Should Business Owner Crowdsource Their Design Project?

If you are still using or planning to use crowd source service that you found in Google search, think again after reading this post.


Most of the time, quality from crowd source service are not professional at all. Look at the comparison below.




Go Google “logo design” and you will find out crowd source company are dominating the first page of Google search which I think is one of the reason graphic designer is under rated.


People think they can get a logo as cheap as $29 but they don’t realize it could harm their business image.


I am not a fan of crowdsourcing actually and I’ve asked 8 professional designer to share their thought on this topic.


Here is the question to them “Do you recommend business owner crowdsource their design projects?”


Ty Mattson

ty-mattsonNo. Several reasons. It represents a lack of investment in the brand from the business owner. It creates a work-for-hire scenario for the designer which devalues the designer’s contribution. Ultimately it undermines the relationship between a client and a designer.


– Ty Mattson, Principal and Creative Director at Mattson Creative


April Greer

april-greerThink of marketing as a painting – each logo, brochure, and sales campaign paint a picture of your business. When you crowdsource your design projects, it’s like asking multiple painters to create their portion of your painting without any collaboration. Instead of a masterpiece, you have a mess.


– April Greer from Greer Genius


Tuesday Bassen

tuesday-bassenAbsolutely not. As a business owner myself, I understand the appeal of finding the best fit with a low-price tag in order to meet your budget or save a buck, but crowd sourcing is damaging to the design community and you won’t get the kind of one-on-one, invested time with a talented designer that you would if you hired one creative or team.


Think about it this way: you wouldn’t invite several dentists to your office to “see who does it best” and only pay one of them for their work. That’s not ethical and it’s certainly not the industry standard. By hiring one designer that you believe in, you’re paying for their wit, problem solving skills, and aesthetic talent.



If you need help shopping around, take a look at a site like, it’s a curated site with designer profiles and portfolios. You can see where the designer is located, how many years of experience they have, where their individual talents lie, and even see whether the designer that you’re interested in falls on the $ or $$$ scale.


– Tuesday Bassen, Illustrator and Designer at


Jason Mark

No. Good design serves a business goal.  The only crowdsourced design projects I’ve seen have really focused on “what does the business owner like”, which is the wrong question with design.  It’s why we have so much ineffective design out there.  The right question is “what design will get us the result we want”, and while you could crowdsource that question that’s not the standard mindset of crowdsourcing.


– Jason Mark, Co-Founder & Creative Lead at Gravity Switch


Shauna Haider

shauna-haiderI do not recommend croudsourcing because as a whole, it’s detrimental to the design industry. Designers should be compensated fairly for their work and crowdsourcing allows a bunch of work to be done for free in the hopes that the designer’s concept gets chosen.


The primary benefit falls into the favor of the business owner — croudsourcing hurts professional, working designers that would have otherwise been hired to develop the project. Additionally, a crowdsourced project may not receive the same amount of research, development and thought that a paid project would. Industry-wide, designers need to band together and make sure their work is compensated at a fair value.


– Shauna Haider, Graphic Designer & Blogger at Nubbly Twiglet


Brian Hoff

brian-hoffI’ve never been a fan or supporter of crowdsourcing. Successful design solutions come as a result of learning about the problem, discussions with the client, and back and forth iteration. Crowdsourcing undermines a process. It becomes about the “artwork” rather than design solving a real problem. It’s also bad for business and reputation.


Imagine if every company operated in such a way. Go the the grocery store, buy a gallon of milk, and then once you’ve already consumed it, decide to pay or not. Most of us would never have a sustainable business model. Everyone’s tastes are different. When people make decision based on “taste” alone it removes the problem.


The successful design agencies and independent designers are successful because of their process and the results they deliver because of the process that gets them there. The truly great and smart clients seek this as well. They want to be apart of the solution and we as designers need them to be apart of it.


– Brian Hoff, Founder & Creative Director at Brian Hoff Design


Ray Vellest

rayvellestNo. I don’t. Well, the short answer is quite simple and strikes me on a very personal level. You see, I’m not very fond of the idea of exploring fellow human beings, and that’s why I don’t agree with the crowdsourcing business model. Is it right that hundreds of designers work for free and only one get paid for his/her hard work? I believe this is evil, some say is a new form of slavery, and the way I see it, this business model only benefits those who are running the sites.


Now, the long answer is much less personal, and brings some reasoning to support my initial argument.


From a client perspective, the major problem with crowdsourcing websites is judging the work. While some rare clients may understand design, most of them are not qualified to do that in the first place. Clients should never be the ones making design choices, that is the designer’s job. Clients are better off when a designer makes the design choices for them. Secondly, buying design of these websites can be very risky. Without a traditional client-designer relationship, clients can easily be misled buying copyrighted material and end up with pretty expensive lawyer bills to pay.


From the designer’s perspective, the major problem is not developing essential communication skills and not building confidence in their own design choices. Working for a crowdsourced project will most of the time translate into pushing pixels according to the clients will, and depending on their choices, the designer will end up creating some really awful work. I understand many designers, especially those who are just starting, may look at crowdsourcing websites as a quick way to get their hands on a design project, and perhaps starting building some design skills, but that’s a terrible way of doing that, as they end up helping to create the idea that crowdsourcing is a good business model.


Here’s some food for thought…


What happens when the majority of clients turns to crowdsourcing sites? What happen to the designer that started there but now wants to move up the ladder? How will they do that if clients can easily have hundreds, if not thousands of designs, from less experienced designers on crowdsourcing sites? Can you see where the design profession is going from here? Crowdsourcing sites are killing the design industry, and many designers are helping them to do just that.


– Ray Vallest, Brand Identity Designer at


Jessica Hische

jessica-hischeI am absolutely against crowdsourcing designs. I think it takes advantage of designers and ultimately you end up with a mediocre design because it’s not a partnership with the designer.


When doing identity work, or any work for a client, it should be a partnership. You should get to know each other, get to know the product / business, and work together for the best result.


– Jessica Hische, Letterer and Illustrator at


Now back to you. If you are not a fans of crowdsource service, tweet and share this article.


If this question is thrown at you Do you recommend business owner crowdsource their design projects?”What is your answer? The comment box below is all yours.


PS : Special thanks to Ty Mattson, April Greer, Jason Mark, Tuesday Bassen, Shauna Haider, Ray Vallest, Brian Hoff and  Jessica Hische for making this post possible. Lets spread out this message.

3 thoughts on “Should Business Owner Crowdsource Their Design Project?”

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