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Crowdsourced Design: Good or Evil?

May 20, 2011 IADT General, IADT Online, Graphic Design, Web Design and Development 1 Comments

Is crowdsourced design an amazing opportunity for students and up-and-coming designers, or does it devalue the work designers do?

On “design marketplace” sites like 99designs and Crowdspring, designers basically create work on spec for potential clients, who select their favorite and pay only for the “winning” design.

Below, James Greenwood, graphic design program chair at IADT-Online, and Matt Pummel, web design and development program chair at IADT-Online, share their list of pros and cons on crowdsourcing. Check out their thoughts, then tell us what you think in the comments below – would you take part?

1. Great for entry-level designers/students to test the market and/or get ideas.
2. A student getting into the industry could make some money while still in school.
3. A positive experience could be wonderful on a student’s resume.
4. Most sites seem to have an 800-number and decent customer service available.

1. A customer could potentially steal a design/concept and have their staff recreate it, either verbatim or tweaked.
2. Designers could potentially design away and never get compensated for their efforts.
3. Companies like 99designs might be perceived as exploiting struggling designers and profiting from their creativity and skill.
4. Some of these companies are based overseas … do they have to play by the rules (copyrights, etc.)?


Jacqueline Zehner May 27, 2011 at 11:24 AM

I am a member of 99design and DesignCrowd. I work with DesignCrowd most of the time and I have had a design purchased. I feel it is good for input and experiance and a good lesson in humility. I think that if you put your work out there in any kind of forum the chance of having work stolen is high. If we worried to much about this then where would we get inspiration? I think that it is both good and evil.

What do you think?