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  1. #1
    Junior Member krkw72's Avatar
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    Has anyone else heard of this?...

    A lot of you may be familiar with other design contest sites.
    I have entered several in the past few weeks.
    I had no idea (until recently) there was a controversy stewing about them:

    Chicago Reader | The Business | Everyone’s a Designer: Crowdspring, a crowd-sourced graphic design company, has the profession on edge. By Deanna Isaacs

    eyeCinq: Forbes Promotes Graphic Design Kitsch

    These show views from both sides of the argument.
    I tend to agree with the guy from the first link....

    What are some of you fellow designers' opinions?

  2. #2
    Junior Member ArtbyAudree's Avatar
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    I have participated as a creative on crowdSPRING, and commented on this around the web. I understand the frustration of professional designers as more and more contest sites pop up... just as photographers were frustrated when stock sites hit the net.

    The reality is... the tide is moving, and there is little point in trying to swim against it. I think there is a place for sites like this, as well as for design studios that provide more in-depth service. It really depends on the needs of the business. Many start-ups can't afford thousands for an identity package. But they need to have a professional look to get started. That is where sites like this can help.

    Plus, it's a great way for designers who are out of work, just out of college, or stay-at-home moms to sharpen their skills and create.

    Audree

  3. #3
    Senior Member .:FMD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtbyAudree View Post
    I have participated as a creative on crowdSPRING, and commented on this around the web. I understand the frustration of professional designers as more and more contest sites pop up... just as photographers were frustrated when stock sites hit the net.

    The reality is... the tide is moving, and there is little point in trying to swim against it. I think there is a place for sites like this, as well as for design studios that provide more in-depth service. It really depends on the needs of the business. Many start-ups can't afford thousands for an identity package. But they need to have a professional look to get started. That is where sites like this can help.

    Plus, it's a great way for designers who are out of work, just out of college, or stay-at-home moms to sharpen their skills and create.


    Audree

    i am on the fence about this as I have lots of professionals in the industry and they feel that these "contest sites" are basically making it that the design industry will be no more and it will be basically to the lowest bidder which i think is preposterous especially in an industry that was supposed to be booming when i first went into college. Best way put is "the industry is cannibalizing itself."

    Since then I have been hearing design jobs are really hard to come by due to the fact that alot of these "marketing" and "advertising" firms are outsourcing. By us allowing to drop our standards and charge 300 for a website or 150 for a logo we are lowering our worth to the industry as well hence why graphic designers make shit for wages now.

    To make money in the industry you need a niche...3d design...web design...those are HUGE right now. Print is slowly becoming obsolete except for identities and what used to cost 2-3k for a logo...costs 150-300? does that make sense?

    Have you noticed...less direct mail has been coming in the mail? why? Because business's don't want to spend that and they feel there is a cheaper way of going to the masses.

    I am an elite designer on here...but I will NOT succumb to lowering my worth by designing something that I would not myself charge for. If it is worth my time and money, I will do it.

    I urge you all as young designers to do not rely on these websites as your bread winner. Not to mention DO NOT SELL YOUR SERVICES FOR LESS THAN WHAT YOU THINK IT IS WORTH. You will lower your worth, but the worth of thousands.

    Do you want to be making less than a FORD automotive Line worker? Because right now our industry is hurting and the job market is drying up.

    I look for jobs daily because I am trying to get with a firm and I am seeing some places paying designers 18k salary...are you serious? That is just ludicrous considering some of us payed thousands of dollars for an education and arent making anymore if we decided to work as a waiter or waitress.

    You say its good for start up companies...well that is fine, however these start up companies are taking advantage of our abilities.

    you want a great example... heres one and this may piss you off or you may say whatever but this is a company in our own industry doing this to us.

    I worked for a company as a freelancer for about a month. He explained to me that they really do not do branding as he just throws it up on 99 designs for a couple hundred bucks and gets to choose from hundreds of designs. THIS IS AN ADVERTISING FIRM! He has over 80 clients. He charges 150 an hour for design to the clients. how much do you think he sold that logo that a designer designed for a couple hundred bucks... probably a couple thousand dollars.

    Now...what are your feelings about this and do you agree with what i just said?

    Resurepus,

    I am in no way attacking your website, I think a community of designers is great, but I think that we are getting manipulated. Maybe there should be some kind of limit as to who is allowed to post jobs on these contest sites to not affect the industry so it is truly the poor small business owner starting up and not a advertising/marketing firm trying to make a ton of cash with little overhead.
    Last edited by .:FMD; 06-03-2009 at 10:07 PM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member ArtbyAudree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .:FMD View Post
    I worked for a company as a freelancer for about a month. He explained to me that they really do not do branding as he just throws it up on 99 designs for a couple hundred bucks and gets to choose from hundreds of designs. THIS IS AN ADVERTISING FIRM! He has over 80 clients. He charges 150 an hour for design to the clients. how much do you think he sold that logo that a designer designed for a couple hundred bucks... probably a couple thousand dollars.

