StartUp cock-up

StartUp Britain is a government-endorsed initiative “to make it easier for new companies and innovations to flourish and encourage people who aspire to start new businesses to work for themselves”. As long, it seems, as that business is not graphic design

startup_0.jpg - StartUp cock-up - 3201

 

UPDATE: Thanks to the weight and nature of comments on here and on Twitter, Oli Barrett of StartUp Britain got in touch yesterday. 99 Designs has now been removed from the Top Tips list on the site and replaced with a link to the Design Business Association at our suggestion. There is still a link to it elsewhere on the site however. Barrett expressed his regret over the prominence given to 99 Designs and said that StartUp Britain will ‘endeavour to find great British talent wherever we can’.

StartUp Britain is a government-endorsed initiative “to make it easier for new companies and innovations to flourish and encourage people who aspire to start new businesses to work for themselves”. As long, it seems, as that business is not graphic design

StartUp Britain is backed by a number of entrepreneurs. The homepage features David Cameron wearing his most ‘visionary’ expression. It is, the site promises, “helping Britain’s future entrepreneurial talent by providing links to the web’s best business resources, along with offers from some of the biggest brands in the country”.

Below that initial promise is a list of four Top Tips to start you on your way. Number four is Create a Logo. And where does it link through to? Perhaps to a list of well-chosen UK design studios in various locations who could all benefit from the work? Nope, it goes to 99designs.com, the US crowdsourcing site where designers compete to knock out logos for ‘from just $295’.

Thanks Dave. So, rather than backing the design sector that your government so frequently claims to support, your big initiative to encourage hundreds of new businesses funnels commissions to an American website that systematically undermines the values of the very industry you claim to find so important.

Thanks to Jeff Knowles and various other people via Twitter for the tip-off.

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  • Youseemeontwitter

    Not to mention they recommend flash based Moonfruit as the website starter kit.

    Total joke.

    More jobs for the boys

  • http://www.seamlessmedia.co.uk/ Rob

    Fuck crowdsourcing.

  • http://www.armitageonline.co.uk Andrew

    This advice needs to change. Not only are they directing business elsewhere, and while I fully accept new startups will be short on cash, design in a brand/logo/print/website is an investment not an unnecessary element of your business you should be scrimping on.

    Another example of a poorly conceived government website offering bad advice that will come back to bite you should you follow it.

    And 99 designs? Don’t get me started on them…

  • http://www.oliverbothwell.co.uk Oliver Bothwell

    Not really surprising but it shows a complete lack of understanding of the design process. All designers should refuse to take part in unpaid pitches. It’s impossible to build a client relationship and actually fails to give the client the solution they need. It turns design into merely a beauty contest.

  • http://pointandstare.com Lee Rickler

    And the overall company branding is just a logo?
    Since when?

  • Peter

    They have more links under the ‘Starting’ section, for example ‘Creating a Brand’ – ’99designs.com, find a designer to create a logo cheaply’, should read ‘don’t worry about quality or supporting other UK businesses’

  • http://www.johnsonbanks.co.uk MIchael Johnson, johnson banks

    It is amazing that the ‘Logo design’ section contains 5 links, of which 3 are to American companies. Hard to put a positive spin on this.

  • Will

    So… you’re a new start-up… you’ve got £5k to play with and a bunch of things that want doing:

    Do you blow £5k on a logo from Wolf Olins?

    Or do you crowdsource something you like, then use the other £4,500 to keep creditors off your back whilst the company grows?

    Your argument might well apply to companies with money to burn. But those companies are not reading David Cameron’s tips on how to be an entrepreneur. This is for the ambitious everyman, this is sound advice.

  • http://www.weareraw.co.uk Rob

    What a joke! Someone hasn’t thought that one through have they!?

    To be honest though, I don’t think they give a crap about helping start-ups… They just want to appear to be with all the drastic cuts they are making.

  • http://www.heatoncreative.co.uk John

    Quite unbelievable and a sad indictment of the way design professionals are being treated in the 21st century.

  • Paul

    That’s fucking shocking. SHOCKING.

    But not wholly unsurprising.

  • Aleks Marinkovic

    About as credible a source of information as SIT UP BRITAIN in Bridget Jones’s Diary… Cameron even looks similar to the boss

  • http://t.co/5hkK1Cr James

    Had exactly the same thoughts this morning too! http://t.co/5hkK1Cr

  • http://www.leebandoni.com/2011/03/startupbritain-more-like-start-up-fail/ Lee Bandoni

    So you can either take part in “spec” work from low paid countries and hope to compete or design a top quality logo for $4 on Fiverr…. Great idea UK government

    http://www.leebandoni.com/2011/03/startupbritain-more-like-start-up-fail/

  • Nick

    Great story, well spotted but David Canmeron?

  • Rob

    The design industry is going to eat itself.

  • http://fluidesign.co.uk Jonnny Costello

    99designs.com is a pretty sad affair. I would urge any designer with a shred of credibility to steer clear of it. It boasts how one customer who commissioned a logo from the site seen 1335 logo design before he picked the perfect logo. 99.9% of the logos were below par, and some were just straight up stolen logos badly reappropiated… They call each job contests also ? its a supply and demand affair really, there are plenty of bad designs will to throw their designs in the pot with the hope of a moderate pay out. Eventually though these people will get sick of doing logos and losing pitches as the odds are not in their favor.

  • http://www.pinkblueandyou.co.uk Rachael Tapping

    That’s shocking, Creative Review should send a list of well-chosen UK design agencies and get it up there ASAP!

  • Mark

    …and free business cards from MOO.

    …and stock photography from iStock.

    Sounds like the beginnings or some GREAT companies!

  • Josh

    Yes, it’s utter crap. And yes, I’m really pleased that CR is highlighting the problem. But how about doing it without the leftist, politic snideness?

  • Andy Thomson

    Sounds typical of anything to do with government or big national public sector projects. Through my connections with the design and business world in Essex, I know that we have ALL pretty much abandoned the Olympic project as a source of work as they simply don’t understand how the small businesses found in the design sector function. And has anybody looked at the user interface for the NHS patient records system? Yet another government project that obviously didn’t have any design input!

  • http://www.4muladesign.com Jamie Brightmore

    I am completely outraged at this news today.

    Just emailed info@startupbritain.org to register my disgust.

  • Guto

    Can we lobby this? Create a petition?

  • Peter

    @Will
    So if you were a start-up providing a service for which you charge a reasonable fee would you not be slightly aggrieved if a Government backed initiative (supposedly supporting start-ups) promoted cheap services from abroad, which devalued your services?

    Also is it not better to use services where you can have a face-to-face consultation to get the right result rather than sifting through endless dross, therefore wasting time that could be spent on what you perceive to be more important tasks?

  • Nick Barber

    What an absolute shambles this government is.
    No mandate.
    No idea.
    No hope… we might as well be pissing in the wind.

  • http://bit.ly/dmnHYD Dr. Nancy

    Start up Britain is a good concept. But who is venture funding these entrepreneurship? Govt.alone can’t do it

  • http://www.studiospecial.com Sallylou

    Tory twonks at it again.

