Open Letter to CDOT: Steer Away From Crowdsourcing

An Open Letter to CDOT Chicago Department of Transportation

UPDATE: We received a Twitter reply from @CDOTNews. See the end of the post for details.

Gabe Klein, Commissioner of CDOT
Chicago Department of Transportation
30 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60602
cc: Rahm Emmanuel

Dear Commissioner Klein and Mayor Emmanuel,

It’s no secret that the city of Chicago currently finds itself in a challenging financial state. The economy and the previous administration’s decisions and poor budget planning have left our city with the desperate need to do more with less. Many organizations and businesses face similar challenges — and there are a lot of ways to cut costs, trim expenditures, and stretch the city’s money. But crowdsourcing the new CDOT logo is a terrible idea.

Read on…

Jul 11 2011


Does Crowdsourcing Work In Design?

Does Crowdsourcing Work In Design?

Whether you call it crowdsourcing, spec work, community-based design, or participatory creation, it’s fundamentally the same animal. Crowdsourcing is the act of oursourcing tasks (in our case, design) to a large group of people as part of an open call for solutions or deliverables. This might take the form of a contests, RFPs, or clients who want a “test drive” before committing to a creative firm.

In the design world, some examples are crowdsourced logos, tshirts, and a variety of other marketing and design initiatives. While the crowdsourcing concept has worked its way into the business practices of some organizations, the execution is still controversial. AIGA, the professional association for design, has taken a stand against it specifically and also contributes to the ongoing dialogue against its use. Heated comments and criticism always fly in this debate, but most of the questions boil down to one for practicing designers: Is this practice “the way of the future” or is it a deeply-flawed model of working in design and branding?

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Fueled by Optimism: Innovation of Purpose

“In order to cement your status in the cultural elite, you want to be already sick of everything no one else has even heard of.”
—David Brooks, NY Times Op Ed columnist

This has, in my ten years of experience, been the prevailing attitude and general temperment in business, amidst a set of people who are constantly standing on the forefront of culture and gleaning bits for their work. I might be bold enough to say that attitude will soon be falling out of fashion. In a post-Obama victory, in an empathy-filled set of hard luck headlines, it’s time for optimism and promise to make a comeback. What can we offer in hope? Are our uncertain times a clarion call for a newer, more hopeful way of thinking and presenting real problem-solving solutions?

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Jun 4 2010


Launching a project with your design firm

Previously, we discussed some tips for clients on selecting a design firm, and important considerations before entering into a working relationship. Once you’ve taken that step, it seems like the hard part is over—the design firm is going to do the work after all. Right? Well, it’s not really that simple. The challenge of working with your chosen team to create the best possible project is the responsibility of both design firm and client. On this journey there are some recognizable roadblocks you should avoid, allowing you to get the most out of your working design partnership and the money, time and energy you’ll be investing.

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Mar 25 2010


For clients: How to choose a design firm

We are a design firm, and we’re always looking for clients to partner with—organizations who will engage us to work together on projects that bolster and improve their brands. Sounds simple enough.

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Mar 8 2010