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Illustration/Animation Project Yule Log 2014 Donates Licensing Fee to C/I

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 08, 2014

Dan Savage © Yule Log 2.014The second season of Yule Log (Yule Log 2.014) has been published, featuring the illustration and animation efforts of over 80 artists. The website features 70 short animations of yule logs curated by the animation studio Oddfellows. This year’s selection features the imaginative creations we’ve come to expect, such as the espionage-inspired Silent Knights by Joe Russ, Ben Tillett, and Syd Weiler; Chris Lohouse and Salih Abdul-Karim’s homage to 1920s cartooning, Stay Tooned; and Erin Kilkenny’s lovely retro, Smoke on the Water.

Yule Log creator Dan Savage designed the project to reimagine WPIX-11 (NY) TV’s Yule Log broadcast loop. Last year’s publication was a huge success, with over 1 million viewings and extensive coverage in industry blogs. This year, Viacom/MTV licensed Yule Log 2.014 to play in their lobby. Their licensing fee – all $2,000 – was donated to C/I, an organization which teaches computing, leadership, and professionalism skills to underserved high school students in after-school programs, camps, and paid summer internships.

Top right: Dan Savage's contribution to Yule Log.

Below: (clockwise) Silent Knights by Joe Russ, Ben Tillett, and Syd Weiler; Stay Tooned by Chris Lohouse and Salih Abdul-Karim; So You Say There's a Chance by Ege Soyeur and Nick Petley; Log Ride by Impactist; Smoke on the Water by Erin Kilkenny; and Hello Old Friend by James Wignall.

© Yule Log 2.014

Graphic Artists Guild Advocacy 2014

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 25, 2014

2014 has seen a lot of discussion on copyright and intellectual property, with roundtables scheduled by the US Copyright Office, and House Judiciary Committee hearings. The Guild has been an active participant, representing the interests creators, and providing the perspective or working artists. Guild Executive Director Patricia McKiernan, Advocacy Liaison Lisa Shaftel, and Guild member Ed Shems spoke at a number of hearings and panel discussions. So far this year, we've presented seven times (in hearings, roundtables, and panel discussions), submitted two comment letters to the Copyright Office in response to their notices of inquiry, joined an amicus brief on behalf of the creators of Superman and artists Jack Kirby, and contributed to articles. A full listing of our advocacy efforts is below.


US Copyright Office Roundtable discussion, “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization”
March 10 & 11, 2014, US Copyright Office, Washington DC
Advocacy Liaison Lisa Shaftel on the panel, and Executive Directory Patricia McKiernan in attendance

Comment Letter to the US Copyright Office notice of Inquiry about “Strategic Plan for Recordation of Documents” 
March 2014
Composed by Lisa Shaftel

US Copyright Office Roundtables on Reengineering of Recordation of Documents
March 28, 2014, Columbia School of Law, New York City
Transcript available here
Patricia McKiernan on the panel

Comment Letter to the US Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry about “Technological Upgrades to Registration and Recordation Functions” 
May 2014
Composed by Lisa Shaftel

House Judiciary Committee Hearing on First Sale Doctrine 
June 2, 2014
Guild Member Ed Shems on the panel, Lisa Shaftel and Patricia McKiernan in attendance

US Patent & Trademark Office, Office of Policy and International Affairs- Copyrights, Roundtable Discussions on “Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages”
June 25, 2014, Harvard University School of Law, Cambridge MA.
Transcript available here
Webcast viewable online
Ed Shems on the panel, speaking on “the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment”

Guild joined amicus brief in support of “Superman” creators, Siegel and Schuster, and artist Jack Kirby
June 2014
The Graphic Artists Guild joined the National Writers Union (NWU), the Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in signing on to an amicus brief on behalf of Laura Siegel, daughter of the co-creator of “Superman,” Jerry Siegel, along with Shuster, and Jack Kirby, an early Marvel Comics artist. The families of Siegel and Shuster, and of Kirby, petitioned the US Supreme Court hear their appeals of two Circuit Court decisions which rejected their attempts to regain the copyrights. The US Supreme Court refused to review the Appellate Court decision. Warner Brothers, present owner of Marvel Comics and the rights, won.

Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts Symposium “Creation is Not Its Own Reward: Making Copyright Work for Authors and Performers”
October 10, 2014, Columbia School of Law, New York City
Webcast available
Lisa Shaftel on the panel, and Patricia McKiernan in attendance

Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts Symposium Issue Submission for Fall 2014
Composed by Lisa Shaftel

ICOGRADA 2014 General Assembly Meeting, and Professional Platform Meeting,
October 25 & 26, 2014, New York City
Patricia McKeirnan spoke on speculative practices.
Rebecca Blake, Graphic Artists Guild Representative to ICOGRADA and Patricia McKiernan in attendance

Roundtable discussion on United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Farida Shaheed’s report, “Copyright Policy And The Right To Science And Culture”
October 28, 2014, NYU School of Law, New York City 
Lisa Shaftel on the panel

Transition to Guild Regional Structure Completed

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 18, 2014

This year saw the Guild make a momentous decision to move from a chapter to a regional structure. The decision to do so was voted on by the entire National board, which overwhelmingly supported the transition. During the summer, Guild members were invited to run for regional representative positions, replacing the previous Chapter president model. After a contested election in the New England region, the new board was announced.

