Open Thread: Do you watermark?

Rules change all the time, like whether newborns should sleep on their sides or stomachs. The same seems to be true of artists using watermarks. Everyone has an opinion and ultimately every artist does what they feel is right for their art on the web. I thought it would be interesting to see where our readers stand on the topic and to explore some updated ideas on the issues. Once upon a time, watermarks were for protecting your art from theft. But not anymore. Take the poll and then I’ll explain.

What follows is my personal opinion. It should not be taken as fact. We all ultimately do what we feel comfortable with when it comes to sharing our art across the web.

We’ve all heard the two sides to this argument:

1. Watermarks protect your art from theft.

2. Watermarks are ugly and put off buyers.

One of these statements is myth. Can you guess which one?

Watermarks DO NOT protect your art from theft. However, they don’t necessarily put off buyers and they don’t have to be ugly. So what is the purpose of a watermark in the 21st century?

Credit.

It’s like the telephone game, where you stand in a line and pass a message on to the person next you. By the time the message reaches the end of the line it’s usually a far cry from the original. Imagine a similar situation with an artwork that’s been repinned thirty times on Pinterest. Maybe you were the original source of the pin and you put in the description your copyright info. But the next ten people who repinned your artwork changed the description to, Beautiful! or Stunning! Then it’s repinned from those people another ten times. By the time the 50th person see it they may have no idea where the image came from or knowledge of its creator. But. If you’ve put a small watermark with your info, like my painting shown to the left, wherever you art ends up a viewer will know you as the creator.

I’ve placed the copyright info on my painting The Moon off to the side, that way it doesn’t detract from the artwork but still gives me clear credit and a name for viewers to Google.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments if you use a watermark on your art or if you don’t! We want to hear your thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “Open Thread: Do you watermark?

  1. Hi Amanda! Yes, I include my name, the copyright symbol and date of 1st publication on all my uploaded images. For art pieces it is color toned to blend with what’s behind it and photographs a light grey. It’s there but does not draw attention to itself. The mark ensures a piece points back to me.

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