Crowdsourced Creativity, continued

I posted some thoughts about crowd sourced creativity on April 10th, and mentioned all of the reasons why I thought it was a bad, no a really bad, trend for both designers and clients. But it keeps cropping up in the press.

In fact there is an article in Business Week online this week by John Winsor of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky.

I can’t help but wonder where this is taking the design industry. We seem to be entering a period where the traditions of the design marketplace are, at a minimum, being redefined around the edges.

But we may be facing much more. Look at how the music industry has already been revolutionized by iTunes, book publishing is in the midst of being altered by Kindle, traditional newspapers are quickly becoming print dinosaurs, operating systems like Linux and others are free and open source. 

Yet you have most thoughtful members of our industry, like the AIGA, arguing that work on spec is a bad bad thing.

As John Winsor says at the end of his article, “The question for creative agencies is whether they can wake up, react to what’s going on, engage the crowd, and make themselves a part of the new reality.”

But it seems to me that perhaps the definition of a creative agency, a traditional place of collective thought, developing consistently great work for clients, may be at risk. There must be lessons from musicians, writers, newspapers, record labels, book publishers, etc. that we need to learn, and fast.


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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2 Responses to Crowdsourced Creativity, continued

  1. Douglas May says:

    Spec is only bad for firms that can’t afford to throw away money. Large ad agencies can bury the cost of a $250,000.00+ exercise to dazzle and entertain a client in hopes of winning a $30 million up account. But that’s just it… it’s mostly show business, not strategic and much of the work never makes it to the client’s audience. I you don’t believe that spec work will devalue a profession, just look at architecture.

  2. Pingback: Our Top 10 List of Packaging Stories for 2009 « The Package Unseen

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