Veer Have All the Good Stock Photos Gone?

VeerOver the past few years, I’ve seen lots of stock agencies try to take a decidedly editorial approach to the creative strategy of their catalogs, mostly in an attempt to ingratiate their beautifully produced compendiums of pictures-looking-for-a-purpose into designers’s hearts. Nonstock and Photonica, notably, have produced some lavishly and slavishly designed tomes, but beyond the novelty of their approach, I always found them somewhat hollow; the design trickery that laid out their pages never seemed to be able to mask the emptiness of most of the photography they showcased, or if it did, any true creativity was spread too thin over too many pages. These books were generally as thick and heavy as a textbook, and the guilt of tree-killing, more than the books’ inherent usefulness, was probably what kept so many of them from getting pitched the minute they arrived.

On the other hand, I think Veer produces probably the best catalogs I’ve received in my decade as a designer. To begin with, the format of these catalogs resembles a periodical, rather than a phone book. Aside from its eco-friendliness, these 50-page catalogs are a nice complement to the Web site (where the real selling is done, presumably), and their less intimidating weight is actually inviting, in my estimation.

Sep 2003 Veer Catalog

Beyond that, though, I think that Veer is really the most successful of the stock photo houses in applying a truly editorial approach to showcasing their just barely above average inventory of imagery. Their creative team is sharp and sharp witted, as can be showcased in issue after issue of their catalog. These pages aren’t lavishly printed nor are they designed with the self-conscious ostentatiousness to which designers often succumb when producing work aimed at other designers. In fact, these catalogs aren’t so much designed as they are art directed. The creative principles at work in their pages seem to be a highly discriminating selectivity and an insightful eye for subtle, gentle bits of design humor. It’s good work, and it’s put at the top of my list for agencies I turn to when a project calls for pictures of businessmen shaking hands and looking very succesful.


One Comment

  1. I’ve had my fair share of Veer catalogs and agree with your thoughts. I’ve cut up a few and posted their pages on the walls of my old office. There’s something simple about them and they do have interesting partnerships with the “rockstar” designers. They seem to know what they’re doing.

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