Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Designers Hate Crowdsourcing

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-I-almost-coulda-done-that dept.

Businesses 569

An anonymous reader writes "Since Wired's Jeff Howe coined the term in 2006, 'crowdsourcing' has been a buzzword in the tech industry, and a business model on the rise. 99designs.com is a site that hosts design contests for small businesses requiring relatively smaller design projects. Anyone can submit their near finished pieces of work to the contests, but only one winner gets paid. Forbes covers just why established graphic designers are so angry at this business model's catching on."

cancel ×

569 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Quote: (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995562)

but only one winner gets paid

Of course graphic designers are going to get angry.

Re:Quote: (4, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996012)

Which means that everyone else that submits work has essentially done so for free. No one would want to work like that, and such crowdsourcing is in no way a viable path for real, fulltime employment. Besides, I'd be just as worried as a client. I post vague specifications and hope for the best? That's asinine. Good design work requires that the artist and the client work back and forth, improving and changing the product little by little until both are satisfied. You don't get that here. What you get with crowdsourcing is mostly mediocrity. Why invest tons of effort into something that you very likely will not get paid for?

Re:Quote: (1, Insightful)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996228)

If the design isn't picked, the designer still owns all rights to it and can submit it again. It's also part of his or her portfolio. "Real" designers work the same way, often developing several candidates for consideration or being pitted against other designers.

Sturgeon's Law (2, Insightful)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996284)

99% of everything is crap. That'll be true for crowdsourcing and traditional models.

Everyone wants a crowdsourced model when they're buying, and no one wants it when they're selling. Do you think the grocery store wants you to pick the nicest looking apples from the pile? Of course not. Do you? Of course you do.

Re:Quote: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996200)

They're really just angry at the fact that the majority of people making money in their profession are incompetent.

It's like coding if your program always ran, and the only thing that differentiated coders was style.

No, seriously, think about the implications of that last sentence for a second. And imagine the community of coders we would have as a result. I used to be in Industrial Design, until I took a look around and decided to high tail it for CS. In ID: the job prospects are dismal, you work incredibly long hours for minimal improvement, you're protected by a very low barrier to entry, there are few (if any) tangible metrics of success, and the people surrounding you are assholes. Not that I blame them; I'd have to find something to hang on to also, if my only talent boiled down to being "cool".

Stop Working for Content Mills (Good Luck...) (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996204)

Freelance writers have long complained of similar practices amongst "content mills" such as Demand Studios (the guys behind all those "how to" webpages). The mill pays $3/story, $15/video. For a working writer or videographer, it's the kind of revenue that puts the "chump" into "chump change." But -- and here's the catch -- thousands and thousands of people will work for this! Many full-time writers sneer at them as mere wannabes who are pissing into the community pool, but their work is (apparently) good enough for The Client, and these folks are happy to be making some beer money "writing professionally." The thing is, there are so many writers -- and designers, too, apparently -- and the bar for entry into the profession is so low, and the, well, "romance/coolness" of being a paid (however niggardly) creative artiste is so great, that the Content Mills have such low overhead they are making money hand-over-fist.

Of course, if you're really good at what you do, you get to name your price and you do well. But if you're in the bottom 90 percent of a profession whose products -- such as words and designs -- aren't constrained by artificial geographical boundaries and location (thanks to this new-fangled Internet thingy) then, brother, you are scrapping and scrambling.

Angry? (1, Troll)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995570)

They're angry because they're established. Expensive suits. Exquisitely designed suites to work in.

It hurts when your whole business model is built on puff and people start figuring it out.

Re:Angry? (2, Interesting)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995672)

funny, I would have thought it would have had more to do with doing a entire project (not just the proposal) and getting squat for it?.

Re:Angry? (1)

shawnap (959909) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996032)

funny, I would have thought it would have had more to do with doing a entire project (not just the proposal) and getting squat for it?.

It's worth noting that in many other industries where the criteria for determining the product quality is very subjective, bids will often take the form of nearly complete projects. Think here of architectural or fashion design, writing fiction, popular music, etc...

Re:Angry? (3, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995674)

No, it's more like this.

Imagine your Boss came to you and said "We're having 10 programmers make the same program, but we'll only pay one of you". That means that 9 of them end up working for free. That's why they hate that business model, no serious graphics designer can make a living out of such contests.

Re:Angry? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995714)

I actually think dramatically devaluing the programming process through a system like this would go a long way toward deflating the out of control arrogance in the nerd population.

I, for one, can't wait.

Re:Angry? (0, Troll)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996044)

Arrogance in the Nerd Population?

We run the friggen planet with with software we write! Most of the Planet can't even change their oil or tune of their car! ( And yes, I can do both )

Arrogance would have us in towers running star-trek NOCS with FAT Handsome paychecks.

Instead we are paid squat, have unrealistic expectations on our time and often no budget to speak of while we work in the */b/asement*.

Don't get all pissy when we read your email, and intercept the porn you shot of your wife or girlfriend that you just sent over the company email system. The sales of that and other things is what pays for our hardware at home.

I, and others like me make your universe operate. Piss us off, and reading your email or watching your daughter strip for her boyfriend will be the least of your problems.

- Dan.

Re:Angry? (2, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996150)

Let's apply the same thing to every highly paid job. We're going to let thousands of doctors offer their diagnosis, but only one of them will get paid. Eventually we can get the cost of everything to almost zero!

Re:Angry? (4, Insightful)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995952)

Except there is no boss, this is freelance contract work. This website is for turning a hobby into a chance to get paid, not steady employment. Bored? Make a logo, post it. Profit, or don't, it's still more money than you'd have gotten paid playing video games all day.

Re:Angry? (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996078)

Then most professionals would laugh in your face at such a concept and walk away. Those who want to pay peanuts, end up hiring monkeys. If the business arrangement doesn't suit you, don't enter it. That person would *never* have been your customer anyway because the way they want to scrimp and save and "only pay one person" means they were always looking for a cheap way out - and any *decent* designer wouldn't be satisfied with what they were offering. The designers haven't *lost* any business, they just aren't getting any from a new "auction-style" job market that's cropped up. That's up to them, but it's hardly a jobs nightmare. At any point in history, in any profession, the same thing could have (and has) happened.

Re:Angry? (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996206)

No serious graphic designer can make a living out of such contests, so no serious graphic designer will enter such contest. Therefore any work you get through such a contest will not be that of a serious graphic designer. If you need serious graphic design work, you will not use such a contest. Therefore, these contests can't be taking work away from serious graphic designers.

