Stock or Not?
When choosing illustrations or photography for your food packaging design, it is easy to go for the cheaper or quicker route and go for stock. So what are the benefits?
We look at the relative merits of using off-the-shelf imagery versus creating your own content.
Cost or price?
The price for Stock illustrations and photography has greatly reduced as more and more content producers become available.
Consolidating several online stock libraries has further reduced the cost of purchasing new images but has limited the number of independent suppliers in the market.
The price you pay for choosing stock imagery may be more in the long run as you pay for the different usages of an image, not the ownership of it. The cost of using an image on packaging may differ from using the same image in advertising or marketing.
Taking the long view on creating your very own image library or bank of illustrations may save money over time.
Quality & Quantity
Along with reductions in price have come improvements in quality and variety of images available.
Contributors to image libraries have become better at anticipating the potential layouts and usage of the images and can provide several different options on the same subject matter.
Improvements in technology have greatly improved the quality of High Res digital images that can be used at any scale, from packaging to Exhibition stands.
As good as contributors have become at anticipating the needs of designers, there will always be a slight disconnect between what is required and what is provided.
The only way to truly get exactly the shot or illustration you need is to create it yourself or with a professional photographer or illustrator.
Working in this way means you get exactly what you need and allows you to create your very own image bank that is unique to you and your product.
Brand Impact & Integrity
There is a well-trodden notion that ‘you don’t get a second chance of a first impression’ and you need to take this into consideration when choosing stock imagery to represent your product.
Stock photography can create an instant look and feel, which may provide a professional and polished look, but how closely this image matches or reflects your brand values and positioning should be critically assessed.
As you don’t own sole usage rights to stock photography, there is no control over who else uses these images and how they will use them.
In a worst-case scenario, a direct competitor could use exactly the same imagery and customers or stockists may have difficulty differentiating your products.
Alternatively, you may use images that another producer has used, and it could be you that appear to be passing off as them.
Either way, customers’ expectations and opinion of your product is not under your direct control.
Choice is yours
At the end of the day, the choice is yours as the owner of your product, but it should be a decision made after considering the above reflections.
At Toast Food, we fundamentally want what is best for your brand and its success. If we think you would be better off creating your imagery or illustrations, we will say that we are equally aware of the pressures and constraints on your time and budget.