    Already the world is filled with crap outfits with crap ideas represented by crap identities, run by crap wannabes, selling crap we really don’t need.

    When will the coalition realise just how significant a contribution the creative industries make to the country rather than undermine us at every turn.

    George Osborne’s closing budget comment of “stamped with designed in Britain, made in Britain” rings more hollow than ever.

  • PeteJ

    The variant spellings of the word “entrepreneur” are entertaining. (“The Entrepeneuer festival in Sheffield”, “Global Enterprenership Week”).

  • http://www.rachelsayshello.com Rachel Lewis

    Will:

    You don’t need to go to a Top 100 design company and spend £5k to get a good logo. There are plenty of amazing freelancers out there who would be happy to help a startup for about £3-400. Myself included.

    They’ve really missed a trick here; they could have gotten lots of recent design graduates (of which I am one) involved in the scheme, who are happy to charge low-ish (within reason; you have to make a living, I’m not one to advocate low pay or free work just because you’re a grad) rates to design a logo; therefore helping recent UK graduates and of course the StartUp gets a nice shiny* logo that isn’t crowd-sourced and terrible.

    *Shinyness optional.

  • http://www.argentrammedia.com Ian Rutter

    Just seen an opportunistic Tweeter riding on the back of #StartUpBritain. Advertises his cost-effective websites for small businesses; click to view his Portfolio and Hey Presto! “Portfolio Coming Soon”. So is Christmas.

  • Guto

    Can we lobby this? Create a petition?

  • Brian

    Mr Angry of Harrogate here. I’ve written to my (Conservative) MP to express my concern. This is unbelievable and the government should be ashamed of its ‘support’ for this.

  • http://asburyandasbury.typepad.com Nick Asbury

    This coincides with a story in yesterday’s Telegraph about the LibDems considering a rebrand:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/nick-clegg/8408720/Nick-Clegg-orders-rebrand-amid-rumours-of-leadership-challenge.html

    Maybe they could follow the advice of their own site and use Crowdspring – what could possibly go wrong?

  • http://dbushell.com David

    What a joke

  • http://joyandrevolution.co.uk Nick Irons

    And did you notice that not only have they suggested using a generic website building package, but they have also pointed all the wireframe and analytics business to online companies that aren’t even UK businesses. At least Moonfruit is a UK company. I totally buy into the Global Village/Global Economy thing, but come on — this is “Start Up Britain”. I have a British web design and online strategy company that is in its first couple of months of existence. We do wireframes, design, development, search and analytics amongst other things — a bit of help from our government would be nice. Perhaps David Cameron could go to SXSW next year and sell UK design, the same way he represented the UK arms industry in Abu Dhabi?

  • http://www.forster.co.uk/design.html adam

    I also find it interesting that this got budget – with all the shenanigans going on around closing/renaming COI and the cutting back on health campaigns to the point that we can’t get a flu campaign in a year with swine flu until people start to die in high numbers, they can find budget for a Cameron vanity project of a campaign

    So even though the intention of this may be good, is it any better than the intention of saving lives as companies like ours can prove to have done over numerous health campaigns?

  • Andrea Wirth

    I have just emailed them at info@startupbritain.org and urge others to do same.

    I’d say keep it classy though, as insults only harm the cause.

  • Hugo

    I like to see the Conservatives deal with 99designs for their next political campaign and see what value for money they get.
    I can’t believe this, utter madness. Talk about a kick in the teeth for British art & design…

  • Kit

    So . .. you’re a new start – up .. . you’ve got £ 5 k to
    play with and a bunch of things that want doing :
    Do you blow £ 5 k on a logo from Wolf Olins ?
    Or do you crowdsource something you like , then
    use the other £ 4 ,500 to keep creditors off your
    back whilst the company grows?
    Your argument might well apply to companies
    with money to burn. But those companies are
    not reading David Cameron’s tips on how to be
    an entrepreneur . This is for the ambitious
    everyman , this is sound advice

    ——–

    thanyou will for that obviously well researched piece of advise although, as we all know a good identity does need to cost the earth. there are many great uk based designers that have the knowledge and experience to create stand out and well researched designs that will provide a far wiser investment than a site like 99designs.

  • Hamish

    These ‘design contest’ sites are merely filling a gap between ‘proper’ designers and ‘getting my nephew to do it’. Unfortunately, not everyone has £2k to spend on a ‘brand’ when they first start their company – it’s simply not going to show a return in the short-term. So they get cheap branding, the bare minimum – exactly what they pay for.

    Maybe further down the line (if the business makes it) they can invest in a more considered brand from a more expensive provider and raise the quality of their image.

    This doesn’t ‘devalue’ your industry, its a by-product of capitalism/globalisation/technology and is fulfilling a need for a cheap service.

    The world was still full of shit designs from cheap designers before the likes of 99designs came along!

  • http://www.igloo-creative.co.uk/ louise major

    Did Dave go to 99 designs for his party logo?? Perhaps he could make it up by putting some of his party design work out to Regional agencies. Those designers who have still made progress in the middle of a recession, stay true to their values and are supported in their growth by other local companies.

    Genius Dave, genius.

  • http://www.pragmaticdesign.co.uk Pragmatic Design

    Only just heard about Startup Britain. Any chance of us smaller designers getting to offer our wares to new startups via the website?

  • http://www.maylor.net Phil Maylor

    There’s also the small issue of the iStockphoto watermarked image used on one of the Startup Britain banner downloads (see ‘Download Assets’ in site’s footer). Isn’t that illegal? Or do they have permission from iStockphoto, in which case why use the watermarked image?

  • http://www.rossmansfield.com Ross

    The only advice in the ‘Working from Home’ section just links to a book on Amazon, which is written by one of the people involved in the Startup Britain site, Emma Jones. Some actual good advice would have been “Why not go to your local library for information, such as my book”, as it is it’s just a blatant advert.

  • MatVigour

    Start Up Britain? Shit Up Britain more like

  • David

    The Tories are all about Design innovation right?!

    Take their website – http://www.conservatives.com/

    IT IS NOTHING AT ALL LIKE…

    http://mcfc.co.uk/

    Oh.

  • http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com stripeyhorse

    “With no real qualifications or previous clients, I had no way of gaining any income through design work previously. With 99designs, you don’t need a CV, just your work!”

    This says it all…

    The first year of any business is hard enough. Having a badly designed logo and not even a brand will just make it harder.

  • http://antimatterdesign.com Jonathan Stevens

    Nothing sickens me more than companies that hope to get rich while making everyone they work with poor.

    Besides, after all the costs involved in starting up a business what kind of amateur then skimps on the part of the promotional process geared towards making that money back for you?

  • http://www.elliot-ross.co.uk Elliot Ross

    I think part of the reason they’re using 99designs is because it’s an easy site to hand off entrepreneurs’ design needs to. There’s obvious issues regarding quality and origin of the work produced here, but in their eyes it’s a site where you go to get some design done.

    So what we need is a site like that, that directs the business to UK based designers instead, and ideally also sells in the benefits and importance of a good, well thought out brand. As much as we complain, until we give bodies like this a viable alternative, there’s not much they’ll do.

