A controversial event at Pratt tonight, a panel discussion about crowdsourcing. If you’re not familiar with the word, crowdsourcing is when a lot of people are asked to complete the same task. For example, CrowdSPRING, a website company which offers a selected price to the winner of the best (logo) design. Does this hurt intellectual design as a business or does it give opportunities to little guys? That was the debate, the all-male panel all offering a variety of thoughts on the issue, conversed uninterrupted for nearly a solid two hours. The event really got heated when the audience was given the opportunity to share their opinions. Pratt faculty as well as students presented their own two cents on the issue, most of them targeting negative comments to Mike Samson, co-founder of crowdSPRING.
The truth of the matter is that crowdsourcing is not a new idea, its been around for nearly a decade. Within the communication design community it has yet (if ever will) replace the recruitment of a true design professional. It’s hard to tell if the price or need of design jobs will decreased due to this issue or if it the economy is to blame. Nevertheless, a well-educated, talented designer was promised good job opportunities in the future by Chris Clarke, Chief Officer of LBi. He as well as AIGA’s Executive Director, Ric Grefé, recommended being premier, innovative, multi-skilled, and suggested learning how to control your intellectual property (probably though royalties).
This is a changing world and crowdsourcing may be the equivalent that stock imagery is to an illustrator. Right now, before its too late, it is our role as professionals to organize and filter what stuff is out there and to find a place where we can accomplish great projects. A position where people will not just be selecting what looks best but what solves the problem, to have relevance and leadership. This will lead to opportunities where we will be more than just work for hire. For those who do choose to participate in crowdsourcing, just be careful. Its not just the logo you give out, it also your design thinking – a precious commodity to be paid well for.