Crowd-sourcing design

The notion of tapping into crowds as a means of improving creative activity has become, dare I say it, “all the rage.” Reviews of restaurants are crowd-sourced by Yelp, Zagat and others. The Wikipedia model crowd-sources knowledge collation. There is Kickstarter, that crowd-sources, well, crowd approval and with it funding for new products. There are various attempts to crowd-source science including the game, Foldit. And there is Quirky, that crowd-sources every part of product design from the idea to the name. Of course, crowd-sourcing is just another form of out-sourcing but where the providers rarely get paid and, strangely, when you think about it, do not get accused of taking jobs.

As I was doing the logo and site for Digitopoly — with input along the way from Shane and Erik (as three’s a crowd I guess it was crowd-sourced too) — I came across some interesting ways in which such designs were being crowd-sourced globally. One model was 99Designs. This site allows people, such as myself, to post their logo and web design requirements along with a reward. Here is an example. The customer rates designs, picks a winner, pays and then takes the logo and copyright. Currently, there are 828 logo design contests alone being run.

Logo design features on the similar but broader offering, Again, people post challenges with associated rewards. For instance, this person would like birthday present ideas for a 5 year old and is willing to pay $10 for them. The winner — by popular vote — gave 6 good ideas. There were more than 50 others offered. All pretty good for $10 overall.

Finally, Lego — historically a company that has shied away from public help — has done a full about face. It has launched a new site, Cuusoo, that allows individuals to submit their Lego models for consideration by the Lego company. One of the leaders at the moment is this offering from Back to the Future.

And there is this for Settlers of Catan fans. That said, if you want to contribute something, you’ll sign over lots of rights.

While it sounds onerous, remember they are the customer in this and 1% of net sales looks pretty good compared to a small cash reward for logo design on other sites.

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