    (so anyone fancy working on something like that? gimme a shout)

  • tomelders

    I don’t speak for everyone, but my hunch is that i don’t want to work for clients who value design so little that this is an option for them. Let them get their crowd sourced logo: it only hurts the designers who compete in that market.

    Nor do I want to work with a startup that has only 5k in initial funding (as Will speculated above). Their money is better spent elsewhere, as is my time.

    Quality design does make a difference, and any startups that do take this route will soon feel the effect when they find their product or service competing against another company with a much higher design standard.

    But all in all, it’s still very bad advice from the Tories on this one.

  • http://dbushell.com David

    What a joke

  • http://www.flintandtinder.co.uk Flint & Tinder

    Whilst I do think that recommending a US ‘stock logo’ company is ridiculous and unfair, wouldn’t a small list of UK design agencies be just as unfair?

    Shouldn’t the recommendation from the government really be to firstly investigate and then source a good LOCAL designer?

    For me, as a freelancer trying to build up enough income to grow and develop my own business, start-ups are my life-blood that pay the rent and bills. I don’t quite have the reputation or resources yet to charge thousands for logos and brand identities, so more often than not I am actually doing logos for no a whole lot more than these ‘stock logo’ sites as it is, PLUS my clients get a custom job.

    Whilst I understand the government wants start-ups to get the most from their £5K, wouldn’t it be better for the economy as a whole to encourage them to spend that money using the services of other small or growing businesses?

  • Josh

    99designs is actually Australian, for what it’s worth. It was started by the sitepoint guys in Melbourne.

  • DD

    Its started a bidding war…
    Looks like a company called ‘graphic results’ are offering a better deal than 99design via twitter…. and they are in the UK – what a way to get new business.

  • Sadie

    Apparently Britain doesn’t have any graphic designers then, and most of the advice links to US organisations and companies. Now we know why innovators move to other countries.

  • http://yo-hello.com James Nelson

    What about David Cameron as stand-in for God in that screen-grab up top??

    Is there some way we can dissuade designers from engaging in this crowd-sourcing lark? The whole situation wouldn’t exist if designers didn’t submit work…

  • Pedro

    Let’s not forget! “design a Logo”! Not a brand, with a vsuail identity and a particular tone of voice… A logo! On top of everything it’s bad advice …

  • Joshua March

    I disagree – very few startups could ever afford to hire a design agency; I’m a UK entrepreneur and would recommend 99 designs to anyone I spoke to for this. It’s actually Canadian owned, anyway, and the designers can be from anywhere (including the UK). Startups win by being the best – not by being told to over-spend on local industries – if they succeed then they’re likely to hire UK agencies for proper design work down the road!

  • http://www.cjcreates.co.uk/ Chris James

    This makes me so angry.

    What designer worth their salt would submit a design to this crowd sourcing rubbish.

    If creating a logo is in the top four objectives for starting a business, surely you would want to invest in a company/person ( either in the UK, USA or anywhere for that matter) that would give you a unique logo/brand that is tailored to your business needs.

  • dottymonkey

    @Rachel Lewis
    £3-400 – that’s like doing it for free…

  • http://www.knowledge-bank.co.uk B2B data

    You missed the next bit of the page where they mis-spell ‘Inspiration’ with an extra p – surely even a crowdsourced designer could use a spellchecker? http://twitpic.com/4ea74e

  • http://www.thatisabsurd.co.uk Andy Russell

    Start up Britain by Going to America?!

  • http://www.verygoodservice.com verygoodservice

    This does not seem right – surely someone has made a mistake and the referrals will go to UK designers – This should be fixed overnight so someone is probably very busy right now trying to sort it out!

  • Peter

    @ Joshua – You are missing the point – there are plenty of good designers in this country that will not cost the earth. You don’t have to look at agencies, who have more overheads, look at some of the many talented individuals that offer their services at a cheaper rate but with no less skill. By using people who most likely you will be able to get a face-to-face consultation with you will get a better result and usually within a shorter timescale. Also if you spend the money up front you would save time later as you would not need to get your logo/branding re-done.

    Why should other start-ups get help whilst many creative start-ups are pushed into the corner by a Government initiative that promotes cheaper foreign services? If your business/industry was affected in the same way surely you would also be annoyed?

  • http://www.davidairey.com/ David Airey

    I sent an email to info@startupbritain.org explaining why spec websites are a waste of an entrepreneurs time and money.

    What’s strange is that there’s already a Government backed resource for business: http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/

    Why not just promote/improve Business Link instead?

  • http://www.harlequingraphic.me Kevin Walsh

    What a fucking joke, yet again the con-dems have ruined what could have been a good thing.

  • Rob

    “Is there some way we can dissuade designers from engaging in this crowd-sourcing lark? The whole situation wouldn’t exist if designers didn’t submit work…”

    Welcome to the world of market forces. There will always be some already in the castle who want the moat to be wider and deeper and others on the outside who want a better bridge even if it means the castle gets overcrowded. They are never going to help you dig the moat – why would they? and for them, 99designs is a very long (albeit rickety) bridge.

    Analogy (c) Warren Buffet

  • http://www.thewayoftheweb.net Dan Thornton

    I’d probably think the criticism was more valid if people were as concerned over the promotion of Google, Skype, Evernote, RememberTheMilk, etc, etc, rather than ignoring all the other overseas links just to complain about 99Designs (I’m presuming you only ever use UK project management tools etc?)

    I’ve recently co-founded a design and dev company (along with building up a marketing business), and it’s tough. And we’ll take any help we can get. But trying to pretend sites like 99Designs don’t exist really won’t make the problem go away, or help us to find ways to beat them in other ways.

    And as someone who has started a few projects – even a £400 logo for some of my websites would be around 10xs what I’ve paid to start up the entire thing (e.g. a website advertising a business with me a sole trader). If you’re willing to design logos for under £50 then I can understand your argument, but if you’re producing work of the quality that demands £400+ fees, then it’s a different business, and you need to plan and market yourself accordingly…

  • Baker

    Questions :

    Q : Was the SUB logo designed via the mugs of 99designs?
    A :No?

    Q : Was the site built using Moonfruit?
    A : No?

    Q : Along side the other ill-considered drivel, why recommend ‘Get Clicky’ as a reporting tool whilst making no reference to Google Analytics yet intergrating GA in the SUB site?…

    Not that anyone here is buying this shit, but it becomes that much more galling to see a set of ‘helpful’ government-issued guidelines that do not in any way practice what they preach.

    —————————–

    Oh, and as a side note Mr Burgoyne, whilst trying to find out who developed the SUB identity, I stumbled across the following who appear to be publishing your content as their own – (without crediting CR as often as not)
    http://www-websitedesigners.org/top-design-agencies/startup-cock-up/
    http://www-websitedesigners.org/top-design-agencies/designers-for-japan/

  • http://www.rosscolquhoun.com Ross Colquhoun

    On face value, ’99designs’ is a crowdsourced marketplace where individuals and small businesses can post graphic work that they need completed. An innocent proposition, which to a budding entrepreneur might appear an attractive resource with it’s incredibly low fees. But if we look a little deeper, it becomes apparent that it is a website which abuses the current plight of many unemployed designers around the world, encouraging them to spend their time designing for projects which, in more times than not, will end up in them not even being paid for the work.

