How to Feel About SXSW Launching Design Contest Through 99Designs?

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We’re not sure how to feel about this one. When we posted a few weeks back about famous pastor/writer Rick Warren holding a quick contest for people to design his new book’s cover, it seemed to have grabbed some attention, largely from those against any form of spec work. Now the same company he worked with to handle that contest, 99Designs, itself created to foster a spec model of working, has launched another high-profile contest, this time with South by Southwest, asking people to design an official t-shirt for the 2010 edition of the popular film, music, and interactive festival. So we leave it up for you to decide if this is perfectly fine (it’s just a copy of the popular Threadless model, after all) or it feels a little odd considering SXSW’s focus on getting independent contractors (in a sense) working together, as opposed to pitting them against one another for a few bucks (the prize is $500).