Innovation That Matters

Crowdsourcing graphic design

Fashion & Beauty

Last week, we wrote about uShip, where customers post shipments online and shipping companies bid for their business. A similar approach is being taken by another venture we recently spotted. This time, it’s all about design. SitePoint, an Australian media company that targets web professionals, lets companies hold design contests and gain access to the creative talents of the global design community. How it works? A business owner looking for a new design, be it a logo, website or stationery, describes exactly what she’s looking for: what the desired colour scheme and file format are, what the design is for, and which elements to incorporate (for example: “We would like to have the initials PCM and ‘Panama City Models’ below the initials with a smaller font. But might consider a different approach”). After a prize amount and an end-date have been set, designers start submitting their work for all to see. Once the contest holder sees a design she likes, she can award the prize to buy the design. Alternatively, she can first suggest minor tweaks or request changes. Designers retain all rights to their submitted work until they’ve been awarded the prize on offer and have been paid in full. On receipt of payment, all rights to the winning design transfer from the designer to the contest holder. To protect themselves, designers are advised to check the contest holder’s previous posts to determine their standing in the community, and to ask the contest holder questions about the terms of payment, etc. While many established designers protest that this type of ‘spec’ work is devaluing their profession, crowdsourcing is a valid and cost-effective option for small businesses or organisations who can’t (yet) afford to hire a traditional branding agency or graphic design firm. Gaining access to thousands of aspiring designers means that a small town pub or a summer computer camp can buy a logo or t-shirt design for USD 100-200. Meanwhile, designers from across the world can tap into a much larger market for their services, while building their portfolio, honing their skills and presenting to real clients. Both clients and designers seem to like the concept: SitePoint’s design contests boast over 2,000 designers who submit on average 420 designs a day, and over USD 80,000 is offered as prize money each month. Businesses pay SitePoint a USD 20 listing fee and set their own prizes, which must be higher than the minimum dollar amount specified by SitePoint for each design category. Since graphic design and briefings are often tied to language and culture, this is definitely one to start in your own neck of the woods. Alternatively, study SitePoint, Threadless, iStockPhoto and other creative crowdsourcing communities, and carve your own niche. Spotted by: Shayne Tilley



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