    Innovative? I don’t think so. Exploitative and shortsighted? Most certainly.

    It is also a concept which in my opinion, neither understands or respects the design process and is one that will take money out of our economy whilst providing no support for our countries innovative design industry. A fact that makes me question our Prime Ministers understanding of the workings of a successful economy.

    I cant help but feeling that it is missed opportunities like these that will slow down our economic recovery. It’s also an insult to our design industry and demonstrates that this current Government neither respects nor understands design.

    You must try harder Mr. Cameron.

  • onlyjoking

    Brilliant only $295 for graphics, I mean it is only a case of choosing a font!

  • Mark Ballantyne

    This is outrageous and a slap in the face for UK designers. I thought graphic design was undervalued but that view is now being officially endorsed by the PM!

    See http://www.ukbusinesslabs.co.uk/forums/graphic-design-web-design-photography-print/5884-startup-britain-ignores-uk-graphic-designers-designcontests.html and on Twitter.

  • onlyjoking

    Brilliant only $295 for graphics, I mean it is only a case of choosing a font!

  • http://doublethinkstudios.com Craig Morrison

    So much for encouraging innovation and design.

    The site seems to be encouraging use of the #startupbritain tag on Twitter.
    I suggest following that advice.

  • http://www.willsteward.com Will

    If someone will enter a competition, with a $295 prize, then so be it. If the person receiving the prize is happy, and the person who started the competition is happy, what is the problem? Are you suggesting we encourage some kind of minimum logo price or something ridiculous along those lines?

    We had our logo designed by 99designs, and it’s fantastic. Far better than any previous logo I’ve had done by designers charging £x,xxx – done much quicker and I had over 60 logos to choose from. Sound advice for any start-up.

  • dp

    There is also the @startupbritain account on twitter, has anyone tried asking them directly why they don’t see fit to support the British design industry?

  • http://www.someoneinlondon.com Lee Davies

    On the up side.

    Next year, if not sooner and if they still survive, these ‘start ups’ will realise the sh!t they have been given by 99designs–probably because no one will give financial backing to their mickey mouse start up–and will go and get a rebrand from a british design studio.

    And on a side note. Have they not been reading the design press recently.

    Logo’s are dead…

  • Claudia

    I don’t think its an excuse to justify this with ‘well new start-ups will be low on cash for things like logos’ – there are PLENTY of talented student/graduate designers who would design for a minimal fee – if not for free!

  • Alex

    Terrible advice from an increasingly inept government.

    And to Will the apologist who commented before defending the site, no, you don’t need to blow the money on a Wolf Olins logo. Give the money to a small UK graphics agency, a freelance designer or even a grad and help support UK creativity and our economy.

    Simples.

  • Rob

    Services like 99Designs have the potential to totally vaporise the design industry in the same way that homogenised mega-chains like McDonalds etc can vaporise small businesses from high streets and community areas. There is a place for cheap design, there is a place for poor quality design, but unfortunately the people who make design happen (clients) will not be able to resist that kind of aggressive, dominating pricing strategy and there are too many two-bit owners of Adobe CS in this world for us (people working to try and run successful design companies with integrity and a desire to maintain high standards) to compete. Everybody loses out through crowd-sourcing.

  • jon

    lol

    clam down.

  • Jamie

    I think the British design industry needs to stop sulking.

    The site links to a number of “marketplace” sites that are suitable for companies on a shoestring budget.

    Is branding important? Yes, but when you have a pittance to start with it is not a priority – a viable business plan is a priority. Companies that blow all their cash on a lovely logo, business cards, flashy brochures etc up front tend not to have one of these.

  • Peter

    @ Will It would just be nice if this scheme had given equal value to creative start-ups or the industry as a whole as it has to others. They have made a logo seem an important step but at the same suggested it’s best to be done on the cheap.

  • F

    I don’t mean to anger anyone, and I am certainly no tory, but while I understand what you are trying to say. I think, if you are an entrepreneur with a door as a table (Amazon when it started) or in your bedroom (most startups) the idea of getting a design agency to knock out a logo for £4,000 isn’t exactly top of the list. Do what Apple did, get a mate to design the first logo and see what happens, either way, I don’t think spending a ton on a logo is a great start for a budding entrepreneur.

  • Owen

    @ Will Steward – Does this mean you are happy to provide web development for free? I need a web dev job done, you do me a small project for free, if I like it I pay you to do another project?

    Sounds fair?

    Of course if I don’t like what you produce I can use another developer that I also asked to provide work for free. And you do not get anything. And I might use your work anyway.

  • Hayley

    As if I needed another reason to doubt everything they do and say… but they created one anyway

  • Rob

    To the people defending the use of a website like 99Designs:

    The problem is not the fact that some people cant afford fancy-pants design. Getting your mate to do stuff for cheap is how the world goes round. The problem for design as an industry is the fact that crowd sourcing services can bring it en-masse to absolutely everyone for next to nothing. Thats good in many ways for consumers (and bad in a few others) but terrible for people trying to make a living doing what they love and what they want to do. Amazon, which somebody mentioned above, is a good example: How many shops do you think Amazon has put out of business? That number will be in the hundreds. How many times do you browse the Magma site then go on Amazon because you know the same book will be there but with 10-15 quid knocked off the price?

    Websites like that are EXACTLY the same as big chain stores deliberately crushing small and local businesses. what does your high street look like? pretty boring and ugly right?

  • http://www.mediacreativeltd.com Sarah Fesco

    I’m not at all surprised, half assed, incompetence of the uk Gov… Nothing is ever thought through to it’s natural conclusion, it’s just to be seen to be doing something to boost the economy. They don’t care about the individual agencies they are undercutting, they care about their mates in the city, banks and big fat cats. I for see trouble ahead for the Tories, let’s hope so anyway.

  • NotSureIfSerious

    I think Cameron’s message is clear:

    If you want to start up a new business then do it outside the UK.

  • jan

    that so bad!
    there are so many talented designers here in the uk – and we wouldn’t all charge 5 grand for a logo.
    i did one today for a small indie music co and charged a couple hundred quid.
    it depends on the client and you work with the budget and do your best

    cameron is an idiot for ignoring the design industry! – how stupid to suggest those cheesy US sites.
    i thought they are supposed to be well ‘educated’ and might know a bit about graphic design.
    i doubt he got his conservative campaign designed by a shonky site
    or were his posters and stationery printed by moo.com! 😉

    i don’t like the assumption that just because you have photoshop and a computer – you think you can ‘design’ and that is somehow easy and not worth paying for – good designers know this is not true.

    ah sure tom in sales can knock us out a logo and it will be fine
    yes sure – and it will look like total rubbish!

    oh and don’t design for FREE claudia – it will only make things worse for everyone including yourself.
    a plumber or electrician doesn’t provide services for free – neither should you.

  • Joe Evans

    It’s the wonderful free market, though isn’t it? When there are loads of unemployed designers willing to work for very little, because it turns out that the world doesn’t actually value design as highly as designer do, then customers who are working on a shoestring will obviously gravitate towards them. I would advise any new business to spend almost all of their available cash on developing their product. Product and service should come first, and design should follow them.

