The Huffington Post Spec Design Competition
It’s not just small companies looking to save money by seeking free/cheap design, sadly spec work occurs at all levels. The Huffington Post was bought by AOL for a reported $315,000,000 back in February 2011. Plenty of cash on the table to hire a designer to create a logo, right?
A logo is integral to a company’s branding and demands extensive thought and research. So why is The Huffington Post asking their users to create their logo.
“Do you know your way around Photoshop or other design programs? Have a cool idea for a logo that screams ‘awesome politics coverage’?”
Oh dear! It’s not all bad though, there’s a prize for the winner; they get credit for creating it… WOW. The ‘losers’ get absolutely nothing. The Huffington Post however gets hundreds, if not thousands of completely free design hours.
The AntiSpec campaign starts today. Please hit the Tweet button.
It’s been a crazy 24 hours since the first official AntiSpec campaign kicked off. Did it work? What was the outcome? I’ll break it down below which will also help me regroup as yesterday was manic.
1. AntiSpec received 13,000 unique visits yesterday. Clearly this shows the passion of the design community.
2. HuffPo received 8 pages of disgruntled comments on their post.
3. Twitter chatter for AntiSpec went crazy.
4. Adweek wrote an article on this campaign and contacted myself for comment.
6. The Huffington Post was forced to make a statement and they closed the spec competition.
Illustration used with permission by the talented Jeff Couturier
Statement by The Huffington Post
“The entry period for this competition has ended. Thank you to all of those who entered. Stay tuned to see the competition finalists in the coming days.”
“We asked fans of HuffPost Politics to submit suggestions for social media icon designs as a fun way of enabling them to express their passion for politics—and for HuffPost. As readers of our site know, we frequently engage our community with requests for feedback and suggestions. So while AOL Huffington Post Media Group employs an in-house team of more than 30 talented designers, we felt this would be a lighthearted way to encourage HuffPost Politics users to express another side of their talents.”
AntiSpec response to Adweek
I find HuffPo’s statement a little blah in all honesty. Here’s my comment to Adweek:
“There is nothing ‘lighthearted’ when it comes to the serious task of branding your business. To allow your online identity to be created by anyone with a copy of Photoshop is utter madness.”
“The feedback from the design community is clearly negative towards HuffPost yet the spec comp remains open. It’s time for HuffPost to grow a set, apologise and drop this.”
It seems a complete retraction from HuffPo isn’t going to happen. However they were forced to respond which is something we can all be proud of. More importantly maybe they will think twice before asking for free design.
I am humbled by the support shown and you are all part of the AntiSpec campaign. Power to the little people.
If you spot any spec work occurring online then please hit me up. This is just the beginning.
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