Customer Communication and the Value of Free Stock Photos

As I’ve worked with clients and friends alike, I’m realizing the same thing everybody who works in customer-facing industry does: don’t rely on consistent communication, and make sure you have enough to work with so you don’t have to rely on coming back to client.

In some cases, working with the image is necessary, such as the splash page for, in which I aimed for a design around the form of the image.  I other cases, it doesn’t matter.  Stock photo of Pictures of Children playing in a park,


Having a real photo helps you design for what the site will actually look like with a photo, and sometimes, the client will be happy with the photo, saving you some extra tweaking and refining.


KEEP MOVING FORWARD  – Always have something to do!

For small to medium scale projects, having a small number in-process is invaluable to keeping yourself productive.  Idle hands and all that.

But while I (or you) fine-tune my (or your) strategy for client communication, this is the time to work on fun personal projects! Even completely inane ones, I was inspired by a sweet potato laying on my white desk one afternoon, and went to create a website with a white and sweet-potato red color scheme.  I failed to find a decent ‘product photo’ style photo of a sweet potato, but this cactus photo looked intruiging, I kept moving and came up with

Completely inane, but I’ve revisted the original rinky-dink design three times, and have tinkered with it in the 10-20 minutes break between other proejcts for the last few days.


– Fun sandbox

– Explore creative tricks

– Gets me into habit of ‘defaulting’ to web-design instead of reading web-comics!

– No delays!  No waiting for clients, and no scratching head over some large-scale design

– No pressure!


The most curious result is that I’ve had random design ideas pop into my head for a site, dedicated to a random (and very sharp) photo of a cactus (props to Rafel).  I’ve got a long but tidy list of to-dos to take a crack.