Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Bike shop holds contest to design new logo

Posted by on April 28th, 2010 at 8:50 am

21st avenue bicycles

The crew at 21st Ave. Bikes needs
a new logo. Make it awesome!
(Photo © J. Maus)

21st Avenue Bicycles in Northwest Portland needs some help designing a new logo so they’ve launched a contest to see which local designer can create the best one.

The designer of the winning logo will see their work all over town on the shop’s ads, on their website, and on a sticker placed on every bike sold in the shop. In addition, the winning designer will get $100.00 cash, a Chrome bags laptop sleeve, and 10% off everything in the store for as long as the logo is in use.

Here’s what the they’re looking for:

“We want something that looks both retro and modern, with a focus on clean lines and color selection. Icons we have thought about include Mt Hood, Roses, the Columbia Gorge, one of Portland’s Bridges, Fausto Coppi, Vintage Car Racing, Jean Vuarnet to name a few. The logo needs to be visible as a small graphic, something like the size of a 50 cent piece as this will be the size of our bicycle frame stickers. The shape of the graphic is not limited to a circle but all elements need to be visible with inside a 2” by 2” square.”

Elements that must be included in the logo are the shop name, their address (916 NW 21st Ave., Portland OR 97209), phone number (503) 222-2851, and the their logo, “Make it Awesome.”

The top 10 logos will be chosen by shop staff and then the public will be able to vote on them at a forthcoming event (details TBD). All submissions must be received by May 22nd and the final winner will be unveiled on June 1st “to much fan fare.”

For more details email info[at]21stbikes[dot]com or stay tuned to the shop’s blog.

More info: 21st Avenue Bicycles opened in 2007 in the spot where Northwest Bicycles had operated for 35 years. The shop is owned by Park Chambers, who also owns Fat Tire Farm on NW Thurman near Forest Park.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Nick V April 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

    No offense to those guys, but I steer clear of these kinds of “contests” because they’re generally ways for businesses to get a ton of free labor with minimal cost and minimal reward to whoever enters. My two cents…..

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  • Mark C April 28, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I was thinking along the same lines as Nick V when I read this. Kind of like the way businesses are abusing unpaid internships right now.

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  • anon April 28, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I always have mixed feelings about contests like this – sure it is great to give newbie designers exposure, but 100 bucks is insulting to all the designers who do this for a living.

    Here’s my idea for a contest:
    Design and build me a bicycle!

    What you get:
    $100 dollars
    The chance to see your creation ridden all over town!

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  • Ethan April 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I’m gonna agree with Nick. $100 for a pro identity is not anything like a “fair wage”, even from a small business. And a discount that isn’t bigger than commonly offered during sales . . . likewise not impressive. Too bad, because it’s a famous “brand” . . . or was before it changed hands.

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  • Gabriel Nagmay April 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

    “Elements that must be included in the logo are the shop name, their address, phone number, and the their logo…”

    So the logo must include all this and the logo itself? Wow – infinite logo recursion!

    + all in 2″ square

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  • Nick April 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

    This is seriously boneheaded and insulting.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT April 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

    As a designer who went to school and PAID for my education, I have to agree with most everyone here.

    Jonathan, I know we’ve had conversations about people who’ve tried to snag your photos in exchange for the honor of you getting “publicity.” This is no better. People make a living doing design. It shouldn’t be reduced to a parlor trick done for $100 bucks and a bag.

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  • R-diddly April 28, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I actually LOL’d at some of the ideas they tossed out there… Mt. Hood, some roses, the Gorge, a bridge! No wonder they need help. Other “Portland” suggestions: A pint of beer, skinny jeans, a beard, an umbrella, and Bigfoot. And you’re supposed to fit the name, address, logo (a.k.a. slogan) and logo into a 2″ x 2″ square. For $100. Sorry, I’m picking on them. I think I will actually enter this, now that I think about it. But I promise myself I won’t spend more than 30 minutes on it.

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  • carlos April 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

    The guys at 21st Ave Bikes, are very helpful and generally pleasant people. This contest is however a bit misguided.

    This is probably due to the lack of understanding as to what people do in the graphic design community. Maybe it’s better to educate people about what it takes to create successful design before we slander their names.

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  • f5 April 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

    There are many issues with this that, as a designer, send up a lot of red flags for me. Frankly, they would get a lot better end product by simply working with a talented designer, going through a real design process, and paying them for their work.

    The fact that it’s a contest, which is a type of spec’ work, is going to weed out a lot of talent right off the bat. In turn they’ll tend to see mostly non-professionals submitting work. Design professionals and organizations tend have a pretty strong opinion of spec’ work, and it tends to be a negative one. However given the stated creative direction and ‘design brief’ information provided, my guess is they do indeed want high quality, thoughtful, professional work. Good luck.

    I understand there isn’t a ton of money to be made in cycling, and kudos to them for offering an open-ended shop discount, but this too will limit their pool of talent to mostly cyclists that can benefit from the discount, beyond the hundred bucks.

    The public is voting on the logos? As part of the selection process…or just for fun? Are they really letting anyone and everyone have a say in what gets selected to be their core identity mark? These are the kinds of things that can sound great on paper to a small business short on cash, but in the end they just risk hanging themselves out to dry by allowing public voting selecting the the bad or the worst via popularity contests (etc.) Letting random people determine your business’ core identity mark is frankly a little strange and doesn’t say much for their understanding of, or trust in, their designers (or their own) decision-making.

    Realistically, I chalk all this up to what’s probably just a misunderstanding of what comprises a good identity design process — and why it is important, rather than any kind of disrespect for designers or the design process.

    But consider this…If I were to walk into their store and rattle off my expectations in detail for how I expect them to overhaul my bike, require them do the work first, but then say that I need to defer to the public to see if this is indeed what I needed and will pay them for 10% of their total shop time and offer a discount on produce from my garden for the next few summers — but only if the public decides the work was appropriate, I would literally get laughed out of the building.

    My two cents.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT April 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

    No one’s slandering anyone here (technically it’s libel anyway). We are educating them as to why this is not cool, exploitive, and insulting.

    What they’re doing is even worse than the idea that “anon” #3 threw out there. To take anon’s idea and make it fit with what they’re asking, anon should ask a BUNCH of builders to each build him a bike, then he gets to choose which one he wants . . . for $100 and a bag, and of course the “honor” of being used in the marketplace.

