I have done a lot of government agency contracts for graphics for exhibits. The artwork is usually digitally placed in an exhbibit so there is no opportunity to "sign the back". 

Graphically a separate floating typeset signature attribution "Illustration by....." does stand out on the page. I have found that a less obtrusive hand-written signature tucked into the artwork, or discreetly along the side, where aesthetically appropriate will often be overlooked and accepted. 

It depends on the type of publication. If in a magazine/newsletter/or some types of graphics boards it looks fine to have the credit line away from the artwork and typeset, but only if the overall graphic design is set up for it, so it blends in to the layout. When it stands out, yes, agencies get a bit freaky. I think it's a hold over when illustrators did a lot of work for hire, and there were no signatures. I have always strived to tuck my initials into the artwork, but mostly I just discreetly hand-write it somewhere close to the art. If it's in a publication, I always negotiate a typeset credit, where appropriate, same for web presentations. 

Just my two cents,
Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
P.O. Box 325
Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 803-0538

On Oct 3, 2013, at 8:41 AM, Natalya Zahn wrote:

> Hi friends,
> For those of you that regularly do illustration for the interpretive museum and exhibit market, I was wondering what your thoughts are on credit lines within artwork.
> It's obviously very important that work be attributed - and that the line actually be legible! and it's one thing for the client to agree to that in theory, but  have you ever had a client balk when they actually see a typeset line of "Illustration by…" nested into a beautiful piece of artwork? I'd rather it not have to be there either, from a purely aesthetic point of view - but being mysterious makes it rather hard to earn a consistent living!
> I'm working through a contract and defining these options and my client doesn't like the way the proposed typeset credit line (which is small, discreet, typical lower right corner of a white page with entirely hand-drawn artwork floated above) is the only "digital" looking part of the panel (we're currently in R&D sketch phase).
> Thoughts?
> And thank you!
> -Natalya
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