It seems that no matter how many times history plays out the hand dealt to inefficient markets, the next inefficient market to be assailed wails in protest. Jeff Howe’s article on Crowdsourcing in graphics and design, discusses the reaction from many designers to this discount approach to their core business. What I take from the group of designers who’ve formed the group called NO!SPEC, is that they would have resisted enabling stock trades to happen through anything but a paid broker, or that they are on the side of real estate agents in their fight with the discount agents and websites that perform similar services without the 6% fee.
It’s crazy that folks don’t look at the markets that bloom around the growth which happens when inefficiencies are eliminated. Turns out that stock brokers didn’t go out of business, but rather provide value added services to a market of American investors that is 10 times the percentage it was pre-online trading (less than 5% to over 50% of Americans). This huge increase in the market and volume has increased the need for professional help.
As a startup software company, our limited budgets at the beginning only enabled us to pay for ‘logo’ work rather than the real design overhaul that only a professional can deliver (doesn’t do much good to have a professional design if you then can’t afford to the production graphics work to execute on it). So, instead of getting this seriously value added service, we paid through the nose for a few logos that in the end did not really coalesce into a nice U.I. Now, we can simply Smartsource* that kind of work out for a few dollars apiece once the pros create our branded design and layout. We’re paying the high margin fees to those folks that actually have differentiated talent instead of pittering away lesser fees on one of the graphics-space saturating multitudes.
There is no need for graphic designers to panic. By making the access to truly commodity graphics services very cheap and efficient, the budgets available for the skilled work that can never be commoditized will increase. That’s all good.
*Smartsourcing - I'm a big believer in the impending economic growth that will occur as technology improves our ability to request and deliver different kinds of work between each other. - When People Replace Machines.