Designer Fights Crowdsourcing/Bidding Sites, Wins

This is not something we see too often.

A designer who had already begun work for a client got the following (abridged) email (original here):

I stumbled upon (crowdsourcing site) and thought it a great opportunity to give (another) logo a whirl to see what they came up with. I guaranteed the contest, wrote the creative brief and within one week received 47 logo designs based upon my brief, ten of which were so great that it made it nearly impossible to pick the best! For $200, I received a package of 17 different variations on the design I selected in every conceivable format.

The client then hired the winning company from the crowdsourcing site to design two websites, build a shopping cart, and marketing materials, for less money than the original designer had charged for just one logo.

The designer wrote back a very long but reasoned response. You should go read it. Here are pertinent parts:

I am very sorry about your dissatisfaction with our work on your (original) logo. Because of your experience with (crowdsourcing site), you sound as though you feel that you paid too much for it. ….A consequence of crowdsourcing is that quality suffers, not only in the final logo but in the thought that goes into it. If a designer’s odds of making any money is fairly low, there is little incentive to put much craft and originality into the entries. It becomes a numbers game for the designer, too – many keep folders of different kinds of logos and use them repeatedly, changing small aspects to refresh the work. Some users will even scrape design content from the web, change a color or a font, and put it up as an entry. …. suppose I consulted with you on a medical issue, got some good advice, and then stumbled onto the same advice at webmd.com. I might feel as frustrated as you are now – why did I pay all that money?

The designer sent this long email off and received, not a “GFY” as you might expect, but understanding.

In this economy, many customers are looking for “value” and (practitioners) are constantly operating from a somewhat losing framework in that information is abundant, and a dime a dozen . . . There are good designers crowd sourcing, I’m sure, and then similar to (her) profession, there are A LOT of bad ones.
It is vital that you know that I love your work and this had nothing to do with your quality or the time we’ve had together on this project.

The problem is that in design as well as photography, writing, etc., it’s not enough just to say “don’t buy from bidding or crowdsourcing sites because they are bad for designers.” Business owners don’t exactly care what’s bad for designers; they care what’s bad for their business. So by spelling out the issues from a client’s perspective, it sounds like this designer kept a client.