Regardless of what a lot of critics say, I believe crowdsourcing can be a very rewarding experience. The main downside to crowdsourcing I find is that anyone can do it, even if they have no design experience. Even still, there are people out there with a lot of talent. I recommend you try all you can to get a great design education, but with the economy these days, it can be near impossible. For that, I offer you this advice on crowdsourcing the right way.
A good time limit for most professional designers is 1 month or longer from the beginning of a project to the end. This is because it takes time to research and communicate with one another. In the crowdsourcing world, most projects start at about 7 days and can go to a month or longer depending on time extensions and price. You’ll want to find a good time frame for you. Don’t jump on a project you have little understanding in, and expect to get a good design out in 3 days. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.
Whether you’re getting started in this crowdsourcing thing, or you’re a seasoned pro, organization is key. If this is your first time trying out crowdsourcing, it can be a little intimidating. There are a lot of things to look at. First, find what you’d like to design for. Then browse through all of the projects, just skimming through them to find what you think you’d like. Get a good list going of the projects you’re interested in.
When looking at projects, you have to get a good understanding of them. If the design is a logo for a law firm, and you think it’s boring, then don’t do it. You will not be able to immerse yourself in the project and design at your best when you force yourself. The best thing to do is read through the briefs until you find one that interests you. This is a benefit to crowdsourcing that the pro designers really don’t have. They normally don’t just pick and chose who they design for. They take what they get because of their professionalism and business standing.
Once you’ve found a project you like, start to research it. Don’t assume you know everything about the place just based on what they tell you in the brief. Go above and beyond so you can prove your worth in this cutthroat field. If it’s too tough to wrap your mind around, then move on. Research the business and its competition. Look up designs in a similar field and get some ideas of what other people are doing.
Brainstorming and Sketches
I understand that it’s tempting to go right to the computer for work. There are just certain steps you should follow through with because it can free your mind. One thing I must recommend is David Airey’s book, Logo Design Love. You can read the free chapter from this link. It has some awesome information on how to get your ideas out. Please look at this. You really need to start with pen and paper. I know it can be hard if you’ve never done this step, but it is very much worth it. You write out ideas and their relation to each other. Then come up with some sketches, which is much faster than using the computer. Research other methods of coming up with ideas and find your own way.
Inspiration is key, so try checking out some design sites. Crettica is a good place to start. The one thing you don’t want to do is start copying other people’s ideas. Even if you thought of an idea first, that doesn’t mean other people didn’t have the same thought. That’s why brainstorming is so important. You have to weed through those first initial thoughts and get right down to the essence of the design. Make it your own by adding your unique talent and ideas to it. You may be surprised to know that there are tons of logos and designs in the world, that professionally done, that look similar to each other. It’s no biggy to be called a copycat. Just say sorry, take it down, and try again. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
This is bound to happen between creative minds that are all together. Pretend that crowdsourcing sites are like a business with a whole lot of employees. You should handle yourself professionally. If you have a problem with another designer, a private message is the only way this should be handled. If you can’t do a private message, then contact the site administrators if it’s a big issue. There is absolutely no reason to bring your problems with a designer to the public eye. What would that say to everyone? It doesn’t say that you can professionally handle certain situations. Just keep it between you and them, and if you have to say something to an admin, then do so.
Now if you’ve won any projects that is great, but you can’t forget that this is an ongoing battle between you and other creative people. You can’t let your guard down even for a moment. You must make sure to study up on design when you can, and practice all the time. If you haven’t been to college for design, you’ll want to do all you can to be versed in it. Buy some books, get a mentor, team up with people you trust. Get that experience and do the best you can.