Logo Contest? Say what?
Oh, you haven’t heard about the Brammo logo contest that ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) announced and facilitated on crowdsourcing site Crowdspring.com for a shot at $1,000.00? The winning “designer” (I’ll explain why it’s in quotes, later) will be chosen by Alex Bogusky with input from Craig Bramscher, CEO of Brammo. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Basically, if you’re not familiar with the names, the companies or “crowdsourcing,” then you’ve probably found my site by searching for pictures of Debbie Harry (the best one is here) and should just download it and keep moving.
I’m hip to the contest. What’s a “kerfuffle”?
Do I have to do everything? Look it up. Or, if you’re wondering how it’s supposed to sound, you can click here, repeatedly, and the nice lady will say it over and over again. If you want, you can imagine that it’s being enunciated by Ms. Harry.
In relation to the Brammo logo, the kerfuffle is about the issue of “crowdsourcing” and how the design community is up in arms about CP+B using a cheap trick like this contest to destroy the integrity of creative people all over the world. You see, many of these people have jobs with agencies whose bottom line depends on having clients come to them to design their logos. These people equate crowdsourcing, especially when it is underwritten by a competing advertising agency, to the type of despicable behavior one might expect from a traitorous person of questionable parentage. They claim that an ethical lapse has occurred which cheapens their professional standing, minimizes the effort involved with proper logo creation (a term they actually call “branding,” not to be confused with the act of a red hot iron with a design on it being applied to the hind end of a bovine . . . actually, it bears a striking resemblance to that), and threatens the very foundation of their industry (which they prefer to be called a “profession,” kind of like “sex workers” prefer to be called members of the “world’s oldest profession.”)
Just in case you think I have a prejudice against “creatives” or “designers,” I want to clarify that I do not. Some readers of this blog are aware of my close and dare I say it, loving (in a platonic way, of course) relationship with the CP+B interns whose services were won by Brammo in an Ebay auction last Spring. They were a hard-working group and their talent was easy to see while working on the Enertia campaign. They, however, would be the first to tell you that Brammofan can be one critical person of questionable parentage. The take-away is that I call them as I see them. Which brings me to the issue of designers vs. “designers.”
The difference between designers and “designers” is that the first one works with an agency and the second one doesn’t. The first one doesn’t enter crowdsourcing logo contests and the second one does. The first one researches branding issues and the second one has a PC and a copy of PhotoShop (probably pirated). The first one attends client consultations and will tweak the minute details of their design over the course of weeks, and the second one slaps something together in a couple hours.
Okay, so the designers think that “designers” should stop contributing to the downfall of the industry.
Here’s the original article. (See also, FastCompany‘s take on this and BNet’s.) They even went so far as to design a logo memorializing this event:
But here’s the deal: you get what you pay for. Someone who’s going to pay a couple hundred bucks for a logo on crowdspring.com is not going to shell out the thousands or millions to CP+B for a new logo for their product.
There are a couple reasons why Brammo and CP+B are in the midst of this kerfuffle. One is that the designers feel betrayed by Bogusky encouraging “spec” work, which is another term for uncompensated work performed by “designers” for the admittedly slim chance of being chosen as the winner. Sounds a bit like gambling, right?
The other big reason for this conflict is that the designers have tunnel vision.
The designers see the Brammo CP+B logo contest as being only about design and crowdsourcing and the cheapening of their profession. What so many of them fail to see, even as they contribute to it by the gnashing of their own teeth, is the public relations value of the contest. And what created even more PR value than the contest? The kerfuffle. This. Right now. Even as I type these very words and you read them and immediately forget them and feel compelled to comment, or tweet, or email your friends to come and read the ravings of this Brammofan idiot, the folks at CP+B, and Brammo, and probably Weber-Shandwick and Best Buy (to the extent they bother reading my rants), are counting the number of times I’ve mentioned the words Brammo, Enertia, CP+B, Best Buy, and wondering what the next outrageous idea from Bogusky might be. (May I suggest, on spec of course, a Subservient Brammo – Geek Squad site, complete with a guy in a Geek Squad uniform, wearing a Bull head, in a messy garage, with a Brammo Enertia, responding to typed-in requests?)
With that, I sign off this post with the news that, according to the Crowdspring.com site, the logo contest winner should be announced any moment now. And, for what it’s worth, this is my favorite logo submission of the more than 700 submitted: