There are many reasons why crowdsourced design sites like 99designs and crowdspring are gaining a good deal of buzz. The idea behind these sites is that you post a project (like website design, logo design or writing services), you set the fee and you provide the brief and in return designers & copywriters submit concepts at no charge to you in a bid to win your business. You select a winner, pay them your pre-determined price and all design work is transferred over to you. For small businesses especially, the pay-what-you-want cost and the large number of designs you can receive in return are very appealing. But there is a darker side that companies need to consider when weighing whether or not this avenue, versus hiring a professional the more conventional way, is better for you.
Ask yourself this, if a client emailed your business and said they wanted to hold an event, but didn’t need to meet with you and instead sent you a written brief that was 2-3 paragraphs long – no opportunity for a face to face or telephone dialogue – how good do you think your solution would be? It would be a challenge to really know if you’ve hit the mark. As an expert in your field there’s value in challenging what the client may think is best for their business. There’s value in delving deeper into the needs of the client. There’s value in asking questions the client never thought of answering. This valuable two-way dialogue is missing from the exchange that happens on sites like 99design.
Having a designer with industry, market or regional expertise or at least experience can be a huge asset for your business. It’s important to know that a good number of the people who submit designs to crowdsourced design sites may be outside of your geographic area. In some cases this can mean that cultural needs, nuances and necessities may be overlooked. Another thing to consider is that a very big part of brand design development should include auditing competitors, target market and the industry. This won’t be done for $99.
This is an area that greatly concerns me. Unlike hiring a professional designer, you don’t know the quality of the individuals you award your business to. Although there’s a money-back guarantee, the 3rd party sites still absolve themselves of liability if a design is deemed defective. This area is really murky and I’d recommend speaking with a lawyer about who is ultimately responsible if the designer you award with your business has ripped off another designer, or worse, an existing brand. If another company goes after you for trademark infringement, I can pretty much guarantee that a) the designer will not have money laying around to pay you for lawyers fees and b) finding them or going after them in a foreign country may prove difficult.
Having spent some time investigating these sites, I’ve seen very blatant acts of plagerism and artwork recycling. Does the image below look familiar? It was created as a concept for a start up brand but looks oddly reminiscent of this logo.
As for design recycling…It seems to be common practice for some designers to resubmit the same designs over and over again, regardless of the project. Look at a few active request for design projects and you’ll see the same logo designs, but different names. Unless you plan on being on these sites 24/7 to compare the concepts submitted for your projects to others, you’ll likely not be able to tell what has been recycled and what hasn’t.
Contrary to what you may think, the purpose of this story is not to smash crowdsourced design sites, it’s to provide an overview of potential pitfalls that every business, small or large, should be aware of.
So tell me, have you used one of these sites? What was your experience (good or bad)?
On Sundays I post an inspirational video or quote to get you started on the right foot for the week ahead. But sometimes I get stuck. And, to get ‘unstuck’, my jolt of inspiration is usually David Stark’s website & blog. Not to get off track here, but my husband can watch a movie or read a book over and over again. He says that every time he does he learns something he didn’t notice the time before. I feel the same way about David Stark’s designs. There’s so much depth to his event storylines that even when looking at old favorites I discover a new gem of an idea.
David has recently launched his new website and there are some great new portfolios to look through. He also recently launched a new book: David Stark Design. If you’re looking for ways to get ‘unstuck’ this week, take a gander and buy the book.
Oh, and check out this Liberty of London for Target pop up installation. It drips inspiration…
It was difficult to narrow down the world’s most beautiful restaurants to my top 7…but I did it. There are just so many worthy contenders out there. To me, an event planner-worthy restaurant must have a totally unique experience to provide its guests, innovative design and a big punch of drama. Each of my favorites below accomplish all three criteria and then some. I will admit that the venue I now have on my must-visit-before-I-expire list is Piz Gloria in Switzerland. Being able to say that you dined with 360 degree views of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world is true bragging rights. But the remaining 6 restaurants are very close runner ups.
I’ll be taking a trip to Las Vegas in the next few weeks and you can be sure I’ll be stopping by this restaurant. I found the design so etherial. This is a true statement restaurant.
Need I say anything? This restaurant could serve cardboard wrapped styrofoam hamburgers for all I care. The breathtaking beauty of the view says it all.
I picked this one in large part because of my obsession with pink. The design is sleek, but it’s the color combinations that had me swooning. Note to self: pink, black & gold = hot, hot, hot.
Another restaurant that is a must-see for me. Dining in an open air restaurant at the foot of Mount Fuji is a dream I didn’t know I had until I saw this venue.
Such a cool, new space that has just launched in New York. I quite liked the unconventional seating groupings.
I love the design of this restaurant space.
Paris is one of my favourite places on Earth. And Germain is one restaurant that I won’t miss the next time I’m in town. Beautiful and unexpected architecture give this venue a checkmark for me.
So, I’d love to hear from you. Are you an event planner? What do you think of the restaurants on this list? Which restaurants would you add?
Over the past few months I’ve been noticing a great trend – invitations, menus and other collateral materials are breaking the rectangular mould and going wheel-shaped. What do you think?
(above: Invitation via Rebecca George)
(above: Wedding invitation via Lauren Venell)
(above: photo via Twig & Thistle)
Sugru is one of those scratch your head inventions that, heck, you can actually use. Despite its odd name, it’s quite simply a silicone clay that lets you ‘hack’ anything. Lost your glasses’ nose pad? Create one with Sugru. Handle fell off your chest of drawers? Create a new handle with Sugru. In other words, don’t throw it out. Hack it.
Sugru comes in a vast range of colours, is waterproof, flexible and dishwasher-safe once it’s cured. Oh, and it’s also temperature resistant between -60 and 180 degrees C!
So, my creative readers, what could you possibly use this product for?
When my husband and I celebrated our honeymoon, we opted for a month in Europe. One of the towns we visited along the way was a beautiful place called Orvieto. Known to Italians as the “green heart of Italy”, it is lesser known to tourists and is centrally located between Rome and Florence. It’s location, beauty and rich Etruscan history made it a must on our list of places to see.
I recently came across some stunning pictures of a wedding that Artfool (now named Matthew Robbins designs) designed and executed in Orvieto. Having been to this beautiful place, I think they did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of this magical Italian town.
Design Boom reported on the most amazing subway architecture from around the world. For those looking to be inspired and think outside of the proverbial box, this is a good place to start. Astounding art and unexpected details will make your wheels spin…even if they’re a bit rusty!