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Perhaps the most important product generated by an advertising agency, graphic design studio or publisher can be summed up in one word: creativity, a one-of-a-kind concept used to spotlight and separate clients from all the other communication clutter.

Without unique strategic ideas, uniquely executed, youíre nothing but so much more wallpaper.

Of course, time and budgets demand very practical application of creativity, often leading to compromise. So, like it or not, itís always a balancing game.

When time allows, commissioning a photographer or illustrator to build custom images from the ground up offers both creative partnership and a completely flexible, open realm of possibilities.

Stock images, on the other hand, offer ready-made creative solutions, available in seconds. Royalty Free images traditionally offer lower pricing, while Rights Managed stock typically offers wider creative options and richer executions. Importantly, Rights Managed stock often allows access to the usage history of an image, and provides a measure of control over its use by others -- including your competition.

One of the core purposes of PLUS is to simplify the process for every type of image license to such a dramatic extent, that ad agencies, graphic designers, publishers and advertisers have greater agility in their choices and greater capability to imagine them.

A Universal Licensing Language for Everybody
Ad agencies, designers, advertisers and publishers have traditionally worked with numerous vendors, each using its own definitions of usage rights and media categories, and each with a different understanding of the meaning of
those terms.

With PLUS, photographers, illustrators, artist representatives, and stock picture agencies will use universal terms, definitions and codes in their estimates and bids, invoices and other documents. Every term will match your internal language, because itís all one standard.

Experts from ad agencies, design firms, publishers and other leading companies and organizations who license these images are key contributors to the task force that has created this Picture Licensing Universal System. Now, with their important insights, the PLUS Glossary and Media Matrix clearly define and greatly simplify the licensing process. Further, the License Format makes this information instantly and easily available within a standardized dataform.

Better Tracking, Better Analysis, Clearer Results
Now, with a common licensing language, the potential for misunderstandings will be significantly reduced. Truly comparative analysis of estimates will be much easier, and tracking of usage rights associated with artwork will be significantly simplified, thanks to machine-readable codes stored within each digital image file. Even people who speak different languages will be able to understand each other through this numeric system. #4300271 is the same in Japanese, French or English.

The German ad agency that licenses images from stock agencies in Madrid and Tokyo for a client in Boston will have no confusion. PLUS codes transcend language that completely.

These codes will facilitate tracking and cataloging of artwork and licenses between companies and across organizations. They support a standardized system that will ensure an image user can maintain continuity of licensing data across multiple environments and vendors. So, no more searching through years-old files and folders created in a far-off office by some long-gone employee with quirky definitions of image licensing terms. Itís all in one place, standardized, and easy to use. Days of delay, wasted resources, unnecessary and unacceptable risk all become relics of the past.

A Better Bottom Line
The system will also result in reduced costs to advertisers, ad agencies, design firms and publishers by facilitating precise management of each rights package licensed from vendors.

However, PLUS will not standardize or recommend pricing and has no plans to create standardized forms or contracts.

PLUS is a tool for lowering costs, reducing liability and simplifying workflow.