7 Deadly Sins of Visual Design: Greed


To help my students learn important visual design concepts, they were assigned to read slide:ology.  To accompany the text, we spent time studying the 7 Deadly Sins of Visual Design.  The first six deadly sins are envy, pride, wrathslothlust, and gluttony.  Today, we will examine the final deadly sin: greed.

Greed occurs when you steal images from others without giving the image’s owner proper credit.  For example, all of my photos come from Compfight, a search engine that combs through Flickr photography.  Somewhere on my slides, I put the URL for the image directly on the slide itself.  This approach works well if you are presenting in the live environment and if you have images from varying locations.

If all of your images are from one website – such as Flickr – you can put the Flickr user’s name on your slide and forgo the bulky URL.

Sometimes, my students will turn in an assignment or present a speech and tell me, “All images courtesy of Google Images.”  This is an example of plagiarism because “Google Images” is a search engine, not an owner of an image.

Please consider using Flickr versus Google Images.  You know for each photo on Flickr the precise user preference for his or her photo.  Google Image searches often provide unclear results on who the image actually belongs to, so you could be plagiarizing photos without even knowing it.

There are many ways to properly cite images and avoid Slide Greed or plagiarism.  The first image with the fist of money shows my preferred method (the URL itself), but the flower slide shows you a clear example of how to cite an image if all of your slides come from one place (in this case, Flickr).  Of course, you’d want to make that “Image Credit: nosha” much smaller… I always use 9 point font for my references to ensure the focus is on the important text on the slide and not on the citations.

Do you cite your images, or do you practice slide greed?


4 thoughts on “7 Deadly Sins of Visual Design: Greed

  1. Hi Alex,

    Great series.

    Just to add that, as I understand it, with Compfight and Flickr that you still need to be careful to use only images with a Creative Commons licence. Using a copyrighted image could still see you on the wrong side of fair use. If there is a copyrighted image on Flickr that is perfect for your needs you could probably get use of it by contacting the Flickr user. As I mostly use istockphoto I’ve yet to do so myself.


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