99designs and the exploitation of designers

Steve Douglas:

Not only have many come to believe that logo design contests are accepted and groovy, but that this is how the industry operates as a matter of course. There’s almost a weird sense of entitlement for oodles of free design goodies from which to chose, paying only for the one design contest holders deem fit to be a “winner,” regardless of how many designers had entered their dog-and-pony show and how much time is spent on trying to please them.

If you’re unfamiliar with what 99designs does, it acts as a middleman between designers and clients. While this might sound pretty appealing to both parties, it isn’t.

Not at all.

While clients get the luxury of posting a job, the designers have to submit their ideas — often in a high-fidelity state — for consideration with the understanding that they may never see a dime from their time. It’s spec work, it’s awful, and it should stop.