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Crowdspring vs. the snooty

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Uh, it is illegal to work for free. Ever hear of a little thing called the minimum wage? There's a reason why unpaid internships are supposed to be for school credit only. Of course this is basically impossible to regulate when it comes to design contests.

 

I love how it is illegal to work for free, but it IS legal to work for free for school credit which you are paying out the ass for. Somehow that is MORE moral. Basically, you are PAYING to work.

 

If you believe in the free market though, then we're certainly free to speak out against this practice are we not? Or to boycott companies who participate. That's the free market in action. It's kind of like how free marketeers are always bitching about unions despite the obvious fact that a free market HAS to allow labor to organize if it allows capital to organize.

 

Certainly you are allowed to speak freely against the practice or boycott companies. I'd just prefer if you didn't hustle me or others who are cool with it. Feel free to unionize, but I will be a scab.

Edited by Fred Camino

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Adapt to the changing enviroment or die. That's the way it's been since Life began. I've got zero sympathy for people who long for the 'good old days' when the price of entry into the Motion Graphics market acted as a barrier.

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How exactly does working for free make your life better? Exposure alone is overrated. Exposure is just one element of a graphic designer's self-promotional package. Far more important are connections. Which can be acquired through internships and low level positions in shops and in broadcast and etc. There are much smarter ways to get exposure than contributing to online contests. Just make a short video and if it's good enough it gets posted on motionographer and its ilk. That's more exposure than that craiglist ad job will ever net you. And the client is yourself.

 

I didn't go to design school. I certainly never felt entitled to anything. I had to put in a lot of unpaid hours toward learning everything I needed to learn to get in at the bottom rung. But those hours were devoted to bettering myself and myself alone. Not some global corporation who doesn't want to pay for well-made advertising. When I finally did start to do corporate work it was for money. Which I feel like I've earned. One's work has value not just monetarily but in pride. What pride can you derive from work done for a client that doesn't value it enough to pay for it?

 

What's the difference between and internship and working for free? One is a euphemism for the other. And exposure and connections are reasons. I mean, I don't think many people are trying to make a career out of working for free, that's absurd. They are working for free to try and get their foot in the door.

 

And "global corporation"? C'mon, look at the Crowdspring home page of featured projects.... "Devtacular", "Abundant Life", "Joven Spa & Salon"... if by "global" you mean a church in Stephens City, VA... okay.

 

It's obvious most of the companies on Crowdspring are just small companies who want to make the most of the $300 they've allocated for their shitty logo. If some newbie wants to spend an hour of his time trying to design a logo for them in the hopes of getting $300 instead of doing a tutorial, why should I care?

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I guess it boils down to whether or not you believe the clients are capable of making rational judgements about quality and value in something as abstract as graphic design. In the pre-democratization era, they didn't have many choices. Since it cost a lot to be in the business, most of the places in business knew what they were doing to some extent, which coincidentally provided a layer of protection to the buyers. Post democratization, the limits are gone, shifting the responsibility of doing good stuff onto the client. I'm not sure how many of the MBA-type clients are at all design educated, but I know they are skilled at counting beans, which may bring about a downward shift in the overall quality of graphic design. It doesn't help that the culture of advertising is built on repeating decades old lines of bullshit. “Oh sure, the Nielson ratings are a valid way to judge the popularity of a show, and deduce ad rates”. Everyone knows that's not true, but it gets repeated ad nauseam (no pun intended). If you read something like David Ogilvy, he makes it pretty clear that being successful in advertising is about rationalizing it to business people above all else (see the Pepsi brief that's been floating around lately). It's all well and good to say that the big-time designers will continue to be big-time, just as the richest people are unlikely to lose everything they have, but the real detrimental effects hit the middle class most strongly. Those of us who are not "rock star" designers, have a reason to be concerned about the de-valuing of graphic design, regardless of whether we can do anything about it or not. To ignore it is to miss your opportunity to exploit it - there's still time to move over into the training arena, teaching these noobs how to use the tools to undercut our old colleagues.

 

I mean it seems to me that you have trouble believing the worth of graphic design. Either good design serves a real business purpose or it does not. If it does, then it has value and those who can make good graphic design will be able to charge companies what it is worth. If in fact reality/technology/economy reveals that we've been selling refrigerators to eskimos all along, then without a doubt the work we do will lose value, or rather, be valued at the level it is worth. This is why I don't understand the fear over design contests, newbies working for free, or anything else along those lines. If good design is indeed something of value, and good design is a product of a relationship with a client and a process of communication, research, talent, and time, then what is there to fear? Unless that's all bullshit. We'll see. If Crowdspring designs end up meeting the clients needs, the clearly the previous assumptions about graphic design are wrong, and we were overvaluing or services. Somehow, I don't think that will be the case.

