A Case for Achromatic Tweets

I want to address a question that has been asked a few times.

Birthdate announcements have become an important feature on my Twitter account. Almost every day I post a composite image of a graphic designer (or related field; photographer, printer, type designer, Illustrator, artist, etc.) and some examples of their work. The images I post are black and white. People have asked why I don’t “honor” the work by presenting the images in color, or contend that my are images are a disservice to these professionals.

This is an ethical issue for me. My first concern is that I do not co-opt the work of people I admire. My Twitter feed would undoubtedly be more engaging and interesting if I took advantage of full-color images. I may well have more followers and engagement, but the point of the birthdays is to provide a curated history of sorts through these practitioners. The images are a snapshot meant to pique interest and personalize an individual’s work, not as a means of my self-promotion. (This is how I wish to maintain this account and remain consistent with its intent and is no way an indictment or critique of any other social media accounts) A standardized presentation also provides a level of equivalence among work that often varies in style, skill, content and recognition.

My second concern is related to copyright. I believe that using images in this educational context falls squarely with fair use. That said I do want my twitter feed to be an easily accessed repository of graphic design related images. To that end, the images I use are combined with other images, lower resolution than I found them and uploaded in black and white.

My intention is to remember and honor these people without harming them or taking advantage. Black and white is my current working solution to balance those disperate goals. Perhaps I don’t have the correct balance. If you have another solution, I would love to hear.