    What Park needs to do is look at the work that designers have done, pick one, and then HIRE that person and communicate their needs. If they want to offer them $100 and a bag, that’s their business, but the issue here is that risk free, they are essentially getting a bunch of designers to do free work for them, and then they “pay” one of them. Bad form.

    Jonathan, I’m really surprised you’d offer this up as news.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for all the comments.

    I didn’t expect this sort of reaction. Yes, I’m familiar with people asking for free design, and that is not cool… but I just saw this as a nice local shop looking for a new logo and felt it was cool that they created a contest around it.

    i’m sharing this as something I thought would be of interest to the community. that’s all.

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  • carlos April 28, 2010 at 10:27 am

    “boneheaded and insulting”
    Sounds like slander to me.

    If you don’t like the contest don’t enter it.

    Bitching about it on a blog ain’t gonna help.

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  • Ethan April 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Jonathan, you and I have had a couple of conversations over the years that touched on the value of a compelling BP identity . . . work that remains undone. I am a little chagrined that you are surprised by this reaction . . . a good identity is a valuable commodity, for 21st and for you too.

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  • Nick April 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Carlos, entering the contest and remaining silent are not the only useful options in this situation. I’m sure someone from the shop will read these comments and hopefully learn from them. If my former comment was too harsh then it can be deleted, no problem.

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  • George April 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I am shaking my keyboard in anger.

    How dare they insult design professionals by reducing the work to a low paying contest.

    It’s things like this that make me feel like selling my bike.

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  • carlos April 28, 2010 at 10:38 am

    From my original post.

    “Maybe it’s better to educate people about what it takes to create successful design”

    So, that’s an option too.

    I’m out, too many high horses here.

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  • f5 April 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Jonathan — design contests, especially when for a for-profit business, are always the dregs of the spec’ work realm. FYI.


    It’s one thing if their expectation is to get un-trained, non-professionals submitting shoddy work, but when is that ever the case?


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  • doug April 28, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Yikes! I actually clicked through my reader feed on this article, thinking to myself “What the hell, I’ll check the comments for a change & see what people are talking about, no way this thread will be the usual reactionary griping.” Nope!

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  • Kronda April 28, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Pretty much agree with 90% of these comments. f5 sums it up especially well.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 28, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Want to add that I appreciate everyone’s comments and that if/when a story like this comes across my desk again I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned here to my decision on how/if to cover it.

    that was a confusing sentence, but just know that I read these comments and I learn from them going forward.


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  • Paul Souders April 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

    There’s no shame in having slim budget for a design. On the other hand design contests literally advertise the value you place on your identity.

    I feel for the 21st Ave Bike guys, they maybe had no idea what they were stepping in and now they can’t un-step in it.

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  • Tomas Quinones April 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

    f5, post 10 was BRILLIANT.

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  • Jim Smith April 28, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Any real designer would NOT do this:



    For god sakes “Bike Portland”, stop this horrible idea before you get flamed even more. If hate for you guys to make the paper with how you are trying to get cheap labor and spec work and I hope AIGA doesn’t contact you…

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  • Aaronf April 28, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Hey, this is more than Liberty is offering for a new I-5 bridge design!

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 28, 2010 at 11:18 am

      Two things:

      First, I have deleted a sentence at the end of the story where I wrote, “this could be a nice project…”.

      Second, judging by some of the comments, it seems people think BikePortland has a connection to this contest. We do not. I got an email announcing it and felt it was something worth sharing with the community. Therefore I can’t, “stop this horrible idea” (as “Jim Smith” states above) because it’s not my idea.

      Also, “Jim Smith”, I don’t tolerate sock-puppeting so I’ve deleted the other comment you made with a different user name. Thanks.

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  • f5 April 28, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Paul #22: Excellent point, a slim budget doesn’t mean spec’ work is the only option. There are likely plenty of good designers (probably even more now compared to a few years ago) that understandable avoid spec’ work like the plague, but would be more than happy to work towards a different, but mutually beneficial arrangement.

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  • Rebecca April 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

    There are plenty of excellent, professional designers who will do this kind of work for free or trade if the client is worth it. For a cool company like this, I would do it myself.

    The issue is not the pay, the issue is the contest. They are not picking the best and working out a deal; they are asking designers to work on little information, no interaction with the client, and without the benefit of building the relationship in place of receiving pay. And to compete against other designers like dogs racing after a rabbit. Not the way to get quality work.

    I am doing a for-trade logo design for a small local business right now and I have so far put 30+ hours into it, and we’re not done yet. If people submit work to this contest that is of lesser quality than that, then they are lowering the bar for design work all over the community which hurts designers’ chances of getting fair pay in the future.

    A suggestion for a tweak to the contest: Ask designers to submit EXISTING, relevant work for the contest, in full knowledge that compensation will be reputational rather than monetary. Select the best. Collaborate with that designer to create an awesome, tailored, researched, conceptual logo.

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  • Jim Smith April 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

    You’re promoting the idea and you are a very popular site, not just in PDX. I’m just warning you, you’re going to keep getting flamed and you might even be contacted by AIGA or other news sources as spec work promoters have before in the past. Just a warning, and not to mention its just unethical to promote such work.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Jim Smith,

    I disagree with you on this.

    Publishing something on this site is not tantamount to “promoting the idea.” Therefore, I what I’ve done is not unethical. Thanks for the warning though.

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  • Kt April 28, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Jim, #24, thanks for posting those links, I found them very informative.

    It sounds to me like the bike shop really didn’t know what a can of worms they were opening when they announced this contest. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here about that.

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  • h April 28, 2010 at 11:40 am

    sorry you opened the can of worms again!

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  • Jim Smith April 28, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Hmm, maybe the definition in New Oxford Dictionary is wrong then:

    “give publicity to (a product, organization, or venture) so as to increase sales or public”

    Yeah, they must have the wrong definition in there.

    Oh, weird, princeton.edu must also have it wrong?
    “contribute to the progress or growth of”

    and don’t tell me that a site that gets approx 1k unique people looking at it is not sending any traffic their way.

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  • OuterToob April 28, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I agree with everyone who says this is a insulting waste of time for any talented (or non-talented) designer. Obviously if making a logo is so easy, why don’t they just do it themselves?

