Understanding Watermarks And The Role Of Watermark Software

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What exactly is a watermark and why is it recommended that you use watermark software to get the job done?

If you’re the average consumer, then it is quite likely that your idea of what a watermark is sounds something like this – “it’s that text that covers the image that I want to use for my project or post on my social media”.

However, as businesses, it is absolutely necessary that we always take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Watermarks are defensive measures that we utilize to protect our photos (and other types of digital visual assets) from unauthorized use or outright theft.

What Defines A “Watermark”?

Nowadays, in this highly modernized world that we live in, most of us view watermarks solely as a means of digital asset protection. However, the question of “how to watermark photos” is in fact a fairly recent occurrence and the history of watermarks actually precedes this digital age.

As a matter of fact, the first recorded use of a watermark was in Italy in the late 13th century. During the early years of watermarking, the process was carried out by altering the thickness of the paper to create varying levels of shadow and “mark” the paper. Since the paper still needed to be wet for this technique to be carried out, the resulting mark was eventually dubbed a “watermark”.  

Even today, although digital watermarks have become extremely popular, physical examples of watermarking do still exist – being used on currency (banknotes), government documents, and postage stamps, just to name a few. In these cases, watermarks are employed as a means of deterring counterfeiting attempts. 

What Can Watermarks Be Used On?

We all know that we can use watermark software to add a watermark to photos but is there more to it than that? 

Well, just like how physical watermarks can have a variety of applications, digital watermarks are similar in this regard as well. As a matter of fact, digital watermarks are so flexible and intuitive, that they have far more practical applications than their physical counterparts.

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Some very broad and common examples of the applications of digital watermarks include the aforementioned photos (digital art, stock photos, etc.), videos, and even digital documents. 

Do Watermarks Need To Look A Certain Way?

When it comes to physical watermarks, there are often certain pre-established guidelines in place for their designs – i.e. their size, position, visibility, shape, color, transparency, etc. One very notable example of this is the strict guidelines that watermarks on banknotes have to follow. 

In some cases, digital watermarks may have guidelines that are similar to those that many physical watermarks have to follow. However, more often than not, there are no preset guidelines that dictate the type of digital watermark that a brand has to use to secure its digital assets.

What Is The Recommended Design For A Watermark?

The definition of what makes a watermark “good”, will often vary from company to company or even person to person. However, that being said, there are some principles that most successful digital watermark users accept as definitive facts. 

These include:

  • A watermark should be large enough so that it will potentially cover a large portion of your image.
  • A watermark should be positioned over a central section of the image so that it cannot be easily cropped out.
  • A watermark should preferably be monochromatic and semi-transparent so that the content of your image can still be viewed.
  • A watermark that contains information about your brand or company should be legible and convenient to read.

How To Watermark Photos – Is Watermark Software Necessary?

If you are in charge of running a business or managing a brand, one of the most important questions that you always need to keep asking yourself is “how can I reduce my expenditure, how can I save money?”

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However, that being said, it is also always important to be aware of the distinction between being responsibly frugal and irresponsibly cutting corners. This is why when the question of “is watermark software necessary?” is brought up, the correct answer is always a resounding “yes”. 

Sure, if your team has one or more people that are familiar with graphic design (or are somewhat tech-savvy), you could give them the task of designing some watermarks and then applying them to your images. 

No one is denying that they would succeed at this task that you have given them. However, you have to ask yourself if this is an efficient use of the resources that are available to you, are you operating at a loss by doing so?

Sure, a graphic designer that you have on hand will know how to watermark photos but you are paying for the time that they are dedicating to doing this. 

For both short-term and long-term projects, professional watermark software is always the more efficient choice – for both your time and your money.

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