide. The majority of artists who share their artwork online via portfolio sites, social networks, blogs or personal websites do so with no problems at all. However, there are a small number of cases in which artists have had their online work stolen. This can make creatives afraid of sharing their work.

In terms of the wider picture, this type of crime only affects a small group of people, so you shouldn’t let it put you off showcasing your work online. But what can you do to safeguard yourself against online theft?

Well, a lot of folks turn to watermarking. But, watermarking isn’t a watertight guarantee that your artwork won’t be stolen. Unfortunately, if somebody is really serious about stealing your artwork, in reality there is little you can do to stop them. Even if your work is watermarked, there are people you can hire over the internet for a small fee that will remove the mark, leaving the image unblemished and pristine.

So, should you use watermarks at all if they can be so easily removed? The choice is yours. As with most things, there are pros and cons. Some creatives use watermarks as free advertising for their brand, and they do make images slightly harder to steal. But there are some points that you should be aware of.

Depending on the kind of watermark you use, they could impact on your potential as an artist and your ability to hire clients. Yes, a large, obtrusive watermark may dissuade thieves from taking your work, if they’re looking for a quick image to paste in their blog article. But, perhaps your work being shared and going viral isn’t such a bad thing? Think what it could do for your reputation. Images with a visible watermark are much less likely to be shared across social media.

And, let’s face it, the majority of watermarks are ugly. It can ruin the viewing experience, and they don’t show your work to its full potential. Something to bear in mind — when clients are looking for artwork or images, they’re much more likely to scroll past the obscured, watermarked images because they can’t see them clearly. Time is of the essence, and clients want to find the right creative fast.

When designing your watermark, there’s a fine line to be tread — one false sway into Comic Sans land and you’re into the realms of the cheap and tacky. Some argue that watermarks make your artwork look more professional. Pasting “Copyright SusieBubbles 2014” in a free font across your work does not achieve this effect.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.