    Any designer worth a hoot is easily paid 5 – 10 times more than this for a custom logo. And don’t forget, once the Staff choose their top 10 pics it turns into a popularity contest – the ‘designer’ who can get their friends to vote for their logos the most will win, so the logos being chosen based on the actual merit and value of the design is completely moot.

    Tony T #11 is right on the money with his assessment – yeah, what an ‘honor’ to be devalued and taken advantage of.

    I have an idea for a logo, it’s a one finger salute that fits in a 2″ square – I know one bike store that just lost my business.

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  • gabriel amadeus April 28, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I’m glad to see this discussion here, I think it will help inform a lot of people or organizations who probably just don’t know any better. (Like 21st Ave Bicycles)

    I’d have to say Rebecca #28 really sums it up nicely. I also do a lot of design work for free or trade, but I don’t do contests.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT April 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Jonathan #30,

    With most stories I’d agree with you. But here? Come on. Seriously. This is blatant promotion. You practically admitted it in #12.

    “but I just saw this as a nice local shop looking for a new logo and felt it was cool that they created a contest around it.”

    The “I’m just reporting it, not promoting it” doesn’t work for everything.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm


    in the quote you refer to above, I don’t think is evidence of “blatant promotion”… what you read there is a factor in my decision as to whether or not to publish a story about it. There’s a difference.

    I published this story because I thought it was cool (a.k.a. worthwhile, relevant) that the shop was looking for help with a logo and they actually took the time to create a contest around it. That and other factors led me to decide that it was newsworthy and so I published it.

    Call it promotion if you want — yes I suppose if we get into semantics than I am promoting information simply by publishing it.

    bottom line here is that neither myself or 21st Ave. Bikes had bad intentions in sharing this information with the community. I’ve learned new things (about this issue and about the community) and I’m sure 21st Ave. Bikes has too.


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  • ekim113 April 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Is it unethical if 21st is a paid sponsor of the site?

    Not arguing, just curious and looking for clarification.

    I do not know if 21st pays or not, but it seems to me that there is an awful lot of PDX bike industry news that is not very flattering that goes un-“reported”.

    Then again, in some instances, Jonathan is considered a reporter, and in others, this is only a blog. If it is only a blog, and he is receiving $ from a shop, then why wouldn’t he post this?

    Where do the lines get drawn?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm


    I’m happy to answer any questions you have about me, this site, the advertisers, etc…

    21st Avenue Bicycles is not currently an advertisers on this site.

    And of course there’s a lot of news that goes unreported here… because I don’t have a staff and a lot of “not very flattering” stuff is gossip/speculation, etc… that I don’t think a lot of people are interested in anyways.

    This is a blog. I am a reporter. I am an advocate. I am a publisher who makes my living through the companies who advertise on this site.

    Please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

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  • ekim113 April 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm


    While I appreciate the honesty in your disclosure, I did not ask for it.

    I view this site as a blog written by someone with an agenda that is supported by the industry. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, but I keep that in mind everytime I open the page.

    Feeling that way, I am not about to hold you to the same level of standards and accountability I might expect from NPR or BBC.

    I also understand that you are a very small operation and do not have the resources to follow up on all the gossip and speculation. Hey – it’s your blog, your paycheck and you can follow up on whatever story you’d like and feel is news-worthy.

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  • ekim113 April 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I will still come back and read it and appreciate your hard work and effort.

    Best of luck for the next 5 and more years.


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  • KWW April 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    anon@#3 ftw…

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  • thatguy April 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    i hope some kid in middle school blows all these whinny desogners out of the water and uses the 100 bucks a used bmx bike instead of some useless gimmicky long extra cargo crap that the stereotypical yuppy designer would with $3000.

    designers get what they deserve, nothing.
    what’s so bad about nothing?
    do you all yuppy designers need the money? then move to city or world that snobby design is useful.
    like a bunch of baseball players asking for a few extra million, cuz your special and worth it.

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  • jered April 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Hey, I’m holding a contest to see who can tune up my bike the winning shop gets to tune my bike up and I’ll talk good about the shop for as long as the bike is shifting smooth.I’ll also pay the shop cost for parts and bring double espressos for the mechanic.

    I do some electrical or plumbing work on my house and on my third trip to the hardware store I often end up wondering why I didn’t pay a professional to do it right. Get my drift?

    to #13 carlos “Bitching about it on a blog ain’t gonna help.” oh snap, that calls into question all of Bikeportalnd. I read BP to keep up on bike bitching – wahh the city didn’t clean up the sand quick enough…

    FULL DISCLOSURE:I’ve worked for free, I’ve worked for trade, I’ve worked for WAY less than what I should have worked for, been ripped off, etc. To this day, if there is enough upside for ME I’ll get involved (dollar for dollar trade for a nice free ride bike is my current wish) in a project.

    Classier in my opinion would be to privately work the your network to find a person. As a working professional it is honestly insulting when somebody wants to undercut your profession in such a manner.

    Jonathan, I would say publishing something is indeed promoting it, not a billboard, but it is a form of promotion as this site isn’t just a clearing house for media it is a fairly editorialized version of bike news (Honestly that is why I check the site daily – i 90% of the time like the way your editorial spins). Ain’t no think I say stuff I wish I never said all the time, I sometimes say “crap, I kinda endorsed this idea, but upon learning more I’m not cool with it.” as a guy that has done zines for a long time you own your words and their power. if you were not promoting something you’d stay quite. that is my take.

    Design and bikes in one space now I’m cooking! keep it coming.

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  • R-diddly April 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    OK first of all let’s lay off Jonathan shall we? This is such a micro-tangent. He’s acting as a conduit for information, and rightly thinks someone MIGHT be interested in this. Sure, what gets covered or not, is a judgment call; that’s what editors do.

    Back to the issue. In my opinion the contest criteria are a bit unrealistic and the prize too small. But the bike shop has a right to offer those terms, and rightly thinks someone might be interested. The appropriate response is probably to a) actually have a creative idea, and b) toss off something really quick ‘n’ dirty (not the usual magical work you do which I’m sure has unicorns and faerie dust emanating from it). If the shop doesn’t get quality work, that’s their problem. Or even if they get tons of quality work for free, that’s nobody’s problem, since presumably everyone who submitted work knew (or should have known) it was probably for free, and knew it wasn’t a proper “design job”. If people are too dignified to “chase” something then don’t chase it. I think what I’m trying to say is that everyone can see what the terms are here; if they’re not to your liking, you don’t have to accept them. Move on to a more profitable project, if you have one. Or yes, you can certainly do some “deep marketing” on behalf of your profession, and try to “educate” the bike shop as to why you don’t accept the terms, and why your work is worth so dang much. But beware, while you’re doing that, I’m busy WINNING this S.O.B. because check out these rad Portland-centric designs!


    Oversize Sunglasses:


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  • anon April 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Yo ThatGuy #43,
    I don’t know what you do for a living (other then troll), but for this example, lets pretend that you pump gas:

    Station Manager: Oh, sorry – we’re not looking to hire anyone, but would you like to join our contest?

    ThatGuy: Contest?

    Station Manager: Yeah, it’s awesome! We are going to have a contest to see who pumps gas the best – let’s say for a month. And there will be voting!

    ThatGuy: So, 4 weeks… at 40hr week… at minimum wage that’s like $1,300…

    Station Manager: Sure, but instead you get a cool $100 and bragging rights! Of course, that’s only if you win…

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  • ekim113 April 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    R-diddly –

    I vote for Beard, but I wonder about you using my likeness with out my permission.

    My submission idea: Outline of Subaru wagon w/bikes on roof.

    I wonder how many of the people complaining about this contest have approached a local shop for sponsorship. None, I’m sure.

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  • ekim113 April 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    That was obviously a joke (at least I thought so and laughed out loud).

    And personally- I wouldn’t mind pumping all of my own gas if it meant lowering the price. I did it for 20 years prior to moving to OR and managed not to blow up any gas stations.

    Aaannnddd …. Begin gas pump attendant rebuttal rant!

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  • Aaronf April 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm


    I vote for the bigfoot.

    The wraparound text is edgy.

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  • Marcus Griffith April 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    The question I have is that if all the good design artists boycott the contest, does that mean the bike shop will have to select from a sub-par submission?

    I thought the contest idea was a harmless attempt at getting PR surrounding a new logo.But, than again, I am not a graphic designer.

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  • Kyle April 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm


    I would like to start out by being clear that the intention of this contest was not to devalue the worth or work of designers or anyone that has been offended by the outline of this contest. The mistake of not throughly researching the current climate of the design world in regards to design contests shows in your reactions and I appreciate the resources that have been provided that elucidate the problems with these type of contests. Certainly I have learned a lesson and will not make the same mistake twice.

    I would like to explain a little more about my thought process when coming up with this contest. I did not think that design professionals would have been interested in this type of contest unless of course as a pet project, at the shop we have local designers as regular customers and through discussions with them I have an understanding of the scope and cost of producing a professionally designed logo. The intent of this contest was to inspire students, hobbyist, and up and coming designers looking to build their portfolios. People who may be interested in a project like this and have the time to work on them.

    I have spent time working for a literary magazine, during which it was my job to sort through and read submissions for publication. Not every submission presented to the magazine made it to publication, and those authors that were published were rewarded for their efforts. Investing time into producing a logo for a small contest like this is not for everyone and each individual can make the decision about whether or not the time investment is worth the risk/payoff. I would think anyone looking into participating in something like this would have to answer that for themselves first. I saw this contest as being similar to a writer submitting for publication, the writer is published and they receive something for their work, for the designer the design is produced if their design wins and they receive a reward and they are able to add something to their portfolio. Am I missing a difference between the two? I understand that a literary magazine is a place for art to be showcased but I feel that a logo on a bicycle can also be away to showcase your work. In the store we have bicycles come into the shop that are 30 years old and older still baring the shop logo of the original seller. Some of these shops have gone out of business but the thought put into how they represent themselves continues to live on.

    I would like to thank all the commentators specifically Rebecca, f5, Jim, and Tony T. I appreciate your take on the situation and will likely rework the terms of the contest based upon your plans. I am interested in your take on the above.



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  • d April 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I think there’s a difference when the contest is for a small non-profit who can’t afford professional design services. And even still they can usually get grants to cover it.

    If you want cheap student work, put an ad out on freelanceswitch or craigslist, or try partnering with a classroom at a local college.

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  • DP April 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm


    Thanks for clarifying your intent with the logo contest. Your point about shop logos on older bikes is interesting. That was always one of the things I liked working about shops all over the country, seeing where bikes came from, or where they’d been. Some of the logos were certainly better than others. But either way, lots of them were memorable, and often gave a sense of character to a shop I’d never been to.

    Good luck with the contest,I’m interested to see what comes out of it.


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  • Deep Breaths, Folks April 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Alright, alright, designers are pissed, we get it. …but you also are going to have to get used to these sorts of things happening and I hope, for the sake of you and your blood pressure, that you learn to chill when you hear about these awful, indignant, insulting yadda yadda yadda situations. As the economy stays lame and more and more young people seek out a life in the design world, there will be plenty of people who, it would seem, don’t mind doing work for very little (or nothing) if it means that it will possibly advance their careers to a point where, some day, they don’t have to.

    In other words, welcome to Economics 101: supply and demand. I hate to be smug about it, but it’s true–you design fat-cats (<–that's meant to be entertainingly sarcastic) have the market flooded with extremely expensive services, especially at a time when less-expensive services are sought by some potential buyers. Why are you surprised that a low-budget market has emerged? Moreover, why are you so upset? You don't want to work for clients like that, anyway!

    It's scary to know that your chosen field is possibly in a tenuous position. Get used to that, too. I used to be a photojournalist, but the ability to pay for professional PJ services went down (less demand) and the market was FLOODED with retired doctors who bought nice dSLRs and didn't need to be paid–they just wanted to play with their toys and enjoyed seeing their name in the paper (more supply). Guess what happened? I'm now in a new line of work (and happier).
    Guess what else? when the developing countries continue to …ya know… develop you’ll see more and more hungry folks who are itching for an opportunity to “make it.” Welcome to globalization and, again, get used to it.

    This poor shop had no idea they were stepping on a landmine, but I think that Kyle provided a good response. It speaks well of him that he’s able/willing to listen to you, despite your apoplexy.

    It’s behavior such as you all have expressed above that gives designers a bad name. It’s also part of what gives Portland the snobby (“elitist”) aura that is also so evident in our biking community that we’re soundly mocked for it nationwide.