    Now...what are your feelings about this and do you agree with what i just said?
    Hi FMD,

    You make some excellent points. Here is my take on Advertising firms that use contest sites for ideas, then turn around and charge a client for the work someone else did... I think if they are not upfront about it with their client, they are unethical, and it may just result in the loss of their job if they are caught.

    Some may pay for the "ideas" or "concepts", then create their own look with what they are presenting. I guess that would be okay... but it is not the type of contest I would want to participate in. I'd rather put in hours for a non-profit group that will actually use my logo than someone fishing for ideas.

    Audree

  5. #5
    Senior Member .:FMD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtbyAudree View Post
    Hi FMD,

    You make some excellent points. Here is my take on Advertising firms that use contest sites for ideas, then turn around and charge a client for the work someone else did... I think if they are not upfront about it with their client, they are unethical, and it may just result in the loss of their job if they are caught.

    Some may pay for the "ideas" or "concepts", then create their own look with what they are presenting. I guess that would be okay... but it is not the type of contest I would want to participate in. I'd rather put in hours for a non-profit group that will actually use my logo than someone fishing for ideas.

    Audree
    The problem Audree is that there are more people out there taking advantage of us and the industry is split. Professionals that have been in it a long time think its wrong, young kids out of college and just hobbiest find it a great idea. The thing is is that the professionals are right. We are getting taken advantage of and some people in the industry dont care...they want to make a quick buck or are hobbiest and have a full time job on the side. Well what if we (designers) come to your job and say you are a contractor, and we come in and say "hey ill do this house for 5000 less than the other guy" How would you feel if money was getting taken away from your pocket because someone is doing it to make a quick buck?

  6. #6
    Junior Member ArtbyAudree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .:FMD View Post
    The problem Audree is that there are more people out there taking advantage of us and the industry is split. Professionals that have been in it a long time think its wrong, young kids out of college and just hobbiest find it a great idea. The thing is is that the professionals are right. We are getting taken advantage of and some people in the industry dont care...they want to make a quick buck or are hobbiest and have a full time job on the side. Well what if we (designers) come to your job and say you are a contractor, and we come in and say "hey ill do this house for 5000 less than the other guy" How would you feel if money was getting taken away from your pocket because someone is doing it to make a quick buck?
    Well... that would suck!

    And that happens every day.

    It's not a black and white issue. I understand the frustrations from both sides. Contest sites are a new phenomenon. There are kinks and bugs to be worked out. And the argument most professional designers make is, "You get what you pay for."

    I know there are designers that believe we are hurting the industry by participating. But I am not doing this to hurt the design industry, just as bloggers aren't doing their thing to hurt the newspaper industry. They just want to write. And I just want to create.

    Are we being taken advantage of? Well - we don't HAVE to participate, do we? If we feel we are being treated unfairly, we can walk away.

    And - don't underestimate hobbyists and kids just out of school. I believe that's what the design industry has done... to their peril.

    Audree

  7. #7
    Senior Member .:FMD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtbyAudree View Post
    Well... that would suck!

    And that happens every day.

    It's not a black and white issue. I understand the frustrations from both sides. Contest sites are a new phenomenon. There are kinks and bugs to be worked out. And the argument most professional designers make is, "You get what you pay for."

    I know there are designers that believe we are hurting the industry by participating. But I am not doing this to hurt the design industry, just as bloggers aren't doing their thing to hurt the newspaper industry. They just want to write. And I just want to create.

    Are we being taken advantage of? Well - we don't HAVE to participate, do we? If we feel we are being treated unfairly, we can walk away.

    And - don't underestimate hobbyists and kids just out of school. I believe that's what the design industry has done... to their peril.

    Audree
    Definitely am not under estimating kids out of school. I am a recent graduate of less than a year ago. I know the effects first hand of being taken advantage of. I know how hard it is right now to find a job. I enjoy freelancing, but right now I prefer something more stable. I want to work in a firm, build an awesome portfolio of multi million dollar clients, and then go off on my own. Starting off as a freelancer was not my plan. The industry almost seems as if there is not a need for designers as there was say 10 years ago .

    I know hobbyist enjoy designing but do I feel they can bring to the table what an educated designer can about design principles, color theory, typography and understand why we use those, no I do not. The reason being is i think hobbyist will not pick up a graphic design principles book and read it from front to back or what my professor called the typography bible "elements of typographic style" by Robert Bringhurst(which is extremely boring btw). They will do what they think looks good or what many people do, take another design made, change a few things and thats that. They will miss the little details that educated designers learned and thats what sticks us out from the rest.

    Graphic Design isn't just art, there are reasons why you do things a certain way. If you put something on a piece of paper or a pdf, and cannot explain why you did it that way and what is the message from it. It really isn't a design. Its an image or art.

