Today the much publicised website 99designs.com announced the launch of their, wait for it, ‘Ready-Made’ logo store. Now, while I was never a massive fan of their successful design contest idea I must admit to entering a view in my early days as a designer. Strapped for cash and eyes wide open at the prospect of some ‘easy money’ I entered about 10 or so contests, of which I won 3. The design contests idea is never going to produce a magnificent or innovative design for the client but at the end of the day, neither the designer or clearly the client cares. Both are in it for financial reasons; the designer looking to make a quick pound (or in the site’s case – a dollar) and the client not willing to fork out on a designer to conduct a proper design process. The idea has many flaws in that people’s ideas are often ripped off, and cases of unpaid prizes are common to say the least.
However, this latest venture by 99designs just goes to show how little they understand about the world of design. They claim to be doing this for the millions of companies who are without an identity – fair enough. But what good is a logo to these company if it’s not unique? What’s to say that 2 shops next door to eachother couldn’t end up with the same logo, bought for $99 on the website? It’s scary to think the amount of people who will actually opt for this idea and think they’ve got a great deal. They might as well have opened Microsoft Word, chosen some clip art and put their business name below it.
Frankly, any business who uses this service is clearly putting no thought in to it. What scares me most though is how much this could potentially devalue the world of design. People already think that designers are over-paid. If they think that a logo is only worth $99 then they’ll expect near the same for a logo for any designer.