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the Architxt's Journal

03 Nov '11 | New Media Thoughts

Anti AntiSpec

Are designers right to be pissed off about crowdsourcing?

antispec.com explains and campaigns against two forms of “spec(ulative)” design work:

  1. Crowdsourcing work via website such as 99designs.com.au where many designers compete against each other by submitting final, polished designs
  2. Briefs that request design work as part of a pitching process

The argument, in a nutshell, is that designers invest a lot of time producing work that may well not be renumerated.

The argument against crowdsourcing is a fair but pointless one. A bit like the music industry pre-iTunes trying to stop people from sharing files on peer-to-peer networks.

No amount of campaigning is going to stop crowdsourcing and more businesses will embrace it. There is no legal argument against it either.

Established designers point out that their skills and experience guarantee a better product; value that low-cost crowdsourcing can’t deliver. The truth is that crowdsourcing has produced a lot of quality too (at a fraction of a price).

What is happening is that the cost of design work is correcting itself. For example, the $5,000 price tag on an agency designed logo is being stripped off all the extra non-core related costs (eg. project management) and calculated at a lower rate as crowdsource folk tend to work in less expensive set ups (eg. a cool office, ergonomic chair, award compo entries, etc…).

  • Creative / Strategy: $3500
  • Execution: $1,000
  • Project Management: $500

Best in class will always be able to justify the high cost of a design. Everyone else… sorry… you’re not that special. A freelancer teleworking from home will charge a third of that and produce something just as good.

Those supporting the AntiSpec movement should really focus their energies on figuring out how to survive in this new environment. Adapt or die like everyone else.

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