  8. #8
    Junior Member ArtbyAudree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .:FMD View Post
    Definitely am not under estimating kids out of school. I am a recent graduate of less than a year ago. I know the effects first hand of being taken advantage of. I know how hard it is right now to find a job. I enjoy freelancing, but right now I prefer something more stable. I want to work in a firm, build an awesome portfolio of multi million dollar clients, and then go off on my own. Starting off as a freelancer was not my plan. The industry almost seems as if there is not a need for designers as there was say 10 years ago .

    The poor economy is one of the reasons contest sites are doing so well, and high priced deign agencies are laying people off. It's a tough time to be entering the work force. And new grads are competing for jobs with experienced professionals.

    The availability of programs like Illustrator have opened up the field as well.

    Best of luck with that portfolio, FMD.

    Audree

  9. #9
    Coy
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    great topic of discussion.

    Personally I'm kinda in between both of these.
    For the most part I'd completly agree with FMD. Sites like 99design I feel have their place, but anyone can join and there is no prerequisit to it. I was a member of said site and found alot of winning designs were subpar at best and the amount of stollen ideas were outragious. I've had many design ideas that were tweeked and changed by other "designers" that ended up winning. I took it as a learning step in the end.

    Sites like DC I feel is a bit differnt, but agree again with FMD about making sure it's not some ad firm basically steeling ideas.

    I fall into the category as a 'hobbiest' w/ design college to back it up. I have a family that need medical and all that stuff and wasn't able to get the design job I had wanted to find and was kinda forced out of the design field if you will. I'm now trying to get back in and because of my situation find my self having to re-learn everything, it's amazing what you forget because of the lack of use.

    I also feel "we" have had to sell our selfs short in the end. I can make a custom part and get paid $2k turn around spend the same amount of time (if not more) on a logo and hav to sell it for $150 to $300 just so the client will hire me instead of someother hack that isn't as tallented or refure to some other contest site. I've even made an agreement on a couple of occasions to do the work for a start up FREE at first and once off the ground hire me as their design/market person. This set up works for me since I have a perm. job and can (barely) pay the bills and every dime I make off my designs go straight to my college student.

    I've found other resources other than sites similar to 99 design to get odd freelance jobs. So there is a need for designers it's just getting difficult to find them.

  10. #10
    Junior Member ArtbyAudree's Avatar
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    Hi there Coy,

    I know the numbers aren't great. Plus, unlike a "regular" job, there is no guarantee of income. The concept copying irks me to no end. It's a major drawback of open projects. But the reality is... it happens everywhere. Not just on contest sites.

    After several years at a sign and design studio, (and a bit of teaching mixed in)) I have been running an art and design business out of my home since 1997. It's a great way for me to create and get some extra income for our family while staying home with the kids. When the economy dried up, so did my clients. Even my biggest client, a restaurant chain in Chicago, evaporated to almost nothing. PLUS, I'm an editorial cartoonist, and my paper is still doing well... but who knows how long that will last.

    So - I was very happy to find a place to create and grow as a designer, make my own hours, and control my work flow. It looks like we all have our reasons for participating.

    Audree

  11. #11
    Senior Member atondex's Avatar
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    Even the logo for the site was designed in a contest, for $200, but in 2006.

  12. #12
    Junior Member ArtbyAudree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atondex View Post
    Even the logo for the site was designed in a contest, for $200, but in 2006.
    Are you talking about crowdSPRING's logo? If so, I read that they not only used the contest format, but learned from the experience. Don't you think it's only right that design contest sites should use a contest to create their logo? I know DC did it for their T-shirt design. Hey DC - Where did you get your logo?

    Audree

  13. #13
    Senior Member atondex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtbyAudree View Post
    Are you talking about crowdSPRING's logo? If so, I read that they not only used the contest format, but learned from the experience. Don't you think it's only right that design contest sites should use a contest to create their logo? I know DC did it for their T-shirt design. Hey DC - Where did you get your logo?

    Audree
    Yes, I think it was a great opportunity for them to learn from the experience of designing a logo on a design contest site, since they were doing a similar format site. It was a great research opportunity for them, and they killed 2 rabbits with one shot.

  14. #14
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    Great topic 's here.
    What I think is the drawback in other contest such as 99designs is they are open to anyone's designer, though other's taking it as an opportunity. Eventhough, there are not really a "designer". The elite designers, are being mixed with the 'trial-error' people that they pretend to be designers. I knew some elite designers at 99designs (me myself is also a member), that have been lost with others who are not really a designers.

    I feel the quality of being a good designer is loss, by getting more people (non-designer) without screening it. Though, I am not against to the budding-designers.

    That's why client's are now, bargaining the amount of what they are giving with. Because, they knew what's happening.... even sometimes the CH didn't even pay and just took the designers ideas. It's really dissapointing ;(

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