Monday, 24 January 2011


Another media buzz word or a new dynamic and collaborative creative process? Community-based design or creative exploitation of the desperate?

The subject was raised in a recent Radio 4 programme where the best example a protagonist could evangelise about was a Corporation getting a new logo 'done' for only $200 and chosen from a frighteningly large number of 'sourcedcrowd' participants. Sadly it was radio so there was no visual evidence of the device but I truly hope they got what they paid for. This is no way for corporations to think about brand identities, as mere logos knocked-off for them on the cheap - progress this is not.

The industry may have one or two expensive and embarrassing skeletons in its branding closet but not enough to reduce a skilled profession to mainstream free mega-pitching.

The concept is clearly not without value and works for some project types and for community and charitable organizations but I will need an awful lot of convincing that brand identity is one of them.

Please be respectful of the discipline and craft of the qualified design professional, the relationship and depth of service they provide and value them for it.

Consider carefully what crowdsourcing is doing to your industry and if you do choose to 'crowdsource' your talents, please ensure the recipients are worthy and you are not being exploited by a thinly disguised 'fashionable' initiative by a 'rip-off' corporation.

The crowd has a reputation for following not innovating and brands need to innovate if they want to be followed by the crowd.

1 comment:

  1. The practice is unfortunately rife. It's a 'monkeys at typewriters' approach that can only succeed if enough monkeys take part. As with most things in life, up to a point, you get what you pay for. And if you pay peanuts...

    I was recently asked to consider the branding for a new crowdsourcing-based business. The new venture promised incredible riches to participants via a profit sharing scheme. Not all participants of course; just those who were lucky enough to have their ideas go through.

    The company, on the other hand, would make money whatever happened. And their risk would be minimal. Brilliant! A few winners. Lots of losers.

    And the biggest loser may be the company's clients.

    The reality is the level of effort and intellectual rigour that anyone can offer for free is bound to be limited.

    Oddly enough, given the nature of the business, they were prepared to pay for their branding - not much, but something.

    Needless to say I didn't feel able to respond to the brief, other than to suggest they crowd-source the answer to their branding problem.