I heard a story on NPR about these guys last weekend or the one before. They say most of the designs submitted take no more time from a designer than it would take for them to bid on a serious project. If they're making bids for free anyway, there's really not much difference to them.

Re:Angry? (1)

piotru (124109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995702)

That may well be so, but who is on the other side benefiting from the price drop? I guess it boils down to the little people (designers) receiving less money from their corporate clients...

Re:Angry? (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996286)

it boils down to the little people (designers) receiving less money from their corporate clients

Either way somebody wins. The corporate clients paying less means the corporations will have less expenses.

This means they will, pick one or more options:

  • lower their prices
  • pay more dividends
  • raise their employees salaries

Some people think about corporations as some magical entity that drains wealth out of the system and stashes it in some capitalist's swimming pool [chocolatemintsinajar.com] but that's not how things work. Every penny a corporation saves ends up in someone's hand. It might not be someone you like, but the money does not disappear, it will end somewhere.

Myself, if given the option between getting a lower price at the expense of seeing a somewhat crappier website, or paying more for the same product, only with an award winning company website, I'd rather pay the lower price.

Re:Angry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995762)

"They're angry because they're established. Expensive suits. Exquisitely designed suites to work in."

Right, you don't know any freelance designers.

"It hurts when your whole business model is built on puff and people start figuring it out."

It hurts when people who have no design skills are using deviantart-ish images more suitable for sonic the hedgehog fanart.

My dad was a commercial artist, and in the pre-internet days this would happen. He'd submit a bid, and he'd get MASSIVELY underbid on muralwork or design work by someone who paints houses for a living. It's not "fair", but some people don't know what's shit design-wise.

Re:Angry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996056)

Sure, graphic design requires skill.

But the thing here is that a graphic designer says: "I'm worth 5000 and these others who claim to do this for 5000 don't have my skill.. The difference is really worth 4500 for you!" and then the company says "Oh, really? Ok. I'll just ask you all to do the designs. If your design ends up being worth 4500 more, we'll take it. Okay?", the graphic designer goes "Uh... Oh..." because a lot of the time, his skill really isn't that much above those who are willing to work for a lot less.

Another way to look at this is comparing it to piracy. I often pirate games, don't pay anything for the ones I dislike and I stop playing after one hour (even though it cost someone to create the game) but then buy the ones I enjoy. A lot of people (Not everyone, but a lot of people) find this to be ethical as long as I really pay for the ones I like. What the companies do here is in many ways similar: "We want a preview - and not just some reference folder - of your work. If we like it, we'll buy it. If others do better for the same money, we have only wasted our time with you."

It is a very simple mechanic of supply and demand and I don't see anything wrong with that.

Now, obviously the designers themselves feel screwed. If they'll feel too screwed, less people choose that kind of life and supply goes down... Aside from that, they should do what every other kind of workers have done when they see the same kind of problem: unionize. (Yes, this will require unions to get strong in India, etc. too which will take a lot of time. Meanwhile, if some money flows to the poorer countries because people there do the same work cheaper... It might not be bad thing.)

Re:Angry? (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996194)

I often pirate games, don't pay anything for the ones I dislike and I stop playing after one hour (even though it cost someone to create the game) but then buy the ones I enjoy. A lot of people (Not everyone, but a lot of people) find this to be ethical as long as I really pay for the ones I like. What the companies do here is in many ways similar:

You're right, this actually is a pertinent example. A lot of people say that they pirate a lot of games and then go buy the ones they actually like. The truth is that most of them never pay for any of the games that they pirate.

Similarly, a lot of clients will say that quality matters to them and they'll pay for quality when they see it. And then most times they'll ignore the experience and go with whoever puts up the cheapest bid. That's not a problem unique to the design industry.

Re:Angry? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995810)

They're angry because they're established. Expensive suits. Exquisitely designed suites to work in.

Haha, have you ever even met a graphic designer?

Here's a nerd tip for ya: Some of them are fun to date.

Re:Angry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996026)

Also: most of them have inflated egos with quirky personality and certainly not much fun to talk with. Sharing life with them, most of the time, would be pure hell.

Yes, it might be a bit the same with programmer divas, but there's at least a small chance they would "argue" with other factors than their own "artistic insight."

Re:Angry? (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995902)

They're angry because they're established. Expensive suits. Exquisitely designed suites to work in.

How many artists and designers, though, actually make that much of a salary? It's more likely that the "established" artists have to pay rent and buy food and only have so much time during the week to experiment with designs that there's only a 1/100 chance they'll get paid for.

The established way that you get designers together with clients is that the designer will create something - and the client will say they don't like it. They'll say, here's what we want instead. So the designer will go create something else. The client still won't like it, and they'll tell the designer what they want instead. Actually, let me take it back a moment. The first time, the designer will probably bring five different logos, and then the client will say, we like the colors on this one, but we like the attitude conveyed by this other one, etc. So then the designer will take that feedback and go create another five designs. You might repeat this process a couple of times until you narrow it down to something that fits what the client is thinking. The designers that I've casually heard from have mentioned that that's part of the contract - you might be signing on to create "one" logo, but you put language in the contract that you'll submit 10 different logos and then another 5 after first feedback, etc., not that you'll just draw one logo and send it in and take a paycheck.

Commercial design has always been about having multiple examples to choose from and consider. For established designers, that means taking feedback, making informed decisions, talking it out with the client. What this website is basically saying is that to get paid by the client, you have to know exactly what the client is thinking with the first design you submit to them, which is difficult even for the ones who know what they're doing since we haven't invented telepathy yet. What the designers would probably consider more fair is if every designer that submits an idea gets paid amount $X, while the winning designer gets paid $3*X or so, or perhaps at least paying the 10 developers who all submitted interesting ideas while not showing the best prize, or inviting the top 10 submitters to submit a second logo after receiving feedback. Something that recognizes that submitting rejected designs is all a part of the process and is something that still deserves some recognition.

Re:Angry? (1)

SixAndFiftyThree (1020048) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996048)

So in the brave new world, the client will get 100 designs, none of which will be quite what they want. So they'll go back to the author of the one that came closest and ask for a meeting. At which point that designer can say, "I charge $X hundred for a design but $X thousand for a meeting."

