Sep 23 2009

Commoditizing creativity?


by Jeff Propper

The reality is, I’m not sure how I feel about this.  I just received an e-mail promo that iStockphoto will be offering logos for a one time purchase.  They are asking designers to submit their logo designs, and are offering $5 to designers who are part of the first 10,000 approved logos submitted by Jan. 1, 2010.  At the end of the day, these logos will be sold one time only, for a purchase price between $150 and $700, and will be customized to fit the buyer’s needs.

For me, the prospect of diminishing the value of something as important as a company’s mark seems ludicrous, but at the same time, stories of how little Nike paid for the swish, or how Twitter’s logo was simply purchased off the shelf from a stock house, gives credibility to the notion that why should a company pay thousands when a few hundred will do?  I’ve also heard stories of how companies were disappointed when they saw other businesses using the same cut-rate logo they thought was their own.  There will always be exceptions to the rule, but I believe you get what you pay for.

I supposed for the art purchasing community this is terrific — 10,000 logos to choose from, and cheap to boot.  The design community appears to want to embrace it, with potential exposure to millions of prospective logo purchasers to buy your logo—once.   I guess you can make a million dollars designing logos; all you have to do is design and sell about a million of them!

I welcome your opinion.