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From their site:
I'm sorry we freaked out a bunch of people in the design community by running a contest to redo our homepage. There might have been a right way to do this thing, but we didn't do it the right way.
The discussion that unfolded on QBN and elsewhere brought out a lot of strong feelings and raised a number of issues. I'm still sorting through them, but the one that's gotten to me is this:
While some people don't like us and never did ("i've always hated Aquent" was one profanity-free way of putting it), there are a number of people who view us as a company that "gets it" and, at least to a certain extent, as a partner who is on the side of designers and the profession. These folks were more than let down by this contest - they were hurt by it. In their eyes, as they wrote, it was a "slap in the face."
To those people in particular, I apologize.
A wise man once said, "People care more about bad feelings than they do about bad outcomes." I believe that the discussion this has generated, and our response to it, will ultimately have a positive effect on the "outcome" front.
I'm hoping that this apology is a step in the right direction on the feelings front.