It was recently announced that Mark Cuban is crowdsourcing the design of the next Dallas Mavericks uniform. In exchange for the winning submission, Mr. Cuban is offering bragging rights and maybe some tickets.
This isn’t the first example of a billionaire looking to take advantage of the design industry, and it won’t be the last. There are a few things, however, that Mr. Cuban fails to understand.
Yes, Mr. Cuban, crowdsourcing will get you a cheap piece of generic art that meets your immediate need.
But you lose. You’re missing out on a design partnership that will provide you with the process, strategic thinking, and brand strategy that serves as the backbone for your company’s public image. Yes, you’ll need to pay a professional designer or design firm for these things. But a smart man like you should understand that business is complex & competitive, and an excellent design partner is critical to your success.
Designers, consider your community. Respect yourself. Stand up for the real value that this profession can and should provide. Think of the best case scenario, in which you beat out thousands of designers after spending hours laboring over the winning design. Yes, you can brag all you want, but you lost the rights to your work the minute you posted it. Even worse, you cheapened your value by working for free and nobody even knows who did the work except you. Do you think the Mavs are going to put a byline on their jerseys? Not likely. Who is really winning here?