Why using clip art can discredit your brand

By Wendy Rall Volume 4 Article 4

I received a newsletter from a media source that I had never seen before. The moment that I saw the logo, I suspected that it was clip art. In order to satisfy my curiosity, I went online to do some research. I found that my hunch was correct. Seventy-five (75) companies that were found online are currently using that same icon in their logos! Professionals from doctors and landscapers to consultants and beverage companies are all using this popular piece of clip-art also known as stock-art. 

So what is the problem with this? First of all, it appears that you do not value your brand. If you are not going to invest in yourself by creating a professional brand image, then why should the consumer invest in your brand with their purchase? Quality branding is very important, especially in this highly competitive age we are in. You are a pioneer in this industry, this is still the beginning and if you plan to be a leader and build and maintain a strong brand, it is best to have that reflected in your brand identity.

Secondly, when using clip-art, the image is not truly "your" logo. You cannot trademark art that you do not own. Even if you purchased a download from a stock image website, it does not give you ownership of that image. It also makes your product/service questionable. If your brand identity does not reflect professionalism and quality, then why would your customer believe that you are using quality ingredients or hiring knowledgeable staff members? 

The image is so important people. Truly, even the most gorgeous piece of clip art can directly harm your brand image. The famous lotus flower clip-art, currently in use by numerous cannabis companies is a perfect example of what not to do.


Ask your designer. I believe that many people have been innocent victims of poor designers. They are unaware that their brand identity contains art that they cannot trademark and is in use by other brands. I have clients who have had this experience. In these "digital days" of everyone trying to do it themselves, there are many realizing that it is not a wise choice. Many hire inexperienced designers on bargain brand websites and find out the hard way that you get what you pay for. Feel free to ask your designer where the image came from and if it is original art.

When preparing to create your valued brand identity, remember to consider what a huge part of our business it is, and make a wise choice to be original.