[Local] USC Design Contest


Let me give you the gist before I tell you the debate that is happening on this contest.

Here are the details

The University Student’s Council at the University of Western Ontario is holding a Website Design Contest for our home website www.usc.uwo.ca

Design includes the main page and interior page. Your welcome to include new graphics, colour schemes and student friendly extras.

Winner: Prize basket from the USC, Website Publication, Honorarium, and Reference Letter

One side is saying hey this is a great idea because it can give an upcoming student some real experience and a reference. If you are a web and graphic designer looking to get your name out, just think of the networking you will do and having “Designed USC website” on your resume is a great look.

The other side is saying that the USC is 2nd largest corporation in London and this contest is exploting students and the USC is being really cheap by making it a contest and since professionals won’t do it for free that USC might end up with a crappy website.

I was reading the discussions on the facebook group and one student had a really good point

Against the contest

Carson Shold
Design contests are a terrible idea. From logo designs to website designs and beyond, these contests scrape the bottom of the design community for amateur designers. Worst case, it entices non-designers to attempt to build the face of the USC.

No matter how optimistic you are, you cannot hope to have a visually appealing and user friendly website designed for free – oh sorry, a gift basket.

Alex Gould
This is just an on-going insult from the USC. When will you understand that good design work doesn’t come free? How is it, that the second largest corporation in London provides little to no compensation for their branding?

It also has me questioning the financial and corporate responsibility of the USC. A contest like this will only lead to a more costly process (through future re-branding efforts). At a time when the USC is financially unstable, why would they go down a path that ultimately will cost them more?

You’ve insulted an entire faculty of senior students in doing this, in addition to serious designers everywhere.

For it

Erik von Stackelberg
I don’t believe that the USC would be wrong if it sought out volunteer designers to produce a site for free. Granted, the final product and logistical process might be less polished than something produced by a design agency. And personally, I don’t believe that something of the scope of the USC site could be managed very effectively with volunteer designers and developers. (I also don’t really see the USC as a nonprofit venture — that is, would I do volunteer work for Coca-Cola? probably not — but it is certainly community-oriented.) But to claim that *only* a fee-based agency can produce effective, socially-productive design work is an equally egregious insult to any designer who believes that his or her work can mean something more than the dollars it is worth. Call me an optimist, but I believe that this sentiment also represents a defeatist position regarding the skill set, willingness, and capabilities of volunteers and student designers.

There are some really good points from both sides, I’m interested to see what the final result is.

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