As many of you know, there has been a rise in crowdsourcing websites such as 99designs that allows a designer or design company to compete in contests for web design, logo design, brand stationery, tshirts, and more. These are not typical contests mind you, they are set up on any given crowdsourcing website by actual companies and individuals in need of design services. These companies or individuals may need a logo, a website template, a t-shirt, or some other type of brand collateral. Many of these individual contests feature literally hundreds of designers clamoring for the winning spot.
For many freelance or beginning designers, this may seem like a dream come true. In many ways, they've found a place where they don't have to wait for clients - they are readily available and spelling out exactly what they want done. Even to an experienced designer, a crowdsourcing website may be just what the doctor ordered for an in-between project design fix with a possibility of cash.
There are many good things about these crowdsourcing websites - a designer can design for whatever client they want, when they want, based on the type of project they are interested in at that moment in time. The designer also gets lots of practice designing for a variety of different projects that, winning or not, can still be added to personal or company portfolios. This type of design experience can be invaluable to many designers that are trying to grow their versatility or hone their specific style.
Unfortunately, these crowdsourcing websites may also be the worst thing to ever happen to the design profession and community. AIGA (the American Institute for Graphic Arts) is currently fighting the very concept of design crowdsourcing, saying that it is against everything the institute has been fighting for and has believed in for decades. AIGA has been fighting for designer rights, pay rate and respect ever since its creation in 1914. Currently, AIGA has more than 22,000 members nationwide.
Instead of hiring a designer (short or long term) for design projects and paying them for comps, revisions, and final outputs, companies are now able to use these crowdsourcing websites to pay a fraction of the cost for design services that it would in normal circumstances, in return for literally hundreds of designers to supply them with free design comps and their associated revisions.
In AIGA's opinion, this hurts the entire design community by creating a system where the designers work for free. Worse, many new or "green" designers don't know any better and are needlessly throwing away hours of work and buckets of cash that they have earned because companies want free design services. These companies are (understandably) taking advantage of new technologies - but design crowdsourcing has proven only to undermine an entire profession and industry.
Sure, it feels good to win a contest. If a person was to win a contest out of hundreds of other designers, it makes them feel good about themselves, simple as that. But you won't find experienced, professional designers spending more than a few minutes on a logo or website for a contest on a crowdsourcing website. No way, no how. They're designers by trade, and they should get paid for what they do.
Posted on Fri, April 30, 2010
by Arora Designs filed under