Please, help us make this decision…

August 1, 2008

Re: Private comments between the designer and the contest holder.

We’re thinking about making comments between the contest holder and the designer private. We’ll still have public comments on the main contest page, but when you click off to the designer specific page, unless you’re the contest holder or that particular designer, you won’t be able to read the feedback. 

Pros: May help cut down designers feeding of other designers work.

Cons: Goes against the whole idea of getting the best result for the client.

What do you think?  Comment below, or see what others are saying on our uservoice.

68 Responses to “Please, help us make this decision…”

  1. Jay037 Says:

    That would be great!… It would make designers strive more, and be less dependent…And come up with original works…

  2. No matter what you do the star rating will still cause designers to feed off of other designers. I dont think this will help the issue as much as we hope. I think the con will overlay the pro in this situation.

  3. entz Says:

    I’m all for it!

  4. voxpelli Says:

    I wouldn’t like it – the only ones benefiting from it are the designers who with the feedback they gain can’t produce a great enough improvement on their work to match a competitor’s entirely new work inspired by the very same feedback.

    Sharing feedback has many benefits and making them private can’t possibly be the best of solutions to stop designers “stealing” each other’s works.

    Embrace the “stealing” as GitHub has done for the “stealing” within open source – the “fork”. Give the designers a tool to credit the original designer and perhaps split the prize on some way between the two ( or three or four).

  5. fcz Says:

    hi all. i am sorry but i don’t really get the idea of having private comments from the designer. what it’s all about? in my opinion, the contest is open to all and the idea on what to do is also open to all. now when it comes to submission, the entry is judged by the visual or actually work and not the comments of the designer. judges will not base their judgment on the comments of the designer but rather on the work being submitted. if there should be comments from the designer, it will be between the contest holder which is bets handled through email exhanges. i think there is no point in posting privaye comments. guys this is good effort from you and goodluck. all the best. i hope i can win too :-)

  6. Paul Annesley Says:

    Thanks for the interesting idea, voxpelli

  7. simonbun Says:

    Yes, let’s make comments private. If valueable information comes from a private thread that can benefit other designers, the CH can always copy/paste it into the brief or public thread.

  8. Greg Says:

    My suggestion would be to do split the contests into 4 phases.

    — Phase 1

    Designers submit their entries privately. They are encouraged to only upload different ideas, not several versions of the same idea with small changes (colours etc.).

    Only the contest holder can see the entries during this phase. Advantages: No ideas can be stolen, and nobody has to worry about being wrongfully accused of stealing.

    (I’ve often looked at a contest, designed an entry and then returned to the contest only to see that in the meantime, someone had submitted a similar idea to mine.)

    Let this phase run for, say, 48 hours.

    — Phase 2

    After the 48 hours, all entries “magically” appear for everyone to see (and no new entries can be posted during this phase). Now, the contest holder looks for the *idea* that he/she likes best.

    The designer of that idea is then given part of the prize money (this would be a set percentage).

    Advantages: Designers are rewarded for their ideas, even if their design wasn’t the most beautiful to look at, and contest holders can get the best idea *and* the most beautiful design out of a contest without anyone complaining about ideas having been stolen.

    If the contest holder has any requests for changes to the design, he/she now announces them publicly, and the next phase begins.

    — Phase 3

    Designers now start submitting entries again based on the winning idea (and any possible requests by contest holder).

    The goal is obviously to take the idea and create the most beautiful design with it. The entries are once again hidden and this phase runs again for, say, 48 hours.

    — Phase 4

    The entries appear for everyone to see, and the contest holder chooses his winner, who then receives the rest of the prize money.

    If the contest holder still wants a few changes, this can be done by the winning designer. This all happens publicly everyone can see the final design and find out whether the contest ended successfully with everyone happy and all prizes received.

    What do you think?

  9. Brad Says:

    I personally don’t like it, as a designer there are so many entries submitted that the majority of the time we are putting in a lot of work without any recompense. Now if we cannot get a feel for what the competition holder is looking for, by reading comments, I feel that we will be forced to shoot in the dark and put in a lot more, and rather unnecessary work by repeating the mistakes of others

  10. Greg Says:

    Just to clarify: I think phase 3 should happen even if the contest holder has no requests for changes, just to see whether other designers are able to improve the design.

