This is what I got in my inbox in April. Thrilled about this, since I ranted about this plan a couple of years ago:
“Logos & PNGs
Many of you have been asking about the status of our Logo and PNG projects so we wanted to provide you with some definitive answers now:
Since being announced in September of 2009 the iStock Logo program has been repeatedly delayed by a number of business and technical considerations. At this point iStockphoto has stepped back to reevaluate the whole Logo initiative. After careful review and a lot of discussion, we’ve decided to cancel our plans for this program. We need to focus our time and effort on other initiatives that will have greater positive impact on the company’s overall success.”
We are working on a new website. It is high time. We will be running it completely on the WordPress platform. Catherine Jordan is in charge of key words, tags, and SEO. The new website will also showcase our website design and our book design capabilities, which are missing from this website. However, we can explain: this website was meant to focus at first mostly on our specialty in employee communications. But that focus proved too narrow, so we expanded the website to showcase our external and internal corporate communications capabilities. Now it’s time to show that we can do websites as well. Sigrid has been doing websites since 1995, we’ve just never showcased them. And believe us, you won’t want to see the websites we did back in 1995. They belong into the museum of the very early web.
Here’s what I wrote to them. You can also see my comment here:
As a design professional, there are many reasons why I can’t support this move by iStock.
I don’t feel personally threatened by cheap logos. My business chooses clients who understand the value of professional graphic design. A basic logo and stationery design package for a small company starts at $3,500 in my business.
1. I have an ethical problem with the crowd sourcing structure. Many hours can go into even the quickest logo design to meet a basic standard. Each logo design can only be sold once. Many logo designs will not get sold at all. It’s not the same as posting snap shots which have the potential to get sold 100s of times. This results in innumerable hours of unpaid labour, mostly by inexperienced designers. This is very similar to logo contests. You can read more at http://www.no-spec.com and find out why most established design professionals agree to not participate in crowdsourcing or logo design contests.
2. There is also a concern from a creative process point of view. I think young, inexperienced designers who are starting out, may feel they have no other options but to give away logo designs. Sometimes the reasoning goes that doing these kinds of crowdsourcing logos gets you great experience. Well, it doesn’t. The great experience comes from learning the process of communicating with the client, getting a good briefing, doing research, presenting and refining ideas in a team environment and in communication with the client. The absence of briefing, research and customization will result in cookie-cutter logos.
3. Crowdsourcing is also a bad start to a client – designer relationship. To run a profitable business, you have to establish ongoing relationships with your clients. Single-project clients are not what you want, anonymity is not what you want. An established design business usually takes care of its clients’ visual communications needs over many years. It may start with a logo and stationery, but continues with websites, ads, brochures, displays, signage, and marketing. There is history and knowledge built up over the years, and the accumulated experience in a company’s branding makes a design studio very valuable. We become a business resource to a company much as a lawyer or accountant would.
4. And from a business perspective it’s not a good idea either. Young or inexperienced designers often don’t understand how a business works and what a billable hourly rate must cover: equipment and software upgrades, rent and other overhead, your own wages, benefits, and hopefully even a bit of profit. The profit structure which carefully takes into account all expenses and overhead as well as revenues and growth is what all of the Getty Images corporation is based on, this is what every profitable business is based on. Crowdsourcing takes advantage of the poorest and most desperate, and the least educated. The cheap fee for a unique symbol that can only be used by one client, unlike photos which can be sold to many different clients for different purposes, will not even cover a minimum hourly wage, never mind overhead.
I will not use istockphoto any more if this logo design product becomes a reality. There are many other sources for stock photography, including shooting my own.
I find it sadly ironic that I received a customer satisfaction survey from the Home Depot today, when I have been trying for several weeks to get a response from them about a wrong door that they delivered to my house.
In November 2008, we ordered a flat/smooth/slab/whatchamacallit door at the Home Depot for the entry from the garage into our house. The employee at the counter took down our order, and even gave us a printout to confirm the type of door we wanted. We wanted a door without panelling. If you know me at all, you know that I am a modernist and would never, ever go for a panelled door. Our house has only nonpanelled doors. The employee mentioned that it was a special order, as the standard is panelled doors. We said fine.
Then we waited for a call from an installer, which never came. We finally went back to the Home Depot to ask about our order. They could not find it anywhere in their system. Moreover, they had my phone number listed for another party, so at least one other person was not receiving their phone calls either. Frustrated, we gave up and said we’d find a different supplier. Which we didn’t do.
Finally, in February, we returned to the path of least resistance and tried again with the Home Depot. Sometimes when enough time passes by I get perhaps unreasonably optimistic that it will go better next time. The counter person took down our information and pointed out that a nonpanelled door in the size we wanted would take about 6 weeks as it was a custom order. We agreed to that.
About a week later, the call from the installation coordinator came, a man named Larry. Larry came by to look at everything and measure it. We may or may not have mentioned the word “slab” door, but we are not sure. However, since we discussed our requirement for a nonpanelled door at great length twice before with Home Depot employees, we felt quite sure that requirement had been recorded multiple times. Larry said he would send out an installer but it would take a while because of the special order door.
An installer came in March and brought in the new door. It was wrapped when I saw it on his truck. Then I got busy working while he installed it for several hours. At some point, when he was almost finished, I walked by and found myself staring at a multi-panelled door. “This is not the door we ordered,” I said. He assured me that the Home Depot would most likely agree it was their fault and replace the door, and that I should call Larry.
So, we called Larry and explained the situation to him. But apparently on Larry’s work order, it didn’t say “slab door”, but it said “sm. door” which seems to mean “smooth”. Larry said that “slab” was the proper term, which we as non-construction people did not know, and “smooth” was just a general word for the type of finish. He did agree to submit this complaint to the Home Depot on our behalf. That was in late March.
Meanwhile, the Home Depot has charged our credit card without our permission for the remainder of the installation, and has not yet responded to our complaint. However, they do take the time to send out surveys to compile statistics about their brand perception.
What do you think I’ll write on their customer survey?older entries
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