  • http://www.spark-creative.co.uk/ Mark Astle

    Anyone who starts a business with a logo designed this way deserves to fail. It shows a complete lack of respect for the role a properly thought through brand (and I mean MUCH more than just a logo) plays in marketing and growing a business. And since when has a logo cost £4000? I wish I got paid that much for designing them! If these people were to actually look around, they might find they could secure the services of a real designer with real experience, that they could actually meet and talk to about their requirements for not much more than these kind of crowdsourcing sites.

  • http://linefeed.me/ bojkowski

    F — Graphic Designers have to ‘start up’ too.
    If Startup UK want to encourage small businesses to crowdsource cheap logos from anonymous herd of random (possibly offshore) ‘designers’ doesn’t that go against the point of Startup UK?

    That’s not even mentioning the drop in quality that crowd sourcing often brings.
    Wouldn’t it be better to have a fleet of robustly presented, creatively supported businesses
    then a bunch of shabby shabblers with a rubber stamped mark and no real visual direction?

  • http://www.jmeel.co.uk jmeel allen

    Absolutely unbelievable.

  • http://www.crowdsourcingsucks.com Des Igner

    Crowdsourcing sites like 99designs, crowdspring… have been a problem for far too long. This really isn’t a US vs. UK problem. It’s a problem in the industry in general.

    I am glad to see that so many people are against these crowdsourcing sites by the comments posted here. It’s already hard enough to make a living as a designer without having so many people willing to work for free.

    http://www.crowdsourcingsucks.com

  • http://twitter/bumfodder Bumfodder

    Did no one notice that the site has Dave’s head in the clouds!

  • http://opencrm.co.uk Graham Anderson

    I am not a designer nor do I work at a design studio but I do have one of those growing companies that’s been paying tax and employing people as well as just going through a branding phase, which did include a new logo.

    I was a little sceptical when the process was initially pitched and yes there were ‘individuals’ telling me to go to the 99designs type company “its cheaper” they extolled, but we trusted the agency and what they said they could deliver, and I have never been happier that we did.

    Yes, it did have a price tag and we know from personal experiance that it was not that long ago when money was so tight this would not have been an option, but it should have been then for us, as it should be now for new business.

    We got a logo but more important we got some great creative advice along with some sound input from an unbiased and innovative team.

    So the moral Mr Cameron is dont undervalue what creative Britain can do and perhaps if you really believed in our supreme ability in this arena you would be finding a way to channel funds and confidence in!

  • Matt Watkins

    “I don’t mean to anger anyone, and I am certainly no tory, but while I understand what you are trying to say. I think, if you are an entrepreneur with a door as a table (Amazon when it started) or in your bedroom (most startups) the idea of getting a design agency to knock out a logo for £4,000 isn’t exactly top of the list.
    F
    2011-03-28 17:53:53”

    @F I know you’re not intentionally aiming to infuriate, but I think your comment is a little small scale. Presumably you don’t have an account with Coutts because they are a bank or drive a Maybach because it is a car? Same with design, if you engage a good designer/agency you aren’t going to spend £4,000, unless you do phone up the biggest in the business, but that ain’t good entrepreneurial sense?

    “Do what Apple did, get a mate to design the first logo and see what happens,”

    Why don’t we get our mates to do our business accounts because they were good at maths, or teach our children because they watch the discovery channel, or perform surgery because they’re great at operation? Chances are you’ll be fined for a bad tax return, your kids won’t pass their exams and the surgery, well…

    Design professionals are the same as every other professionals, we do what we do because we’re trained to do it.

    “I don’t think spending a ton on a logo is a great start for a budding entrepreneur.”

    Okay F, your mate has designed a logo and you’ve put together a presentation and a small leaflet that a high street print bureau has printed for you. Now, you’ll be up against people with better presentations, and better looking marketing collateral and I’ll stick my neck out here, but image counts. That’s why companies will pay Wolf Ohlins et al for the ‘best corporate ID possible’. Let’s face it you wouldn’t turn up to a business pitch wearing a tracksuit.

    I hope you understand that I’m not spoiling for a fight, I’m merely trying to highlight the fact that design professionals especially freelancers and those starting out are constantly becoming devalued and sites such as 99Designs are contributing to that. I’m sure we’ve all come across the client who has asked for a design, not liked it and refused to pay for it. My view, if you don’t like your haircut, you still have to pay for it. So why do that with designers?

  • http://www.billiejean.co.uk Billie Jean

    @ Josh ‘But how about doing it without the leftist, politic snideness?’

    Oh come off it Josh…..why is it that any story that highlights the poorly thought out initiatives and policies of this ConDem government is seen as a sinister left-wing conspiracy?

    I think that the language used by Patrick Burgoyne is far too measured and restrained for my liking!

  • Tom Worth

    Shocking that you can’t add in your own business to the links – just highlights how much of a joke this is….

    Rajeeb Dey – what a joke – made any money with Enternships yet? Stange how his site gets such prominence on this…

    Oli Barrett – a bigger joke – never made any money though actual hard graft, never built a real enterprise, just set up a nice charitable scheme (Tenner Tycoon) that isn’t even sustainable!!!

    If you know the guys, you will notice that 90% of the links are to the “founders” (can you call it that when it is really a non-entity) or their mates’ websites (notice “websites” not businesses).

    For the most part the founders could easily be described as non-trepreneurs…

  • Sam

    I just had a look around on 99designs.com and for a moment was a little bit tempted to submit a few logos to see if I could make a quick few quid. Then I noticed that some of competitions on there can rack up 250 entries. Iif a competition pays $250 and you have a 1 in 250 chance of winning, then you earn on average 1 dollar per logo!

    So if you do decide to contribute to 99designs, remember – If you work 8 hours a day and want to earn £100 a day, then you should spend no longer than 2 minutes and 24 seconds working on your design.

  • David Murphy

    What’s with all the hate for crowd sourcing and what’s wrong with small companies using such sites to find freelancers? for example…I’ve worked for many a BIG agency where smaller clients are charged through the nose for ‘agency focus’ only for their work to be given to the junior to do. Moreover when you break the finance down, I usually make the same a decent hourly rate out of them on par with what I’d make an hour working within an agency.

    I’ve used these sites before, when I’ve had a few days downtime and I haven’t regretted it. In my experience, companies that use them (emphasis not all) to seek good freelancers and more often than not the ‘contests’ I’ve won have been the basis for repeat business – a good thing. Not only that the ones I have picked up are on the other side of the world and without these sites our paths would never have crossed. Moreover, my win loss ratio is higher than you’d expect. So, if you’re a good designer and answer the brief well then there are jobs to be won. :)

    On in other words, crowdsourcing isn’t quite as cut and dry as many of the negative messages posted above indicate – don’t be so short sighted.

  • http://www.wix.com/cavetrollcreations/portfolio Ryan Davidson

    And who designed the logo for the London Olympics in 2012? Was it a British based talented designer or was it an international design giant owned by an even bigger corporation neither of which clearly know shit about good design!

  • http://fabianv.com Fabian Vercuiel

    Ridiculous!