    Also, I forgot a “so” in my next to last sentence: “This all happens publicly *so* everyone can see …”

  11. stefyx Says:

    I don’t think it would be a good idea.
    Because it’s a very simple principle that applies here:”The CH only says what he wants to get”
    That is NOT PRIVATE FEEDBACK(that only that designer should hear),it is advice about what he(CH) is hoping to get.
    If CH x says to DESIGNER y “I don’t like this purple,try green” and designer z after hearing that, also uses green,I don’t see what is the problem for anybody.

    AND IT MUST BE VERY CELAR that rip off’s are not based on comments,but based on the designs that “public”

    This system doesn’t help anybody
    a very clear example:
    CH says to designer X to use K1
    CH says to designer Y to use K2
    X only uses K1 and Y K2
    CH isn’t happy because he wants both k1 and k2 in his design
    x1 isn’t happy because his work isnt better that y2
    y2 the same

    More clear
    by privating x from y’s comments and privating y from x’s comments x doesn’t win y doesn’t win CH looses
    What’s the whole point??
    It’s ridicoulous to say a rip off is absed on a few comments that apply only to x’s designs

    Also there are many oppinnions::so it’s not clear this is an improvement(I think it’s definitely not) but it’s clear that this would take some time to implement and if this isn’t an obious improvement there is no point in doing it

    well,thanks for taking the time to read and hope my oppinion will also matter in taking this decision

  12. pitrih Says:

    hi all :)
    i also think private comments are bad idea, you are forcing CH to comment on all the works and repeat comments sometimes… CH can not point out to feedback they made on some other work…


  13. JapE Says:

    The major advantage of being able to see the feedback on other designs doesn’t lie in spotting the best idea’s. In my opinion it’s much more useful for spotting the idea’s that the contest holder does not like, so that you won’t make the same mistake yourself and can improve your design on those parts.

    Therefore I reckon it’s a bad idea.

    The only way to counter the copying completely is making the entries 100% private, which will for obvious reasons lower the quality of the final results!

  14. Nadia P Says:

    I agree with JapE.

    Reading others’ feedback doesn’t necessarily lead to copying, if you can interpret the requirements better than someone else, good for you.

    There is rampant copying going on even if there has been no feedback given to any of the entries.

    Having feedback private isn’t going to eliminate that one iota. What if a CH only gives feedback to his favourite entries, what happens to the others and what will feedbackless (is that a word :-) designers do?

    It will only take 1 or 2 designers to keep resubmitting entries due to private feedback and others are going to copy those believing that’s the style the CH wants. It can only lead to more copying in my opinion.

    If anything, I’d prefer that private messaging was stopped during a contest – it’s the PM’ing and private solicitations I have a serious problem with.

    If you go down this track, you may as well keep all the entries private as well, why hide one and not the other.

  15. ameet Says:

    i’m up for it!

  16. Xenth Says:

    YES! Great idea. Better contact between the designer and contest holder. And no idea’s of feedback will be stolen!.


  17. T.L.Neiffer Says:


  18. secondgig Says:

    going down the posts i find myself going from completely agreeing to wondering just what benefit they would have.

    on the first hand anything that makes it difficult for the thieves to steal designs is better for the community as a whole. Lets be honest here the whole system as it is is built for those that prey off of others.

    I’m probably more on the line of making submissions to the contest private, the CH will be getting a totally unbiased design that will be a representation of how that designer interprets thier brief.

    The problem I see here though is that 99designs as a company probably won’t do that because it doesn’t really look good from a marketing standpoint.

    One thing that relates to this issue that I have seen pop up in a few comments so far is “getting the best result for the client” well while this is obviously the goal it shouldn’t come at a cost to designers rights.

    As it stands the sytstem causes designers to be rather liberal with those rights as they are taking quite a risk in submittin work to the contest.

    Whether it is a good or bad design the designer still holds rights over that design, others that come along and steal it or alter it or thier own design to reflect qualities in higher marked or commented on designs are plagirising those designs and in effect breaking laws no matter what country you are in.
    Of course thats another whole kettle of fish right there but for now it is something that crownsourcing sites need to address.

    I would probably like to see a system that works by allowing public submissions of entries, private comments in regards to the designers entries and a private revision system that will stop those that prey on ligitimate designers from seeing the changes that are made to the higher star rated entries.

    It may not be perfect but it covers some of the problems that currently exist with the system.


    ps , while thinking about it , a system that allows designers to contest copyright violators and have penalties applied to said violators should also be looked into , it may be difficult to police but would act as a deterent to those that prey on others ideas.

  19. pegatinas Says:

    I’m all for it!
    It’s the next best thing to blind submissions

  20. amokana Says:

    dude … this feature is simply NECESSARY ! … imagine if someone wih a gun won’t kill you only if you answer right one question … you answer wrong and before he kills you , give you the right answer … now some lucky bastard have heard the right one all he gotta do is repeat it … and the other lucky bastard have heard it too .. result : 1 smart person dead and 100 dumbasses still alives … sooner or later there wont be smart guys (good designers) only dumbasses (designers with no creativity = they SUCK )

    now you know what would be REAAALLLY perfect … is that each designer not only see his own personnal feedback but also his star rating … basicly no one knows what the contest holder thinks about a specific design –> result : designers will be forced to give it all and may the best wins –> result : unique , original and high quality designs

  21. Sean Says:

    My vote – give the power to the contenstant as to whether their comms should be private or public – default it to public and allow contestant to change to private.

    If a contest holder wants to publicise a comment they can put it in the contest area.


  22. jhoge Says:

    I think it’s a great idea. Far too much of 99designs standards favors the CH…very little favors the designer. The CH has quite a bit of risk protection — even if they don’t like the designs, they’re only out $40, and still might cop a design anyway…it would be hard for anyone to notice. Designers, even the good ones, take almost all the risk, not just the possibility of a flaky CH, but from sleazy competitors too!

    The whole benefit to the CH should come from a series of DIFFERENT designs, each progressively improved. This yields many distinct possibilities. I don’t see the point of having 50 designers barrel toward the same exact style goal…that’s overload for the CH, and turns it into a dart game for designers.

    You know what I’d really like…not being able to see ANYONE else’s designs. I find it distracting, and I can’t help but feel that this impedes creativity and limits the collective output. No matter how hard we try, it’s very difficult to start down an independent (and possibly superior) path once we’ve seen the 5-star designs the CH loves…

  23. ut1988 Says:

    I think its a great idea. And something can be done about the con by making the designer to give a general feedback on the contest page that can be viewed by all the designers.He can ,in general, explain what was he expecting of the contestants and what he has got without being specific regarding a particular design.

  24. ccol Says:

    This seems like a bad idea to me. The great thing about this website is the openness of it. If it’s not open then it loses its potency and becomes less unique.

    Privatizing the comments is going to lead to more wasted effort on behalf of the designers because, as a previous person commented, we can’t see the negative comments. I also believe that it will become more frustrating for the CH and they will have to resort to leaving more comments in the general comments section so as to avoid having to repeat themselves all the time.

    One last point to consider…what’s the difference between the CH looking at an entry and saying “I don’t like the font that you used” and the CH holder saying in his/her brief “I don’t like the font that was used in the MajorBrand logo”? Either way the comment is only showing their preference…not causing plagiarism. If plagiarism really does occur then there are already ways to address it at 99designs.

  25. Dennis Says:

    Nice idea, just go for it…

  26. ClaX Says:

    Maybe let the CH decide.

    If he wants original ideas from designers he could make comments private.

    If he wants increased productivity then he can leave them open so designers can feed off others feedback.

  27. andthen Says:

    I think that is an excellent idea. You all rock either way, love this sight!!!

  28. voxpelli Says:

    Individualizing the crowd pretty much takes the crowd out of crowdsourcing.

    To be honest – different people got different strengths and weaknesses. People should be encouraged to embrace their individual talents and cooperate rather than splitting up and individualize.

    It’s the reward system that’s broke because it doesn’t take into account the entire process but only final result and that’s what should be fixed.

    Embrace the crowd rather than the individual by opening up further instead of less.

    Perhaps even go as far as to have contestants surrender their copyright for the scope of the contest, in a similar fashion as Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, to legally enable participants to improve on each others’ works and mash them up without other contributors being ripped of.

  29. secondgig Says:

    I don’t think that taking away or surrendering any rights towards copyright is a step in the right direction, in fact I think that just spits on the whole creative and business process.

    I don’t believe that the crowdsourcing aspect is meant to be a collabrative process, rather it’s a tool that benefits the client more so than the designer as they get a lot of points of view for free and can pick and choose as they like (hopefully taking copyrights into consideration as they do so, something that clients need to be taught properly before launching a contest), designers take a huge risk in designing for free and for their rights to be taken away and basically spat upon is not going to help in the slightest.

    For crowdsourcing to work there needs to be set rules in place to protect the designers and clients from those that are less scrulpulous and prey on others.

  30. Art Says:

    I comkpletely agree with voxpelli,jape and some other who doesn’t support this because it is clear that many designers are not winning the contest as i seen some pro designers may be between 10 to 20 people are winning with their awesome designs(what this means is if you have skill you will win with your work).
    Please note the following points.

    >If a contest holder provides feedback to an individual designer which is private and can’t be seen by other designer than there’s no need for 99design.(just ch hire a designer and get his work done, so CH will not get different design variation which is available in 99D).
    >What If CH provides star rating and feedback to only one designer and not to other designs ?
    >The Basic’s Logo designing is same, all designers use the same concepts with different styles and variation. This doesn’t mean that the designer is limited to only one design he can output a lot of variation.So if CH likes somethings in a design and gives feedback to improve it to further designs then it’s better to post this in public area about what he likes in that design, so that everyone will benefit from this.
    >Finally to say 99design was established and is a bridge between contest holders and both benefit and enjoy the sweet fruit.It is not for one designer and one CH and also 99designs is not only for pro-designer, this is for all designers and contest holders.
    I completely dis-agree with this.If you think 99designs was only meant for pro-designers and business people then you can implement this feature.

  31. Art Says:

    Designer who are worried about winning will ask for this private comments. We already have a copyright issue going on ie some designers copying the same design next to him (they copycat-ing other designers work from other contests or from a well established logo’s ie Nokia, apple….).
    If you think this is a problem then as i said earlier,a “report-button” to report about that designer to 99designs will work fine.
    but no private feedback. Private Message between Contest holders and Designers is OK.
    (if you worried about your winning then send a private message to CH and ask for feedback to improve you work.

  32. Gandecruz Says:

    My only vote goes to disabling PM system between ch and designers temporarily, while contest is in progress. prevent “backdoor negotiations”.

  33. panks Says:

    hi all
    i feel that by reading the comments on other designers gives us a clearer picture of what the contest holder requires which sometimes is not clear in the brief.It benefits the designers & am sure everyone feels the same.
    so i completely disagree with this

  34. Jackie Sue Says:

    After reading my fellow colleagues ideas/votes I have this…. Feedback should remain public because as we see in some contests, the CH doesn’t give much if anny feedback. If there is one feedback to one designer, then it can help the designers and CH have better submissions based on their feedback. it’s not stealing. At that point it becomes who can execute it best.

    I think CHs should be educated more on selecting a desinger they like and can ork with the final product after selecting them here. There is too much emphasis on slecting and having a ultimate final design here. When IMO they should select a designer who they like in their style and execution, then after the contest do all the neccessary tweaks – color, font, positioning, etc.

    Last item is seconding what is said about ‘backdoor negotiations’ – again this can be avoided when the CH realizes which designer they want to work with, just select them as winner and take it all offline, well off 99 designs. Keeps the competition even keel and not cut throat.

    Thanks for asking for what we all think. Great stuff! My best to the decision that is made. It’s tough.

  35. Nadia P Says:

    “My only vote goes to disabling PM system between ch and designers temporarily, while contest is in progress. prevent “backdoor negotiations”.

    Totally agree (and I said this in my post way ^ there somewhere :-)

    If you make feedback comments invisible, you will need to ensure that *every* entry has some feedback, be it good or negative.

    EG You can’t have 10 entries, 2 hidden feedbacks, and 8 designers left floundering because they have no idea that private feedback was given…

    This makes more work for the CH and I can see there are going to be some very frustrated designers out there as the CH was too busy, too tired, too lazy, too whatever, to leave feedback on *every* entry.

    PS: This would open to door to more congestion, useless posting and possibly an increase in abusive comments to the general comments area.

  36. Nadia P Says:

    My vote also goes to EDUCATING the contest holder that feedback to every design (even if it’s a “not to my liking because….”) is essential.

    Educating CHs that giving high ratings to designs that have been copied is another necessity.

    PS I did this in a contest just yesterday. Asked the CH quite nicely not to give 5star rating to designs that had copied elements from the early submissions. Other designers jumped in an agreed. Education is the only way to improve things around here… and that’s educating both CHs and designers.

    Many designers just wait for a few entries to arrive (no feedback at this point) and jump in and copy essentially what the first submissions have done….
    Private feedback is not going to stop this trend if anything it will only increase.

  37. Gale Says:

    I agree with Nadia!

  38. Gandecruz Says:

    Mark, just for consideration notes : also there are big differences process between logo contest and web design contest as these two are the main 99design area.. perhaps one decision is suit for logo but not suitable to web contest, or contrary.

  39. LogoRush Says:

    I think this would be great!

  40. Gandecruz Says:

    voxpelli Says:

    Embrace the “stealing” as GitHub has done for the “stealing” within open source – the “fork”. Give the designers a tool to credit the original designer and perhaps split the prize on some way between the two ( or three or four).

    i said :
    This is terrible idea. imagine in the future how many people will try his/her luck, “only” to get portion of the prize.

  41. andthen Says:

    This is not really a comment on the appearance of comments, but I do have a suggestion. I think there should be some kind of thing that tells you when you have new comments on any of your designs. It is sometimes hard to check back frequently to see if CH leaves feedback, and sometimes they never do so you waste your time even looking. If there was something to the side when you log in to notify you of this, I feel it would be VERY helpful.

  42. secondgig Says:

    I see this discussion has expanded on a few things that need addressing in the 99designs system.

    For those that are saying that vital information would be withheld, well true you may find certain information in specific comments but it’s impossible to say that it all is going to be pertinent to the overall design.

    The best way to solve this problem would be to expand on the creative brief to involve more options like fonts, colours and layout.

    For those that want to disable the PM system , well sure there can be some problems associated with PM’ing a CH while the contest is going, mind you there are also advantages to it such as seeking clarification on comments and issues that may arise during the contest.
    I suppose this is all how you play the game and how you market yourself but removing the ability to talk about issues related to your design in a private matter is not beneficial.

    It’s become clear that there are different views on what crowdsourcing is and a few people see it as a collabrative system that is meant for the CH’s benefit.

    How is it that we keep on working out ways to diminish the rights of those desginers who do create original work, more should be done to protect designers and to give them tools and opportunities to secure clients.

    Probably the only thing a lot of people can agree on here is working out ways to get rid of the copying and copyright violations.

    Unfortunately it’s not just going to be the comments where these people get thier “inspiration” from it can also come from the star ratings and general comments.

    case in point , I’ve previously been involved in a contest where one person took the basic principles of 2 entries (mine and 1 other) and submitted it and got themselves 5 stars for it. I ended up winning the contest but in the end it cost the client more than thier prize offered.

    In it’s current state and even with private comments I don’t think it’s going to magically solve the problem, it may go a certain way towards it but other factors such as CH education on running a good contest, private entries or revisions and a system to police those that infringe on others should probably be looked into.

  43. Gandecruz Says:

    and this one is really worth to consider too : PREPAID CONTEST, will make these issues eliminated one by one. CH will be more careful and give more detail attention for the best results. it will helping that every designers get an equal feedback whether it’s good or bad. By implementing this, the current system will not going more and more loose. It’s worth to consider tho..

  44. leigh Says:

    This is just my opinion but a lot of these ideas are going to create a lot of work for the CH, which might cause a CH to choose a different route.

    Designers know what the risks are and if they want to go around pointing fingers at least leave the CH out of it. They don’t want to get in the middle of all this or to have designers rudely ask them to guarantee a contest or that they make other payment options available.

    CH want it to require as little from them as possible, after all most are launching a new business or managing one. Most have a hard time even adding stars, much less copying and pasting comments.
    and other demands on time and effort mentioned like pre-contests and shared revenue.

    They are here to get the best design possible, it is that simple.

    I have learned one thing you need to have as an artist is a thick skin, and to learn from failures. Instead of spending all this energy on getting angry, you could look at the winning design and compare it to yours and read through the communications and try and figure out what would have made your design better, and apply what u have learned next time.

    Open comments between designers and CH It is the only available tool to ensure we are not wasting time by producing unwanted elements.

    Its up to the designer to be smart enough to read the comments posted by the CH to other designer. I have been in a few where the CH encouraged people to do that. When there are 300 entries to a contest they dont want to have to offer the same critique over and over.

    Its simple in the end whoever brings the cookies that taste best to the CH, wins, its a competition. Competitiveness pushes the designer to bring it to the next level. While they might think their version is better, its all a matter of taste.

    However: I agree with the fact that the pm available now while the contest is in play encourages side deals and other underhanded ploys and leaves the ch unprotected from unwanted solicitations. The only time the CH and a designer should be able to pm is if hey have the winning design.

    In addition, I think the focus here should be in educating the designers about what is and isn’t ok to do, and why it isn’t ok.

    Designers need specifications, like final size and resolution, how many colors to use, and if gradients are ok, if it is web only RGB, printed in 4-color CMYK (photos and special fx), or if vector or editable layers are desired. Perhaps provide check boxes to simplify process.

    The designer doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional bur as a designer should be responsible enough to know how to provide a CH with files that will reproduce as expected and how to avoid potential pre press problems. CH’s should not end up with a design only to find it cannot be reproduced. As we know what you see on screen (RGB) is not necessarily what you get on paper (CMYK) because of a limited range of colors that can be reproduced (look up gamut for a reference).

    Designers need to understand how much money is involved in printing and production, legal fees and what is really at risk.

    I will leave you with a silly example but gets the point across. Thats my two cents. I dont mean any harm just trying to help avoid problems for everyone.

    An extreme example of potential problems:

    CH has invested his life savings to start a business.
    He has a logo produced, then purchases business cards and other stationary & other promo gear like pens, t-shirts, key chains, hats.
    Hires a marketing/advertising firm who build his identity/brand around the logo. He gets it hand painted on the door and a mural in the reception, even has it inlaid in his floor. Puts it on a fleet of his work vehicles . He even has some billboards and tv commercials on prime time and premium spots in newspapers and magazines that is extremely pricey but will reach a lot of people.

    Then when a customer comes into his store he learns that the logo he is using is using belongs to somebody else and in fact is pretty well known. Not only does he look foolish but what about all the stuff he has to replace, his merchandise has to be reproduced, legal fees, and damage to his reputation.

    Who is suppose to pay for this. Surely if designers knew that much was at stake and that they could be held financially and legally liable for a loss like this, and that consequences existed, there would not be a problem.

    And the worse thing is a lot dont even know they have done something wrong and dont know what a copyright even is or what is ok to use and what isnt. That is why educating designers should be the issue here.

  45. secondgig Says:

    good points leigh , there should be a lot more done to educate all involved in what constitutes a professional and businesslike process.

    Design competitions aren’t the normal way to get this type of thing done and a lot needs to be done too make sure that they remain a valid form of investment both for the CH and the designer.

    I think it’s clear enough that there exists plenty of problems with changing the comments to private, but a lot could be done in the brief and general comment system to ensure that CH’s aren’t repeating themselves.

    one point I disagree with though leigh is that CH’s should invest thier time in thier contest, they should pay attention if they want to get the best result.

  46. Art Says:

    I don’t agree with “temporarily disabling PM to CH”
    It is very helpful in many situations, like asking for personal feedback(when no feedback given), ask the CH to correct the brief and so on….it’s very helpful.

  47. Art Says:

    Hey finally i have an idea to solve this problem ie
    Post a voting bar in each running contest.
    Lets see what’s designers and contest holder think about this one.(many ppl won’t come here and post a comment in here, so post this as a public voting and only 1 vote for designer/CH)

  48. jokkesvin Says:

    I’m kind of divided on this issue.

    One the one side, I think it’s great to be able to see all the comments – because it gives a great insight into the whole process of designing a logo. I mean, people can really learn a lot from this whole “behind the scenes” concept.

    On the other side, I don’t like people who are just “feeding” of the thoughts of others.

    But I actually don’t think you need to make the feedback private. There must be enough reason in between the designers and the CH to see if the person winning, has just snatched the idea of another designer.

    But if you DO want to make the feedback private, then at least make it so that it shifts to public when the contest ends. That would be an OK solution I think :)

  49. yeah23 Says:

    Now that’s not a bad idea Art. I’m for it.

  50. Arun Says:

    I don’t like it. Despite the fact that all of the designers are striving to make as much money as possible, we must realize that it is for the CH that we are working. We are trying to get the best possible design for his/her company. Therefore, letting every designer read the feedback of every other designer, would be beneficial to all in creating the best possible design. Most of all, it would be best for the CH.

  51. ulahts Says:

    It’s not about only the designers here, it’s about contest holders as well. As far as i can see, the system is going better and better but the CH are finding hard time to give feedback on 300 or more entries and tend to focus only on few designs / designers – at least this is what i observed since the new improvements have been done to the site.
    Since feedback is important for both parts and especially for the new designers / beginners then i believe it’s fair that everyone have a go on the learning / education proccess.

    On the other hand, i saw many designers inspiring from the most rated/commented designs, and i believe that seeing the most rated designs only will be more than enough for them.

    This is a Community and i believe that it will going to become a very professional community when projects will be closed earlier for submissions and will follow a shortlisted designs / designers period in which those shortlisted designers will compete to finalise the requested task.This way, many designers with no feedback can focus on other contests.

    I agree completely on one thing:
    Open feedback and disable the PM system between designer and CH. But that leaves room for another interpretation : double accounts…

    I would also love to see a paid account / subscription per year so that you can participate in private contests, where contest holders can invite a few designers only to work on their projects.

  52. Chris Says:

    Yes, private conversation would mean business. Go for it!

  53. ulahts Says:

    Oh, and spliting the prize is not quite a good ideea.
    If the client likes more than one entry he should award more than one prize and one big prize.

  54. HP Studios Says:

    Making feedback private is pointless in stopping thievery/ copying if all a CH has to do is write in the comments section of his contest, “Hey, everyone! Entry #32/ Designer So and So has what I’m looking for, so please go with that!” I’ve seen that happen more times than I can count.

  55. I actually think the problem with copying comes from being able to see the design itself, not the feedback. Feedback is where the CH gets more specific about what he wants to see in the designs, and that shouldn’t be information given to only one certain designer.

    Lots of times the CH doesnt provide a really good amount of information in the breif and with the feedback, that’s where they get specific..and it’s only fair for everyone to know what the CH wants, right?

    And when it comes down to stealing other’s ideas..I don’t think feedback has the biggest part in that. The highest rated designs is where people probably look. They see something rated 4 or 5 stars..they realize they can do better than that so they go for it.

    That’s what I think…

  56. LJK Says:

    Feedback is often few and far between, so it sometimes
    helps to read other design-specific comments.

    On the other hand, it’d be faster when you’re checking-in
    on a contest…don’t have to wade through all of the entries
    to get into the CH’s head a bit.

  57. I would say NO ! designers learn from contest holders feedbacks to other designers

  58. freshjolt Says:

    At first glance I would say keep feedback private even make star ratings private but unless you make it mandatory for ch’s to leave feedback for all designs then it will leave most designers in the dark. I think there are better ways to keep designers from copying ideas & concepts.

  59. To sum up my opinion about feedback/ratings…

    I think we all have a right to know what the CH wants and doesn’t want from the designer..and most times that information is within the feedback and ratings.

    Feeback isn’t really private information in the first place so why make it so?

  60. BombardierBob Says:

    I have to say this is a good idea as a designer I have been asked to change something and right after that seen several new entries copy my design with the added requested changes that was only known trough the comments the host left. So I have to say they should be made private or something else needs to be changed.

  61. Maginno Says:

    As a long time member I could not disagree with Nadia (who I respect) more. Saying that seeing entries and feedback to entries does not neccesarily lead to copying just isn’t in line with what goes on in these contests. Of course it does.

    I just recently experienced what Bombardier talked about and I tell you given that designer entries are copyrighted by the designer it is only a matter of time before someone decides to sue the CH, the designer or even 99designs for copyright infringement or being a party to it. There are a number of “designers” here that specialize in nothing but copying so its inevitable unless something is done.

    For my money I say keep the feedback. Who cares? make the Ch comment on the design principles they like in full public view. MAKE THE ENTRY ITSELF INVISIBLE until the end of the competition and no one will be able to copy. When the CH says I like the white space and the placement of the grapjic in the right column or this or that particular color other designers can get direction without seeing how I implemented those elements. Case closed and I would actually begin entering more contests and earlier.

  62. Nadia P Says:

    Thanks for your kind words Maginno. I didn’t mean that people don’t copy from feedback , of course they do. What I find happening more often is exactly as you do: people just straight out copy designs, regardless of whether there is feedback or not.

    How often is there no feedback to designs, but there are star ratings only. If one design was given 4 stars, then those that tend to copy will copy elements from that design because they think that’s exactly what the CH wants.

    What I was trying to say and you may have misunderstood, is that people will copy *regardless* of whether there is feedback or not. So making feedback private is NOT going to stop the copying at all.

    Hey, I’ve had designs blatantly copied, so I’m all for stopping this trend that is getting worse as more designers flock to 99designs. There are many who have no ethics or morals 1. about copying & 2. submitting commercial templates – (no matter how many times they are caught I might add) (web design I’m talking about here, 3. and whatever happens in the logo area :-)

    I guess one way to stop blatant copying is for other designers who spot outright copying (doesn’t have to be your own design either btw), is to PM the offender and hopefully they’ll realise that they are doing wrong and remove their entries…..

    I honestly don’t know the answer to this one, but keeping feedback private isn’t going to stop copying – that’s all I meant :-)

  63. maginno Says:

    Fair enough Nadia. Feedback won’t do anything but not showing the entry until the contest is over virtually solves the problem (or you could have a finalist period at which time the top designs are shown and the contest continues with only those designs). I realize that 99designs probably wants prospective customers to see the designs that come from using the community but that can easily be made up for by making an archived contest area more prominent.

    There is no reason for anyone but the CH to see my design unless 99designs WANTS the process to allow the final design to be derived directly or indirectly from other designers work. Lets face it if I show the CH something he likes then I’m the one that brought it to the CH and others following from that are in part deriving their work based on mine. Thats not just enhancing the guidelines and the brief. Thats taking my time and direction and using it to get the final result. In a contest where I am doing original mockups, multiple revisions and multiple entries with no compensation unless I win thats just plain wrong.

    Anyway I applaud 99designs for at least looking at this area. Right now since returning to look around and enter a few contests I am not seeing ANY consistent moderation of copying designers. Designers PMing the copier is next to useless especially when in many cases the CH is rewarding the copier with the contest prize (and actively without rebuke or interference directing designers to copy elements and concepts from other entries). These “designers” just laugh to themselves and move on to their next copying contest.

  64. I have an idea :o

    How about you can’t see any of the submissions untill you enter at least one of your own. That way you can think of your own original idea from the start to go by and the CH doesnt have to make the decision, “ok, which one of these versions of the same idea do I want?” but instead, “which idea do I like AND which one looks the nicest”

    And maybe to prevent people uploading effortless things just to see the submissions (though I doubt anyone relies on doing that so much to do so..) when all of your submissions are eliminated, you can’t see them anymore..


  65. Bisha Says:

    The flaw in keeping the comments private is that they really don’t solve the problem of copying ideas from other designs.

    A) Some Contest Holders refer designers to aspects of a design they like that is posted. Can you really expect them to keep what they like hidden from each individual designer? This is a business…

    B) A Contest Holder could be providing the same direction to designers. In terms of font, color, placement, icon.

    C) If its public then you get to have the benefit of knowing where your client (the Contest Holder) is headed or leaning. This allows you to step up or game or pull your submissions rather than invest time in something that may not be right for you.

    All designs will have some of the same elements. I think what is needed is an alert for repeat offenders and or some groups who may be farming design submissions…

    I have observed this… It appears as though a person is producing numerous designs or entering way to many contest to be humanly possible as an individual. It appears as though a group is working together and all posting under one name in more than 500 contest. The good thing is they are not winning at a high enough percentage right now to make it worth it.

    That too is not fair… But hey this is business.

    There should be a way to report and ban any address or designer that engages in stealing…This is a reason to keep comments public as well. You can voice your objection right there during the contest to the Contest Holder. Although this would probably spiral out of control as well…

  66. johnny u Says:

    I’M A CONTEST HOLDER. I don’t feel qualified to referee disputes between designers about derivative works — they’re not black & white cases of stealing — it’s a nuanced matter and I don’t know where to draw the line. Furthermore, I have a conflict of interest in that a derivative work might be a better execution of the original concept, which is something I want to see.

    I love the 99designs concept, but this problem needs a better solution.

  67. Alexel Says:

    I don’t think that making feedbacks private will stop some designers from stealing ideas from the others. I agree with Nadia: “Reading others’ feedback doesn’t necessarily lead to copying, if you can interpret the requirements better than someone else, good for you.” I don’t see what’s the point making CH repeating the same comment few times (for example, I don’t like green)… The other reason I think that making them private isn’t gonna change anything is because there are pictures and star ratings, so it’s obvious what CH likes and what he dislikes. And You can’t make private everything, It’s an open contest, and that’s what I like about 99designs…
    Many times it isn’t Contest of skills, it’s contest of ideas, there are a lot of great professional designers here that can do anything, and that’s why I think that CH’s should make the decision to choose “copiers” design OR will stick with the original one telling him what to improve to win, but that’s up to CH…

    I don’t like the idea of dividing contest in three segments, like someone wrote above…

    In a word, You can’t stop copiers from copying, they copy from pictures, not from feedbacks… As I said, They’re stealing ideas, and no idea is described in feedback…

    Thanks, and Sorry for my English…

  68. nejikun Says:

    Then lets make the star rating private also. :)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: