Obama crowdsourcing to support American jobs?

A tweet from Niki Bivona (@nikibivona) on Twitter says it all:

“RT @nospec http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/artworks-submission Obama is now crowdsourcing a poster, about job creation. Irony.”

Obama, if you aim to support American jobs, then perhaps paying designers to create your campaign posters would be a good start.

US Department of Interior is crowdsourcing their logo?

Here’s a petition found via Twitter that you might be interested in.

@LogoMotives Petition: Stop the US Department of @Interior from Crowdsourcing a Logo | @nospec #nospec | http://bit.ly/NOSPEC-DOI

“The U.S. Department of the Interior currently has posted a design brief on crowdspring.com (http://www.crowdspring.com/project/2296807_logo-us-department-of-the-interior/details/) asking for graphic designers to work for free in order to try to ‘win’ the prize of being paid for logo design and branding work. This is outrageous, especially coming from a branch of the U.S. Government.

“We are against crowdsourcing of logos due to the harm it typically does the company or organization as well as the damage it does to the general public’s understanding of the Graphic Design profession and the amount of work that really goes into logo development and branding. A branch of our U.S. Government supporting such practices is upsetting to us all. While crowdsourcing may appear like a win-win scenario on the surface for any company or organization, there are many reasons this may backfire and cause more harm than good.”

Read the rest here: Stop the US Department of Interior from Crowdsourcing a Logo

Our signature’s on the petition.

Interview Request: Alternatives to Free Pitching

Alternatives to Free Pitching

Free pitching has long been an issue with designers. Some designers are for, some against, while others aren’t sure which way to jump. Do you?

Below is a request for help from a writer compiling research for a paper on free pitching.

I now turn you over to Sean Ashcroft…

I am a design journalist, and I am currently writing a white paper exploring alternatives to free pitching, and am seeking to interview, by email, design practitioners who do not engage (or rarely engage) in free pitching, but instead win new clients using alternative means.

Please note: This report will require in-depth answers from interviewees.

Questions:

  • Please provide a brief career biography (current job title, agency name, age, location, etc).
  • What strategies other than free pitching do you employ to win new business?
  • Can you gives one or two in-depth examples of how you have implemented these?
  • Have you / your agency specialized your offering either by:
    i) Design discipline (EG: Mobile apps, human interaction design, etc)
    ii) Sector (EF: marine, construction, property, city branding, etc).
    If yes, please give details.
  • If you answered yes to either part of Q4, how important has this differentiation been to your non-reliance on free pitching?
  • Has your current agency ever engaged in free pitching? If yes, how did you implement change?
  • Do you have any faith in the ability of design bodies to change the culture of free pitching?
  • What is the most important piece of advice you can give to agencies who can see no alternative to free pitching?

Thank you in advance for any help you are able to offer.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Please contact me via either of the sites below, or sean ashcroft.

Sean Ashcroft
Journalist and writer
zyzzyva: Helping designers differentiate
Planet Client: Helping designers win clients, retain clients and understand clients

iStock + Logos = ?

Worms, lawyers and style-whores

iStock opens can of nasty worms | Logo Design Love: I’ve learned a lot during my years as a designer. One of those things is that a logo in isolation is like lipstick on a pig. It needs to be treated as part of an overall brand identity strategy, not picked off a shelf. This is no different from the ‘make your own logo’ websites out there, or the logo contest spec work sites that harbour an equal amount of ‘design’ nastiness.

Debbie Milman | Twitter: What iStock is doing to designers is deplorable. Truly heinous. $5 for a logo? Why?

istock photo to sell logos | The Logo Factor Design Blog: I predict there will be massive copyright problems as would-be designers, eager for quickly produced logos, scour the internet for material to, ahm, be ‘inspired’ by. And in a little bit of karmic schadenfreude, logo design contests and crowdsourcing sites will be ground zero for a lot of ‘inspiration’ for stock logos to upload. It’s an unfortunate, but predictable, aspect of a design business model where the emphasis (and only profitability for the designer) is to create a large number of logos, in the shortest amount of time possible.

Copying issues notwithstanding, and without the benefit of an accurate crystal ball, I don’t really know what impact this iStock logo deal will have on the industry at large. But I do have a feeling it will make a few copyright and trademark lawyers a lot of dough.

iStockphoto to begin selling stock logos | The Donut Project: When it comes to crowdsourcing, the responsibility falls solely on designers to stand up and say NO. As long as there are thousands of designers submitting to these sites, they will continue to thrive. I personally vow to no longer associate myself with designers who undervalue our industry by allowing themselves to be taken advantage of as style-whores – and I encourage/challenge you to stand up, have a backbone, and do the same.

It’s simple. Crowdsourcing can’t thrive if there’s no crowd to source.

Wait! There’s more…

iStock: Logos come to iStock

HOW Design Forum: iStock now selling logos!

AIGA: What is AIGA’s position on spec work?

Enjoy…

NO!SPEC Posters: Posters by Matt Clarke

Check out the fun NO!SPEC posters from Matt Clarke of Design Intellect.
Thanks Matt :-)

Do you SPECulate

Bankers SPECulate

Matt’s posters can be downloaded here.

As before, check out posters by Jeremy Yamaguchi, Dagmar Jeffrey, Jerett Patterson, George Gruel, Chad Behnke, Jeff Andrews, Rob Gough and Von Glitschka.

The NO!SPEC posters are 300 dpi, CMYK and/or spot color, PDF printable on A4 and Letter.

If you are interested in contributing a poster design for usage in promoting NO!SPEC just contact us for the logo files. Note: It might take us a little while to get them up, but get them up we will.

