Crowdsourcing Moved Your Cheese

Over the past three years, I’ve written extensively about my company – crowdSPRING, crowdsourcing and speculative work.

Although the debates about speculative work in the creative industries (especially design) continue, the arguments typically are regurgitated rants that add little to the discussion. One of the latest, from idsn, falls squarely into that group.

As is often the case, the real gems – and real discussion, is in the comments. Sam’s comment from a few days ago reflects my own views on the subject:

I went to RISD and I’m a creative director for a major design firm and have led the creative groups for some of the top agencies in in NY and London and I couldn’t diagree with your article more. It’s such an old fashioned approach! You’re a PC, not a Mac… Crowd sourcing moved your cheese…

Don’t you believe that there will always be a place in the world for talented designers? Because there will! And there will always be a place for agencies and design firms. And there will always be a need for beautiful design.

Your argument, in my opinion, is elitist and lacks an understanding of the age we’re living in. People don’t want “perfect” anymore. We’re not in an age of “high design” or “high art”. We’re in an age of DIY and people want different things — there are as many different needs as there are people and projects. Your argument is the same argument against the SLR (and then digital) camera.”Oh no, photography will be ruined, everything will be crap”… Ok, well not everyone is Richard Avedon, but is he the only one who should be privileged enough to take pictures of his kids? Why should individuals and small companies be held hostage by the cost structure that we designers have set for the industry? What are you afraid of? What right do you have, sitting in your typographically decorated office, have to decide what someone should or shouldn’t use for their logo? And what makes you think that a “designer” just because they have been trained at some school can solve any problem? I can’t tell you how many hot-shot, know-it-all designers I’ve had to pull off a project because they wanted to force their aesthetic on the client without regard for the business problem.

My suggestion to the author — stop worrying about other designers who want to reply to Crowdspring RFPs and focus on your clients. It’s not about you — and it never has been…

What do you think?

  • Logo Factory

    I think it’s odd taking a comment – that doesn’t address any of the core issues of the original article – and making an out of context blog post. Why not join the discussion on the original article? Your pals at 99designs did.

    • Ross Kimbarovsky

      Steve, as I wrote, the original post added nothing to the discussion – you and I have been through all that in the past. I thought some of the comments, on the other hand, were interesting – especially the one I highlighted in my post.   

      • Logo Factory

        Fair enough I suppose. If I were a wag (not I!) I’d point out that ‘Sam’ (who for all intents and purposes is posting anonymously) trots out his bona fides as if that makes his comment more legitimate than other people posting on the original article (ironically playing into the ‘snooty’ designer moniker often given, even by Sam himself, to folks opposed to spec work). The argument about SLRs and what have you is a silly one – crowdsourcing hasn’t changed the fundamental way that designers design (that ‘revolution’ happened with the advent of desktop publishing, cheap PCs, etc). It has, on the other hand, changed the way designers get paid (or more often don’t) for their work. That’s always been the crux of the argument from where I sit. In terms of ‘moving my cheese’ I’m reminded of an episode of Wallace and Gromit. One of my faves.

  • Francis Fallon


  • Hank Leber

    I don’t understand what person living in a capitalist society can criticize crowdsourcing in the slightest. It’s economics, supply and demand – a system that is born out of opportunity. 

    I agree with ‘Sam’ – there is no point in debating the matter. In fact, the more one protests, the more he reveals his insecurity. Crowdsourcing is here. Either wield it, or ignore it.

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