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?


6 responses to “iStock + Logos = ?”

  1. I can’t agree more, this is a low act from iStock to get a piece of the ‘Spec Pie’. Although I agree with the sentiment of Mr Donut, there will always be amateur designers who are willing to submit work for a few bucks, so I can’t see it (or any crowdsourcing) going away, HOWEVER if the overall quality of crowdsourcing stays low I see little problem with it, because it’s hitting a different market to pro logo design.

    Unfortunately it will surely take away the bottom-rung clients who would have previously paid a say a hundred bucks to an amateur (or hobbyist) designer.

    I don’t see iStock affecting the middle or top end of the market, but i’d say around 40% of designers get significant amounts of work from the bottom end of the market.

  2. On design contests…

    And why the term “design whore” is too elegant Following the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games identity scandal, Canadians banned spec work. And they banned it good: As a result of the situation……

  3. Spec work, free pitch, design contest…

    I noticed these days a significant effort in the promotion of a Romanian-based international design contest for a package design project in which the client asks for spec work. As a rent-paying,……

  4. Because there’s always an idiot that’s willing to work for pennies and undercut the whole community! Loyalty, trust and quality have fallen by the wayside these days!

  5. Lets get something straight, the idea that a talented and skilled person would design before being “actively” commissioned by the buyer is a personal problem. I would NEVER do it ( I have provided spec work in the past, its a loss-loss sum game). These speculative design mill sites like 99 Design and Crowdspring have their detractors and I am one of them. But not for the same reason as most.

    My problem with these type of services is not the downward pricing pressure and denigrating quality of work, I believe some form of this is actual good for the industry. Students need paying projects and there are times when new work procurement is harder than just designing for fun. So I can’t question the motivates of a willing adult and how they choose to spend their time. Good designers will get better and define their niche and expertise further. Poor designers will be caught in this hand to mouth cycle.

    The main issue with these services are the lack of support for the environment. For example, if $99 renders 40, 50, maybe 60 different designs then 100’s maybe 1000’s of computer hours have just been wasted. The carbon footprint for design time has just become an issue.

    So for every duplicitous chance at winning a logo design contest – what’s the real cost? Is it one less minute, hour, day, week, month, or year on this planet earth. If these services would also calculate the carbon footprint of a project and sell tokens to the art buyers, then I am a fan of the design industries innovation. Maybe not.

  6. You know, between the amateurs doing work for free or next to nothing and sites like iStock overing pre-fab design, I’m amazed any of us can make a living any more. Businesses are becoming conditioned to devalue what we do.

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