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I love how it is illegal to work for free, but it IS legal to work for free for school credit which you are paying out the ass for. Somehow that is MORE moral. Basically, you are PAYING to work.

 

Right, or you can be "self employed" i.e. an employee that doesn't get any benefits, vacation time, equipment, payroll taxes, etc. and work for free all you like and there's basically no way to regulate that. I guess spec design work is equivalent to free samples? That could be a good approach. I think I'll start to do a bunch of random spec work and set up a little table at Costco to hand it out to potential customers.

 

Certainly you are allowed to speak freely against the practice or boycott companies. I'd just prefer if you didn't hustle me or others who are cool with it. Feel free to unionize, but I will be a scab.

 

Sorry, I promise not to hustle you anymore. And on behalf of all my pinko commie brethren I officially apologize for all of the terrible inconvenience unions have caused you in your lifetime.

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Right, or you can be "self employed" i.e. an employee that doesn't get any benefits, vacation time, equipment, payroll taxes, etc. and work for free all you like and there's basically no way to regulate that. I guess spec design work is equivalent to free samples? That could be a good approach. I think I'll start to do a bunch of random spec work and set up a little table at Costco to hand it out to potential customers.

 

i think that's a great way to think of it, free samples.

 

Sorry, I promise not to hustle you anymore. And on behalf of all my pinko commie brethren I officially apologize for all of the terrible inconvenience unions have caused you in your lifetime.

 

lol. obviously no one has every hustled me since there is no motion graphics union, and i don't know how much hustling there really is in any other union. here's the thing, if collective bargaining works for you, that's fine. i just don't like it because, 1) i can bargain on my own, thanks; 2) in order for it to work it has to be enforced, and for enforcement to be effective, there has to be rules, and most of the rules are arrived upon arbitrarily, and 3) these rules make it naturally exclusive, and i don't like to be excluded for arbitrary reasons. oh, and i don't think things are really that bad in the motion graphics industry. but maybe that's just in my personal experience.

 

but seriously, this is all idelogical bullshit on my part, i really could care less either way. the fact is, people giving out free samples and/or partaking in design contests doesn't bother or instill one bit of fear in me, if it bothers you, do you what you gotta do to stop it. i just don't know what you can do that will actually be effective.

Edited by Fred Camino

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Guest Sao_Bento
i think that's a great way to think of it, free samples.

 

 

 

lol. obviously no one has every hustled me since there is no motion graphics union, and i don't know how much hustling there really is in any other union. here's the thing, if collective bargaining works for you, that's fine. i just don't like it because, 1) i can bargain on my own, thanks; 2) in order for it to work it has to be enforced, and for enforcement to be effective, there has to be rules, and most of the rules are arrived upon arbitrarily, and 3) these rules make it naturally exclusive, and i don't like to be excluded for arbitrary reasons. oh, and i don't think things are really that bad in the motion graphics industry. but maybe that's just in my personal experience.

 

but seriously, this is all idelogical bullshit on my part, i really could care less either way. the fact is, people giving out free samples and/or partaking in design contests doesn't bother or instill one bit of fear in me, if it bothers you, do you what you gotta do to stop it. i just don't know what you can do that will actually be effective.

Right, it's not easy, so let's not talk about it. It's much easier to say "I don't care - it's just a bunch of bullshit".

If we start to rule out talking about anything we can't change, we wouldn't have much to talk about.

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Right, it's not easy, so let's not talk about it. It's much easier to say "I don't care - it's just a bunch of bullshit".

If we start to rule out talking about anything we can't change, we wouldn't have much to talk about.

 

talk about it all you like, i mean, isn't that exactly what we are doing? but really, what's the solution? making it illegal? what else? NO!SPEC has a nice informative website, but do you really think awareness will stop it? if the chick from titusville, fl (i can't imagine a more shit town for design, i spent a lot of my childhood there) has been able to get 37 paid projects through crowdspring versus none through the local market, you think she's going to care whether she's "devaluing" the industry. i think not. and if you were somehow to make the practice illegal, there's a designer out of 37 paid jobs. guess she should just suck it up and go work on the the titusville burger king.

