First of all, we’re glad you’re thinking about design ethics.
We’re with you. The widespread rise of crowdsourcing and design contests to obtain design services raises many ethical concerns. The way that Visible approaches our Design Equity Tournaments is different.
We’ve co-opted the “contest” model, and implemented it in a way that is fair for everyone involved. The way we see it, it’s the motivations behind the for-profit models and end result that can be problematic.
Here’s how our model differs from typical for-profit design contests:
Design Contest for Profit
To pay the least amount possible for creative work
To get the greatest possible amount of creative work produced for the least amount of compensation
To use the skills, education, and expertise of designers for the least amount of compensation
To re-sell the work obtained at a premium for the greatest profit possible.
The Visible Model:
Design Contest for Good
To donate services worth much more in quantitative value than most individuals are able to donate in monetary form
To assemble the most diverse and talented skillsets on behalf of marginalized communities and causes
To allow Visible pledge members an opportunity to fulfill their pledge in one day
To create opportunities for designers of all skill levels to collaborate with other designers as part of a team, and have their work seen by prominent creative directors (judges)
To help designers of all skill levels gain recognition, fill their portfolios with desirable projects, and advance their careers
To help organizations with limited budgets conserve their financial resources to directly serve their communities
Unlike a typical design contest or crowdsourced design models, there are no losers in a Visible Design Equity Tournament.
Even if a participant's work is not chosen as part of the final brand, everyone involved comes away with something of value. Whether it is simply the experience of working together towards a shared goal as part of a larger group of designers, the opportunity to have work seen by prominent creative directors, the opportunity to fulfill your Visible pledge in a day, or the ability to list your participation on your Linkedin profile or include the work you created during the contest in your portfolio - each participant comes away from the experience with a tangible professional achievement in exchange for their participation.
Visible only helps organizations that do not have a budget allocated for creative services in order to avoid taking paid work away from others in the creative industry. We consider a professional logo and website to be basic needs for an organization. Organizations with limited resources should not have to sacrifice those resources to obtain these basic needs. Organizations should be able to use the resources they do have to do the most good possible and directly benefit their communities. Design Equity Tournaments help fill that need.