“Shit, I should’ve watermarked it.”

By: August Erickson | Published on Apr 24, 2020

It was day 27 of my state’s mandatory stay at home order to combat COVID-19. Out of sheer boredom, I decided to create a fake World Health Orginization (WHO) poster and share it on Reddit.

I wanted the poster to look very real, but at the same time be ridiculous. I decided to reference my favorite rap crew, Wu-Tang Clan. The reference comes from their second album, which was released in 1997, “Wu-Tang Forever”.

I created the poster itself in Canva, and then used an online mockup generator to make it appear as if the poster was actually being displayed somewhere.

WHO Poster
WHO Poster Mockup

Stupidly, I did not watermark my design, as I didn’t really think it was going to gain any attention.

I shared my creation on Reddit, and received over 10,000 upvotes that night, which I was thrilled with!

However, over the next 24 hours, I realized I made a HUGE mistake by not watermarking my design.

First, the Wu-Tang Clan themselves shared my design on their Facebook page (with over 5.5 Million followers) and their Instagram page (with over 1.4 Million followers).

I’m not sure how the Wu-Tang clan saw my design, as it didn’t make the front page of Reddit. That being said, I was stunned they posted it! Of course, they did not give me credit (as the design was not watermarked).

Next came a wave of popular Instagram accounts posting my design, there’s too many to mentioned but some of the most noteworthy are outlined below:

In the span of 48 hours – my design had been posted all over the internet (beyond the accounts outlined above, COUNTLESS personal accounts poster my design as well) and I received no credit for creating it.

What would I have done with this credit? How would have this credit benefited me? No idea. That being said, it would have just been nice to be acknowledged after putting in time and effort to create the design.

Long story short, you should watermark your original content.