I don’t usually post opinion blogs like this, but in this case I’m making an exception. Blogger, Michael Hyatt recently penned a blog post titled ‘4 Reasons You Should Consider Crowdsourced Design for Your Next Big Project’. Here is why I respectfully disagree with Michael. 

But before I dive in I want to say I really appreciate what Michael writes on his blog and in his podcasts and book ‘Platform’. Heck I’ve bought I don’t know how many copies for myself and those I think will get something out of it. I respect him and value his insights. So before everyone gets uppity and think this is a rant. It isn’t. The point of this blog post isn’t ‘an open letter to Mike Hyatt’ or anything like that.

Get the drift?

Now as I’ve said, I don’t agree with Michael on this hot topic. But I do want the tone to be respectful. Here’s why I will never use crowdsourced design:

1. They will never really understand who you are and what you do

Treating design as a commodity means that you are trading on price, not on knowledge and insight. A good designer will invest time understanding your church/non-profit/business, even if you provide them with a detailed creative brief. Often the best creative solution comes out of the face to face moments, not the written word. Once a designer truly gets the client, their product, service and the benefit to the clients audiences the results can be spectacular.

2. If you want monkeys, pay peanuts

Does anyone really think they will get exceptional design from people who are so desperate for work that they will work for free? Good or even great designers have a real value (not perceived) and are usually self-employed or work for a firm. Why? Because they are good at what they do. If all you are after is someone who knows the latest trend in InDesign or Photoshop be my guest. You will get the mediocre outcome you are paying so little for.

3. Being paid shouldn’t be a lottery win

I wouldn’t work for free, why should I expect others to?

The fashion houses are finally working this out. They now understand that they need to pay their workers in Bangladesh and the sub continent decent wages and provide fair conditions than they have in the past. Consumers want people to treated fairly and respectfully. By basically auctioning off your design work where you are getting people to bid for work it is worse than how these workers in the sub continent are treated. They all at least get paid.

4. Your goal is to make a profit so why can’t the designer?

Seriously. Life is hard enough. For many people in the last 5 years scratching out a living has been hard enough. To then take it to another level and say that you only get paid if you are the lottery winner is just wrong.  You are in business to make money. The more you pay people the less you earn, it’s a dog eat dog world I know. That’s capitalism for you. But as Christians I thought we are supposed to give someone an honest days pay for their toil, no matter where they come in? The reason why industry bodies are writing out codes of ethics isn’t to protect a business model, but to ensure people can earn a reasonable living.

Your turn

I realise that this will stir up a debate on both sides of the fence. I understand that market forces are changing the economics of designers pay and conditions.

I understand that if people don’t want to be involved, then they don’t have to be.

That said. What do you think?