Alternatively, the established firms can post pseudo contests, and if anyone produces anything that looks as good as their own team could do, tell that person, "We can pay you $X thousand instead of $X hundred. Talk to us before you join any more of these contests."

Re:Angry? (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996226)

So in the brave new world, the client will get 100 designs, none of which will be quite what they want. So they'll go back to the author of the one that came closest and ask for a meeting. At which point that designer can say, "I charge $X hundred for a design but $X thousand for a meeting."

Why bother doing any of that? Why not just have the company say, "None of the hundred designs we got are any good. Pay the best one from this group a pittance, then hold another contest."

Crowdsource CEOs (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996092)

They're angry because they're established. Expensive suits. Exquisitely designed suites to work in.

It hurts when your whole business model is built on puff and people start figuring it out.

Graphic designers' business model is not built on puff. Of course, it is in the best interests of business owners who buy the services of graphic designers to lie and claim it is all puff, but that's just a bargaining tactic. In fact, I would have to say that the profession of CEO is built on puff far more than that of graphic designer. Why not crowdsource business decisions? That would certainly cut the outrageous salaries of these well connected upper class twits. CEOs get paid regardless of performance, yet supposedly we offer CEOs such unfairly high compensation because we need to attract the best performers. But these 'best performers' will not accept a contract that ties pay to performance! And we need these best performers, so we can't measure their performance or they won't work for us. But we already know they must be the best, because look how much compensation they are asking for. Or something. Crowdsource those rich assholes, not struggling artists.

Re:Crowdsource CEOs (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996166)

Most CEOs are paid partially in salary and partially in stock options. The ones who make ridiculous amounts of money do so in part because under their leadership, their options gained value. There are exceptions, but its rare to see a bad CEO pull in over 8 figures a year.

Re:Crowdsource CEOs (2, Funny)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996254)

$99,999,999

So a bad CEO only RARELY pulls 100 million? I don't think you're arguing against crowdsourcing his job very well. Shit, I'll run a company badly for 7 figures. I'd go so far as to say I'd do it for midway through 5.

Re:Angry? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996160)

Most of them are probably pissed because that dream of running a freelance business out of your cool house in a hip urban neighborhood and being able to write off all your Macintosh crap as a business expense is over.

i don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995580)

so designers are complaining that no one is willing to pay for their shitty work & would rather have choices up front instead of taking a gamble?

Re:i don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995938)

They're complaining because they don't get paid for the hours of work it can take them to make a good design because someone else did a slightly better job. It doesn't work like that normally. Instead of paying for full cost of the production, the companies are only paying 1/n of the true cost (where n = designers) but because it's a contest it's OK but if a big part of the industry is moving towards a 'contest' business model we'll be seeing a lot of wasted hours.

Re:i don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995986)

Isn't that just like when ANYONE makes a sales pitch? You spend all sorts of money on prep & work only to find your lead went to a different vendor? Oh well.. sounds like these people need a lesson in "life isn't fair" and maybe a hug from their mom or something.

An Industry Ripe for Change... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995588)

This is no different than Expedia disrupting the travel agent industry, iStockPhoto allowing designers to buy photos shot by amateurs for $1, or eTrade allowing people to do their own stock trading for $9 a piece.

The only people that complain about disruptive innovation are those directly affected by it. Gone are the days when you can charge $5000 for 3 logo concepts when some college student is happy to spend 2 hours cranking out a concept in his spare time for the chance at winning $269 - the price quoted on the 99designs logo design page [99designs.com] .

Re:An Industry Ripe for Change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995716)

Whether you are a Business or Freelancer – getting paid requires that you risk time and money.
If you want paying work without spending time/money or taking risks, you should go find a job with a paycheck.

My first business (a technology consultancy) was CONSTANTLY investing staggering amounts of money and time to get customers.

We had sales guys, who made healthy base salaries and some commissions. We went to networking events to establish relationships
with people who could be customers someday. We took existing clients to lunch to chat about projects on the horizon. We sent out custom
holiday cards to every client every year to keep us visible. We built and maintained a web site with a rich and updated portfolio.

We had snazzy business cards that had to be kept up to date. We had really nice business clothes for the clients that cared about such things.
We cooked up gorgeous custom proposal documents for customers– and these proposals required considerable analysis work and consultation
with the customer (spec work!).

n short, getting paying work cost TONS of time, money, and risks (how many freelancers do you know who average 100% billability in a 40
hour work week over a year?).

Re:An Industry Ripe for Change... (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995726)

Gone are the days when you can charge $5000 for 3 logo concepts when some college student is happy to spend 2 hours cranking out a concept in his spare time for the chance at winning $269 - the price quoted on the 99designs logo design page.

Just wait until wannabe designers in low-wage nations like India, China, Brazil, etc (using cracked copies of design software) start entering into the process. $269 will seem overpriced.

It's like rent-a-coder... no American can earn a living doing piecework for rent-a-coder. Most would be better off working at McDonalds. Same thing's going to happen for piecework design.

Re:An Industry Ripe for Change... (3, Interesting)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995940)

No need to wait. The article doesn't mention this, but 99designs is already saturated by Indians and Chinese who will happily undercut you. It's just a nice name for more outsourcing.

Re:An Industry Ripe for Change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996162)

What is the problem here? The fact that even most absurd fields of "expertise" have to bend? Should they be protected instead, at the expense of everybody else?

If all of them are truly so extraordinary as they claim... I'd say they should prove it. Not a big feat for a group of superior entities.

Maybe these people should pick a field of expertise wher you really have to prove that you're able to learn well (that's the basic university education), then learn stuff for couple years, and then start doing your real job. I mean, on every workplace where you go. That's the way normal creative professionals work, not by claiming they're born miracles and to be treated as such.

Re:An Industry Ripe for Change... (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995976)

it's like rent-a-coder

and ODesk

I've given up working with ODesk. What looked like a good idea turned out to be a exercise in futility competing against =$10/hr programmers in India. Quality-be-damned, the client always picks the lowest price.

I've recently taken over a codebase written by a Ukrainian who believed that by naming your files model.php, view.php and controller.php magically turned applications into MVC frameworks. Of course, the pitch was that he would code in MVC. It turns out that meant My Value is Crap.

It's happened in many fields... (5, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996050)

Just wait until wannabe designers in low-wage nations like India, China, Brazil, etc (using cracked copies of design software) start entering into the process. $269 will seem overpriced.

It's like rent-a-coder... no American can earn a living doing piecework for rent-a-coder. Most would be better off working at McDonalds. Same thing's going to happen for piecework design.

