Holy cats! I stumbled into a storm. At play here: the difference between a business need and a passionate class of worker. Here’s the story:
I am starting a new blog project. I asked my friend, John, if they designed logos, as he’s doing my site work. He said, no, we use 99 Designs. I said, well, okay! And went over.
The basic premise is that you can pay around $300 (I think the total was $363) and so I started a design project. Seems easy enough to do. The process is really easy.
I then Tweeted about it to see what people had to say about 99Designs and the process.
So, first off, there’s a site that talks about the designers’ position: No-Spec. They essentially say that this devalues the designer’s work, and that it’s scammy. Here’s some of the comments of designers:
And here are some more thoughts:
To be fair to this post, more people than not had a negative opinion.
But Here’s the Big Important Point
Business people were all FOR 99designs. Designers, who get hurt by this kind of process, were all against it. This is the big point. Because from the designers’ side of the argument, this is something that matters deeply to them.
Let’s talk about my logo for a moment:
This was designed by stresslimitdesign, and it normally would retail for around $20,000 USD (or that was the rate around the time it was developed). It’s a good logo, with lots of thoughtfulness to the design. The process was good, with lots of iteration, etc. It’s a powerful thing.
But, I wouldn’t have known who stresslimit was, if it weren’t for Julien. And I wouldn’t have been that into the process, had I not had someone to hold my hand and explain why I wanted this and not just something whipped up in Photoshop Elements.
But… and this is the bigger but (I like those, as does Mixalot), a business person looking to launch a blog or whatever and get the project served might find it hard to see the difference between a $365 project and a $20,000 project, especially if his or her goal is just to get the thing launched and start creating something of value.
You, the passionate designer might, but the consumer of such services might not.
See where this gets tricky? And by tricky, all the passion in the world doesn’t change how people make their purchasing decisions. It just doesn’t. Example: WalMart. You can be as small-town-local-supporting as you want, but sales are up end over end and people (like me) use those stores for some of their purchases.
Other People’s Thoughts
You should be informed. Here are some blog posts by designer types:
What’s the Deal with 99 Designs.
The Downfalls of Crowdsourcing.
When I read the responses still rolling in on Twitter, the designers are all passionately opposed and saying that you get what you pay for.
When I read the responses from business people, they’re saying, “I got what I paid for, and I’m up and running.”
See why this is tricky?
I’m very curious about your thoughts.