Wallpart: Online Print Shop “Stealing” Arists’ Work is Not What You Think
Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 30, 2015
We have to start with this warning: please do not visit Wallpart’s website (you’ll read why). Earlier this spring, illustrators were up in arms when it appeared that an online business, Wallpart, was appropriating their work and selling high resolution prints. Social media was inundated with reports of people finding their work on Wallpart’s website, articles were written on photography and illustration blogs and forums, and a petition – of questionable effectiveness – was started to shut down the website.
A closer investigation revealed the Wallpart is not what it appears to be. First, a search we conducted on Wallpart’s website pulled up on odd collection of poster “art.” In addition to illustrations and paintings, search terms pull up nonsensical images such as snapshots, web banners, and random web graphics. (The site’s Twitter account also shows a similarly random selection of web-based images.) Search results are inconsistent; illustrators searching for their own work have been stymied when repeated searches showed vastly different results. Secondly, the site’s Terms and Conditions claim (in broken English) that they “…don’t steal photos or images that other people have shared and pass them off as your own. We have no base of images and doesn’t host and store the image on servers… the site uses the data of the most known search engines.” [sic] And third, the site’s counter, claiming over 3,000 happy customers, is in fact a static image.
It now appears the Wallpart is actually an elaborate phfishing scheme, devised to trick visitors into entering in their personal data. Comic artist John Ponikvar summarized his findings on his blog, Peter & Company. The site features a prominent “Report Violation” link, which appears to collect the personal data from anyone filling out the form. As Ponikvar reported, the Report Violation form “…is actually the main purpose for the site’s existence – they completely anticipate artists being upset about their work supposedly being sold, so they developed a system to exploit those who complain.” Additionally, the site‘s source code is larded with malware and malicious code; one of our board members reported that her personal computer was hijacked by the website as she was looking into the site’s functionality.
The site’s search feature appears to use web scraping software, which funnels Google’s image search results into Wallpart’s storefront layout. That explains both the oddity and inconsistency of the search results. People seeking to report the site to Wallpart’s webhost have been confused on where to report the website. The site appears to frequently change webhosts, and utilizes CloudFlare software, which acts as a reverse proxy for websites, delivers content quickly and, ironically, protects sites from online threats such as spamming and DDOS.
Below: Wallpart's footer includes a prominent link to what appears to be a DMCA/copyright infringement reporting page (highlighted). The Report Violation form in fact collects personal data used in pfishing.
The Sketchbook Project: A Mobile Library Like No Other
Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 08, 2015
Well into its world tour, The Sketchbook Project takes the concept of a mobile library into territory dear to the hearts of artists, illustrators, diarists, and obsessive doodlers. Their Mobile Library is housed in a vehicle that strongly resembles a foodtruck, but contains a selection of books submitted by artists around the world. Visitors can thumb through a collection curated from the Project’s Brooklyn library of 34,000 sketchbooks, contributed from creators in over 135 countries. Currently, the Mobile Library is in the middle of its world tour, traveling the west coast before heading up to Canada.
The Sketchbook Project’s home base is the Brooklyn Art Library, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. The Library is a simple storefront lined with shelves upon shelves of sketchbooks, barcoded and searchable by details such as location of origin, media, and topic. Locals can acquire library cards and check out two sketchbooks at a time, or read at the library’s long tables. In addition to the Mobile Truck and Brooklyn Art Library, the Project has a Digital Library, where web users can browse view over 17,000 online sketchbooks.
The Sketchbook Project was founded by new SCAD graduates Shane Zucker and Steven Peterman in Atlanta, GA in 2006, and moved to Brooklyn in 2009. It was conceived as a way of combining hand-made traditions with new Web-based technologies. Illustrators wanting to participate in the Project can apply to submit sketchbooks through March 31st, 2016. The Project also organizes periodic collaborative challenges, such as their current Print Exchange. Participants create and submit 11 5x7 prints on the theme, “Greetings From A Distant Land” and receive back 10 prints, swapped by Project staff from other submissions.
