Crowdsourcing has its weaknesses, no doubt, but I realized that there is an important upside that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere. Crowdsourcing allows self-taught designers to work alongside formally educated designers. Noobs learning from pros.
Ok, they gain experience and know-how more quickly.
Yes, it is.
It’s a big deal if you fast forward 10 or 20 years. Good design becomes a virus (bear with me), worming its way into every third world country, every basement where a designer is at work behind a computer. Whether she likes it or not, the teenager in Indonesia competing at a site like 99Designs will be exposed to the good design bug. Not only is she infected, she carries it too. Her younger brother following in her footsteps gets it. The design firm where he finds a job gets it. Soon our clients get it too – et voilà! No-one can get away with bad design anymore.
Through an enormous cross-pollination the graphic design bar is raised. Worldwide. Continuously.
A good virus, for a change.
As an aside, crowdsourcing companies probably didn’t set out to teach anyone about good design. Their mission is to make money by rewarding good design. Don’t you just love it when cold commerce accidentally accomplishes a greater good.