Designers regularly deal with images in their jobs, and image search engines provide great resources for accessing, comparing, and browsing quality images around the web. Let’s look at some of the ways image search can be used by designers to make their job easier.
With the rise of social networks such as Tumblr and Instagram, it can be hard to find the original sources of your favorite images online. The same applies when you come across an attractive piece of stock photography somewhere else. A reverse image search can lead not only to an image’s original source, but also to the original version of a cropped photo. Just drop the image you want to use into Google Image Search and you will find all similar images on the web, including the ones in higher resolution.
Creative Design Projects
If you are a student, a graphic designer with a taste for data visualizations, or even just someone with an interest in images and data, Google and other image search engines provide a great resource with which to design interesting ways to access or present images. For example, The Visual Dictionary was a personal project by a designer who wanted to create an online dictionary of images. It is a visual map of all the nouns in the English language, with each noun leading to a collection of all the images in which it appears on the web, including stock images.
A similar visualization project was created by a photographer and notable Internet activist and programmer, Aaron Swartz. It’s called Image Atlas and allows users to compare the cultural differences of language around the world by displaying the top few image results in different countries for one word the user searches.
The interface displays a few horizontal rows of image results, each row with its country’s label to the very left of it. Enter the word “design” in the search box at the top of the site to see the top images for “design” slide out horizontally from the country labels below the search box. The other rows below it show the top image result from other countries for this same word. The project visually demonstrates the way cultures differ from each other across the world.
Verifying Social Accounts and Online Identities
Many designers find their clients online, or clients may reach out to designers through casual social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. It can be challenging to know everyone online is really who they say they are. It is important to know who you are going into business with and if they are reliable.
As of August of last year, there were a reported 83 million fake profiles on Facebook. Images search engines are a great way to verify your client’s or a collaborator’s identity online. Just drop their account’s profile picture into an image search and see if that image appears in connection to any other profiles or identities anywhere else online.
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