It’s been a rough year, but July had an especially low point. I discovered that a friend/former client had posted photos of my design work on her website without crediting me. From all appearances, I was intentionally uncredited. The text accompanying the photos inferred that the design and creation of the invitations and various wedding paper accessories was solely the work of my friend. There was a small blurb that she hired a graphic designer, but I was left unnamed. The initial work on the invitations was a collaboration between the two of us, but the design was my work. In all of my blog entries, I made sure to give her credit for all of her hard work in printing and assembling the pieces. I was stunned to see the photographs of my work with a credit for the photographer, but not for me, the designer who spent hours conceptualizing it.
I was a big ball of emotions. I was angry. I was stunned. And I was hurt. She was my friend… close friend even. We were heavily involved in each other’s lives. I felt betrayed. I didn’t want to write a horribly rude letter in that moment. I decide to wait to contact my friend.
In the interim, I vented on Twitter. I am aware that it was an immature thing to do, but I had enough presence of mind to not name my friend or her website publicly. I asked for advice on how to deal with this situation. The support that I received from other designers (specifically other invitation designers) and creatives was overwhelming. I was reminded that competition does not mean taking advantage of others and that most creative professionals have profound respect and admiration for their peers. A few people offered to draft letters for me. I declined these offers.
I received especially useful advice from Jennifer Berson of JenerationPR. Jennifer frequently posts info regarding media, marketing and tech info on Twitter. I have been corresponding with her for months. So, I wasn’t surprised when she asked me for my mailing address. I jokingly told her not to send me junk mail and assumed she was going to send me additional info regarding copyright issues. Instead, this arrived via Fedex.
After receiving Jennifer’s package, I was able to compose a simple letter that addressed my issues with the my friend’s website. I asked to be credited or the photos removed. The photos were removed and I received a short, terse message notifying me of such. I have not heard from my friend since. I suppose is safe to assume that our friendship is no longer. I am disappointed and saddened by this, but what can you do?
A friend hurt me deeply and a total stranger lifted me up. People really surprise you sometimes.