And the winner is….

A couple weeks ago I submitted a cover design to CrowdSpring for Guy Kawasaki‘s new book.

I was hopeful there early on (even got a positive comment from Guy himself!), but alas the $1,000 prize was not to be mine. Bummer.   Even so, it was still a valuable experience for me in a couple of ways.  I got the opportunity to make the digital acquaintance of a couple of people, including Ross Kimbarovsky (one of the founders of CrowdSpring) and a buyer on another project who happened by and really liked my work. I also got a chance to chit-chat with a couple of other designers on the project whose work I really liked.  I always enjoy an excuse to meet new people.

As an in-house designer, quite often the only creative solution I see on a project is my own. It was really interesting to watch so many solid ideas develop in so many different directions, when all of us were given the same basic project specs. I spent a good amount of time deconstructing some of the others’ designs, figuring out their thought process and why they made some of the design choices they did, or figuring out what I would have done differently. Excellent opportunity to stretch the creative brain.

If you haven’t stopped by yet, go take a peek at some of the great work there.  If you’re a designer, CrowdSpring can be a quick dose of “real world” inspiration so go check out what directions your fellow creatives are heading in these days.  If you are in the market for a designer for an upcoming project, it might also be a good way to do some window shopping.

All in all,  a very good experience. The thousand bucks certainly would have been nice, but you can’t win them all.  I’ll get ’em next time. 😉

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

crowdSPRING: making a case for the demon of design

So tonight I made my first submission to crowdSPRING.  Yeah, I know, I know — they’re the bane of the design community, they’re cheapening the industry, yada yada yada…  As a professional designer I should hate them, right?

Nope. I like them just fine.

And here’s why.  There are many talented people out there that don’t have “professional” design backgrounds, or young’uns that just haven’t gotten their big break.  I believe they deserve a chance. So what if it means an increase of competition in the industry?  Competition is good — it keeps us on our toes.

There are many UNtalented people out there who think they are designers. (Some of these get a paycheck in the industry, by the way.) If their submission stinks, they’ve only wasted their own time, and a little of the buyer who has to sift through the crappy entries.  Has no effect on the rest of us.

It’s an easy way for those of us with talent to make a little pin money on our own terms.  No beating the bushes for freelance clients, and no being saddled with clients or jobs you don’t want.  You pick the gigs you’re interested in, and when you have the time. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

It’s a great outlet for all that pent-up artistry that doesn’t get to see the light of day at your regular job. It gives you a chance to flex your creative muscle on a variety of projects that you normally wouldn’t get a chance to do. And you don’t have to stand idly by while your hard work suffers through design by committee – YOU get to call all the shots for once and let the work stand on its own merits.

It’s an excuse to create good stuff for your portfolio. We all know we’re “supposed to,” but when is the last time you sat down and created a “pretend” design to maybe show to a prospective employer one day?  Um, never?  Thought so.

And last but not least, it’s a good way to make professional connections and do higher-profile work that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Let’s say that Guy Kawasaki (who submitted a creative brief for the cover of his new book) falls head-over-heels in love with my design.  Where else in the world would I get the opportunity to do work for him? He’s certainly not going to find me in Podunk, NJ, even if he tried.

All boats rise and fall with the tide.

The tide is changing, and my boat is ready. Is yours?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine