Monthly Archives: November 2008


Here comes a cat out of a bag – we’re in the process of building out our brand. Every growing company faces this challenge at some point, and so Cantina finds itself in the thick of it.
As purveyors of tech that, at least in theory, increases social interaction and the power of community, we’ve decided to walk our walk and dip our toes in a bit of the crowd-sourcing pool and see what kind of logo we could fish out. There are a number of these services available, we’ve chosen to give Crowdspring a day in court. The results thus far have been wide-ranging; clearly this crowd is a heterogenous one.
What’s been really interesting, from my POV, is the controversy this approach stirs amongst those in the design community. The rub seems to lay not in crowd-sourcing, but rather in the notion of speculative work, or “exert your effort and maybe I’ll bite”. Imagine using this approach for other day to day transactions? Having someone paint your house *before* paying them? “No, sorry, I don’t like it. Thanks anyway.” After a chef has prepared your dinner? “That looks tempting enough, but I think I’ll pass.” Turns things upside down a bit no?
A designer and colleague of ours, Kurt Zinser of Method Bureau, says, spec work is “harmful to the profession, encourages sub-par work and turns the practice into a commodity,” and pointed me to this statement fromĀ AIGA:
“AIGA believes that doing speculative work seriously compromises the quality of work that clients are entitled to and also violates a tacit, long-standing ethical standard in the communication design profession worldwide. AIGA strongly discourages the practice of requesting that design work be produced and submitted on a speculative basis in order to be considered for acceptance on a project.” They even provide a sample response letter that further explains their position.
I’m sure there are those skeptics out there who will naturally counter that of course AIGA would seek to protect itself and the interests of its members; what representative organization wouldn’t? Beyond the obvious then, I think the AIGA argument has merit. Many specialized crafts have and are dealing with these same pressures – the commoditization of one’s long honed skill.
Andrew Hyde has some strong feelings too, particularly regarding Crowdspring itself:
It appears the controversy is tied to the idea of speculative work versus the notion of crowd-sourcing. Is there a better way, a solution with positive impact for both sides of the divide?
Here comes a cat out of a bag - we're in the process of building out our brand.

Joining Cantina

I thought I would sit down and write my first post by thanking the team at Cantina for the opportunity to work with them. I’ve only been here two weeks and I already know I’m working with the best teams on the planet. As I met with many of their clients over the last few weeks, I’ve heard nothing but praise for the work they do.

As we face the challenges of the coming year, with a tough economy, it’s good to know that you’re with a group of people that can really get the job done. My wish for the next few months is to take on the task of supporting each of our clients as they try to navigate our current financial situation, but also find new opportunities and business; so the team here can continue to do what they do best, deliver amazing applications on time and under budget.

I thought I would sit down and write my first post by thanking the team at Cantina for the opportunity to work with them.