a his & hers weblog of worlds apart
In response to widespread criticism of his Brammo experiment, here’s a nice bit of thinking from ad hero Alex Bogusky on the future of crowdsourcing:
Some designers are obviously frightened by the current spectacle that is crowdsourcing, but as an optimist I think it will work out. I see several possible scenarios. The first is that this young micro-economy that is crowdsourcing evolves in the same way the off-line economy evolved. The designers with the most success begin to create tiers and depe nding on which tier the customers engage, the prices and fee structure changes with the level of quality. My guess is this will happen and different communities will develop different rules. Another and more radical change would be if the model followed more of what happened in Hollywood with scriptwriters.
In the 1930s and 40s there were huge buildings at the studios that housed all of the writers and those writers worked on salary to bang out all the movies. They made a salary, but it wasn’t very high and it wasn’t connected to the success of the film. Today most scripts are written on spec and then sold. A powerful writers guild protects the writers interest and insures that they get a piece of the back end. If the movie strikes gold the writer gets rich. A strong guild could transform design as well. Today, an illustrator who designs a cover for Time ma gazine is more or less happy with the fee. But if that cover design helps propel the highest newsstand sales of the year they don’t see any of that. We don’t feel bad about that but maybe we should.
What if the woman who designed the Nike logo had been in a union that insured that instead of a fee of fifty bucks, she received a royalty of a penny a shoe? I’m not great at math but I think that works out to about 20 million dollars in the last ten years alone.
Seems like we tend to be nostalgic about the past and fearful of the future. But each time the future actually arrives and becomes the present we feel like it’s just the way things should be.
Despite the industry outrage over spec assignments, the reality is they are increasingly happening in new and big ways. I’ve collected a long-list of crowdsourcing sites here.