Designer and artists use Creative Commons to share their work

What Creative Commons and 'copyleft' mean to a designer

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I recently graduated in May, and I had not heard of Creative Commons until I came to work at Red Hat. After a few months, I had gained some familiarity with Creative Commons but it was only when I was recently asked to create images for their 10th Anniversary that I realized I had some research to do. 

What struck me most was seeing that people have tattoos of the Creative Commons logo—it's a passionate gesture and conveyed a social force that inspired my creation of the three images you see in the photo above. I refer to them as "Creative Commons personification," "Share," and "The Creative Commons Ship," respectively.

What's important is that without Creative Commons, designers are limited to their own space and time—to their own travels and experiences. With it, designers are able to use imagery that we would have otherwise not been able to get access to, like a photo of a place we've never been (and may never go). If a photographer applies a Creative Commons license to their work indicating that anyone can use and modify it, then I am able to give that photograph new life. Because I am able to build on what is already exists, designers like me can create something beyond what the original creator intended.

And, in return, I apply the same license to what I create. It's great that my image could end up on the other side of the world, with a new life all it's own (while still receiving credit).

Creative Commons personification

Creative Commons personificationThis image is about the passion and the people behind Creative Commons. I viewed their logo in a new light and focused on the identity the people involved in the movement, beyond the organization itself. By adding headphones, the logo becomes a character and symbol.


ShareThis image is about simplifying the many Creative Commons licensing options into one word. When you first begin to learn about Creative Commons licenses, it can seem complex and you may be unsure of where to start or how to define your work. But, once you figure out what works for you, it's easy to see that each one represents the ability to share your work and talent with other people, which inspires and helps them achieve what it is they are striving for.

The Creative Commons Ship

idea vesselThis image is about Creative Commons as a vessel for ideas and as a method for them to travel around the world. The thought of using (and crediting) an image from someone that could be on the other side of the world fascinates me. The map itself and lines of travel refer to the connections that are be made between people and their ideas. I had some fun with it and added the Creative Commons logo to the ship's mast.

About the author

Jenna Slawson - Jenna is a designer at Red Hat. When tasked to illustrate for she searches through Creative Commons on flickr for inspiration and resources. Jenna graduated from Appalachian State University in 2012.