This happened about a decade ago in my field (translation) with sites like proz.com and later translatorscafe.com - there are other sites doing the same thing, but these are the two largest. It's a bidding race to the bottom with India and China.

And those of us who live in the US and Europe have been complaining about it ever since.

But then you get to a point where you realize that you don't want that kind of client anyway. And there are still many clients out there willing to pay the rate you want/deserve.

An Industry Ripe for Wal-mart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995992)

The only people that complain about disruptive innovation are those directly affected by it.

Yes the "how low can you go" is innovative. Good thing the Wal-mart model worked for all those places were small business went out of business and choice decreased. Not to mentioned exploited workers designers employed by Wal-mart.

How to make a decent living? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996016)

Gone are the days when you can charge $5000 for 3 logo concepts when some college student is happy to spend 2 hours cranking out a concept in his spare time for the chance at winning $269

The trouble is apply this to every industry and all of a sudden it's not overcharging fat cats that add no value that are affect: Suddenly there is no way to make a decent living. The only industries that survive are the ones that require qualifications.

In other words I agree that charging $5000 for 3 logo concepts isn't necessarily reasonable, but I don't want to see only amateurs compete for a single prize pool of $269 either. Effectively most people are working for free. That's not reasonable either. Surely there's a middle ground?

Re:An Industry Ripe for Change... (2, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996134)

But typically with crowd sourcing, each of the contestants needs to submit something in order to be payed. Expedia doesn't let you try all the flights and then just pay for the one you like best. The competition is good. The need for everyone to provide services without getting paid isn't so much.

Re:An Industry Ripe for Change... (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996196)

Gone are those days indeed.

And really, I'm glad to see them going - despite doing some small work in the industry. Here's the skinny:

My girlfriend works for a conservational society downtown, at a place called the Lougheed House. Peter Lougheed was one of the biggest founders of this city. Even today he has a provincial park and a hospital named after him. His House with it's massive garden is still downtown, surrounded by giant hotels, but still standing with most of its original decorations. They've turned the grand dining hall into an expensive restaurant, and there were some additions to the house during the world wars, but for the most part, its as original as it can be.

A few years ago, they hired a guy, we'll call him "Ted" - to design a web page. I'm not entirely familiar with how much was involved, but in the end - the website is hosted online - and is considered property of the Lougheed House. However, they have no idea who is hosting it, how to access any administrative tools, nothing like that. Anytime they want to make a change, they call up Ted and Ted makes the updates for them. He charges $40 for this.

So after the marketting team went to a presentation from the Ex-president of Critical Mass, they have decided that web-marketting is something they really need to pick up on. They've started a facebook page, twitter, a blog, etc. They want to keep their website up to date more often. Monthly news postings, etc etc. My girlfriend, she's not exactly in the marketting team but more like an event co-ordinator also got to attend this meeting (and was rubbing it in my face that she got to go while I was working. And apparently there was a devilled egg tray!). So she approached me afterwards, asking how difficult it is to update a website, because they don't want to spend $40 every time they want to make a change.

And I told her, it all depends on what you want to change, and how you want to change it. She said they mostly just want to change a few images, update it with some info, not really template or layout changing, just words and pictures. And so I told her, its pretty simple, HTML is easy enough for a noobie to edit. You can, in fact, ignore all the code, look for the section you want to edit, and just change whats between the tags. As for images, its as easy as either overwriting the old image, or putting the new one in the same place and changing the reference in the html to the new image.

Excited about this, she told her boss. Upon this, they consulted with TED about what they wanted to do, and TED offered that he would make them a CMS (content management system) for $30,000 if they want. Not only do they not have that kind of money, but I already told them how to make the changes they want. The only thing they need is access to whatever FTP or hosting company they are using - I imagine Ted is the only one with the credentials to actually upload to the webserver. It sounds like he is going to hand it over, though, and not hold things hostage, which is good.

No matter how much my girlfriend tries to relay my information, they want me to come in and consult with their marketting team. They will pay me (more than my current job) for my time, and deliver a free lunch. I think Monday, I never enjoy Mondays so I think I'll take it off from work and do something fun like teach people HTML & CSS.

Anyways, the point is, I'm tired of companies and contractors trying to over-inflate prices to make more money than they really deserve. Don't get me wrong, design can be a tricky business. But if you are a professional designer, and you can truly produce some stuff better than anyone else, you shouldn't have an issue with crowdsourcing. Some college person spending his off hours on a design SHOULD NOT be able to compare with your product which you have spent all your work experience developing the necessary skills to come out on top.

I just have to say (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995644)

I just have to say that in a revolution of people using their "they're" of theirs incorrectly, I am happy to see the grammatical goodness of "...at this business model's catching on."

I see what they're upset about. (2, Insightful)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995664)

Piecework is basically bullshit. It's effectively hiring 10 people to do a job and then only paying one of them (at most). It's basically using the fact that they're "Contests" to stiff 99% of the people in the business.

On the other hand, the times are changing and you have to either adapt of die. You can't really rage against the fact that globalization increases competition.

Re:I see what they're upset about. (4, Funny)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995830)

You could convince the /b/tards that this is a fun way to fuck with The Man... Anyone can set up as a designer. Then the signal to noise on 99 designs will drop through the floor and it'll be 99 Designs that has to adapt or die.

Re:I see what they're upset about. (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995900)

Oh... that's... that's just evil. *grinch smile* that's is pure malevolent brilliance right there. I might suggest that to my friends in graphic design..

Re:I see what they're upset about. (1)

hannson (1369413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995964)

They'll have to rename to 1/99 designs because that'd be the signal to noise ratio :-)

Or they'll love it... (2, Interesting)

natophonic (103088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996212)

My first job out of college many years ago was as a tech writer. I got 'synergized' into also being responsible for producing marketing materials (because I had a Mac, and had figured out how to use Adobe Illustrator and Quark and etc.). It seemed potentially fun at first. I read a few books on graphic design, and pestered a couple of buddies of mine where were employed as actual designers for tips and critiques of my first efforts, which they thought pretty impressive.

The people at work, however, hated it. I learned that at my company, no one else was a tech writer, but EVERYONE was a budding artist, whose many opinions on aesthetics HAD to be listened to. I took to doing three comps for any project, one of which was always the butt-ugliest, most garish, negative-space-ignoring piece of crap I could muster. Guess which one the President and Director of Marketing -always- picked? Everyone thought I was a genius.