    While I’m at it, why the heck are you guys giving Maus such a ration of sh*t?! It is something that interests the community and it is something that will be beneficial to an up-and-coming designer in addition to a local, independent shop–a treasure and a rarity that must be preserved.

    I’m sorry that a job was posted that was “below” you. You probably shouldn’t apply for it. Some people, however, have been beaten out by you for the “good” jobs and you have left them with little choice but to take what’s left.

    I love the design world (I’m still very much involved in it) and I respect you all as individuals and a community. Moreover, in my heart of hearts, I don’t necessarily support some of the full positions I’ve laid out, but they’re undeniably meritorious and weren’t being voiced by anyone else.

    I hope you all have a nice day and get a chance to get outside and have a refreshing ride in the rain.

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  • f5 April 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Kyle, one way to sum up identity and logo design is as a collaborative process between the designer and client to achieve a unique and versatile core-mark (logo) that communicates something specific related to the client, and also helps build your overall brand and identity.

    I’m not interested in vilifying you or your motives, since your misconception is quite common and designers often find themselves explaining this to people and potential clients. But understand that the design profession is generally quite misunderstood to the point where this misconception is the norm. The advent of affordable computers and easily piratable graphics software is only helps to promote the notion that “graphic designer”=possession of a computer and some pirated software.

    I can see how you would draw correlation to the literary mag experience, but since what you need is visual communication and problem solving to result in a professionally-functioning logo for your business to use as part of how it generates income, your needs are more analagous to what an architect or mechanic provides, rather than a (often previously existing) piece of literary art being submitted to a magazine for exposure.

    If you’re seeking student work, put it out to the professors at PSU.

    Keep in mind, the lore of “the student designer who created the Nike Swoosh logo only receiving $50 for their work and no residuals” is alive and well…as cautionary tale.

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  • Amos April 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Seriously, why even hold a contest, R-diddly’s beard drawing is going to win, there’s no point in even trying.

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  • Kronda April 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm


    If you’re interested in student work, you might contact the Art Institute of Portland, which has plenty of graphic design students, and also a student run ad agency, Brash Creative.

    I would also think there are plenty of bike-loving designers who might be interested in working for trade for a shiny new bicycle.

    f5 makes a great point–you’re not likely to get something that truly meets your needs without at least some sort of collaborative process. It would be like hiring someone to design my portfolio website when they’ve never met me.

    Good luck with your efforts.

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  • Tonyt
    Tonyt April 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Kyle, I appreciate your response.

    The difference between your literary example and the logo is one of specificity. The literature that was submitted to your publication was most likely also submitted to other publications. It was a work of art that had a value on its own and if not chosen by you, had a life apart from your magazine.

    A logo would not enjoy this flexibility. A logo, or at least one worth anything, would be VERY specific to your business. All time and energy would be focused on your business and YOUR needs. If not chosen, it would have no value in the market place.

    In short, with the magazine you are asking authors to submit items that they may well have written before they ever heard of you magazine.

    In the case of the logo, you are asking designers to do work for you and your specific needs. Maybe they’ll get paid.

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  • Billy April 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    This is a shitty way of doing business. Think of it this way, I’m having a contest for bike shops to build me a bike. I will then try the ones I like and give the builder of the “winning” bike 5% of the going rate for a bike. Sounds fair now?

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  • Rebecca April 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Kyle, thanks for reading thoughtfully. This is a common problem in the design world, so a lot of people blow their tops because they forget that not everyone has heard it before.

    f5 and Tonyt make the salient point here: namely that a logo, even a quick and dirty one, needs to be specific to you. I wouldn’t design one for you and then resubmit it somewhere else. That’s the distinction between this and a literary piece. I think it’s a really common misconception, and it’s probably a surprise to realize how much time and research professionals put into coming up with the perfect mark for their clients. If your company isn’t just a hobbyist, why would you want a hobbyist to design your logo? If you want the kind of longevity and relevance that other professional logos have, hire a professional. I’m sure you can find someone who will work for trade.

    I really appreciate you listening to what we have to say, and I appreciate everyone else who’s contributed intelligent input. It is possible to keep this kind of thing civil. 😉

    Good luck with your logo process and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

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  • f5 April 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    “#54 deep breathe folks”:

    Taking the cheap route can often cost these small businesses that you’re defending (by leveling insults at everyone in the forum) MORE money in the long run. Not planning ahead can mean costly re-do’s, late-add’s, etc. in the long run.

    Imagine how happy a small business owner would be to find out that their incredibly intricate, photo-realistic logo collage reproduces like shit at smaller sizes, forcing a complete logo redo/simplification/proper color separations, etc. because the intial design was cheap, but didn’t come properly supported with a design pack with CI guidlines for proper reproduction, with color sep’s, and the designer who designed it wouldn’t even know how to begin to get this thing print and iteration-ready. Scenarios like this where designers are turned to to come in and clean up someone elses half-baked mess are all too common.

    It’s not about snoberry, it’s about “measure twice, cut once”. “Haste makes waste”. You’ve heard these before, yeah?

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  • OuterToob April 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Kyle, #51 – Please read for genuine advice – I am not sure if you are the store owner, and if not please pass this on to them.

    Something 21st Ave Bikes should seriously consider is this – if you use a student designer or a non professional designer they might be inclined to treat this in a non professional manner.

    Using non professionals could lead to using imagery as foundation art that is copyrighted or subject to copyright laws. If you pull an image of a rose, Mt Hood, or Coppi from the web, magazine or a book and trace over that image to use as ‘art’ it’s still copyright infringement.

    If you use a logo design that is based on other peoples imagery regardless if it’s been flipped over or traced over etc, if there is any resemblance to the original art you can be issued a cease and desist by a lawyer before the copyright holder flat out sues your establishment if you continue to use the design.

    To put it in the frame of reference of your literary magazine experience, it would be considered plagiarism of another persons work – with the argument that you moved a couple of words around to make it ‘yours’.

    This is the type of thing that non professional designers are not necessarily aware of, and as a business owner I would be very weary of. Imagine if a logo with art based on copyrighted material is chosen through the contest and you use this design to put on business cards, stickers, perhaps get it printed on a shirt or painted on your store front window…then get a cease and desist.

    Also, I’m wondering if you will hold a contest for the people who will be printing your stickers and other business materials that the logo will be featured on or will you actually pay them their standard wage? Or is your intention find a student with access to a copy machine to pump out some stickers for you on the Xerox?

