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Using NFTS to Protect Creative Works

November 30, 2023

March 21, 2021

Written By:

Bishop Zareh

"Its not wether you get knocked down"


If you could be anyone you wanted to be, who would you be? How exciting is it to think that you could start a new chapter in your life in a whole new world? Without the limitations of the physical world and human constructs that have been created around you?

Well that’s where the Metaverse comes in. There are whole new worlds being created out there that will remove the physical limitations of life and allow you to chase your dreams and be who you want to be.

Sounds pretty exciting right? Let’s dig in a little more to understand what this might look like.


Simply put, the Metaverse is the convergence of all the digital things you do online into one virtual experience.

In a sense, it already exists. We sit on Zoom calls, research on the web, talk on social media, buy things on Amazon, watch streaming events and online video, and play games. The Metaverse is already here.

But think of tying all of it together and removing some of the limitations that still exist in your physical life when you access the web.

But how is this all of the sudden now possible?

When I told my parents I was going to major in digital art, my decision was met with echoing questions:

“What even is that?”

“How are you going to make a living?”

Now 10 years out of college and as the Senior Digital Art Director at Karsh Hagan, I understand that these questions aren’t far from what we hear from prospects and clients on a daily basis.

“What is digital art, and how can it help our brand’s advertising strategy?” Let’s start from the top.

What is Digital Art?

Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.

Digital art is all around us. It’s everywhere we look. From movies like Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ to apps like Instagram, digital art has introduced modes of storytelling that were once impossible, making it a valuable and limitless tool for advertising.

Why is Digital Art a Successful Marketing Tactic?

Now, more than ever, we’re a visually driven society. It’s no coincidence that we’re naturally drawn to images, when you consider that 90% of the information processed by the brain is visual, and that our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. The brain’s preference for images even impacts how memory is formed as 80% of people remember what they see, compared to 20 percent of what they read. That makes digital art an especially important tactic for brands looking to create a campaign that’s as efficient as it is impactful.

What is the Difference Between Digital Art and Traditional Art?

When it comes to advertising, the difference between digital art and traditional art is simple. There are no gatekeepers. Anyone with a phone in their pocket and a little bit of creativity can create and share their art. Unlike the billboards or magazines of the past, online apps allow artists to instantly publish their work for free for all to see.

The success of digital art within that context comes down to ROI. Delivering the highest return on your investment requires the ability to measure, analyze, and adapt your strategy – it requires the ability to learn. Digital art is iterative and efficient – allowing us to easily track engagement rates that let us fail fast, tweak, and refine. We can then use that information to employ data-proven digital art across all marketing channels, ultimately delivering a product that best serves your brand and your audience.

How You Can Use Digital Art In Brand Advertising

At Karsh Hagan, we have used our understanding to create beautiful and effective marketing campaigns for our clients. For VISIT DENVER we created an immersive world that targeted convention planners all over the country. We created three unique videos, using 2.5D animation. These videos were seen by over 462,610 people and counting! Check out the work here:

At Karsh Hagan, we have used our understanding to create beautiful and effective marketing campaigns for our clients. For VISIT DENVER we created an immersive world that targeted convention planners all over the country. We created three unique videos, using 2.5D animation. These videos were seen by over 462,610 people and counting! Check out the work here:


Blockchain Technology has been taking the financial world by storm with innovations like Bitcoin and Hyperledger, and recently, another form of blockchain, NFTs, have made headlines in the art world for their record-breaking, multimillion dollar sales.

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token and it's a form of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. They act as a non-duplicable, digital certificate of ownership for a digital asset of any kind. Thus NFTs are a new ownership model for digital art.

NFT Image

It’s heralded as a lifeline for digital artists that previously had few ways to protect their digital artworks, with many on both sides of the debate. Brands like Taco Bell, the NBA and Gucci are generating millions by selling NFTs.

Blockchain brings technological innovation to many parts of our economy resistant to change and still adapting to the last round of disruptions. But how will Blockchain and NFTs be used in the advertising industry?


A creative work can be any form of creative effort- a sculpture, a painting, dancing, poetry, or something completely unexpected. Karsh Hagan’s creative works include everything we deliver to our clients: websites and mobile apps, banner ads, out-of-home displays, strategy documents and more. That’s our business- Karsh Hagan makes creative works and traffics them to the world.

Traffic Them to the World

We’ve never given much thought to protecting our creative works- there was no need. There used to be many technological and legal barriers to prevent digital theft. But, as time has passed, new opportunities created new vulnerabilities.


Photo Retouching is one tool Karsh Hagan designers use to create the beautiful advertisements we deliver to clients. With Photoshop’s addition of machine learning features like Content-aware Fill and Neuro-filters, tasks like removing a logo and increasing resolution are now possible with the click of a button for Adobe’s 12+ million subscribers. While these techniques can be detected, hackers and other nefarious actors have even more sophisticated technology to create so-called ‘deep fakes’.

Photo by Steve Jurvetson (cropped and color corrected)

Legal barriers to digital theft are also much weaker than they used to be, and when you need legal protection, it often turns out that you don't have any evidence to prove you own your creative work. It’s also very difficult to legally prove what appeared on a website long ago.

For most content creators, such as bloggers, streamers, Hollywood studios, comic book artists and recording studios, their creative works are registered with a third-party service like YouTube or ASCAP. That third-party can defend them and provide legal evidence. In advertising, we don’t register with any third-party service, and yet, we freely distribute our creative works far and wide.


NFTs only prove ownership of a link. They don’t prove ownership of the photograph or file that the link points to. Instead, the NFT documents a point in time when we declare that we own the creative work, before we distribute it. Since NFTs use blockchain technology, they’re publicly accessible. There’d be no need to hire an independent investigator to prove we didn’t forge our proof- an NFT can be verified by anyone with the proper tools.

NFTs are also immutable. Once they’re created they can’t be changed or destroyed. With other solutions like Cloud Computing, there’s always a third-party system that can fail or can suddenly become very expensive. Whereas, once an NFT is created, there’s no additional cost for it to be stored for eternity.

Thus, NFTs are an indestructible and, possibly, irrefutable proof of ownership. Karsh Hagan creates NFTs of our creative work to serve as an immutable, publicly-available, historical document of our work and the state of design and advertising in these strange times.


The RAND Corporation, in their article, “Digital Theft: The New Normal,” says “It behooves everyone—consumers and corporations alike—to accept this risk as a “when,” not an “if,” and to prepare for its inevitability.”

The average American had their data stolen over 4 times in one year. Theft is on the rise and our protections, both legal and technological, are waning. We could wait another few years and see what happens, but as Warren Buffett said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.”

We see the risk and are preparing for a future where we must take digital ownership and stewardship, in order to protect Karsh Hagan’s 40+ year history of dedication to and delivery of award-winning creative work.

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