03 November, 2010

Apparently Everyone Knows Photoshop

Those who espouse the viewpoint that You get what you pay for might want to take a look at this Texas Department of Public Safety Vehicle Inspection sticker.

It's not bad. It has it's own flair. And a cowboy coming from or heading to his horse with a saddle on his back just screams Texas. Was it done by some fancy agency or some graphic design whiz kid? No, it was created by inmates at the Texas State Prison. And according to this article from the San Antonio Express News, this particular image was scanned by an inmate serving a life term for aggravated sexual assault.

Unfortunately, it looks a lot like this photograph

because the image was taken from a photo in a 1998 issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, taken by David K. Langford, who also still owns the copyright and is suing the state for damages. Langford said that photo has generated income for him for the past 25 years, and “If they'd called me first, I'd bet we'd have had a deal in five minutes."

Instead, what seemed like an inexpensive alternative to a traditional graphic designer will end up costing the state of Texas plenty. If you can do a cheaper and smarter than using a reliable designer or agency, you're a fool not to. But if you don't exactly know what you're doing, then the fool might end up being you.

One other note, I'd seriously investigate this prison. I saw The Shawshank Redemption, and who knows what else may be going on there between a crooked warden and yet another incarnation of the Kurgan from Highlander. The three people who get that joke will think it's hysterical.

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