Crowd Source Design Critique

By Joseph Duffy Dec 30, 2010

The new age of crowd source design critique...

We've seen it a lot lately. This is clearly the new world we live in. One in which a so called "bad" logo can turn into an online spectacle. 

This has been around for a long time now, but the boiling point hit with Tropicana last year. Then of course The Gap and now the Big Ten. 

Of course we have our personal opinions on all of them (and everything we see) but this latest example just shows how ridiculous things have become. We are in an instant response world with the internet and now every armchair designer has a platform to tell you what they think. And sadly, some companies are listening, requiring designers to defend themselves. 

So let us dig into the latest one, The Big Ten.

First off we have to say that Pentagram is at the top of their game. What they did here is not only appropriate, it's an excellent design solution. It's simple, bold, and spot-on for the audience.

But this is our reality. We put something out there and we get instant feedback from the masses. People are not only throwing out their opinions but also sending in their own free design solutions. It's becoming a beauty contest, the exact thing that we try so hard to avoid with every design project. Many want to give it away for nothing and then complain about how hard it is to keep the lights on...but we'll save that for another post. 

Back to the subject at hand... 

It's one thing for football fans, in this case, who may or may not understand branding or live design every day but for all of the self-proclaimed designers/critics to chime in to ridicule is really sad and pointless. We challenge every design blog critic with an opinion out there to at least include a link to their work so everyone can judge the validity of their criticism. We appreciate the online forum and think it is completely relevant in today's design world, but the autonomy of it all is not doing design any good.

Many can create something beautiful, but so much more goes into creating a great identity. The hoops we need to jump through these days are endless and sometimes we are fighting winless battles along the way. But without being involved from the original brief to the actual launch and all the steps in between, how could you possibly render a legitimate opinion?

In the market of sports design, filled with childish angry cartoon animals, flames and lightening bolts, the audience needs to grow up. Frankly, this logo is very smart and designed to withstand the test of time. 

What others think:

  • Excellent article. Agreed on all points. Way to go Duffy! 

    Tymn Armstrong Dec 30, 2010 — 12:08 pm

  • It feels odd to critique an article about design critique, but screw it. This is dead-on accurate. Thanks for posting. Jan 5, 2011 — 9:02 pm

  • Telling sports fans they need to grow up? I'm not sure what you expect from them. 

    Cervantes Jan 14, 2011 — 11:17 am

  • I agree with your point. I appreciate professional designers and I agree that, without understanding all the constraints on a design, it is impossible to evaluate a particular solution. However, why not educate the public. It would be more constructive to explain why the new Big Ten logo works so well. Instead, you are basically saying, "I'm and expert and you are not so shut up." 

    redfood Jan 18, 2011 — 8:45 am

  • Spot on! Thanks. 

    Mike C. Jan 18, 2011 — 12:29 pm

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