Why crowdsourcing design work is a bad idea

Why crowdsourcing design is a very bad idea for any organization.

Saving a dollar is great. But when it comes to saving on professional service, saving cost on retaining freelance CPA, freelance doctor, or freelance attorney would look silly to most. In the past years a growing number of crowdsourcing sites and sites that promote spec work – speculative work – work where people compete in order to get paid – grown to allow clients redefine how much they want to spend on creative projects and trying to fit into minimum budget while retaining maximum scope of work.

This approach very often leads to project failure on different fronts, many of them are hidden.

By spending one fifth on logo design for example, one can think that it will give result comparable to effort a team puts over a week. But typically, having even fifty or hundred different designers come up with so called logo design, makes only one sure thing – and that is to sell you their opinion. Who needs 99 designs when only 5 of them are any good and no guarantee that those five you will be able to contact any time in the future if need to? Entire spec work concept is a stick with two ends.

Tricking customer in liking it

Many designers use variety of visual tricks such as putting logo in nice box, 3d render of stationery looking very realistic, using catchy styles, common themes and disregarding actual brand characteristics that need to be present in the logo leaves customers with misconception of logo design they may be ok with. In reality, logos, print or websites deigned via crowd sourcing formula result in much of wasted time, and often disconnect between different designers, marketing personnel, lack of unity in visual styles and branding.

Reality of crowdsourcing design 

  • All designers doing crowd sourcing or spec work projects must work in organizations several levels below professional deign firms to survive. They make very little money and used to work for free.
  • Many designers are freelancers, students and starting designers trying to build portfolio in remote countries and places where value of the work isn’t comparable with value of the dollar. While some are talented, most won’t care and be there agree a while developing ongoing relationship with freelancers or students will not work.
  • Template usage is abundant. It’s not possible to make any money by spending as much time as it should take to create all unique design. Designers maintain large libraries of templates which can be quickly adjusted to fit your name. Result is as you can imagine not going to be unique.
  • Designers have little or no interest in working closely with you to make sure you are completely happy. It’s a wall mart approach – take it or leave it. Mass production, quantity over quality.
  • So-called experts and portfolios are often fraud, stolen, borrowed and not unique. Many times designers will openly borrow design ideas from other places, steal and misrepresent for only reason to get your approval. It is very easy to steal the logo design idea form another one, adjust letters and leave client handing for potential copyright infringement with nobody held responsible. A reputable design firm will always stand by their work.
  • Crowd sourcing websites are themselves designed to devalue professional and expert service. Imagine that you would ask 10 attorneys to represent you but only paid one that you liked the most.
  • Any professional organization is built on developing creative expertise, talent and ability to build value. Loosing understanding will prove to be wasteful.


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