Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do design contests devalue designs?

I read an interesting blogpost the other day when trying out some Google searches to see how Foldees fared. The post was about how design contests somehow devalue your designs.

You can read the rest of the post here...

But the gist of it is that when people launch design contests, what they're really doing is wasting the design talents of hundreds (or thousands) just to get one, or a few designs they like. To the corporate Man, it's the cheapest way to get loads of designs and ideas, while appearing to support the community.

The argument is that those designers who don't get picked simply waste their designs, and those that do, don't really get much besides a hastily written press release and perhaps a single line mention in the local newspaper.

I posted a comment on that blog, claiming that the title (Design Contests, Devaluing Design, and Is It Ever OK?) was misleading. Corporate Design Contests can be devaluing, but we'd like to think sites like ourselves and threadless actually give you guys some room to play, and interact with your peers.

While other user-created design sites like Zazzle and Cafepress accept just about any design that comes in, we find that you designer guys tend to perform better with a bit of a carrot dangling from a stick :)

That's why we're very proud of our design collection (which we have to thank you guys for), and we will continue to pursue the contest business model until at least we've reached a year.

Honestly speaking, the contests aren't exactly the cheapest way to run a business, but each time we see the designs coming in, we realise it's all worth it. Even though we might not see a profit from those designs today (we need to be selling ALOT more cards first), they can be sold for a long time to come.

Sales are already picking up, as those who've been checking their Royalty tabs can attest to, but we still have a long way to go, finding ways to promote the site, and to make the process of sending cards as painless as possible.

On the other hand, we also want to give you guys the tools by which to help yourselves. That's why we've since switched from the card popups to the new individual pages like this one.

If you notice, the link on the page has all the keywords you need to search for your card on Google. On top of that, we also have the new Share This sidebar, which allows you to forward the links to your friends, as well as to Digg, Facebook, or choose from one of any other 21 social networking engines to post on.


We've also got other plans lined up to help you guys, one of which should be launching next week, which is the individual designer pages. Not only will these pages feature all designs from one particular designers, but the links to these pages will also be featured at the back of each card we sell. This means that if the person receiving the card likes the style, he/she can come onto the site and see the rest of the designer's masterpieces.

So do design contests devalue your designs? Well, i guess it really comes down to what you do with the designs after the contest. In a corporate context, alot of the designs simply go to waste and disappear once the contest ends.

Here at Foldees, it's only once the contest ends that things start to get really interesting. Going to waste? Not a single vector.

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