The Guild is now organized into five regions: Eastern (representative Colin Nichols), Midwestern (representative Diane Barton), New England (representative Todd LeMieux), Southern (representative Mark Bloechl), and Western (representative Sara L. Chapman). Guild social media has also been changed to reflect the regional structure, with individual accounts set up for Twitter and Facebook, and local subgroups set up underneath the National LinkedIn group. We encourage creators to follow the regional social media accounts for news on local activities and items of interest.

Graphic Artists Guild Eastern RegionEastern
Facebook: Graphic Artists Guild Eastern Region
Twitter: GAGuild_EA
(includes former New York and At-Large Chapters)

 

Graphic Artists Guild Midwestern RegionMidwestern
Facebook: Graphic Artists Guild Midwestern Region
Twitter: GAGuild_MW
(includes former Chicago and At-Large Chapters)

 

Graphic Artists Guild New England ChapterNew England
Facebook: Graphic Artists Guild New England Region
Twitter: GAGuild_NE
(includes former Boston and At-Large Chapters)

 

Graphic Artists Guild Southern RegionSouthern
Facebook: Graphic Artists Guild Southern Region
Twitter: GAGuild_SO
(includes former At-Large Chapter)

 

Graphic Artists Guild Western RegionWestern
Facebook: Graphic Artists Guild Western Region
Twitter: GAGuild_WE
(includes former Northern California, Seattle SPGA, and At-Large Chapters)

Best Typography Websites Showcases Fonts in Action

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 12, 2014

Designer Jeremiah Shoaf showcases webfonts in action in his ongoing blog series, “The Best Typography-Based Sites…” Every month, Shoaf showcases his favorite websites, discusses the typography behind each, and provides links to both the websites and the foundries featuring the webfonts. The series is avaluable tool for designers — the web fonts are shown in action, and a wide range of websites are covered. For example, “The Best Typography-Based Sites of October 2014,” covers sites created for a design and illustration studio, a law firm, a restaurant, and a magazine.

The blog is hosted on TypeWolf, Shoaf’s website determined to “help designers choose the perfect font for their next design project.” (Earlier articles in “The Best…” series are hosted on Type and Grids.) For those who need a daily inspiration, Typewolf publishes a “Site of the Day” as well. A comprehensive resources page includes learning resources, links to purchasing and hosting webfonts, foundries and type designer, blogs, forums, organizations, and books.

Below: The Best Typography-Based Sites of October included this elegant design for Violaine & Jérémy, utilizing Stanley, Regular, and Caslon typefaces. Image used with permission.

Violaine and Jeremy interface, featured Best Typography-Based Sites of October

So What Kind of Logo Can You Get for $5?

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 11, 2014

Fiverr advertisementSacha Greif wondered just that when he heard about the bargain basement job site Fiverr, which connects buyers with sellers willing to provide their services – from business plans to programming to creative services – for only $5. Fiverr has been aggressively promoting their design services, exhorting businesses to “put an end to being ripped off” by paying $100 for a logo. In contrast, the website promises “unique design, fast and affordable.”

Grief had reason be intrigued. In  2011, he started an online service, Folyo, which connects businesses to vetted freelance designers. However, unlike Fiverr, Folyo places the budgets for the services provided by their designers at between $1,000 and $10,000, depending on the project.  Fiverr’s promise of “a custom design project” for only $5 seemed impossible. To investigate the quality of work he would receive, Greif created a fictitious company, SkyStats, and went to Fiverr to find a designer to create a logo.

As described in his article on Medium and on his blog, Grief noticed that the quality of the designers’ work quickly dropped off as he browsed through their portfolios: “…the quality would suddenly drop after a few pages, quickly going from sleek, glossy renders to amateurish, clumsy clip-art…these designers were appropriating other designers’ work, and passing it off as their own.” A Google reverse image search confirmed his suspicions. (Fiverr designers have a reputation for stealing work; Jeff Fisher of Logomotives has long been documenting Fiverr designer ripoffs on Twitter.) Greif also discovered that the claim of a $5 logo was a bit misleading; requesting “add-ons” such as source files or copyrights to the work added a whopping $20-40 to the fee.

Greif finally settled on three designers who portfolios appeared to carry only original work. The designers reassured him that they would only deliver original concepts. The initial logo designs ranged, in Greif’s opinion, from “bad to surprisingly good”, and he posted the results on his blog. That’s the point at which the story became complicated. Commentators on the blog soon reported that the work of two of the designers – the best work – was ripped off, and posted links to stock agencies carrying the graphics. In fact, the origin of one of the designs, a dimensional cloud graphic, is still up in the air – no pun intended. The work appears both in the Dribbble and Behance portfolios of a Russian designer, and on the stock image site, Dreamstime.

Greif contacted Fiverr to complain that their designers are selling infringed work, and not surprisingly, never heard back. (Fiverr’s terms state that services which engage in copyright or trademark infringement may be removed from the site, and the sellers of such services may be banned.) Greif is remarkably sanguine about cut-rate logos, comparing them to fast-food burgers. But his experience with Fiverr has soured him: “…people trying to deceive you by passing other people’s work as their own, and stock art as original work is another matter altogether. Sadly, this is the kind of incentives you create when you drive price down to such an extent.

Fiverr supplied logo 1 and original source

Fiverr supplied logo #2 and original source

Fiverr supplied logo #3 with original stock image

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