Sweden’s Open-Source Music Festival Lets Fans Vet Its Branding

Bruce Mau Design used Facebook as a feedback tool during a project for a Swedish music festival.

Despite its incredible impact in the design world at large, the Internet and its attendant crowdsourcing tools have manifested in some troubling ways for graphic designers. Sites like 99 Designs, which invite thousands of young designers to do spec work with only a sliver of likelihood that they’ll receive compensation, have led many to sharply question its value. “[It] reduces a significant decision--one that could well determine one’s success in the marketplace--to nothing more substantial than a beauty contest,” explains the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Paddy Harrington, executive creative director at Bruce Mau Design, has watched these developments closely. “Sometimes it works,” he tells Co.Design. Other times, it backfires. Harrington points out recent crowdsourcing bungles like this, which drew so much ire, it was rewarded with its own mocking hashtag on Twitter. “The trouble often comes in finding the balance between tapping the crowd for its collective wisdom and leveraging the skill of professionals.”

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