CrowdSourcing – What’s That Then?

There’s a concept being bandied about called “Crowdsourcing” – which is what exactly?

Wired magazine says this…..

Wired editor Jeff Howe coined the term “crowdsourcing” in 2006, which he described as “the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.”

Now he’s writing a book about it, and asking the general public to design a cover for the UK edition. Anyone can submit an entry or vote for the shortlist of finalists in the cleverly titled Coversourcing contest.

Take a look at all the contenders who have submitted designs so far. Like what you see? Think you can do better? What are you waiting for?


Now could someone tell me what the difference is between this and a contest? There’s a call for entries, there’s a prize of £500 for the winner, and the winner gets to see their work in print, and there’s a lot more people who all come second and don’t get to win anything.

The people at the Couversourcing website have this to say…..

“We’d love it if the chosen jacket was a collaboration – a true expression of the power of crowdsourcing. So if you want to collaborate with other artists & designers – illustrators, photographers, typographers – we heartily recommend it.”

Now excuse me, but if there was a guaranteed £500 commission from the job I might consider spending the time collaborating with all these people, but this is a competition don’t forget, and there’s far more chances of losing than there are of winning.

So here’s what they get from me – a design made from a previously created image with some typography added, that merely has the appearance of a collaboration, without in any sense actually being a collaboration. This is what crowdsourcing will bring (at least in the graphic arts) – designers taking the shortest and least expensive route to their destination that takes up the least amount of their time (I actually spent more time writing this post than I did creating the image). I wonder if Mr Howe will be true to his principles and crowdsource his job at Wired Magazine?


There’s also an article on Croudsourcing in Virtual Worlds that was originally a lecture in Second Life at Wired Magazine….


~ by slconceptual on January 11, 2008.

One Response to “CrowdSourcing – What’s That Then?”

  1. […] CrowdSourcing Image by Gaynor Gritzi Bookcover entry for the Coversourcing competition for Crowdsourcing – Read my slightly cynical view of crowdsourcing here…..… […]

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