    There are real world legal and financial reasons why one might be inclined to use a professional – as they would be accountable for their work while some hobbyist won’t care if you get hosed in the short or long term.

    Also, your statement here “I feel that a logo on a bicycle can also be away to showcase your work.” For real? You really think a 2″ sticker on the bottom of the down-tube will be a good way to showcase someone work? I can’t imagine how many people would actually be able to see that.
    If you were putting it on a billboard off the I5 that’s a different story, but I mainly see the mention of stickers.

    You can take my advice and leave my a-hole questions but be aware of the risks you are taking by using a hobbyist to create professional materials.

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  • Anonymous April 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Wow, this is awesome that there are so many passionate designers here in Portland. But, many of them have good points.

    Fearless Records did this same thing. They took so long to pick the winner, then they never did pick a winner. A group of designers in the Midwest ended up suing the company & won.

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  • Deep Breaths, Folks April 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    @ Billy: you’re missing the point–the case you’ve presented [apples-to-oranges, though it is] can still be rescued for our purposes: go ahead and make that contest. See how many people enter it. QED. You don’t see any bike shops throwing a fit about such a contest, they’ll politely pass and send you on your way. Again, if you don’t like the terms that they’ve presented, don’t submit work. I’ll continue the point in response to F5.

    F5: First, how have I ‘insulted everyone in the forum’? I’ve said you guys are whining (which you are) about a situation that might be tolerably acceptable to other people who aren’t as privileged (or talented) as long-time pro designers. While I didn’t use the word snobbery (let along ‘snoberry’), I can see how one might be inclined to see such things in a few of the comments above.
    …but I digress. Your primary point (“measure twice, cut once”) is well-taken, and I thank you for it. …But I must still point out that it’s still missing the basic point that I, a crappy student of economics, have been trying to (perhaps poorly) articulate. While I’m rather busy right now, It’s my hope that I can briefly draw the point out right here:
    As I’ve said, I also work in the design world and I’ve seen plenty of crap design from designers who would scoff at a competition such as the case at hand. Drawing a correlation between price and quality, while usually tightly associated in the long-term (see: Econ 101, again), does not stop expensive jobs from, on occasion, turning out lame.
    The whole idea about a cheaper product winding up, in the long run, more expensive is, again, missing the point.
    This is precisely why a competition ain’t such a bad idea if you’re concerned with getting a good product for a rate that the market will bear. If the product’s not “properly supported,” it won’t win. Undoubtedly, some of the submitted pieces won’t be as good as some of the things my designer friends (or you–though I dunno if you’d be willing to call me a friend) would be able to churn out …but, as I’ve said before, in a market such as this there are more talented designers than well-paying opportunities for talented designers, ergo, there is nonetheless a decent chance that a good, “properly supported” product might find its way into the competition.

    Is your point that they won’t get a good product for their money, or is it that YOU wouldn’t want to give them a good product for THAT money?

    I’m sure the bike shop would love to pay a million dollars for a great design …but they can’t. …and, considering the state of the economy (and the increasing attrition rate among small, local shops), they shouldn’t. It would be foolish to do so. We, as customers of the shop would be disadvantaged by them doing so because that cash outlay (while perhaps not too much for a large business) is A LOT OF MONEY for a small shop, and that might hurt their ability to stay in business. Which would suck. For fat-cat designers, student designers, gadfly commenters, Bike Portland editors, New York bike snobs and Portland bike snobs, alike.

    Good evening to you all.

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  • Katusha April 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Seems to be quite a few “designers” out there with a lot of spare time. There are more comments here than the road rage post. How does that saying go? Pick your battles. This isn’t even a skirmish…

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  • Andy April 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I have learned something from this article and the comments…

    People will complain about anything.

    As a side note I think the contest is a good idea. If I had even an ounce of artistic talent I would try for it.

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  • patrickz April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    This is from way out left field, or whatever, but after reading all that’s been (and will be) said, I feel I can still point out BikeP as one of the few articulate, animated and informative websites available. All controversies and topics around our Dear Subject Matter are covered, usually by informed, colorful and considerate people. Some topics have been a brief education in civics, such as the ones regarding traffic issues.
    Thank you, Jonathan, and greetings to all.

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  • f5 April 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    @Deep Breath Folks #53:

    I haven’t done any whining.

    There a at least a few others that can say the same, which could be why Kyle (presumably from the shop) thanked us directly in this thread.

    To answer your question, my point isn’t primarily about the money, it’s primarily about spec’ work (the contest) being exactly the wrong approach to developing a retail logo/identity. Wrong for THEM, and not just the designers. They would most likely regret it in the long run. Logos and identities have to fulfill specific needs and need to be setup so that a business can produce materials down the road without having to go back and contact the designer to tweak this or change that every step of the way. Smart designers DESIGN this into CI spec’s, whereas simply asking for a 2″ sqaure logo does nothing to accomplish this, among a host of other concerns.

    Any business owner needs to ask themselves: Do I want to deal with vendors that are experienced and professional, or do I have time to deal with amateurs and waste a bunch of time and get potentially horrible results? This goes for your businesses graphic identity as well.

    But beyond that, 100 bucks + a discount that’s less than what I usually find for myself by buying product between seasons isn’t that tantalizing, considering logo and identity work could easily chew a minimum of a week or more. Usually much more.

    On a side note, I know people that have (and I don’t condone this) brought in printouts of internet pricing to Fat Tire Farm to get them to match, only to be quickly ‘vibed’ out the door. And rightfully so. But really, a small brick-and-mortar retail shops that specialize in premium goods should know that quality counts and you get what you pay for. But again, I’m not lambasting the shop or FTF — I trust their intentions weren’t malicious at all, just a little naieve (sp).

    I don’t really follow your line of thought with the econ stuff. Yes a million is outlandish, good thing that’s something you just made up. Of course the more out of work designers there are, the more likely they are to get a few gems in this contest. But don’t count on it. Beyond that I don’t follow your thinking, I was referring mostly to whether or not this is a beneficial process, and not the dough itself.

    I don’t get the whole ‘fat cat designer’ or ‘privileged’ bent either, but whatever. Most contract designers I know do great work and spend a ton of time chasing payment.

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  • David T April 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Hi guys,

    As a business owner, I have no problem with this concept in theory (but I think this bike business has executed poorly).

