Crowdsourcing in My Face

Laurel BlackI recently had an experience that brought home the crowdsourcing nightmare currently infecting the design world.

A client who had hired me to create a logo stumbled onto a crowdsourcing site and sent me a very unhappy email. She appeared to think that I had way overcharged her. I responded with an explanation of crowdsourcing and was able to move it to a good outcome (after a lot of heartburn).

In the hope that it would prove useful to others in this situation, I shared an abridged version of the exchange on my blog. Many of my clients (and yours probably too) will inevitably experience something similar, so it’s not a bad idea to prepare your own response to this type of situation.

It’s a bit long, but I hope the tale will help others push back against this abomination. Read it here.

8 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing in My Face

  1. Genevieve

    Incredible response, Laurel. Thanks so much for sharing with us. That was a beautifully crafted explanation and I will be bookmarking it to share with my web design students. Hopefully I’ll never have to share it with a client.

  2. penelope

    Crowdsourcing is here to stay. It is no different than previous threats like new design software and free internships. The problem remains that people hae no clue what designers sell. We do not sell pictures. We can all make pictures all day long. Design is about solutions. Educate eeryone you know about this and they will no more buy fro 99designs than they would let the busboy order for them at a restaurant. What I really hate about crowdsourcing is the clients who are seeking to hae another (read cheaper) designer extend a line of identity work. People want something that matches their website, but do not go back to the original designer. REFUSE to participate i such nonsense, no matter how broke you may be.

    1. Mikel

      I completely agree with you Penelope, solutions is what we sell and the solution it’s selling it properly to our clients (don’t like very much the expression ‘educating clients’ neither they do). Unfortunately there were too many designer nigromantics out there, hiding inspiration sources and selling over night miracles that badly hurt our profession over decades.

      The designer -David Airey-Laurel put as a reference on her letter, clearly explains all his id creation process as a way of clarify terms and give value to his (wonderful) work.
      I teach design and the second day of class I usually shows a similar design process I follow as a way of showing design students that our work (at least mine) is 90% perspiration and only 10% inspiration.

  3. Prax

    Laurel, thank you for posting this, what a great response. Over the past few years I have had to explain to clients about crowdsourcing, some get it and others don’t. I hope you do not mind if I use this as reference for the next time I need to explain crowdsourcing to a client. Thanks again.

  4. Mikel

    Thanks so much for sharing, that’s indeed a good inspiration for confronting similar situations we have to deal much more often than we would like.
    However and due my past experiences clients aren’t so open minded and committed as it was yours. Despite some of them are also suffering the same professional encroachment as we do, they would never admit it and will fight for every penny discount they can get…

  5. Laurel Black

    Thanks to all of you for your comments. I was indeed fortunate to have this happen with a client who was willing to be educated. Even if you don’t care for that term, that’s what it will take: making the case whenever the opportunity presents itself, with clarity and a deep sense of the value thoughtful design brings. As Penelope says, “Design is about solutions. Educate everyone you know about this and they will no more buy from 99designs than they would let the busboy order for them at a restaurant.” Of course, some will never get it because for them them it IS all about price. But whenever there is a chance to speak up for design, let’s do it.