Tag Archives: speculative work

An Olympic Mistake: Tokyo Crowdsources Logo for 2020 Games

30 Nov


If you follow this blog, you know my opinions on crowdsourcing and speculative work, which I share with AIGA and the Graphic Artists Guild. Candid Thoughts on the 2020 Olympic Logo is a critique by Ian Lynam, Art Director of Neojaponisme, of a version of the 2020 Olympic Logo. In one part, he lays out a strong case against contests and spec work.

The post is worth reading in its entirety, but here’s the takeaway:

Why can’t the Tokyo Olympic committee afford to pay someone for something that is going to make them a lot of money whether Tokyo wins the bid or not?

Mr. Lynam also shares his thoughts on competitions:

I hate design competitions, and moreover, I hate student design competitions. Sure, it may help that student get a job after school, but design competitions are a form of speculative labor. We don’t participate in design competitions with my design studio, and I actively encourage my students to not participate in design competitions, as well. School should be a time for exploration and experimenting in the laboratory, not aping market rules, visual trends, and reductive thinking.

Mr. Lynam’s criticism of the logo, which was done by a college student, lays out strong arguments for why a professional designer’s expertise is worth the investment, and his comments on the competition provide a good explanation of why designers—and clients—should avoid crowdsourced spec work.


Pratt Institute Responds to My Letter Against Crowdsourcing

5 Jun

Expressing my disappointment to Pratt Institute for crowdsourcing the design of a new mascot (please see my last post) received a lot of attention, and a response from Helen Matusow-Ayres, Pratt’s Vice President for Student Affairs. To her and Pratt’s credit, it’s unusual that letters like mine get a response, and I thank them for their professional courtesy. Ms. Matusow-Ayers explains that the mascot design is part of a larger identity project, which is being handled by a professional design firm, and I see that those details have been added to the competition information. While this helps Pratt to appear more transparent to the community, it still doesn’t change the fact that the competition sends a dangerous message: Crowdsourcing and speculative work are acceptable business practices. Ms. Matusow-Ayers’s message, and my reply follow. (Click each image to enlarge)

Pratt Mascot Design Competition

Pratt Mascot Design Competition

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