    I’ve used DesignCrowd a number of times for logos contests with great success. A lot of designers are against logo contests but DesignCrowd do it differently so you should look into it! DC pay designers minimum payments for their work even if they’re not selected.

    Who says design contests need to be winner takes all??

    A separate issue is the ‘size of the prize’. Would any designer have an issue if design contests had budgets of $1M plus? Probably not! I know $100 is below DesignCrowd’s minimum budget.


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  • Aoshea April 28, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Maybe they need to put this contest out there to high school students in art class supervised by an art teacher

    skinny tire stable

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  • twilliam April 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm
  • Scooter April 29, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Kyle, call Carol Davidson. She did that thing called a Swoosh for $75 while in school back in the day. She was accordingly properly paid out later on. Find your own Carol Davidson 2010 and when 21st Ave. goes global, pay her what she’s really worth then.

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  • k. April 29, 2010 at 9:49 am


    Or you could just open ‘Paint’ in your Windows accessories pull down and quickly design your own logo. From a quick perusal of other local bike shop logos, I’d guess that’s what many of them did.

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  • Jim Smith April 29, 2010 at 11:53 am


    There are still other methods of getting cheap logos:

    The problem is the same as most other businesses without having to know anything about the industry.

    – You wouldn’t ask contractors to build a bunch of houses and you to pick which one you liked the most for $10,000.

    – You wouldn’t ask a car manufactures to build new types of cars and pay em $1,000

    – You wouldn’t ask a computer engineer to build a processor for $100

    There are a lot of good, talented designers out there thatll do a logo for cheap, and you can look at their portfolios, look at existing work and speak to past clients. If you are going to have a contest, pay out more than its worth or at least equal. Good example, Netflix had a contest for a better algorithm, but they paid out $1,000,000.

    If the contest wasn’t so cheap, i dont think anyone would complain, bt 100 is VERY cheap for an identity. Thats like 2hrs of even a student or new freelancer’s hourly wage.

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  • Jacob April 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    wow people…

    They want a cool logo for little monies up front, understandable as owning a bike shop doesn’t generally make anyone rich.

    10% off for life is pretty sweet IMO.

    If you don’t like the terms of the contest, don’t enter it. Simple.

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  • grannygear April 29, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    see folks, designers really are special.

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  • dc April 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    why are cyclist such cry babies? Graphic designers go for 14an hr on craigslist, 100 bucks/14 an hr…
    maybe those “designers should have gone to school longer to get a real degree and not waste their parents money.

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  • Deep Breaths, Folks April 29, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Okay, I’ll try this one last time:

    F5 said: “Logos and identities have to fulfill specific needs […] Smart designers DESIGN this into CI spec’s, whereas simply asking for a 2″ sqaure logo does nothing to accomplish this, among a host of other concerns.”

    Evidently you really don’t get the market considerations because you’d not keep making the same inaccurate observation: implicit in your case is the assumption that a contest will only garner bad designs that doesn’t have all of the cool things you’re talking about. …which is not necessarily true. Therefore, everything that follows from that fundamental premise is equally flawed and thus, a moot point.

    Think of it in terms of the labor market more generally: if a retailer offered $20/hr for floor salespeople, they’d have better salespeople and would probably sell a few more units. …but it’s unlikely that such an increase will be enough to outweigh the significantly increased cut into their operating costs. The fact of the matter is that, in this town, at this point, they can get some incredibly talented and hungry salespeople for $9/hr. What’s better for THEM: to have 4 good salespeople on floor at a total of $36/hr, or have two *extra* good salespeople for $40/hr? Try going to a busy shop and tell me what you’d prefer: a good salesperson immedately, or twice the waiting time for a salesperson who, if you ever get to utilize their services, is supposed to be *extra* good?

    You contradict your case when you say, “the more out of work designers there are, the more likely they are to get a few gems in this contest”. This seems to acknowledge that the shop very well might get a good design that, in another economic climate, would have cost them a lot of money. So if you’ve ceded the point that the contest might get them a good design that also works on the level of the “host of other concerns”, how, precisely, is this bad for the shop, as you’ve argued elsewhere?

    Look, I’m not trying to be pushy or mean, I’m just trying to encourage some of the design community to relax and not be so antagonistic when a small shop doesn’t want to/can’t pay as much as a large corporate client. They might get a good design doing things this way, or they might not. But, again, paying through the nose is no guarantee of an amazing outcome, either. It’s a buyer’s market right now: the sellers who adapt, survive; the sellers who yell at the buyer about how the buyer’s market isn’t good for the buyer …well, they get laughed at.

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  • defstro April 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Wow, there are a lot more negative comments to this than I thought. I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said. Having said that, as a professional graphic designer, I find spec work to be insulting and damaging to the design community.

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  • AaronF April 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Jonathan should change the title of this article to:

    Bike Shop Wages War on Graphic Design Professionals.

    #16 FTW

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  • f5 April 29, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    BDF #78:

    Myself and most others writing more than one paragraph in this thread have not been antagonistic. I have no ill will towards Kyle and 21st avenue bikes. I think it’s pretty clear from what I’ve written. And it’s their prerogative to put out a call for spec’, I’m just trying to offer some helpful perspective about the ramifications of doing so, for their benefit. And they thanked me specifically for doing so. I know their motives are commonly born out of misconception, and not any disrespect towards the design world of any kind, and I stated as such in a prior post.

    With that in mind, I really have no idea why you’re harping on me for being antagonistic.

    I haven’t contradicted myself either. Simply put, good design isn’t just a single piece of final ‘artwork’, it’s a process of collaboration, problem solving, and consulting. It can happen for any size business on any budget.

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  • DP April 30, 2010 at 11:18 am

    How bout those Blazers!

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  • Brian Johnson April 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Brand identity (all the concrete visual aspects– symbol, color, typography) is one of an enterprise’s most important assets.

    “Crowdsourcing” the design of their identity this way — through speculative work — is a good way to exclude professional designers and the quality of the work they receive may be lower than they should deserve. I’ve seen cheap logo design (by on-line “logo factories”) produced in such a way that ignores reproduction (printing) requirements and even infringes (or looks very similar to) other logo designs. This opens the business up to lawsuits.

    If they want to offer $100 and a 10% discount to the winner, they should move this to an academic setting. Students would gain some experience while under the watchful eye of an instructor. A win-win scenario.

