When a "contest" is not a contest

It may bark like a dog and look like a dog but, is it really always a dog? A similar query may arise with many “design contests,” especially those popping up all over the Internet on a daily basis. Businesses and organizations, with the ability to pay going rates for professional graphic design services, have found the lure of winning a “contest” will reel in large numbers of designers for the chance of a few minutes of fame, a little glory and perhaps cash or prizes not nearly worth the value of the design effort on the open market. In return, those conducting these design lotteries often get a virtual menu of design options, and the rights to use all entries as they please, with little need of valuable prize options or the outlay of much cash.

Some blame for the proliferation of “design contests” must fall on the design community itself. For a great many designers, such activities appear to be an opportunity to gain some quick income. In the excitement of the moment it is often forgotten that winning is not a sure thing and the “fine print’ of the competition rules may be even more detrimental to a designer. The only thing worse than a client, or potential client, who does not value the efforts of a professional graphic designer, is a designer who doesn’t appreciate the value of their own time and work. Participation in such “competitions” certainly devalues the efforts of the creative individual and encourages others in the business community to seek inexpensive design work in a similar manner.

Read the rest of this article at Creative Latitude.

Note: I thought I would post this article on bLog-oMotives as I have seen links to it being posted on various forums more and more lately. The article has also appeared on the site of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, on TheCreativeForum.com, at Commpiled.com and on other Internet sites.

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

1 comment:

Carl G said...

Hey Jeff,

I'm glad that you posted the article on contests, I recently found a one of the national radio shows offering a logo contest. The prize was a paltry 175 dollars worth of 'stuff' from their online shop. They also claimed ownership to all of the entries to the contest.

Finally they said they could change the winning entry however they liked...nothing seemed ethical about the contest.

I made mention of this on my own blog www.grivakisgraphics.com/tapp-d in order to help make people aware of these problems.