Re:I see what they're upset about. (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995988)

It's effectively hiring 10 people to do a job and then only paying one of them (at most). It's basically using the fact that they're "Contests" to stiff 99% of the people in the business.

While that's true, it is also an established business model in many fields. For example, Advertising Agencies, or Architects, TV Pilots, or Engineering firms competing for tenders and contracts. Often they have to do a lot of the work, without ever knowing if they win the contract.

Bottom line though, is that the cream will always rise. If you are genuinely talented then you will succeed. In this particular case of graphics designers, they have been overcharging for decades, more competition will not hurt -- and this business model might help avoid things like the disastrous, overpriced logo for the London Olympics.

Re:I see what they're upset about. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996112)

"Bottom line though, is that the cream will always rise."

If only this were true.

Just like the music industry (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995676)

They hate it for the same reason that the music industry hates the Internet, they lose control of the marketplace and are unable to charge a premium for intangibles. Basically, the established design professionals are used to being able to charge more than the value they add to the product because it was too hard to find good alternatives. I am not saying that experienced, quality design professionals do not add significant value over most of what you can get from crowd sourcing sites. It's just that they want to charge more for that value than what it is worth in today's marketplace. When it was hard to find people who had a natural talent for design for a particular product or market segment, it was worth paying more for people who were proven at creating good designs for many different areas and additionally had experience in what types of design seem good in development, but turn out to be bad ideas in production. Now that it is easier to find people who are inexperienced, but have a natural talent, that experience is less valuable.

So let me get this straight (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995686)

A bunch of people working in a saturated job market are pissed off they might have to compete for jobs in a different manner?

Sounds to me like they don't want to actually produce a product and have the customer pay for the one they like best. They would much rather sign the customer to a contract and make money whether or not the end product would have made the customer the happiest.

Seems like a win-win for the customer and the market. The customer gets the product he wants and the people that make superior products get business and likely setup future business as well.

Re:So let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995906)

Not exactly.

What you are describing is a potential client deciding between graphics designers and having to choose between an well-known, established designer who charges a lot, or some guy they found online that charges a quarter because nobody has ever heard of him. The cheaper guy is offering a similar service at a lower price, but is still getting paid for his work. It is likely that the more established designer is better, but it wasn't worth the price difference to the client. Also, if the client likes the work the guy did, they may recommend him to other potential clients.

What is going on here is that 99designs is getting a bid for work, and they then hold a "contest" in which multiple unknown graphic designers submit designs for that bid, and then only the "winner" gets paid (after 99designs takes their cut). I am not privy on the details, but I wager that the designers are probably giving up their copyrights on their to 99designs by "entering' the contest as well. This is a bit exploitative, in my opinion. Not necessarily because the designer is getting paid less, but because he is allowing his own name to be diluted by 99designs.

Another industry F/OSS has killed. (1, Troll)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995696)

By allowing anyone too download a professional level editing program free of charge it's no longer necessary too have a formal education in order too enter the graphics design field. While this sounds great in theory it's pretty apparent that those who have taken the time and disipline to actually become proficient in there profession. However, there being crowded out by comparably unskilled students who are willing to work for a latte and their name in print.

If this continues, you will not see a single person their who has a degree above a high school diploma.

Re:Another industry F/OSS has killed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995824)

By allowing anyone too download a professional level editing program free of charge it's no longer necessary too have a formal education in order too enter the graphics design field.

F/OSS didn't make it possible to get pirated versions of Photoshop or other design tools. Unless by "professional level editing program" you mean something like the Gimp or Inkscape, in which case you don't know shit about professional level tools.

Re:Another industry F/OSS has killed. (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995850)

I don't think it's "FOSS" as much as the fact that with every generation, people's computer skills are developed at a younger age. In the 1980s, simply being proficient at using a word processor was a marketable skill. Companies held training sessions on how to use Windows. Today, if you show up at a job, it's expected that you know how to use Microsoft Office, surf the web, understand email, etc.

Same thing is happening in other IT skills. I'm not a graphic designer but I know Photoshop as well as someone who's taken a course. It's just not that hard...and of course, it gets easier because they add features that do more with each release. Ditto for many, many areas.

Re:Another industry F/OSS has killed. (1)

gorfie (700458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995852)

"If this continues, you will not see a single person their who has a degree above a high school diploma."

Sounds like a realistic path towards achieving the vision in Idiocracy...

Re:Another industry F/OSS has killed. (5, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995932)

If this continues, you will not see a single person their who has a degree above a high school diploma.

if higher education in design does not provide a strong enough competitive advantage in terms of output quality, than such education is a waste of resources and should die off. this isn't medicine or engineering where fuckups kill people. the worse that happens is a design does not win, or a company chooses a crap design and has an ugly logo or website until they figure out that it sucks and change it.

Re:Another industry F/OSS has killed. (1)

thoi412 (1604933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996054)

If this continues, you will not see a single person their who has a degree above a high school diploma.

Umm, this may happen for solely creative fields but engineering will always require study. You're not going to hire someone to build a bridge without some proof they know how to do so. Same applies to designing a banks security, machinery, and high-tech gadgets. Without study and training, you cannot design an electronic circuit. You could argue that you don't need to get a degree to gain this knowledge, but a degree is the best, most consistent, form of proof that you have this knowledge. I'm a mechanical engineering student and sure I could download a program like SolidWorks to design and stress test parts but no one is going to hire me for engineering until I have a degree. Especially if my work could possibly cause personal injury or property damage.

Re:Another industry F/OSS has killed. (2, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996178)

You are severely underestimating the time value of money. While the results may be cheaper than hiring a professional, you have absolutely 0 guarantee you will see something presentable in your desired timeframe. The longer you wait the more opportunities your competitors have to catch up and eventually surpass you, not to mention you may have to idle some of your resources while you wait for a critical component.

While competitions like these may turn a lot of heads because they are so unconventional, in reality the noise generated is a lot more than the actual impact.

Re:Another industry F/OSS has killed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996278)

While this sounds great in theory it's pretty apparent that those who have taken the time and disipline to actually become proficient in there profession.

You may need a degree and/or the time and discipline to do engineering or scientific tasks. You may need a professional standing to practice medicine or civil engineering. You may need all of that.

But this is artistic creativity we're talking about. I will be DEAD AND FUCKING BURIED before I need a goddamned degree to use my imagination and creativity because some douchebag troll said I do.

