Source photos in the unlikliest of places

Posted on 05.09.2011


I was looking for an image of a bird. Not just any bird, but THAT bird. You know the one. The one that is so popular these past 5 or 6 years. A flying bird with a split tail, that has made its way onto everything from design posters to album liner notes to a tattoo on the back of a hipster’s arm.

I’m working on a logo for someone, and this image, this bird, is something that they may be inclined to have included. And as a design element overall, it’s not a bad one. I can see this bird being used instead of bullets in documents, ghosted onto business cards, in the corner of their letterhead.

Back when I first noticed this image, it was screen printed onto a poster (a really gorgeous poster) for an event. I recognized the bird, as by that point in time it had already begun showing up on everything.

But no one seemed to know what kind of bird it was, exactly, or if there was any latent symbolism behind it. To tell you truth, I still haven’t figured that one out. Some people call it a swallow, others a dove (I don’t think it looks like a dove, not fat enough IMO), others refer to it as the bluebird of happiness. But the image is there, and it stands for whatever you want it to, I guess.

So I was looking for this bird in a google image search, so I could take it, trace it in Illustrator, and make it a component of a logo for a friend. Not a ton of luck. There was no shortage of images of said bird (in ALL searches: dove, swallow, bluebird, etc), but none of them were over 200dpi wide. And that won’t do for me personally when it comes to tracing in ILL. I prefer a minimum of 400dpi, because I’m anal like that.

Then I had a thought.

As some of you know, I recently became a member of the Etsy selling community. It occurred to me that there are a literal TON of items on the Etsy website with this bird in/on/around them. And the images that sellers generally use on Etsy are of a rather decent quality, to show the work for sale in detail.

So I dropped the google search and rolled over to Etsy, and found the above image in under 30 seconds. Sure, it’s a metal bird, but it’s THE bird and it’s a great-quality photo.

I found it at JCGems’ shop, btw, so thanks for the great image!!

Sure, then I got sucked into playing around on Etsy for an hour or so and looked at some AWESOME STUFF that you can now see on my favorites there, but still. I got something accomplished today! And now I can get to work on that logo:)

Awesome. Thanks, Etsy, for helping me find the image I needed.