Ironically, the same week I received my AIGA email about the presentation by Scott Stowell (designer of the BRAVO logo), I also started my first 99designs crowdsourcing campaign.
Before you chastise me for patronizing these sites, riddled with designers that are underselling their skills and adding to the problem of the rest of us identity designers being balked at for asking what we’re worth, understand that it was between this and a logo that sacrificed the integrity of my client’s embryonic site. Ordinarily, I would consider crowdsourcing to be hellspawn, a machination created by suits to drive the prices of respectable, hard-working designers down by pitting them against the student, the retiree and the desperate unemployed. I’ve never participated in a crowdsourcing project on the design or client end before today and may never do it again. But, as I said, the situation demanded it and timing was crucial to the progress of the site design’s growth.
Part of the focus of this new site is a social networking aspect. Part of the focus of ALL new sites, as far as I can tell by the RFPs for the last 4 years is ALWAYS a social networking aspect. And, while I’m not debating the trends of today, I’m merely pointing out the irony of visionaries—clamoring to be unique by asking for the same things.
Anyway, as submissions pour in to 99designs, and I sit and stare at Mr. Stowell’s identity, I notice a trend that many logos include speech bubbles. The trend isn’t new, according to MortarBlog, as it was already in full swing back in August of ’07. It could just be the caliber of designers that subject themselves to crowdsourcing, or it could be an subconscious association based on years of conditioning that social networks are online speech bubbles.
But then again, so are status update sites, iphone apps, instant messengers, blog rating sites, trending sites and a whole host of other online businesses including Mr. Stowell’s logo.
Collage MortarBlog Post (August 2007)