Or, to put it in terms of a pop culture reference, "I don't need no instructions to know how to ROCK!"

In conclusion, fuck you, RLiegh. Cheers!

Supply and Demand (5, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995700)

Sounds to me like there's a supply and demand problem for these established designers... namely there's too much supply for the available demand.

I understand their position: for someone outside of the design industry, it can be difficult to know who to go to with a project. So large, established designers get good business, just because they have enough of a reputation to appeal to the more conservative business types. But the prices they're charging are well above the market optimum, and they thrive off of imperfect knowledge in their client base. An organization like 99designs.com gives small, unknown, but potentially talented players access to the client base that has typically been reserved for the big guys. This drives the actual price of services (when amortized over all the work that doesn't get paid for) down to the actual economic optimum.

In other words, it's an industry bitching about the internet killing their business model. Yawn.

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996192)

I know a lot of designers who run web shops which means "plop a design on a CMS". As such they see all code as completely commodity thanks to open source, which generally means there's a lot of people building websites that know very little about programming.

I would imagine that the idea of 99designs shows people what the other side of the coin feels like. It basically just means that the market will continue to shrink.

Now there's a cheap, slightly better alternative to templates available out there. Between that and open CMS's, most standard needs website sites are effectively commodities now.

All that it means is that people who need a high end design/branding/marketing firm will still be able to get them at a premium. People who need high end custom programmers will still be able to get them at a premium.

What it really means for the market is that those types of talent aren't going to be available to small businesses, because by removing the smaller, bulk clients that pay your bills you make it more difficult for those shops to stay in business without HAVING to make a killing on high end shops.

The web industry is particularly big and just about everybody in it has either very high or very low regard for the other people in it.

- You either view design as overpriced or as a necessity.
- You either view SEO as snake oil or as an inexact science that takes a long term commitment and best practices.
- You either view programming as a commodity thanks to open source or as a valuable resource for automation.
- You either view hosting as "whatever you can get for the cheapest" or actually understand the value of quality hosting.

It really boils down to experience though. With more experience, you gain a dramatically greater appreciation for each segment to be handled with care and expertise.

99designs experience: 99% of everything is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995704)

I've watched several people use this service with minimal success. It's a ridiculously inefficient method to commission designs: everyone is racing against the clock, and not generally inclined to invest enough time in their unpaid work. Thus, the vast majority of work is wasted.

The thing is, visiting the personal sites of some of these designers submitting absolute crap showed some fairly good work. They simply don't get enough time, motivation, or communication to produce something interesting.

I recommend people trying to save money find a designer in the third world (most on 99designs are from PI/ID/IN) with a portfolio they like, offer half upon completion, and do a few iterations with the same person, giving them more than an hour for revisions.

You will undoubtedly get a better result.

Two sides to this issue (2, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995734)

Designers, like everyone else in service industries, are competing against everyone in the market. There's no more hiding. You have to demonstrate value. It's not easy to show non-designers what the value of good design is, but good designers are effective communicators; if you can't communicate your value to clients, you shouldn't expect them to pay the rates many designers are used to charging. On the flip side, I'm reminded of this reminder [37signals.com] of the value a truly skilled, experienced designer can deliver.

Oh no! (5, Funny)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995738)

But...the unwashed masses might PICK THE WRONG FONT...the horror...the horror...

Re:Oh no! (2, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996018)

You joke, but most businesses rely on their ability to project sober professionalism and seriousness. People who don't understand that Comic Sans (I know, I just font-Godwinned myself here) deteriorates that image of professionalism rather than merely communicating "informal" or "fun" (often when neither is even appropriate in the first place) shouldn't be designing anything that represents their company. And if they're in charge of paying someone else to design it, they should take advantage of that designer's skillset.

I don't tell my auto mechanic how to do his job, because I don't know how to replace wheel bearings, nor do I want to.

Re:Oh no! (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996270)

i wonder if there is a place that will let me pay them to teach me how to change my wheel bearing while doing the change for me. They would also have to explain potential problems with wheel bearings that may not have actually happened with mine. Also even getting things like, how far apart mount point A and mount point B should be is nigh imposable.

The answer to this has been in print since 1913 (3, Informative)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995742)

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles. When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and Angels weep in Heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out....

Attributed to Jack London, but there's not really any proof he wrote it.

Business Evolution As Usual (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995746)

It's the same in any industry...once a group of people figure out how to make an income they then put bureaucratic barriers (e.g. legal, regulatory, educational, or certification requirements) in place. They then develop their own lexicon which future puts an informal educational barrier in place and they treat anyone who doesn't speak their cant as an outsider. It's a natural evolution where they try to protect their income by making it harder for the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th person through the door to accomplish what they have. This of course struggles against technology and innovation which is making it easier and eventually innovation overcomes the barriers but in the mean time the dinosaurs fight ferociously to live in the manner they have become accustomed to. See RIAA, MPAA, Software Patents, all certified careers, etc. etc. etc.

Crowdsourcing is iffy at best. (3, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995748)

You put a job up, you pick the "winner", and it gets fulfilled.

Then you see the same design has been shopped around to every other site, including your direct competitors.

Then you see that this "design in a box" approach actually handily ignored many of your stated requirements in your original request.

All this to save a few bucks on design by farming it out to people who do this for literally a few bucks a job. You get what you pay for: a $50 design that looks cookie cutter (because it is), and is designed by "e-lancers" from India and China who didn't understand all of your requirements and in most cases, didn't have time to care, because they'll only see $10 of it.

Re:Crowdsourcing is iffy at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996036)

> Then you see that this "design in a box" approach actually handily ignored many of your stated requirements in your original request.

Why'd you pick it as the winner then, you big fool?

Re:Crowdsourcing is iffy at best. (2, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996090)

In my rhetorical example (which isn't really rhetorical, as I've known two people to whom it's happened to), people don't find out their design is offered to multiple sites unless they look at their competitors' offers on 99designs.com, go to their websites after they've already picked a winner, or someone tells them.

People who think 99designs.com is a good way to save a few bucks for important work that represents their company generally aren't aware of the drawbacks. They just want a website or logo that looks good. And it does look good (good enough for their non-designer eye), just as good as the rest of the people who are farmed the same template. Hardly a way to make a distinct impression.

Re:Crowdsourcing is iffy at best. (1)

shrimppesto (766285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996148)

... and is designed by "e-lancers" from India and China who didn't understand all of your requirements and in most cases, didn't have time to care ...

