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Croutsourcing Design

Marketing podcast with crowdSPRING cofounders Ross Kimbarovsky and Mike Samson – click to listen or right click and Save As to download

I know, I know – another goofy made-up word, but hey, it’s Friday so outsourcing design to the crowd became croutsourcing.

The point is that the web has certainly made it much easier to find great design from around the world and on the flip side created an unlimited market for those wishing to sell their design services.

Some smart folks have built businesses around corralling and managing the introduction and design process and made buying and selling graphic design a snap. As with most innovations, these services have their detractors. The most vocal being some in the design community that feel this drives the price of quality design down and cheapens the value of great design. Whether this is true or not, the web has impacted most industries in a similar fashion. The ultimate answer usually comes from the market’s assessment of the greatest value.

The process in croutsourced design is that you describe a project (in the greatest, brand oriented way you can) and designers in your chosen platform’s community compete for your project. In some cases the designers bid on your work, in others they submit designs in an effort to win a set award. Usually, you, the client, get multiple designs and alterations to work with on the way to a finished project.

The true strength, and possibly longevity, of these organizations lies in the professionalism of their design community. The one that keeps the designers the happiest wins.

The latest innovation in the industry is that your design competition can be open to public view if you choose. Some high profile brands have started to look to this model to get a design done in public view as a PR opportunity. Here’s an example of a public logo contest at 99 Designs and here’s a competition at crowdSPRING for a Tony Robbins web site design.

Here’s a run down of some of the croutsourcing design players that I’ve worked with:

LogoWorks – Actually LogoWorks, an HP company, wouldn’t really qualify as crowd driven in the same manner as these other three as they do offer your design project out for a bit of competition, but it’s a closed process with a fixed price.

99Designs – This was one of the first compete for an award players and has done a nice job putting designers and clients together at very affordable prices.

Elance – The first and biggest of the crowd sourcing community. Elance’s model is a bid for project model and certainly not just focused on design.

crowdSPRING – This is one of the newest players, but they seem to be capturing a lot of buzz and some pretty high profile projects. (I interviewed crowdSPRING cofounders Ross Kimbarovsky and Mike Samson for an episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast – click to listen or right click and Save As to download.)

4 Free Friday Follow and More

ducttapemattersFirst off, my free friday follow continues – each week I draw one random twitter follower with the help of twitrand.com and send them a copy of my book, Duct Tape Marketing, along with the highly fashionable, ducttapematters t-shirt. This week’s winner is Alaina Green – from Denver, CO, a Marketing & PR Associate for Jewish Family Service of Colo (By the way the image is courtesy of past winners – Avasiare – this was uploaded to twitpic)

I am conducting webinar #2 is a 5 part series for the smbmarketingguide.com site sponsored by HP next Tuesday, March 31 at 9am PDT – the subject of the panel discussion is “Creating Marketing Materials That Educate” and my guest expert panel includes – Chanpory Rith, publisher of Lifeclever, Amy Nelson of LogoWorks, and Cliff Atkinson, author of Beyond Bullet Points. Now more than ever, marketing that educates builds trust. Register here!

“Social media didn’t create criticism, it just makes it easier to hear,” @ambercadabra – I love that quote from Amber Naslund of Radian6 in a comment to my post on the AMEX OpenForum called Reputation, Radars, and Real Estate where I outline new tactics every business should employ to monitor and participate in social media.

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