Wine & Graphic Design: A Crowded Undertaking
When I entered the wine industry in 1990 at a small PR firm dedicated to serving wine clients, my first graphic design project was a newsletter for a client. I was pointed to a particular designer whose work was outstanding. Like most others, he did not use computers, laid out the design on a board, had film of the mock up made then passed it to the printer. It was a fairly long and detailed and expensive proposition.
It is now more than 20 years later. I recently oversaw the design of a new logo for a wine-related client. More than 60 designers from around the world submitted over 300 designs. Those 300 were narrowed down to 100, then to 6 then to 1. The cost was $500 and the entire process took just over 1 week.
Welcome to the world of Crowd Sourced Graphic Design.
I’m not the first to discover this. There are numerous sites that allow you to create a “design contest”, have multiple designers submit designs, then choose the one you want. I used 99Designs.com. But there are other Graphic Design Crowd Sourcing Sites including DesignCrowd.com and CrowdSpring.com.
But here’s the thing. Despite being extraordinarily happy with the results of this graphic design project, I feel a little bit like I had crossed a picket line where my brothers and sisters were involved in the strike. Let me explain.
Crowed Sourcing is extremely controversial in the graphic design world. It is believed by many that by getting numerous graphic designers to work on speculation (Spec), you devalue the craft, as well as drag down fees and likely don’t get the high quality results you would get by working back and forth with a single, dedicated designer.
I can promise the last objection simply is not true. However, there is no question that crowd sourcing graphic design DOES drag down overall fees for graphic designers and in its own way does devalue the craft. And yet, the combination of new technology, easy to use graphic design software, access to millions of inspirational graphic design on the web and a proliferation of folks trying to make a living in graphic design in the U.S. and around the world creating one big pool of accessible designers makes this method of purchasing graphic design services seem practically inevitable.
I do sympathize with that contingent of graphic designers that despise crowd sourcing (and believe me when I tell you that “despise” is the correct word here). Yet I see indication that the trend will abate. Where wine is concerned, I would in no way be surprised to see a larger and larger percentage of new labels be developed in this manner.