Because no one from India or China could possibly understand all of your requirements, or care about them.

Comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995752)

Web designers are to 99designs.com
as
Brittanica writers are to wikipedia.org
or as
News reporters are to news.google.com / facebook.com / twitter.com

Designing used to be a hard to get skill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995774)

Now anyone who can (barely) use Adobe Illustrator can steal a bunch of templates, modify them a bit and open shop as designer.

It's worse if you've got to work with marketing fuckwits and you're the only person who has been to art school. They come back with crap like 'Well, everyone has opinions.''

Well, that's true. But some of us have knowledge and experience.

A good designer can help create an effective visual metaphor to help commercialize a product, and do it consistently, on demand. An amateur cannot.

Today's graphical tools help a lot of fools with middling talent make a living, and that makes it for the truly talented people to command the price that makes their work valuable in getting a product to market.

A related field is photography. There are bags of photographers who do nothing more than leave the camera on automatic. They spray and pray and sorta, kinda deliver something but ....

Slashdot? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995780)

I don't know why this is on Slashdot. This doesn't have anything to do with traditional nerd stuff. It's a way of doing business. I'm not complaining, because I'm a "business nerd", but I thought I was the only one. That being said...

It's simple supply and demand. Everybody and their mother is a designer, and many of them are actually pretty good. There's no real reason why designers should be able to ask for the outrageous rates that they traditionally get, if there are so many other people willing to do the same work for cheaper. As a consumer of design work, I don't get any additional value from paying more for an experienced designer. The design is the product, and I don't care who produces it. Sure, the traditional designers that are used to commanding ungodly rates are going to be upset, but such is life.

That's not absurdly low (2, Interesting)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995784)

While clients may or may not be getting "Walmart-quality" designs, they're certainly paying Walmart prices. Logo payouts can run as low as $211, while a webpage design package starts at just $499--rates considered absurdly low by some in the business.

Hate to be the one tell you artists this, but that's hardly low. Lots of people simply google for attractive website templates and pay $50 them, or some small amount to get them exclusively.

For those who want more custom work, places like vworker, freelancer, etc. have an abundance of people who'll do graphic design work for peanuts. True, it may not be as fantabulous as something costing thousands, but you can get a logo design for $20 and for 80% of the people in the marketplace, it's good enough to have your company's name in some sort of distinctive design.

The world is lousy with art students and third world people with cracked copies of Photoshop. Graybeards from the 80s are annoyed that this work is no longer geographically bound and the Internet has made cheap labor abundant. Not everything about the Internet is good for every person.

This has happened before and will happen again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995808)

This is not unlike what happened to the stock photography market. Flood the market with cheap creative content. Some diamonds, some crap, no $$ for the creator. The art brokers do fine, it's the creators that get screwed.

Crowdspring (2, Interesting)

PktLoss (647983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995832)

I've run a few projects through crowdspring. I try to be really responsive with submissions, I've seen designs go from "meh" to "completely fantastic" with only a few revisions.

Looking at my history, the people who I seem to pick seem to win a decent percentage of the time.

For larger projects, or projects where the stakes are simply larger, I'd want to build a relationship with a designer, or design house, rather than go through something like this.

This just reminded me (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995860)

That I should go check Renta-A-Coder to see if there is any well paying work available!

Re:This just reminded me (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996060)

That I should go check Renta-A-Coder to see if there is any well paying work available!

$6/hr is a great wage if you have a 3rd-world cost-of-living. Wage earners in the USA are getting fucked career by career. I sense the return of unions, or something like them, on the horizon. When the downsides[1] of dog-eat-dog exceed the upsides[2] for average people, you will see change.

[1] Career turmoil and stress

[2] $4 lawn-chairs

     

as a designer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995866)

As a designer, I have to laugh at what I'm seeing on that site. Sure, there are a handful of decent concepts (aka, the beginnings of a good logo/identity), but a huge majority of it is just garbage. There are some basic guidelines that should be followed when doing any logo design, like how well will it translate at different sizes. Or can it be easily adapted to a one- or two-color spot version for print and promotions. What I'm seeing is way too many people going overboard with gradients and bevel/emboss filters, combined with piss-poor type treatments.

I don't hate the site because of how it works. I hate the site because of all the bad work I'm seeing there.

Bad Changing of Roles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995890)

I'm not a graphic designer, but my dating history is littered with them... One thing I've learned is that generally clients don't know what is good -- even when they think they do, they do not. Crowdsourcing completely changes the process, where now the client ultimately takes on the role of the supervisor at a design firm. This is a role they have absolutely no training to do and, as the article points out, they also may not have a dialogue with good designers.

The results of this will be ending up with work that fits the faux design supervisor's tastes, often leading to people choosing things that are awful and having no idea they chose something awful. I was just looking at bancomicsans yesterday, and you have to realize that people who used Comic Sans as the font for their business's signs actually thought it was a good idea. Even as a pretty artsy guy (which is probably why designers ask me out) who recognized when his CS project's title had uneven kerning, I still know enough to resist the urge to DIY and hire a good designer to handle it for me. Crowdsourcing is not the route I'd take; you're essentially paying less money for a much higher chance of making your product look horrible, and you look like an idiot.

Makes sense...I'd be angry in their shoes too... (5, Insightful)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995912)

Frankly, I can see why they're angry. This business model reduces their profession to amateur hour - and it can only hurt it in the long run.

I've worked in both the public and private sector. There is a reputable way to select somebody for a contract in a competitive setting. It's called a request for a quote, or RFQ (or request for a proposal, RFP). A general call goes out to businesses and people in the required industry. Proposals are collected, with projected timelines, pricings, and samples. Then, a decision is made, and the winner gets the contract. The losers go on to bid on other contracts.

The point, though, is that the time spent producing the final product is spent only by the winner. Everybody else moves on.

Now, that's the right way to do it. What's described in the article is the wrong way to do it. Imagine, for a moment, that you're a web site designer (I know the article is about graphic designers, but bear with me here). How would you feel if instead of preparing a proposal for a part of a website, you had to prepare the entire finished product - and then, after those hours of work (that could have been spent on working for a paying client, or in finding a paying client), you find out that somebody else got the contract, and therefore you get nothing?

Somehow, I think you'd be pretty pissed off too.

