Why Crowdsourcing Design is Wrong

The whole concept behind crowdsourcing design is so flawed that it’s amazing that people in the our community have continued to kick this around. It’s as if designers think the only alternative to a flawed system (agencies + project work) is another massively flawed system (crowdsourcing.)

I do not want to protect the current system, which is totally broken, but there are much better ways of buying and selling design than through crowdsourcing.

My biggest problem with the concept is that it’s pointed in the opposite direction from where we should be headed as an industry. Crowdsourcing focuses on the product and not the process.

The “solution” crowdsourcing offers is higher volumes of completely blind work for less money. Instead of trying to make the work more effective it focuses instead on variety. This is such a bad move because it fundamentally devalues the strategy that should be behind ANY design and teaches the client to “pick” instead of think. It assumes that if a designer, any designer, can capture what is in the mind of a client than the project is a success.

Our process at Bridge, which was developed over years, has slowly gotten us closer and closer to our clients. A creative brief is not enough. A discovery session is not enough. And reading a “project description” written by a client that may or may not know what they need is certainly not enough.

I will be writing more about our approach so as to offer solutions instead of just listing objections. It’s not about the money or fearing change. It’s about doing what is right for our clients and not seeing crowdsourcing for what it is can be very dangerous.

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