 

and back to the draplin project rant about the shitty motel putting up a shitty sign made at a shitty print shop and how that represents the decline of design in america... would you rather a cheap-o small biz client with a $300 budget go to the local print shop with that money and take whatever shit they give them, or offer that $300 on crowdspring and potentially have that $300 at least possibly snatch a better design? maybe if the motel that the draplin project spoke about had used crowdspring it could have gotten at least SLIGHTLY better looking design (just from the fact that they would have had so many more options to choose from than whatever the print shop offered) and thus potentially sparring america's shitty roadside motels from the corel draw bird sign?

 

one more point: what is stopping any "good" designer from checking out crowdspring, taking note of the businesses looking for design work there, and contacting them and saying "i see you want to spend $400 for a logo design over at crowdspring... well let me tell you how by spending $800 working with me you'll end up with a better design and end up saving a lot more money in the long run". but maybe that's just too free-market of me.

Edited by Fred Camino

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I guess it boils down to whether or not you believe the clients are capable of making rational judgements about quality and value in something as abstract as graphic design. In the pre-democratization era, they didn't have many choices. Since it cost a lot to be in the business, most of the places in business knew what they were doing to some extent, which coincidentally provided a layer of protection to the buyers. Post democratization, the limits are gone, shifting the responsibility of doing good stuff onto the client. I'm not sure how many of the MBA-type clients are at all design educated, but I know they are skilled at counting beans, which may bring about a downward shift in the overall quality of graphic design. It doesn't help that the culture of advertising is built on repeating decades old lines of bullshit. “Oh sure, the Nielson ratings are a valid way to judge the popularity of a show, and deduce ad rates”. Everyone knows that's not true, but it gets repeated ad nauseam (no pun intended). If you read something like David Ogilvy, he makes it pretty clear that being successful in advertising is about rationalizing it to business people above all else (see the Pepsi brief that's been floating around lately). It's all well and good to say that the big-time designers will continue to be big-time, just as the richest people are unlikely to lose everything they have, but the real detrimental effects hit the middle class most strongly. Those of us who are not "rock star" designers, have a reason to be concerned about the de-valuing of graphic design, regardless of whether we can do anything about it or not. To ignore it is to miss your opportunity to exploit it - there's still time to move over into the training arena, teaching these noobs how to use the tools to undercut our old colleagues.

 

very well said

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High and low end will exist in every field.

 

I have seen two friends of mine that have benefited from CrowdSpring. One is a student that is trying out new design techniques and developing his craft by using the CrowdSpring Projects as a real client. His stuff may not be picked, but he is trying to fulfill the assignment. And by trying, he is learning.

 

The other friend is a SUPER talented designer that hand picks projects on CrowdSpring that he thinks he can win. He spends 15 minutes every day making a DOPE logo for the client and he wins one or two a month for some extra cash.

 

Not sure how that fits in the the big picture, but I can see a way that services like this can be beneficial to both sides. It's like a weekly thought/design assignment with the possibility of getting paid.

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At least the Crowdspring supporters are not doing the $69 for 6 logos crap....there are some less evil versions of design contests.

 

I think that what is the most insulting about this is related to what someone mentioned before. Design is about the informed and explored process. The value is not in the final delivery as it's entirely possible for some dweeb with Corel Draw to get lucky or, more likely, copy someone's work and end up with a deliverable. So, value can't be measured with the result.

 

Now, the real question that occurred to me was "is it healthy to go through the process with the likelihood of not getting paid". I think that is a personal decision and highly dependent on where you are in your craft. I look at Nick's 5 second animation exercises as a similar idea. If I put together a PBJ animation because I think I have a good concept for it and let's say it turned out well. If a food manufacture approached me wanting to use it, I would have no problem charging them a fee for making it their own. However, since that scenario is not likely, my attempt at the exercise was purely for the creative development and a little promo. So, it's still a win for me. Eventually the passion I put into my process WILL translate into monetary value.

 

Another example is a local ski designer. They are a spry, up and coming provider of radical ski designs in UT and they have often had contests for the graphics. I love to ski and snowboard so, it was pure fun for me to submit some ideas. In fact, I will probably continue to do so just because it's fun and I want to get some reaction to the ideas. It never occurred to me that I was getting 'taken' but, if I didn't have a strong interest in the sport, it would have been a different story.

 

So, yes, I am generally opposed to the ideals behind most design contests but, I do believe there are cases where it makes sense for a particular designer to participate in some of them. We all know that we will not see Fortune 500 companies utilizing this approach other than a publicity stunt so there is no threat to the mid-high end market. Frankly, it might not be a bad idea for some to participate to get out of some creative ruts they may be in.

 

-gl

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