Design sabotage, gasp!

17 May 2011

Every once and awhile an article about crowdsourcing design pops up, and I normally just ignore them. Usually they’re whiney and self-inflated; and I don’t really see the value behind writing them.

At first, as I read idsgn.org’s article about how crowdsourcing is supposedly sabotaging the design industry, I thought, “who cares? There’s enough design need to go around.” If we’re going to use the food analogy – as the article does – then it’s like complaining that McDonalds is somehow undercutting a gourmet restaurant. Well, duh, but there are more than enough hungry people, and besides, if you’re the gourmet chef, you wouldn’t want the same clientele as McDonalds.

That’s what I thought at first. But as I continued to read, I realized the author was speaking to the fact that it’s good (gourmet) design being crowdsourced, and how the act of giving away good design begins to undervalue design as a whole. The article was written to speak to fellow designers, not clients. Essentially he’s saying, “stop it, you’re worth more. We all are.”

It’s food for thought (no pun intended), but my only contention is that if good design is to be truly compared with gourmet cooking, then why is good design being crowdsourced while gourmet cooking is not? Is it just a matter of having the right platform and tools? If so, someone should create a tool to crowdsource gourmet food!