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Monday, February 08, 2010

Crowdsourcing! Yay or Nay?

I fear this post is going to be longer than I intend, so here goes!

Often times, the best ideas come from somewhere unexpected. In my world of design, this often happens when sharing work in the form of critique, just looking for inspiration by sharing or just someone looking over your shoulder. The best designers are opened to this form of input.

Sometimes you are given a problem, you use all your skills to do what you feel is right in solving that problem. Then you turn your solution over to the user and they say "Looks really nice, but the real problem was the handle was slippery. We don't need a new pliers, just one with a better grip." AHA! The client thought they needed a new product, when the real problem was a much smaller fix. THE USER, a mechanic let's say, came up with the REAL and RIGHT solution. Does not make the solution I came up with any less valid, just not right for the problem at hand.

Clients today have taken this idea, and are using it sometimes for good, think grassroots charity work, and sometimes for bad. It is often called Crowdsourcing.

Most recently, The Joffrey Ballet offered up the "opportunity" via an open call to design the invitation for their spring gala. Anyone who fancies themselves a designer due to their owning a computer has the chance to compete with students and top professionals. The winner will receive $700. Not sure how many top "professionals" would partake in such an opportunity, but the current climate makes people do crazy things! This type of crowdsourcing creates buzz but some professional designers are rebelling, and should!

Of course, the Joffrey believes this could be an outstanding opportunity to build one's portfolio and client base. A perfect opportunity for a young designer. But really? How many unknowns are going to really garner this project. But then again, how many pros are going to participate. So I guess there may be a chance for that diamond in the rough to make it to print.

This has a stink of spec work to it. The AIGA, the professional association for design, has a strong position in regard to spec work. Briefly they state "AIGA, the professional association for design, believes that professional designers should be compensated fairly for the value of their work and should negotiate the ownership or use rights of their intellectual and creative property through an engagement with clients.

AIGA acknowledges that speculative work—that is, work done prior to engagement with a client in anticipation of being paid—occurs among clients and designers. Instead of working speculatively, AIGA strongly encourages designers to enter into projects with full engagement to continue to show the value of their creative endeavor. Designers and clients should be aware of all potential risks before entering into speculative work."

For more info on the AIGA's stance on spec work,
click here

The Joffrey stands and expects to raise $1.3 milllion at this annual gala. The cheapest ticket to the gala is $600. And they will pay the winning design/designer $700!

As a professional designer, i would KILL for a chance to work with and for the Joffrey Ballet. But not lke this.

Can't wait to see what happens and the final decision of the Joffrey.



At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Reginald said...

Thanks so much for this article, quite effective piece of writing.
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