Forum – Snow Job?

I spent most of yesterday running around doing a little marketing and trend research. Hit a bunch of shops between Hermosa Beach and Santa Monica, everything from the larger, more mainstream stores to the hole in the wall skate core shops. I’ll be posting some shots from that venture soon. The last shop I hit as traffic was starting to get backed up, because after all it was 4:00 on a thursday in LA, was 9-Star in West LA. While I was there checking out all the new boardshorts and clearance hoodies I came across something that stopped me in my tracks, though to be honest I had to do a double, maybe even triple -take to make sure I knew what I was looking it. What I found was this:

At first I was floored to see one of my stock vectors on a Forum hoodie. That’s pretty damn cool, right? Well immediately after I had that thought it hit me… wait a second… no one’s ever purchased an extended license agreement for that image. In fact I know because it’s definitely not a best-seller over there on iStock. So what does that mean? Is Forum ripping me off?

Usage on Forum’s Pat Moore Custom Sweatshirt

Track6 - Anchor

Track 6 Anchor and Roses tattoo style vector for sale at iStockphoto

I know this kind of thing happens all the time. In fact, there’s a really good chance that Forum hired a freelancer to work up some apparel comps (god bless ’em if that’s the case) and they ran with the design without checking or even without knowing that the image in question is stock and requires a slightly larger fee to run on mass-market items. Not like we’re talking about a lot though, like $40 instead of $10.

Track 6 illustration on Forum\'s website

Pat Moore Custom Hoodie on

So what’s the big deal? Why do I care? Shouldn’t I just be happy that my artwork is appearing on a sweatshirt by a major brand? Well yes… but NO. For two reasons: The first being that the actual sweatshirt is pretty heinous (kidding. sorta.) The second is that creating art is what’s paying my bills at this point in my life. I mean maybe one day UNICEF will get into the stock art business, but until then, it’s important for me and for all professional designers and illustrators to be fairly compensated for the work we produce. I’m not saying it’s not cool to give away freebies now and then, that’s all part of the cycle of things, but keeping it legal is the way to go when it comes to licensing and that sort of thing.

So to sum it all up, designers out there – use stock photos/vectors/flash or your comps. PLEASE, use stock for your comps! Hell, use it for your your designs. But when it comes time to go to press with your final art, be sure to let whoever’s paying the bills know that it’s a hell of a lot cheaper to pay an appropriate licensing fee then to try to sneak something under the radar and hope you don’t get snagged.

As for Forum, I’m checking with iStock’s legal dept. to verify that certain usage violations were broken and if so, the rest is up to the suits. Oh and I’m most certainly not mad. In fact, I still really like Forum as a company and I dig their gear. I just hope the next time my artwork shows up in their line, it’s something original I’ve created specifically for them (wink, wink.)

Oh, and P.S. – I bought the sweatshirt


As of 5/13/08 Forum purchased the appropriate license for this artwork. Right on! Couldn’t be happier about that.

~ by tracksix on April 18, 2008.

5 Responses to “Forum – Snow Job?”

  1. Kinda flattering, but damn, I’d be pissed.

  2. Glad to hear it worked out. Oh and I cruise around checking out trends a lot also. Thanks for posting what you’ve noticed btw, also your anchor with the flowers and the webbing feels more finished but the I’m liking the highlights on the anchor and the more curved wooden support from the sweatshirt, though they really should have added some details to that thing, given that it’s lifted off your stock design it’s pretty plain jane.

  3. Интересные факты:
    Вечный календарь Эдвардса разбит на четыре 3-месячных квартала. Каждая неделя и каждый
    квартал начинаются с понедельника, что весьма выгодно для бизнеса.
    Первые два месяца каждого квартала содержат по 30 дней, а последний — 31.
    Между 31 декабря и 1 января располагается праздник — День нового года, а раз в 4 года между
    31 июня и 1 июля появляется День високосного года.
    Приятной особенностью Вечного календаря является то, что пятница в нем никогда не попадает
    на 13-е число. Несколько раз в Палату представителей США даже вносили законопроект
    об официальном переходе на этот календарь.
    мобильные стеклянные перегородки

  4. you only have to change a design like 15% to make it yours… i think..
    thats awesome tho

  5. Nice, Appreciate your talk. Best of luck.

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