Now, this may be fine if you're just starting out, but it's not going to sit well once you've got a few years of experience under your belt. The really good people are going to get sick of it and do one of two things - they'll either leave that model and just work for the people who will treat them like professionals, or they'll leave the field itself.

Will amateur hour be cheaper than dealing with professionals? Absolutely. But, in the long run, it will drive the real talent out, and that will just make the field poorer.

Re:Makes sense...I'd be angry in their shoes too.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996076)

whatever.

you say that as if graphic designers aren't just english majors with pirated photoshop and illustrator.

Of course we get angry. (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995918)

If you want to earn a living in the design business you anly have a limited amount of hours a day to do that. That means you can't afford to work for free, which is essentially what you did if yiu don't win. I know that this is what's happening when big ad agencies "pitch" to a client, but they make it up by adding these hours to the bill for the next client where they win a pitch. On sites driven by cost competitiveness like 99designs this will be difficult. And then i don't want to work for a client who doesn't have the slightest idea what they are looking for. Try getting hand made shoes by asking different vendors to make a pair from which you will choose one ... or ...: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a8TRSgzZY [youtube.com]

How is this any different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32995926)

than asking multiple companies to submit bids/concept work for my project then only selecting the best one? That's nothing new.

Re:How is this any different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996158)

than asking multiple companies to submit bids/concept work for my project then only selecting the best one? That's nothing new.
The difference is that you're asking them to complete the project. It's like NASA saying "Okay, we want a rocket" and expecting all the contractors to supply them with finished rockets before they decide which one of them will actually get paid for their work. A bid is different from a completed project.

No surprise (5, Insightful)

mike449 (238450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32995972)

Any profitable business is based on some barrier for entry for competitors. When the barrier gets lower, the profitability inevitably goes down to zero as a result of unhindered competition. This is called free market.
Being angry about this is like being angry at gravity or evolution.

As a person on the other side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996022)

As a person who is on the customer side of this equation, I absolutely love crowdsourcing.

My company's last call for a designer was to redesign a section for one of our corporate websites (Think a sub-department of one of our departments). We went to a couple of major designers who shall not be named, and asked them for a quote. They wanted around $15,000.

Using a couple of crowdsourcing websites, we got in contact with a 19 year old kid going through college. He did a quick 15-minute mock-up, I got a go ahead, and we worked it out to $4,500 when he started, and $4,500 when he finished. In the end, we were extremely happy with what we got. He got paid more than he normally would, we got exactly what we wanted, and we saved $6,000. It was a win-win for everyone.

Re:As a person on the other side... (1)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996268)

Same here. I have a very small consultancy (evening work). Rather than trying to do a logo myself or not having a logo. At £40 I had a good solid logo. [junctionconsulting.co.uk]

Wait 'till it hits IT (1)

Imazalil (553163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996042)

Graphic Designer here, so consider me biased.

Currently, design works just like most other professions. Company needs work done, they send out a request for people to quote on that work. They shortlist a few potential options and sit down with them to go over things in detail. Designers provide a proper quote on the project and then the company decides who to go with.

Really, the same thing as needing to buy a new mail server, getting a few quotes from some vendors and then deciding on one.

What these sites are essentially doing is making each of the vendors go to your place, install the new mail server, and then you only pay for the one you like - but keep everyone elses servers as well.

It can be fun while you are in school, or trying to get your foot in the door, but eventually you realize that you've just spend a full day working for nothing. The worst part is that the client could go through the submissions, copy all the ideas down, decline them all, and send it over to their secretary to redraw it out for 'free'. Design is about ideas and form, it's not really something tangible (I built a car!) it's a hard thing to quantify, and a lot of the time to get paid for.

Spec work is a bad idea in any industry, and 99% of the time leads to the person doing the work getting screwed. That said, if people want to partake it's their choice and none of my business.

Best of the Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996108)

Yes, watch out established graphic designers ... it looks like you've met your match.

http://99designs.com/other-design-tasks/contests/credit-card-design-49350/designers/443787 [99designs.com]

http://99designs.com/logo-design/contests/classical-website-logo-49362/designers/443787 [99designs.com]

GIANTS TALK LIKE THIS (3, Informative)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996110)

Threadless has been very successful crowd sourcing designs for shirts, wall clings, etc. I have seen Hanes and other big names try and get on the 'clever/funny t-shirt' money train, but their stuff is horrid. I don't think any design 'team' could ever do better job with this type of thing than one person with some decent software, a Wacom tablet, and a really great idea. What's more, Threadless pays a few hundred bucks the most highly voted designs.

Nude No More!

Most clients don't need high-end design (5, Insightful)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996116)

The problem that 99designs solves is that most clients don't need a $20,000 design and don't have $20,000 to spend.

Years ago I worked for a company that made point of sale systems. They had a logo that looked like a monogram on someone's shirt. It was drawn by a marketing VP who had no design experience, in the early days of the company. Eventually it became an embarrassment and they hired a consultant who made a new logo, new letterhead, etc., for $80,000.

But the thing is that they only sold to industry and didn't need that degree of expertise. Something from 99designs would have been good enough, and if it happened to look exactly like the logo some real estate management startup in Boise, Idaho was using, too, so what. Since then I've worked for a bunch of startups and the logo and website design has always been a problem. Usually it gets done by somebody's kid or somebody's friend, because startups don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a logo unless they're selling a consumer product.

Contest Sourcing more than "Crowd Sourcing." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32996130)

To call speculative contests "crowd sourcing" is misleading. Wikipedia is an example of an efficient use of crowds. The contest sourcing in the OP is not, instead creating a vast waste of man hours of work for all the loosing entries.

Crowd sourcing isn't the issue. Contest sourcing is.

$20 auction (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32996272)

I'm kinda curious how this will work out long term, I'd think this wouldn't get very good designs since people wouldn't do that much work when they probably won't get paid.

On the other hand if you've worked X hours already, than it's worthwhile to work X+1 to make sure you're the best design so you do get paid.

It reminds me of an economist trick of auctioning off a $20 bill [slate.com] . Basically the idea is just that, auction off the $20 bill, except not only does the winner have to pay, but the second place bidder as well.

So if I bid $18, and another student bids $19 than I'm still paying $18 but I won't get the $20. So I now have to bid $20 just to get the $20 bill and break even, and the other student has to bid $21 so they're only losing $1 instead of $19 and so on until one of the participants smartens up and decides the bill isn't worth the cost.

Anyone know of any other industries where such a big proportion of the work is done in the bidding process?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>