  • http://www.Gerjonbos.nl Gerjon Bos

    There are enough young designers who want to start designing who are more than capable of designing a new companies logo. These young designers are cheap in comparison to bigger design firms who have bigger clients.

    Also I read someone said in the comments that getting a logo is an investment, I completely second that and to add up on that when designers are designing a logo they have to experience the new companies touch and feel to be able to translate it to a good design.

    I must admit when I started my design course here in Holland I frequently used sites as 99designs to expand my portfolio but that proves my point… inexperienced ‘designers’ that design your logo… as a company you must not want to invest into something like that… even if it’s as low priced.

    Thanks!

  • http://linefeed.me/ Bojkowski

    David Murphy: The point is Startup Britain seems to be discouraging small business from seeking out young UK based designers who might also be starting up on their own and are in need of these sorts of smaller commissions. Young designers grow with the businesses they support. Recommending 99Designs puts out the message that Graphic Designers aren’t even start ups and that it’s not an industry worth supporting which is bad for designers at all levels.

  • http://www.thisisandrewpalmer.com Andrew Palmer

    Dear oh dear – moan, moan, moan, AlI I have seen – or all I could be bothered to read is typical of the British mentality – i.e. I pay my taxes and therefore, the government owes me big time. Well, get real people. So what that 999designs were recommended by our government – it goes to show that they like most people out of our arena know nothing of design or how to promote UK businesses – so stop moaning and get on with it yourselves. You decided to be in business, it is your responsibility to get out there and get the work in. We know that local councils and our Government use businesses many miles from their local suppliers to produce creative and printed media as well as web sites and logo’s. Government and councils will go where the cheapest deal is – won’t you?

  • David

    I understand the point that UK design companies are being ignored here or are not being linked to.

    But what annoys me most is when people don’t consider various situations before they write articles like these. Its easy to complain as our industry isn’t being considered – but i believe you have to see it from both sides. From a businesses point of view, with minimum funds to play with, you have to seriously consider what to spend this small budget on – and for someone like creative review to suggest that any business starting out should go to an agency for branding is a bit snobbish.

    We have had people come to us who have crowd-sourced logos and admittedly have not been happy with them, so they have decided to re-brand and work with us. But at the point where they did crowd-source, they couldn’t afford to go with an agency, so had to settle. Some businesses don’t have a choice.

    When you start out, you begin with the bare minimum and grow from there, then you perhaps approaching a design agency a year into business when you realise or understand your positioning a bit better and want to improve your image. Branding from an average design agency may not seem expensive, but for a business starting out there are alot of things that money could be spent on.

    I’m a regular to this blog and I am slowly starting to see a sense of snobbery from some posts. There is a world outside of graphic design, maybe start to consider it.

  • http://www.russelljhall.com Russell Hall

    The site is just a poorly put together set of googled links. It offers no real advice to new start ups. At least Business Links advice is to actually dedicate some time to finding a designer.

    A link to this page would be infinitely better than what they have on their at the moment.

    http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1074409157&r.l1=1073858796&r.l2=1074402040&r.l3=1074408444&r.s=sc&type=RESOURCES

  • james

    What an amazing amount of publicity 99designs is getting through all these comments! I had never heard of them until today.

  • Rob

    David

    You miss the point. You talk of business, because that is what its about. People are not unhappy because 99Designs will mean theres a lot more shitty logos floating about, but because it 99Designs has the potential to put design agencies out of business and to lose a lot of designers their jobs. People, especially in the UK are interested in paying the bottom price no matter what, regardless of whether they can afford a lot or a little. Like i mentioned before, McDonalds franchise puts Tim & Sally’s Deli out of business because its impossible to compete with their economies of scale. We know that already. This is the same.

  • Adam

    Anyone else noticed the most furious of commenters have the worst work on show?

    Following the links from some of the most enraged, here’s a few sample lines:

    “A Graphic Design Company that has been set up as a tonic to the dull, unimaginative, mass produced branding that is plaguing the world.”
    Nice.

    “you’d expect us to be a little different, but guess what, we’re like nothing you’ve seen before!”
    You blew me away.

    “…is the home of contemporary graphic design. Focused on turning your ideas into reality. Bringing your identity and values to life with logos, flyers, brochures, business cards and much much more..”
    Much much more? Please stop.

    “For me graphic design isn’t just a job, it’s a huge passion of mine.”
    Right.

    “I have a track record of producing work that gets people noticed and generates results for the people I work for.”
    People, people.

    “We could say that we get under the skin of what you do, we become part of the team, we walk a mile in your shoes, but it all seems too clichéd.”
    Ooh no you didn’t.

    Now, in all seriousness, are these people furious because the terrible 99designs is stealing business from them? I’d rather pay poke my eyes out than commission 90% of those commenters — most of the work on show is worse than what the ‘contests’ throw up.

    We all know the website should point to the Design Council’s good work on encouraging the value delivered by brilliant and enthusiastically commissioned design, or praise the potential of working closely with a consultancy that can often lead to delivering much more than an identity, brand or printed materials.

    But as has been mentioned several times before, as a designer I’d not want to work with someone uninterested in the potential gains from idea-led, innovative design. That applies to start-ups, established companies or multinationals.

  • http://www.goodshowstudio.com Cassie

    What upsets me about it is that no other industry is expected to work for free in the hope that someone will pick them and pay them, but sites like 99designs is pushing it in that direction – what other industry would be expected to work for free to prove themselves with no guarantee of getting paid? It’s incredibly insulting to those of us who have studied and trained hard to get good at what we do, but are treated like we have no right to charge for our services. And the attitudes created trickle down to us that wouldn’t go near these competition sites – clients start asking for free pitches, free ideas before they decide if we’re “good enough”…like I said, it’s insulting.

    It’s also false economy, as a good designer considers everything about the brand – the product, their audience etc. – and will design something thoughtful that will help genuinely build a business. Picking a logo from a load of designs that have probably been very quickly produced without much of a brief will not help grow a business.

  • Dave

    Although sometimes we ignore the clients expertise in being able to choose an identity via corwd-sourcing, most can’t, and with any crowd-source, the onus is on the client to choose the right identity to work for them, When working with a designer they help you do this methodically. For some businesses it is more crucial than others, having the wrong identity and unconsidered application is like a hairdresser trading on a park bench, it just won’t work and will impact the business. Having 250 logos to choose from is a difficult task even for an expert. I think crowdsoucing an identity should carry a risk warning.

  • Tim Copsey

    You can moan all you like, but one of us… maybe one of you designed the site and brand for em. Now who’s taken the money and run and who advised them of the choices that they’ve made? That’s the business we’re in!

  • http://www.tdroom.co.uk T James

    The Design Council is currently trying to promote and add value to the British design industry. This totally undermines it!

  • http://www.coconotestudio.com Januario Jano

    Well! lets just cook a bowl of rice featuring Mr Rice and Mr Bowl!? oh damn, just not working is it?! well! this the process is not different when you think about creating a logo or brand… its takes more than Mr rice and Mr Bowl…

    I am not going through much here about this subject as it will cost me some of my lovely time, that can be expended on development of some Logo with personlity on it, not to ready made logos (identityless)…

    Viva design and the creative mind that not let get twisted by some gov spin off… (whats behind the 99something-logo-web-somethingelse), goes well under the tables byond our reach… Happy Starting!

