At Talk Science to Me, we spend a lot of time sourcing images, both for our own use on our blog and website, and for our clients. The right image can be invaluable to a document, either by helping to break up long blocks of text or by giving the reader extra information about what they’re reading.
One of our recent projects gave us the opportunity to really put our image sourcing expertise to work. Talk Science was contracted by Public Architecture + Communication to find images for the new interpretive panels they are designing as part of the City of Vancouver’s Hastings Park project. We got to do some pretty neat
Whether you’re putting together a permanent exhibit or a last-minute powerpoint, it’s all but inevitable that you’ll encounter a point at which the most sensible option is to use material that someone else created. This is more frequently the case with images since they’re usually harder to recreate yourself. And in the age of Google Images and instant screenshots, there’s almost nothing in practical terms that can stop you from using any picture you want. Here at Talk Science however, we recommend being careful with your media usage— and we negotiate image permission for many of our clients.
There are some misconceptions about this. Some people seem to think that the fact that an image has been posted online, or even published at all, makes it fair game. Or that simple attribution (like citing a published text) is sufficient, with no need to consult the originator. Or that all images are freely available for non-commercial use. None of these is the case—the last is true of specific Creative Commons licenses, but not all. And while we’re at it, you don’t need to mail yourself anything in order to secure rights to work that you’ve created.