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  • Karl May 4, 2010 at 1:19 am

    It’s all been said, but some still don’t get it. So, how about this:

    Since I’m not rich enough to get a bike or bike parts at a small Portland bike shop, I’ll go to Walmart to buy my bike, or buy some (probably stolen) parts off of Craigslist. How does that help the bike industry/community? It doesn’t. Just like a contest doesn’t help the design community.

    Here’s a heads-up to anyone who isn’t a designer. We often don’t get paid what we should for our work. Make fun all you want. It sucks.

    Next time you go to pay for something, see if that person/company is willing to take less than they charge. If they do, it’s probably a crappy or starving graphic designer.

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  • Jim Smith May 4, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    @Deep Breaths, Folks #78

    Cheap labor paragraph: You’ve obviously never been to a major chain retailer. Lets say BestBuy for example. One time I asked for a HP dongle. I waited about 10 mins for them to figure out what the fuck a dongle was AND THEY WORKED AT A COMPUTER STORE. Or, how about my recent experience with HomeDepot. I asked if he could give me advice on what glue and materials to use for a plumbing issue I had with older pipes. He said he had no idea and walked off. Now, THIS is what you get for 9 an hour. Go to Grovers, they pay them good, you walk in, have a question they explain in detail and know where shit is. So don’t tell me about how cheap labor is better or equal to higher paying jobs when they’ve already proven higher payed employees perform better.

    The fact of the matter is, this contest cheapens work. We’re already competing with sites like 99designs and 50 dollar logo sites. We shouldn’t be. A brand is the most important thing in a company right after their actual product. And to say that their ENTIRE brand is worth paying a professional $100 is disgusting.

    And like i said in an earlier post:
    – You wouldn’t ask contractors to build a bunch of houses and you to pick which one you liked the most for $10,000.

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  • Deep Breaths, Folks May 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Don’t hate the player, guys, hate the game. …of course, even hating the game won’t change it (otherwise all of the design community’s blustering would, at this point, have quelled this market segment–the fact that it hasn’t seems to indicate that it’s a market need that’s here to stay). So, for everyone’s sake, I’m encouraging you to chill–don’t take jobs that are below you. …but also don’t flame people who can’t afford you just because they’re trying to find ways to exist in light of … the fact that they can’t afford you.

    @Jim: regarding the cheap labor equation: Yesterday I went to an independent hardware store and the dude rocked. Today I went to a big-box place and they rocked, too. There are plenty of anecdotes we can spout, but the simple fact is that if Best Buy experience was always terrible, people wouldn’t shop there–the model wouldn’t work. …but, apparently it does, because they’re wildly popular and people are, for various reasons, willing to work and shop there there and many of them are still quite good. Let’s look at bike shops: Performance probably starts at $9/hr. How much more do you think a “good” shop starts? $10/hr? $11/hr? I’d be shocked if they started much higher than that… Don’t respond to this until you’ve looked at some of the professional thoughts on these things (like the Iron Law of Wages, etc.). Seriously.

    Also, per your contractor house building point: You’re still not getting it. No contractors would participate in the contest, therefore, it’s not a price that the market will bear. This contest? Yeah, people will participate (and, like the non-spec “pro” market, with varying degrees of quality), therefore, it’s clearly a price the market will bear. You won’t see contractors whining that the contest doesn’t pay well enough–they simply won’t participate because it doesn’t match their biz needs. When you need housework to be done do you just tell one guy to do the work and you’ll pay whatever he wants? No. You take bids. BIDS, Jim. It’s kind of like a contest, eh? I could offer to do the work for $1, but I’m a shitty contractor and you’d pass. But, generally, you WOULD pay the lowest price that met your needs. This *IS* how contracting works. QED.

    Your Wal-Mart point is quite right: some people can’t afford high-end stuff–that’s precisely why Wal-Mart works and why their 2006 sales were greater than the economies of 144 countries(!). Are you saying that poor people oughtn’t get to buy bikes? They got the product that they could afford. An expensive product is no good to someone who can’t afford it.
    You said, “How does that help the bike industry/community? It doesn’t. Just like a contest doesn’t help the design community.” Ummm… it’s not about the bike industry (the seller) it’s about the buyer–they buy something that they want, therefore it helps them. If it wasn’t more valuable than what they exchanged for it (money, usually), they wouldn’t engage in the transaction. Seriously, look at Mankiw’s Principles of Economics.

    “Here’s a heads-up to anyone who isn’t a designer. We often don’t get paid what we should for our work. Make fun all you want. It sucks.” How do you determine what you “should” get paid?! Crap, man, welcome to the world that EVERYONE ELSE lives in: we’d all love to get paid gobs of money, but that doesn’t always happen. It sucks. Again, get used to it.

    Bottom line, guys, there will always be scabs. In broad strokes: the workers in an industry will always want the jobs to pay better and the customer (the business owner) will always want them to be lower. Some industries are better suited to unionizing and other efforts at shifting the curves in this equation, but, even if they strike, there’s always the risk of scabs taking the job anyway. This is particularly challenging in an industry filled with freelancers: you guys will be hard pressed to band together so well that nobody takes a job offer that, as you said, Jim, is “insulting.” I’m not saying you guys aren’t great and talented. I’m not saying I don’t want us all to be paid fabulously for being great and talented. Personally, I have felt all along that 21st naively (not maliciously) low-balled the situation and they should either pay more or really be prepared to work with some student designers. But I certainly understand where they’re coming from.

    Be like the contractor in Jim’s example (or any of the other half-dozen attempts at articulating the same point in the previous 86 posts), if it’s a price at which you don’t want to do work, DON’T DO THE WORK. …but don’t be surprised when you find out that, in the long-game of economics, other market participants WILL DO THE WORK.

    I’m simply saying that it does no one any good to flip out over basic economics. I don’t know how this particular situation will pan out (at this point, I’m betting everyone’s going to be hypercritical of any product that emerges), but the points I’ve been making were observations that needed to be made because they’re inconvenient to hear. They’re hard truths that the industry still doesn’t seem to understand. You want to change it? Start with an ironclad professional agreement not to take work below a certain price …but, again, good luck getting everyone to abide to the agreement when times get tough.

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  • kphomma May 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Wall of words.

    Also I don’t think any of the people in that photo work there anymore. Looks like old crew.

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