10 Nov Design for dignity (a 99designs review)
UPDATE 16 March: 99designs tried to censor this post due to an inexistent copyright infringement. This post is a product review and fit within the Fair Use doctrine. The contest object of review is now private, I bet my review went further than I predicted.
If you are a designer and care about your profession, please, share this post.
Something is changing in the design industry. My clients demand +900 revisions for each logotype, I work blindly because I don’t get a good brief, the client changes his mind at every moment, my competitors are open to work for half of my prices, competition is unfair, and sometimes I don’t even get paid…
Hopefully this is not my case but it’s not a fiction either. It’s the situation of everyone who works through crowdsourcing platforms. Web pages where the client posts the requirements of his project and a pack of unemployed designers compete, sometimes loyally, against his colleagues until degrading limits.
Sorry for revealing my position at the very beginning of the post, let’s better make this way: let’s choose a random case and let’s analyze the numbers. This one for example: The first project you can currently find in 99designs.com. I think it’s a quite representative case.
The facts (at the moment of writing this post)
- Budget: 1,189US$ (1,000US$ + 99designs.com commission 39US$ + 15% of the prize)
- Number of entries: 837
- Number of designers: 164
- The contest started 9 days ago and lasted for a week. There are 2 days left for the contest to finish. 2 weeks total.
- Status: caution, payment not guaranteed.
- Logotype design for Conway Wealth Group, the company seems to be some kind of financial analyst.
- It must be elegant, crisp, good looking.
- Preferably blue color.
- It must contain a symbol that means wealth.
- Aimed to company managers and executives within Fortune 500.
- If you need 837 proposals to design your logotype, that means something’s wrong.
- If you need 164 designers to design your logotype, that means something’s wrong.
- Let’s make some numbers to realize how ridiculous the situation is: 6.10US$/designer and 1.20US$/entry.
- How long do the client spend watching, commenting and rating 837 entries from 164 different designers?
- There is no lack of time (at least 2 weeks) or budget (around 1,200US$) to create a quality proposal.
- The fact that the client extends the competition period means something’s wrong.
- The fact that the contestants are accusing each others of plagiarism means that the system is not the ideal. Let’s see the comments:
- 14 comments
- 7 hidden comments
- 3 accusations of plagiarism
- 0 answers from the client
- If you can understand the needs of the client from that briefing… then you better dedicate to clairvoyance, it’s much more profitable.
- If the client didn’t say a word after 837 proposals, that means something’s wrong.
These are the 3 entries which have obtained a better feedback from 837, for a logotype that will cost near 1,200US$.
What do you think from a technical point of view? Please give me your opinion 🙂
On one hand, we have 164 designers, with 837 entries (and there are still 2 days left), with a non guaranteed prize, an incomplete briefing, a client that doesn’t respond to the proposals and constant complaining of plagiarism from the contestants. If we’d share the prize, each designer would receive just about 6US$. At least 163 designers (maybe all of them) won’t get a dime for his work.
Do you consider this aceptable?
On the other hand, we have a client who has a more than reasonable budget of near 1,200US$ and a deadline of two weeks. And if everything goes as expected, he will obtain a pretty mediocre logotype.
Does the client obtain a service according with the amount he pays?
And in the middle we find the intermediary, 99designs, who will get near 200US$. Considering that this web generated last month 715,000US$, and they obtained a 15% benefits (forgetting the extra 39US$ for each registration), their income of the last month reaches the not inconsiderable amount of 107,000US$.