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Anyone have a link to AIGA's response?
Seriously, the more I think about this and the glib tone of Aquent's response, makes my blood boil. I think every designer should pressure AIGA to put the screws to Aquent. Aquent needs AIGA more than AIGA needs them.
I have withdrawn the contest rather than continue to antagonize a community of people we have worked with for 20 years. This obviously hit a very sensitive nerve and I apologize to anyone who felt "slapped in the face" by our decision to run a contest like this. As I've mentioned, that was certainly not my intention or the intention of anyone else at Aquent.
I continue to believe that the web offers a lot of possibilities for design, collaboration, and ideation. I also believe that it is drastically changing the way design is used and consumed. These changes pose challenges to the design profession as they do to every other profession (including that of staffing and recruiting). I do not believe that insistence on a shared set of values or ethical standards vis-a-vis the practice of design is the best way to meet these challenges.
I do believe that an open and respectful discussion of the complex issues surrounding the strange and sometimes troublesome coupling of creativity and commerce, along with practical experiments that test and explore the boundaries of what is possible, acceptable, and best, is.
Nic, your response is spot on and I get it. You said "Where is the formal apology from John Chuang?" which gave me an idea. Maybe the best way to engage in this dialog with Aquent is to go right to John Chuang. What if we draft a letter from designers to John Chuang and encourage him to address our concerns and step into this discussion?
Design is Dead®
are you going to drug test the designers that submit, are you through with that????
Matt, thank you. I think you made the right choice here. As sintaxera said, I appreciate the fact that you made the effort to engage with the community and listen to us.
who's going to be the first person to insert an anus into their comp?
To answer your question Matt...
Clients see the value in template monster and design contests because they aren't educated on the value of good design that is unique and specific to their business needs...and all these contests/sites do is continue the ignorance.
You're completely undermining design as a valuable and meaningful profession and, in turn, undermining Aquent. Why would anyone go to Aquent to hire a designer for $60 an hour ($30 for you guys and $30 for the designer) if they can just post a quick 3 bullet brief on some website and pay $200 or $500 and be done with it? Why do they need Aquent at that point? So you're helping to undermine the company you work for...you're helping Aquent lose business...in the long run this little $500 contest has (and will) cost Aquent waaaaay more than sending out an RFP ever would have.
We should be out there educating clients on the value of good design not perpetuating the ignorance. Way to be a solid part of the design community.
This gets my vote for "Most Interesting post of the year". I missed it all but have spent the last hour reading it all.
Everyone has made some very valid points, if not repeating each other quite a bit. I never saw this as an "experiment" how is it experimental, it can only be damaging... He makes out that this is also a contest... well why didn't Aquent post this "contest" on their own site and post ads in the design press with a worthwhile prize – instead of plugging 99designs.
Matt created an interesting discussion and I applaud him for coming on here to defend it. I fear Aquent are licking their wounds and now trying limit the damage this may have done.
I hope that freelance designers pull themselves from their books in protest of Aquent's behaviour.
This should be in caps:
Designers and creatives alike have stood strong together on this topic and I'm well impressed. Next steps for Aquent, as mentioned are damage control.
What are the next steps for us a community?
Don't forget this, don't fold over and let this corporate bastard and it's employees determine the rules and costs for our industry... and just don't use Aquent.
Our industry is an example of social revolution and how we can fight the giant that puts us to work as "slaves" as someone put it (on page 2 I think). And this is a slap of a reminder.
aquent can't even confirm appointments as they are dumb fucks.
High fives all around!
Wonder if Mark Sinclair of Creative Review sometimes posts on here. I wonder if he has seen this thread?
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.
At any rate, Matt publicly apologized, as well as canning the contest. What long-term effect this has on Aquent's reputation, I can't say. But at least the guy didn't retreat into hiding, and I respect him for that.
And on a tangential note, It's great to see QBN function the way it was originally intended. If we aren't careful, people might start taking us as seriously as the likes of Design Observer... ;)
Just caught up with this thread and wow, feels so good to know QBN is still so full of people that are passionate about design. So many intelligent measured responses. I think Aquent have gotten off lightly but at least they got the message. They should be thinking pretty carefully about their communication for a while now.
damage already done