Playing to the crowd

The jury is out on crowdsourcing as a means of canvassing design ideas. But, as former Grafik editor and publisher Caroline Roberts says in Design Week this week, it’s unlikely that any big projects – an airline identity, say – will be commissioned in this way so the phenomenon might not be the threat it may appear to established designers.

Indeed, an open invitation – which is effectively what crowdsourcing is – has great appeal to some audiences, notably within schools and colleges and among recent design graduates. It’s a way of creating designs that might get greater recognition than if they were to be sourced through conventional design management means.

Crowdsourcing is more likely to generate ideas and approaches or inventions than work that can be implemented in a commercial context. It invariably needs dialogue and nurturing for them to become real.

This is the sentiment behind a joint initiative between Sony and WWF to find ways to repurpose existing Sony technology to tackle environmental issues.  Launching this month, Open Planet Ideas focuses on four key areas: water; fish and agriculture; climate change; and habitats and species.

Some 30 of the best concepts will go through to a second stage of evaluation later in the year.

If you’re intrigued by the notion of using high tech kit to address any of these, check out the Open Planet Ideas website –

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  • da bishop November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    But all linguistic activities are canonical.

    How many studios do their own fonts, who can escape influence & education.

    We’ve been crowdsourcing for aeons.

  • Peter Jackson November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I read Caroline’s article which was reassuring but was then amazed to see on DesignCrowd that Queens “the ultimate entertainment centre” was looking to rebrand and offering just £100 to the winning candidate.

    Queens in London W2 is described as: 50,000 sqft of activities including Ice skating with state of the art sound and light, 12 lanes of Ten Pin Bowling, Private Karaoke rooms, Fully licensed bar, Specialty foods, home made Italian ice cream parlour, video and novelty games.

    Can you imagine how the winners logo will be used across what they call ‘associated branding’?

    OK, it’s not BA, but come on… this can’t be right.

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