  • Justin

    “thanyou will for that obviously well researched piece of advise although, as we all know a good identity does need to cost the earth. there are many great uk based designers that have the knowledge and experience to create stand out and well researched designs that will provide a far wiser investment than a site like 99designs.
    Kit”

    Well yes. Lots of indignant feeling here, probably justly so.

    On the other hand, lots of whining too. If people didn’t believe that the standard they too frequently get from more usual design pathways were comparable to the service on 99designs, they wouldn’t bother using it. And where is the UK equivalent? How do I find it? Clearly people don’t know and so they use sites like 99designs. Whose fault is that?

    Just as it has been incumbent upon me to work harder to differentiate my film/video work from any old bloke with a camera, it’s time for more designers to work harder at differentiate themselves from what they believe to be poor quality work on 99designs. Your whining might well be justified, but it will not make sites like 99 go away. And when clients are ready to step up a gear, they may well seek you out if you are any good.

    Fight back! Take your design service online and tell me why one should pay more. If you’re worth it, people will pay it.

    J.

  • http://www.coconotestudio.com Januario Jano

    Well! lets just cook a bowl of rice featuring Mr Rice and Mr Bowl!? oh damn, just not working is it?! well! this the process is not different when you think about creating a logo or brand… its takes more than Mr rice and Mr Bowl…

    I am not going through much here about this subject as it will cost me some of my lovely time, that can be expended on development of some Logo with personlity on it, not to ready made logos (identityless)…

    Viva design and the creative mind that not let get twisted by some gov spin off… (whats behind the 99something-logo-web-somethingelse), goes well under the tables byond our reach… Happy Starting!

  • http://robmaslin.co.uk Rob Maslin

    Thats appaling, and politicians wonder why there is disillusionment and no confidence in policics.

    If you agree I say send them an email, I am.
    info@StartUpbritain.org
    press@startupbritain.org

  • http://www.sharecreative.co.uk/dearmrcameron Chris Stone

    In response to this, we have written an open letter to Mr. Cameron urging him to support UK creative businesses. We urge him to advise businesses to commission work from UK designers.

    Please join us at http://www.sharecreative.co.uk/dearmrcameron – we’ve published a letter you can copy and paste if you like.

    Thanks,
    Chris Stone & Huw Tyler
    smallseedfilms.co.uk
    sharecreative.co.uk

  • http://www.webvideos.co.uk Mark Griffin

    Politics is about appearing to be doing what the common man believes is the right thing whilst actually doing what you believe is the right thing. This site is the perfect example of this…..it’s a simulation….look behind the curtain and viola…..it’s not what it appears to be!!!!!!!!!

  • Martin Reid

    As with everything this Government has done it is short sighted and detrimental to everyone who works in the creative sector which is the future of this country. I’ve posted this link on the Conservatives Facebook as they have a link to the original article and seem very proud of this new initiative – what a big smouldering pile of shit.

  • Martin Reid

    Not only have they now changed the graphic and link to the DBA they have also just deleted the link to this article I posted on their official Facebook page. I’m going to have a party when this lot are booted out, I hope you will all join me.

  • http://www.mooschool.co.uk/ Nicholas Maroussas

    Wow, what a reaction! They must REALLY wish they’d left out the ‘getting a logo’ button now! I bet it was only supposed to be a bit of light relief from learning about franchises and bank loans.
    Had a quick look through the site and there’s some decent information on there but it’s obviously still being developed and they clearly need some help with sourcing more imaginative links that cater for a broad variety of start-up budgets – something Patrick Burgoyne and his readership are well-placed to do, I’d have thought. Certainly beats typing paranoid, tory-bashing comments on a blog.

  • http://www.onpointemarketing.com/ Stef

    Good news! Looks like they changed the link to the DBA website!

  • http://twitter.com/grabbins Graeme Metcalf

    Seems as though they’ve changed it to take you to http://www.dba.org.uk now.

  • http://www.impexdesign.co.uk Dan

    99 Designs has been taken off! thank god!!

  • David

    The 99designs logo has been replaced by DBA, but there are still links to Crowdspring, 99designs, and other dubious “resources” in the “Get your message out” section.

    A half-assed cover-up after bad press.

  • Gaby

    99 Designs is still there, twice. It is under “logo design” and “creating a brand”. I thought this was “Startup Britain” and not “Startup America”. Oli Barrett and StartUp Britain seem to be more interested in making profits from this American company opposed to actually helping businesses in Britain. Why on earth are they promoting designers in America when we have perfectly good talent here! Now our own Prime Minister is encouraging crowdsourcing, of which is cheapening our industry which has already sufffered enough.

    Although the DBA is a valuable resource, startup design agencies will struggle to become a member as the joining fees are in excess of a £1000. How about the DBA offer startup/small agency membership?

  • Simon

    Some interesting points on here, and a lot of bitterness towards 99designs!

    I think a good question is where do you go if you want a good logo designed on the cheap? How does someone who isn’t necessarily design literate decided on what’s well designed? Know whether they’ll get ripped off, etc. ?

    Perhaps websites like PeoplePerHour are a little more appropriate, where local freelancers (of all kinds) can offer their services (without having to do the work as a part of the process!).

    Not ideal, but maybe a step forward?

    It’d be nice if the Design Council had some sort of resource…

    http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources-and-events/Business-and-public-sector/Guides/Finding-and-working-with-a-designer/

  • http://www.asheck.com/ Ash

    ^^I do feel the dba is not really a solution – if I am honest. freelancers like myself cannot afford to be a part of the dba, and thus it does not really benefit us. Surely the site could have its own engine, where designers can register, and be listed – thus being more inclusive?

    More importantly however it still lists the site on the site – these sites should not be on there at all! Any promotion of these sites is unethical and damaging to what we do.

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomball2 Tom Ball

    Can I suggest someone figure out how to offer a viable alternative to 99Designs in the UK – like ConceptCupboard but for people like you to get work.

    Personally I’d like a similar price point to 99Designs, use a local designer and be confident that I’ll end up with something good (Not necc a competition – but I’m nervous that I get automatically assigned to someone who does work I don’t like).

    If we can do this in the UK, great – let’s make it easy for people – if not, 99Designs has a place. And either way, it’s not going away.

  • http://www.eustondoyoucopy.com Johnny

    It looks like they spent a lot less than $295 on the copywriting. . .

  • http://www.matdolphin.com/ Mat Dolphin

    I’ve just received an email from StartUp Britain which I’ve included here:

    From me to them — Monday:

    We’re a small start-up design agency firm based in London.

    We started in 2009 so know about starting in tough times.

    We’re completely behind http://www.startupbritain.org/ but suggesting that people go outside of the UK to ‘Create a logo’ is madness.

    How can you justify that as a positive, UK focused solution for the future?

    There’s a fair amount of opinion developing here, so you might want to read peoples reactions:
    http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2011/march/startup-cock-up

    You need to address this, now.

    Mat

    Their response to me today:

    Hi Mat

    Thanks for your feedback and apologies for the delay in responding to you. The reaction from the design community has been duly noted and we have made amendments to the website now.

    As you’ll see, we’ve already made changes including the addition of the Design Business Association link on the homepage to direct anyone looking for information on reputable UK based design firms. There is also a link to the Design Council for anyone seeking advice there.

    We are listening and we are working on further enhancements to the site over the coming days – thanks for getting in contact.

    StartUp Britain

    —————————————————

    Perhaps we need to give them the chance to rectify their actions?

    Mat

    Follow us at @MatDolphin to keep up to date with what happens next.

  • ambientcreative
  • http://www.goodjolt.co.uk Jolt

    Think people are missing the issue of this website in the first place. Is the whole site even really necessary? In tough times, did the new Govt cut machine even stop to consider, that maybe this website was surplus to requirements anyway? There’s more than enough information or resources for business start-ups online already anyway. I think that perhaps, they did a half-arsed job and overlooked some things, because its more likely this is just a site launched to be ‘seen’ to be doing something constructive, as opposed to actually doing something worthwhile… and worth wasting public money. It never matters who we elect into Office, we always end up with the next Dumb and Dumber at the helm. Morons.

  • http://www.csd.org.uk Frank Peters FCSD

    Current government thinking is that the UK needs the creative industries to grow in order to contribute more to GDP. There is, despite a shortage of funds, still a large amount of public money being invested in organisations such as the newly reconfigured Design Council and the proposed Creative Industries Council. So it appears rather illogical that whilst acknowledging and investing in the role design can play in adding value to the UK economy, the StartUp Britain initiative has kicked off with what looks like a ‘bargain basement’ array of services, including design.

    No doubt the intention is to encourage new businesses and many will be of a design nature so it seems perverse to devalue design services to those businesses who will be clients and those who will be suppliers.

    Selling on price, no matter how desperate the buyer, is never a good marketing strategy as there will always be someone cheaper and in practice the old adage ‘buy cheap buy twice’ has yet to be disproven.

    Offering cheap design or crowd sourcing solutions will inevitably lower the value of design and make it harder for those who have been encouraged into the sector (and the past years have seen a great increase in those studying design) to make ends meet.

    From the links promoted on the StartUp Britain website it appears that speculative design work is deemed acceptable. CSD and members believe that it is not only unacceptable from a professional point of view but also detrimental to the image of UK design and has no place on a website that is championed by its Prime Minister. For this reason it is surprising to see the Design Council listed and the DBA listed and promoted in the links.

    It is difficult for the profession to take a stand in this matter against those who wish to use such low cost or free services, as in a free market environment suppliers and clients have every right to chose whatever the consequences. Designers also have a right to enjoy the benefits of the investment they have made in their career and commitment to their profession and should at the very least be supported by a government which is keen to exploit their talents for the benefit of Britain’s GDP. Designers should without any question in instances such as this be supported by their representative bodies and as such the Chartered Society of Designers will not allow any links to a website that diminishes the value of the profession in such a way.

  • http://www.dba.org.uk Deborah Dawton

    Frank – give us a break. We’re trying to help them get it right. Deborah – DBA

  • Andrei Gonzales

    We had our logo designed by 99designs, and it’s fantastic. Far better than any previous logo I’ve had done by designers charging £x,xxx – done much quicker and I had over 60 logos to choose from. Sound advice for any start-up. – Will Steward

    Errr… both your logos (listed in your about page) are terrible. I don’t think you shouldn’t be the one deciding which logo to use. Nor should you be commenting on anything design-related at all for that matter.

  • Justin Benn

    @Andrei Gonzales

    “We had our logo designed by 99designs, and it’s fantastic. Far better than any previous logo I’ve had done by designers charging £x,xxx – done much quicker and I had over 60 logos to choose from. Sound advice for any start-up. – Will Steward

    Errr… both your logos (listed in your about page) are terrible. I don’t think you shouldn’t be the one deciding which logo to use. Nor should you be commenting on anything design-related at all for that matter.
    Andrei Gonzales”

    That’s a ridiculous assertion to make. Please don’t confuse your opinion with fact. And if the client does not decide which logo to use, exactly who should? Deeming who can and cannot make judgement on design is clearly a silly stance to adopt.

    It seems a little too late for fold to be complaining about having to compete in a global market. Been with us for some time now.

    Justin.

  • Joe Jones

    This is all a bit like Rupert Murdoch complaining about Google stealing journalism from traditional media outlets. The whole Advertising industry is being whacked and turned on its head.

    This kind of thing isn’t going to go away, and any savvy new business person who needs to bootstrap or test the viability for a business theory out is going to use 99 designs. If you are capable of articulating what you want, there is no reason why you shouldn’t end up with some very credible work.

    Anyone who wants to learn about starting a business should go and listen to a few Andrew Warner sessions on Mixergy.

    In this economy you bootstrap or you die.

  • http://www.accappellacreative.co.uk Jason Pattinson

    Well done for post and for saying what we as professional creatives are thinking. I’ve had numerous prospective new clients say, I can get it cheaper here….. My responce, good bye and good luck. This kind of response is never a on-going client relationship and one I would advise against getting involved with.

    May I ad, PLEASE BE AWARE OF: http://www.peopleperhour.com

    You pay practically nothing and get nothing in return, in all honesty, a fair deal, but not for those who are briefing work.

    Jason
    http://www.accappellacreative.co.uk

  • http://www.freelancelogo.co.uk Paul Clements

    Great post. I used crowd sourcing to start off with, helping me earn extra cash and i really did improve my skills as i went along. Start up companies just dont have the fees to go to design studies and pay huge amount of cash for logo’s and designs, so for start up companies to use crowd sourcing is a great idea. Large multi national and global companies are always going to want a designer to work with, i dont think this will every change, and why should it. But i dont see the harm in offering small start up companies the option to have a logo designed through crowd sourcing. Surely we should be helping business take off and succeed, then they may have the budget to go to a designer for a new logo and marketing campaign!

    Paul
    http://www.freelancelogo.co.uk

  • Faiz

    I would not give a hoot about startups in time of recessions
    Most of these startups with shiny logos won’t last long.
    I will probably give them a year or so, before they fold and go bankrupt

  • http://raynux.com Md. Rayhan Chowdhury

    Startup submission blogs like StartupTunes or TechCrunch helps new startups getting audience, authority and steady traffic for the initial stage. This is also very important for a startup to publicize them properly, otherwise they will fail like thousands of start-ups per year.

  • http://www.realisedesign.co.uk realise Design

    Sadly this is rife in every industry, where reverse auctions are the new bidding war for projects! It’s crazy, and every time we hear of a new budget cut on marketing and design it breaks our heart. We all know that investing properly in design and marketing is the key to get the best return on investment, but the knee jerk reaction in times like these is to cut in the short term and hope to get long term gain, when we all know that at ‘times like these’ investing in design and marketing almost always gives you long term gains when you exit out the other side of recession-like symptoms. We regularly work on product design, branding and marketing projects for our clients, and we can offer dozens of examples where new and old businesses benefit from their investment on design, but still it is very difficult to convince!

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