Blank Canvas: Design Contests

There seems to be quite a growing number of websites such as 99 Designs offering design services by way of “contests”, where the client will submit specs for the project, and the designers will then submit actual designs in order to “win” the payment.

While I can see the appeal of these types of services for the client (get designs for free, only pay for the ones you like), I feel this devalues the worth of a designer’s skills. You don’t get to have 5 mechanics work on your car and then only pay the one you felt did the best job. You can’t eat a meal at 5 restaurants and then only pay for the food you found the most delicious.

I’ve read articles and blog comments in defense of these types of services, but none of the arguments was very compelling to me. It reeks of spec work, and the team over at No Spec agree.

Student designers looking to bolster their portfolio, “hobbyist” designers doing it for fun, and the like are the typical arguments in favor of these services.

I suppose it’s the choice of those who participate if they wish to work for the chance of getting paid, but in general I think it sends a message that logo design work is so “easy” that people are willing to do so for even just a chance of compensation.

I much prefer the eBay-style approach of sites like iFreelance where projects are posted and the illustrators and designers bid on the job. No work is done for free.

Go Media wants to hear from our reader, especially as we know many of you out there are students: what is your take on these “design contest” types of sites? Have you participated? Sound off in the comments section below.

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Discussion

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