Photography essentials: How to design a watermark.

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

To protect your #photographs it's important to create a simple yet bold and memorable logo that stands out without stealing the stage from the images it's applied to. #Monochromatic in color it should act as a simple reminder of your intellectual #property rights. 

I was recently asked for some advice on this in a forum so I thought I would share my tips on designing one. It is something a lot of beginning #photographers struggle with so hopefully what I have to say is of some help.

Ideally, a #logo should vindicate something about the #business it represents or some #concept behind it, but if it’s just your name I would keep it as simple as possible. This is particularly prevalent if you wish to apply it to a variety of different #photographic styles, now and down the track.

I would also highly recommend with just going with a logo-type as opposed to a #graphic as such (similar to those used in quality restaurant names). This is much more #stylish#modern and #clean so as not to detract from the photograph it is applied to. It is also worth noting that your watermark should not overpower the strength of your #photograph so you don’t create a visual competition between your logo and your image.

Also, think about your target #market – are you aiming your images at #upmarket or trendy buyers? Are you presenting a #conservative approach to photography or more of a contemporary approach? All these aspects should play a role in choosing the type of #logo, or #typeface you want to go with. 

If you are unsure of this, look at some upmarket and budget end photographer's websites and identify the difference between their logo choices and #applications. A lot of the time a logo can indicate a faux-photographer from a pro – or at least play a role in a #consumer drawing that conclusion.

Sometimes choosing a font can be difficult because there are so many to choose from. My advice is to stick with one which is clean, easily #legible at various sizes, and one that is not too decorative. Take a basic font like Futura, Helvetica or Arial and build your design around it paying attention to the form of the font (i.e. the x-height and the shape of the counters, etc). 

Equally, you could take a more decorative font like Bickham Script and do the same thing, however before committing to a highly decorative font check its legibility at smaller sizes, particularly when printed if you plan on printing your photographs. I prefer Sans Serif over Serif typefaces when it comes to developing a photographic #watermark, however, this is purely a personal preference.

In the end, watermarks need to be #legible, easily applied at different sizes on different #applications, and ideally work in one #colour if necessary (ideally created in a vector-based program like Illustrator or something similar so they are infinitely scalable).

Books on logo design.

Nick Griffin

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