Crowdsourcing is such a dirty word when it comes to design work because it promotes spec work. And if you don’t know what spec work is there is plenty of written material on the internet about it to cause the graphic design WW1 — it is frowned upon by many avid designers and yes that includes myself. I have written a small blurb on spec work here and it’s alternatives. Let’s not get off topic here…
It wasn’t till recently where I realized there is a great divide to crowdsourcing.
In the sense that it has a place in todays technology driven world and there are benefits that come from it. I was given a project for an event called Crowdsource Week that took place in Singapore this past month. Designing a fold out flyer given to attendees as well currently designing a research piece for the event. I was skeptical of the project only because of the name, but doing a little more research I realized that crowdsourcing has many benefits — the ones that stood out were:
Research through crowdsourcing is oh so beneficial. Wether it is research for a company and their annalytics or just doing a general survey. Crowdsourcing gives you insight to what your customers are thinking or talking about — making it easier to serve them. Many views can be shared but getting a larger scale of feedback can only pinpoint where you or your company needs work on. Most of this is done through social networks, commonly used is Twitter. Hashtags let you track what is being said. Wether negative or positive — you get an idea of what your customers are thinking.
With a world at your fingertips so is the intelligence of others. It is easier now more than ever to have the information and service of others with knowledge on any particular subject. There are certain downsides to this as you may not be getting a reputable response and may end up with a just shy of satisfactory results (why you should do your research) but in the end — a great way to share information. Look at WIKIPEDIA – Prime example.
Having the mass of people funding a project which they intern benefit from after the project has been completed. For example: KICK-STARTER So smart! Some great ideas would never have come to be if it wasn’t for crowd funding.
So given these great outcomes of Crowdsourcing — why is it bad for the design industry?
Design is such a subjective thing — so think of a scenario like this:
There is a design competition and the chosen designer gets paid ‘x’ amount — determined by the client. All other design(er)s are rejected. The client had chosen two finalists and between those two he chose the one in which he favours the colour. Although the later was the one that followed the brief to a ’T’ and would in turn be a better fit. As a good designer, he would be able to communicate this and then revamp the design to better suit the needs of the organization while satisfying the clients needs. Not to mention the designer can than educate the client as to why the colour choice was made (this maybe a psychological factor that the client is unaware of).
You do not get true collaboration in a situation of crowdsourcing. Collaboration alone is essential to the design process. It takes two parties and the communication of two people to make something become truly magical and a project that can then go on to increase sales, win awards and possibly become an international success. With crowdsourcing it stops the project right before it becomes the magical point and then increases the probability of the project to become at most, mediocre.
So, to the clients of the world I ask you to please stop using crowdsourcing for your design projects because although you may be paying a smaller cost, there are designers willing to negotiate pricing and get you something spectacular and get you noticed that much more.
MY CONCLUSION: Crowdsourcing is good for the objective truths not for the sways of subjective matter.