Logo Design Love: SpecWatch on Design Contests

Do you twitter?

If you don’t have a twitter account, then you are missing out on the latest spec happening in the design industry.

Logo Design Love: It’s interesting to see the recent appearance of Spec Watch, a venture that educates about the very real risks of design contest websites and their so-called ‘communities’.

Spec Watch has been cataloging unpaid and refunded projects, and those terminated due to copyright violation.

Right now Spec Watch is mainly targeting the design contests at Crowdspring and 99designs, but who knows how their campaign will evolve.

To see what all the fuss is about, follow Spec Watch (SpecWatch) on Twitter.

(Thanks David!)

Forbes Says Designers are Snooty

Two weeks ago, Christopher Steiner, a senior reporter with Forbes Magazine, sent me an email with FORBES MAGAZINE QUERY!!! in the subject line.

After a back and forth with Christopher, interviews were set up with top designers in the industry. Busy designers, who agreed to take time out of their workload to talk via phone with Christopher.

Designers such as…

The fabulous Debbie Millman of Sterling Brands, Design Matters (Voice of America), author of How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer and Essential Principles of Graphic Design, and board member of the National AIGA.

Also included was popular logo designer Jeff Fisher of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, bLog-oMotives, author of The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success and Identity Crisis!, as well as member of the HOW Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, UCDA Designer Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, and HOW Design Conference Advisory Council.

The first interviews were missed. The second missed too. With no explanation. No email of apology from Christopher.

The next thing we know, Christopher’s article ad is out with this charming blurb in bold…

Xxxx aims to slash the cost of graphic design work–and democratize a snooty business.

Way to go Forbes.

This is not a well researched, balanced article. It’s an ad for yet another bottom feeder in the design industry. That, and a testament to Christopher’s professionalism. And Forbes, well… what does it say about Forbes?

David Airey was the first to post opinions with Forbes calls designers snooty. Design Observer’s Observed section sported a blurb, as did SpeakUp’s Quipsologies. Swiss Miss then came in with Forbes calls designers snooty. Steph Doyle posted about the subject with Forbes Promotes Graphic Design Kitsch. Brian Yerks came out with one of his own. As did Steve from the LogoFactory, with Design is a “snooty” business: Forbes. Then Jeff Andrews posted Forbes Magazine: Graphic Design is a Snooty Business. The design forums are debating this subject as we speak.

UPDATE: Debbie Millman has now been asked by AIGA to ‘chair a task force in an effort to understand the various sentiments about this practice in both the design community and the broader creative community, and report back to the National Board our findings and potential recommendations at the National Board retreat in April, and to share these findings at the Leadership Retreat in June.’

If anyone would like to contact Deb about this matter, follow this link to AIGA’s discussion on spec.

This morning Terri Stone, editor in chief at CreativePro.com, requested an interview on the subject of working spec. Knowing Terri as I do, it’s sure to be a professional, well researched article.

Aquent, 99Designs and the Design Industry

Mark Rushworth just contacted us about a post he’s written, Aquent Vs the Design Industry.

Seems Aquent thought it was a good idea to post a contest at 99Designs. Hmmm…

How could a company such as Aquent (connected to the AIGA), be so out of touch with the design industry? If they didn’t want to take on board what AIGA had to say (and seems they didn’t), then all they had to do was google 99Designs and read a few of the opinions out there from established designers. Right?

Please check it out as it is interesting reading…

Qbn: aquent site redesign-spec work
Aquents blog: Design Contests: Betrayal of Everything We Stand For?
Aquents Facebook: Redesign Aquent’s Homepage

From Aquent: First of all, I view this as an experiment. What can we get if we take this approach? We could get a bunch of junk, which would reinforce the idea that you can’t get good design this way. Maybe we’ll get something good. Maybe someone who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to show their stuff will get noticed. Who knows?

Well, I guess they know now.

NO!SPEC Posters: Poster by Jeremy Yamaguchi

Finally, I give you Spectors Beware! by Jeremy Yamaguchi from Zero Designs. Thanks Jeremy! (and apologies for my tardiness…)

Spectors Beware!

Jeremy’s poster can be downloaded here.

As before, check out posters by Dagmar Jeffrey, Jerett Patterson, George Gruel, Chad Behnke, Jeff Andrews, Rob Gough and Von Glitschka.

The NO!SPEC posters are 300 dpi, CMYK and/or spot color, PDF printable on A4 and Letter.

If you are interested in contributing a poster design for usage in promoting NO!SPEC just contact us for the logo files. Note: It might take us a little while to get them up, but get them up we will.

420 Design Blog on Design Contests

Design contests don’t bring the best of anything.

From Angie: Just under a week ago I received an email from an employee from what I presume is Lord & Taylor’s PR firm telling me (albeit not personally as it was clearly a mass email) all about Lord & Taylor’s contest and that I might be interested The terms go on and in fact, strip away any copyrights from not only the winning entrant, but ALL entrants:

From Lord & Taylor’s: All submissions of photos, artists’ entries and other materials and elements of this contest are the property of Lord & Taylor and its affiliates and will not be returned to the participants.

From Angie: If for some awful reason you enter the contest, the artwork doesn’t even belong to you anymore – even if you don’t win! This is WRONG. In a real world situation where a company has sought out a design firm, only the finished work is what the company ends up owning. The sketches and thrown out ideas are still the property of the designers. This is the way it should always be.

She has a good point there. And more. For the full story, go to Angie’s Design contests don’t bring the best of anything.