September 21, 2015

The Bedford

In my ideal world, Design would be properly valued and Designers paid handsomely for their work. However, there are good reasons to work for free. There are also some really terrible reasons, and this chart can help you figure it out.

You want to hear another terrible idea? How about Crowdsourcing. The act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community through an open call, sets me ablaze. However I think I inadvertently participated in the abominable act myself.

What seemed initially a harmless, pedestrian, Twitter contest, became cause for a Design-dilemma. At Viewers Like You we do engage in Naming projects, as either part of greater brand development, or determining “paprika” is the orangy-red color for next season’s sweater. We absolutely believe a great name is like extra octane, dramatically increasing a brand’s potency. So the challenge to name Brooklyn Cruiser’s new Dutch-inspired, ivory-tired, Men’s and Women’s bikes was a fun exercise. A pleasant pastime.

Pouring over their site, I determined that Brooklyn Cruiser must be located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Their company totally had the influential, indie rock, hipster culture vibe down. I started brainstorming from there, and then assigned names that seemed gender specific AND capitalized on local street names you could imagine their ideal customers crusing on.

The Bedford won in the Men’s category! However, The Lorimer Women’s Bike wasn’t chosen. But I bet that was just because they couldn’t in good conscience award me with both prizes, right?

Yup. This is where the sticky part becomes apparent to me. I won a bike. That bike you see up there ^^^. So cute! But is that considered fair compensation? Am I in the clear? Or is that still Crowdsourcing? What would Brand Namers think of the contest? Of my participation?!

Allow me to back up a moment. There are good applications for Crowdsourcing. When not exploiting individuals for their labor or taking jobs away, Crowdsourcing is a mass collaborative activity, design by democracy. Viva democracy! Viva collaboration!  So I am not lambasting the act across-the-board. Or waving my finger at Brooklyn Cruiser.

As far as faux-pas go, this is a mild professional crime. If at all. But I do appreciate this opportunity to refine the studio’s sense of propriety. I also welcome your thoughts. Email me and tell me what you think.

::  If you liked this post, your next move would be to explore here. And if you loved this post… I suggest we hop on our bikes for a lunch meet-up!  ::

Image: Brooklyn Cruiser (dot com)