The Cost of Logo Design: Advice from a Graphic Designer
Posted by Rebecca Blake on June 17, 2015
Brooklyn-based graphic designer Roberto Blake has done us all a favor. In his video, “How Much Does a Logo Design Cost,” he educates non-designers on what to expect when soliciting a bid on a logo design. Business owners hoping to get a flat price quote will be disappointed; from the outset Blake makes it clear that the cost varies greatly depending on a number of factors: the kind of logo, complexity, color variations, alternate designs, etc. Instead, Blake prepares the non-designer to have a clear discussion with the logo designer, advising against engaging in bargaining for the lowest fee possible and encouraging the client to engage in a transparent discussion of budget and needs.
In outlining the design process, from research through execution of the design, through production of final press- and web-ready files, Blake makes clear the effort and time the logo designer expends. He also cautions the viewer that the copyrights to the logo do not transfer to the client until the rights have been negotiated and paid for. He concludes his video with a discussion of a flat-fee versus hourly rate fee basis, and payment schedules.
While Blake intended the video to be a teaching tool for clients, it’s also a wonderful resource for new designers inexperienced in negotiating with clients on logo design projects. Experienced designers will find the video helpful as well. It’s the perfect link to email anyone who asks, “Why do you charge so much for just a logo?”
Blake’s YouTube channel features a number of videos on design and photography best practices and techniques.
Guild Member Joseph Caserto Responds to Pratt Crowdsourcing Contest
Posted by Rebecca Blake on June 11, 2015
Proud Pratt Institute alum Joseph Caserto was shocked to learn that his alma mater issued a call for students to participate in a crowd-sourced mascot design contest. As a long-time Guild member and working professional, Caserto was well versed in the deleterious impact of crowdsourcing on the design and illustration professions. He reached out to Guild advocacy liaison, Lisa Shaftel, who provided him with sample letters protesting crowd sourcing. Caserto constructed his own response and sent it to Pratt with a firm but respectful letter expressing his disappointment with the institution:
“It is imperative for you to understand that by asking designers to work for free, you are exploiting them. This is at best a poor lesson for Pratt to be teaching students, and at worst contributing to a practice that is damagof
ing to the industry that these young professionals are entering, and in which they are expected to compete.”
Rather than resorting to crowdsourcing, Caserto recommended that Pratt solicit work via a program similar to Design Corps, a project led by the late Charles Goslin when Caserto studied at Pratt. Through Design Corps, select students are invited to work on a client project under the mentorship of a professor, in exchange for course credit and an agreed-upon stipend. Caserto shared his concerns in an article on his blog, “Pratt Sets a Terrible Example by Crowdwourcing a Logo.”
Helen Matusow-Ayres, Pratt’s Vice President for Student Affairs, responded to Caserto with a polite explanation that the mascot design is part of a larger identity project being handled by a professional design firm headed by a Pratt alumnus. She explained that crowdsourcing the project was an attempt to “engage the Pratt community.” While Caserto appreciated the courtesy of the response, he didn’t buy their justification: “…the Institute is sending a powerful, dangerous message to students that it is an acceptable business practice, and to professionals that our alma mater condones one of the biggest challenges to our livelihoods.”
Photo by Glenn Glasser.
Keep Your Art Director Happy: 10 Mistakes Illustrators Make
Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 24, 2015
Art director Giuseppe Castellano has compiled a list of 10 common mistakes illustrators make in delivering their artwork. The advice covers basic errors in file delivery that are guaranteed to sour a working relationship. Much of the advice covers basics, such as file type, color space, specs, and cropping. However, Castellano also provides insight into what makes art directors sing when he asks illustrators to push beyond the obvious in selecting their color palette, and in considering composition and point of view.
His strongest advice is to avoid springing nasty surprises on the client – by producing something unexpected, being late, or being unprofessional. He reminds that art directors have a hierarchy to answer to, and often have the training and experience to work with illustrators who are struggling with an assignment. Castellano encourages illustrators to keep their art directors abreast of any difficulties they’re having with meeting the terms of an assignment: “As long as you stay communicative, you and your client can work through any issue together.”Previous Page Next Page
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