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5 Reasons Why Design Contests Are Bad for Designers

Paul Murray

Staff member
I think the main issue is a lot of the contestants aren't professional designers and just see these contests as a way to make money on the side. I actually couldn't give a toss about these contest sites because I wouldn't want the clients that use those sites anyway.

If you do good work and charge a a going rate, you'll find clients you actually want to work with. Every time, and I mean every time I've worked for a lower rate or done a 'favour' for someone, I have regretted it because these 'clients' don't appreciate the value of what we do, they simply see a product/outcome and a cost. As creative business owners it's our responsibility to charge accordingly. I tell clients my rates and/or give them a cost for the project. If I'm too expensive then they need to look for another designer. I don't drop my rates because I have existing clients who are more than happy to pay my the going rate and recommend business.


Well-Known Member

EVERY time I've worked for free as a favour or whatever I wish I hadn't.
You can see in people that they don't seem to hold any value to what you've done for them when you don't charge them.
Even though you might have done a job that you'd bill £1k to a 'paying' client (who would have been very happy with that) and you've spent hours doing it they just don't seem to have the same appreciation.
It's strange really and it seems to be a 'design' thing.


Staff member
My view is simple... contests should be aimed at 'children' who enjoy designing stuff with prizes suited to them, we had a 'beer' one a while ago complaining about lack of entries when the prize was beer....

If you are targeting adults for the 'contest' then you should be hiring a professional designer in my view. Contests have become a 'marketing term' for crowdsourcing which is a pita, design is literally the only job where people expect you to work for free in the hope of getting paid 'if they like it'.

And for the record. I delete all posts for crowdsourcing or from 'low price sites', normally it's for countries with stupidly low cost of living, because it's not fair on the others who work in the UK and have to survive here. This is a UK site after all.


Well-Known Member
I wonder if it's to do with growing up with programmes like Blue Peter?
"Send us your entry on a post card".

We all send in our ideas and the winner gets a badge!
(Badge is not exchangeable for its monitory value)