U.S. Department of the Interior: Stop the US Department of Interior from Crowdsourcing a Logo
  • Petitioned National Business Center, U.S. Department of the Interior

This petition was delivered to:

Joseph Ward, Jonathan B. Jarvis, Ken Salazar
National Business Center, U.S. Department of the Interior
Ken Salazar, Jonathan B. Jarvis,
U.S. Department of the Interior
Spokeswoman, Department of the Interior
Kate Kelly
Spokeswoman, Department of the Interior
Kendra Barkoff
Director of New Media, Department of the Interior
Tim Fullerton

U.S. Department of the Interior: Stop the US Department of Interior from Crowdsourcing a Logo

    1. Mary Koster
    2. Petition by

      Mary Koster

      Millers, MD

The U.S. Department of the Interior currently has posted a design brief on crowdspring.com asking for graphic designers to work for free in order to try to 'win' the prize of being paid for logo design and branding work. This is outrageous, especially coming from a branch of the U.S. Government.

We are against crowdsourcing of logos due to the harm it typically does the company or organization as well as the damage it does to the general public's understanding of the graphic design profession and the amount of work that really goes into logo development and branding. A federal agency that supports these practices is upsetting to us all. While crowdsourcing may appear like a win-win scenario on the surface for any company or organization, there are many reasons this may backfire and cause more harm than good.

First, when you create a brief, this may appear on the surface to cover all facets of what you're looking for in a logo, but a real professional and a real relationship with a designer will prove to be far more fruitful because it develops a partnership built on trust and respect for one another and the designer has a vested interest in your success as a company or organization. If the designer helps you to succeed, they can be proud of their involvement. They will put in the time necessary to research, develop, and revise the logo based on your needs and customize a solution that is more than likely, better than you could have hoped for. However, when using a crowdsourcing designer, in most instances, the designer is located somewhere remote, does not know your country, your business, or your client or target market and is simply churning out designs as quickly as they can in hopes of making some money from creating hundreds of logos in minutes in order to guarantee 'winning' some contests to make an income. This often results in poorly designed logos, no research, plagiarism, copyright infringement and recycling of a stockpile of logo elements or clip art they have at the ready. This doesn't even begin to address any follow-up needs you may have when your crowdsourced designer 'disappears' and you can no longer track them down if something is wrong with the file/artwork once you have paid for it… (Helpful Tip: Crowdsourcing sites are not accountable for the contest entrants work or content - you are on your own. Read the fine print!)

Even if designers are in fact US citizens, know your market and are willing to do the research to develop appropriate concepts, these designers usually give up on crowdsourcing sites quickly because to produce a viable logo/branding design takes hours, weeks, or months at a time with no guarantee of payment. You are asking designers, who have paid for their education, have experience in the field of design, and have the knowledge and skills you need to work for free. The United States economy is not based on practices like this so why should the government be supporting this type of practice against the Graphic Design Industry?

In the worst case scenarios, the US Department of the Interior could be facing hefty law suits from companies or organizations whose investment in their branding and logo development has been stolen and plagiarized under copyright infringement law. Look at the case of Citibank vs. All Citi Pawn: http://leightonhubbell-blog.com/logo-design-articles/it-would-have-been-cheaper-to-use-a-designer - are you willing to take this risk?

In a time when our economy is still struggling to recover, and many of our U.S. citizens are struggling to find work to survive, do you really want to set a precedent that you'd rather 'outsource' such an important part of the U.S. Department of the Interior's image to just anyone rather than support the economy that is supporting you? This is a horrible position to take and we hope you reconsider. Hiring a designer or design team one-on-one is not only a benefit to you, it benefits our economy to keep the work in the USA and make sure our designers get paid for the work they do.

Please sign this petition to urge the US Department of the Interior to hire a U.S. Designer, or Design Team, to design their logo instead of asking people to work for free in the crowdsourcing 'competition' environment! We value our educated, experienced and professional designers and hope you do too!


P.S.  If you would like to read more about crowdsourcing and the pros and cons, please read the blog by Leighton Hubbell, an established expert in the field of logo design, here: http://leightonhubbell-blog.com/logo-design-articles/what-you-wont-get-when-crowdsourcing-your-logo or another view from Michael Foster, a Graphic Designer based in seattle, here: http://biznik.com/articles/crowdsourcing-your-graphic-design-work-its-bad-for-you-i-have-proof

Recent signatures


    1. Graphic Designers Fight Against Unfair Spec Work

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      For more than a week, graphic designers have been waging a campaign targeting the Department of the Interior for economic justice in their profession.
      And yes, you read that right. Graphic designers.
      It’s not a group of professionals you typically...

    2. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      A comment from a petition signer: "I am the 1000th person to sign. I'm a member of the Graphic Artists Guild and a professional artist and illustrator since 1974. I'm amazed at the ignorance of the Dept. of Interior to think it is ethical to expect professional design on spec and for below market rate. They need to be educated by all who can contact them. This is damaging the jobs and careers of professional designers."

    3. Reached 1 signatures
    4. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      It's getting harder for the Department of the Interior to ignore us. Can we hit 1,000 signatures by the end of the day?

    5. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      The Graphic Artists Guild calls Department of the Interior's decision to crowdsource its new logo "seriously objectionable."

    6. Reached 750 signatures
    7. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      The Washington Post asks for input on the Department of the Interior's online design contest. Share your thoughts, here:

    8. Graphic Designers vs. the Dept. of the Interior

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      This post was guest authored by petition creator Mary Koster. You can follow her on Twitter at @mkdesignhaus.
      Last Friday, a friend and fellow designer mentioned that the US Department of the Interior (DOI) had announced it was crowdsourcing the...

    9. Reached 500 signatures
    10. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      One designer explains why crowd-sourcing hurts the design profession, and points out that the Department of Interior's total offer of $1,500 "is lower than the low end of the market value."

    11. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Post a comment on the Department of the Interior's Facebook wall.

    12. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Adam Botsford TACOMA, WA
      • over 3 years ago

      As a freelance artist, I'd like to see this work request managed ethically and thoughtfully.

    • Loren DePalma NORWALK, CT
      • over 3 years ago

      A heartfelt thank you to Mary Koster and Jess Kutch for generating awareness so quickly in support of the design community!

    • Marina Madden SAN ANTONIO, TX
      • over 3 years ago

      So I called the DOI's Communications desk at 202-208-6416 today, at 2:00 CST. I asked to speak to someone in regards to the crowdsourcing logo contest. They said that would be the Media Team led by Tim Fullerton Director of New Media...They took my name and number and my message of concern that the DOI is conducting a laymen contest rather than using a professional...

    • Gareth Sleightholme HULL, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 3 years ago

      Whether it is crowdsourcing or their support via large business of the Orphan Bill, our governments clearly have no idea the damage they do to THEIR OWN creatives and creative industries and by default support and prop up those of competing economies... it's a sad, shortsighted and false economy. G. Sleightholme, UK creative.

    • eric yingling SAN DIEGO, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      This logo contest is offensive. Especially coming from an administration that clearly values the importance of graphic design and corporate identity. (i.e. Obama Campaign logo which was NOT the results of a logo contest.)


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